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Vegetarian Substitutes for Pork

Fitday Editor
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Although pork is an abundant source of protein, health experts note that you should try to use pork alternatives and have a varied diet. Finding substitutes for pork is not exactly that hard. There are many vegetarian substitutes in the market that you can choose from.


Tofu may be used as a pork substitute. Although at times it can taste like chicken, tofu in general adapts well to any type of flavor. In fact, tofu's bland nature makes it a popular choice. Because of its neutral and highly adaptable taste, tofu can be used in almost any type of dish. This versatile food can be baked, fried and even used with sauces.

Tofu Options: There are many tofu options in the market. Some are made to serve as pork substitutes. These include: soy protein isolates, mixed tofu and wheat gluten. Usually, these products are processed to imitate meat as closely as possible.

Textured Soy Protein

Textured Soy Protein (TSP) is the component used to manufacture many vegetarian meat substitutes such as veggie burgers. TSP or soy crumbles often come in ground-like meat form. They are perfect substitutes for ground pork. Since they also have the same dark meaty color, there won't be so much of a difference with the appearance of the dish. There are many seasoned TSP varieties available, so it won't be hard finding the right TSP for a certain recipe. There are even versions that are more ideally suited for spaghetti dishes or tacos. Other ways that TSP can be used as meat products include cabbage rolls and hamburgers. Constantly, producers of TSP update their offerings so it might be a good idea to regularly check the market.


Tempeh is considered as perhaps the best substitute for pork. It has a reliable dry texture along with a tangy flavor. Tempeh is made from a combination of beans and grains or fermented soybeans. Since it is a frozen good, it's important that it is cooked thoroughly prior to consumption. Just like pork, it can be barbecued and works well with other stir fry dishes. When marinated and fried, Tempeh cutlets can really pass for a main course. Some recipes where Tempeh can be used include:

  • Kabobs
  • Chinese food
  • Cutlets

Just like other pork substitutes, Tempeh is also available in seasoned varieties. Depending on the recipe, the kind of seasoned Tempher to choose also varies. Tempeh alternatives include wheat gluten or seitan. These varieties are good for sandwiches.


Beans may serve as substitutes depending on the kind of dish you are making. Chili is one great example. Beans go well with many chili recipes and you may not actually mind having them in the dish instead of pork. Beans may also be used as substitutes for pork in different types of sauces.

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