Want to go vegan but love the taste and texture of meat? Now you can have the best of worlds

We’ve all heard that meat and dairy production negatively impacts our environment. But did you know that the agriculture industry is one of the biggest industries responsible for deforestation, as well as a range of other negative outcomes, including climate change, ocean dead zones, methane gas emissions and air pollution?

If those facts want to make you take action, reduce your meat consumption, and consider going vegan, salad isn't your only option.

Enter Vancouver-based Modern Meat, a line of 100 percent plant-based gourmet meat alternatives that are low in fat and calories, high in protein, as well as gluten-, nut-, soy- and GMO-free.

The team at Modern Meat “is passionate about reducing [their] environmental footprint by choosing plant-based products over traditional meat.” They aim to offer customers nutritious, more sustainable foods without the sacrifice.

“Consumers today are more health-conscious than ever before so we are driven to create healthy alternatives and promote eating more whole foods in our diets,” says CEO Tara Haddad, who founded the company in 2019. “We recognize the need to move away from animal products due to the environmental and health implications.”

Their offerings currently include ‘crab’ cakes; burgers and mini-burgers; crumble (which can take the place of ground meat); and ‘meat’ balls, which are all made in a North Vancouver kitchen facility, using natural ingredients and no preservatives or fillers. Modern Meat’s products are curated by some of Vancouver’s top chefs, including west coast culinary leader, Dino Renaerts.

So the big question: how do they taste?

crab cakesModern MeatThe crab cakes are especially convincing. Made with vegetables (the bell pepper and red onion is what you’ll taste the most), fresh herbs and lemon, you actually won’t miss the meat here. Fry them up, then top them with a squeeze of fresh lemon and Modern’s Tarragon Remoulade, which was developed especially to complement the crab cakes, and they make a great appetizer or dinner protein.

burgerThe Modern Meat burger is not your basic brown veggie patty. Created with vegetables, including cauliflower and mushroom, it’s the addition of beet that gives these burgers a distinct colour and earthy flavour. Add the Modern Onion Relish and Burger Sauce and you’ve got a satisfying meal that will curb any beef burger craving. They also come in a mini size.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add some protein to a vegan meal, the crumble—made with eggplant, mushrooms and garlic confit—is great for pasta sauces as well as for chilis and stews.

modern meatballsModern MeatThe meatballs are inspired by a traditional Mediterranean flavours, including sun-dried tomatoes, traditional Greek spices (you’ll really taste the cumin) and fresh herbs. They have a softer texture than a traditional meatball, but still provide a good bite of protein.

All products need to be kept in the freezer and are best cooked from frozen (in other words: do not thaw first). Preparation is easy. For example, crab cakes and burgers can be grilled or pan-fried for four minutes on each side with a little oil.

The products are currently available at retailers in Vancouver, Whistler, Nanaimo, Surrey, Vernon and Coquitlam, British Columbia and in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Delivery services include Legends Haul as well as meal delivery kits like PlantX and Fresh Prep in Vancouver and Victoria.

Modern Meat plans to expand its distribution to be fully national and move into the U.S. in the coming months.

With so many new, innovative and nutritious vegan protein options on the market, there really is no better time to consider cutting down (or out) the meat.