Veggie lovers are still a force to be reckoned with. An estimated 7.3 million Americans are vegetarian – and 1 million of those people are vegans, who consume no animal products at all. Sales of “fake meat” products have exploded in the last few years, and it’s easier than ever to find veggie options while dining out.
While vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives are certainly not new, several startup companies are now crafting artificial meat in laboratories using genetic engineering – and marketing those products as vegan-friendly. While the jury is still out on whether our vegan friends desire products that smell and “bleed” like meat, many consumers are curious as to how companies are manufacturing these products.
Some companies use heme, a deep-red iron-containing blood pigment obtained from hemoglobin. Heme is found in animal blood and muscle (as well as plants) and can be extracted from soybeans. However, large quantities of heme can be manufactured through genetic engineering by taking the soy leghemoglobin gene and transferring it to yeast strain.
Other companies grow animal cells in vitro on growth mediums such as fetal bovine serum, which is extracted from slaughtered animals. If you’re thinking that manufacturing “meatless” products using fetal bovine serum is a bit contradictory – you’re not alone! Many consumers are questioning whether these “vegan” products can truly be considered cruelty-free.
Are you looking for products that are genuinely vegan or vegetarian, and don’t involve genetic engineering? The Non-GMO Project boasts over 400 tofu, tempeh, and alternative meat products, as well as thousands of other vegetarian and vegan products that meet our rigorous Standard.
Our Marketing and Outreach Assistant and resident vegan, Alli Willis, was kind enough to share her favorite summer salad recipe! Her Tofurky Chik’N Salad is delicious as a salad or as a wrap. Throw the wraps on the grill for a few minutes and you have a real treat!
Tofurky Chik’N Salad:
– 1 pack Tofurky Slow Roasted Chick’N – there are three Non-GMO Project Verified options to choose from!
– Handful of pecans
– Handful of pistachios
– 1/2 pint of blueberries
– 1/4 cup diced red onion
– 1 large carrot (grated or peeled into ribbons)
– Lots of your favorite greens: I like a mix of romaine, kale, spinach, and arugula
– Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
– Follow Your Heart Parmesan Style Grated Cheese Alternative (to taste)
– 3/4 cup olive oil
– 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
– 2 teaspoons agave (optional)
– Dash of fresh ground black pepper
1. Pull apart the Tofurky Chick’N – delicious when pan toasted!
2. Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
3.Prepare the vinaigrette or substitute your favorite dressing. Drizzle and toss.
4. Top with fresh pepper and your favorite vegan cheese.