Cauliflower steak and mushroom “scallops” at T-Bones. Photo: Krystal Ramirez

You Don’t Need Meat With These Plant-Based Alternatives

Whether you plan on becoming a vegetarian or simply choosing to scale back on animal intake this year, your options don’t have to end or even begin with faux meats. Skip the substitutes—though they’ve come a long way since the Tofurky—and go for whole-food alternatives instead.

Missing that shredded-beef texture? Need a pulled-pork fix? 2017 just might be the year of the jackfruit, thanks to the fruit’s familiar consistency and ability to absorb most flavors. Find it at most Asian markets such as 99 Ranch Market (4155 W. Spring Mountain Rd., 3768 S. Maryland Pkwy.,

Another popular veggie option having its heyday is the cauliflower, which serves as a great replacement for chicken in Asian dishes. But, if you really want to believe in the power of whole-food meat alternatives, try the plant in its hot wings incarnation, which appears on menus around town, including Jardin at Wynn and California Pizza Kitchen.

Don’t confuse tempeh with a meat substitute. This whole food is derived from fermented soybeans, making it much more digestible than other soy varieties. Its flaky texture makes it the crab to your cake and the fish to your fillet.

Bacon, steak strips, ground meat. Shiitake, portobello, cremini. It’s surprising what a little imagination can produce when mushrooms are at the center of the kitchen. Sauté ’em, bake ’em or fry ’em—that rich, earthy flavor is keeping the meat away.

Much like mushrooms, eggplant delivers that meaty taste and texture while offering plenty of nutritional value. Think of burger patties, meatless lasagnas and eggplant parmesan to replace those beef-fueled nights.