Beans and mushrooms both have meaty textures that make them great vegetarian substitutes, but if you want something more adventurous, reach for jackfruit. The fruit is indigenous to India, and it’s recently gained popularity among vegan and vegetarian crowds internationally, because it can taste like pulled pork, shredded chicken, or even crab cakes when prepared just right.
If you’ve seen jackfruit pop up at your local Whole Foods, there are a few things you should know before giving it a try. While the fruit is high in nutrients like fiber and potassium, it’s relatively low in protein, with only 2 grams per cup. “Jackfruit is a great meat substitute in the sense that it offers a meaty texture, but it doesn’t provide enough protein to be considered a protein substitute,” Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City-area tells SELF. If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, make sure you’re getting enough protein from other sources.
Now that you know, start experimenting with the ingredients in all kinds of “meaty” meatless recipes. BBQ sandwiches, tamales, gyros, and more are great for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone who just needs a new recipe to add to their Meatless Monday roster.