Discover more from The Bittman Project
The Truth About Plant-Based Meat
The conversation about plant-based meat has been heating up lately, seemingly everywhere. Burgers that “bleed” like beef but are made mostly of plants are blowing up; you can get them at Burger King! And people ask me all the time about these products: how they affect animal welfare, the environment and our health. Over at Heated, we're publishing a number of stories that explore these questions about plant-based meat; we even collaborated on a webinar to see what some experts had to say. The five biggest takeaways from that webinar are below, as are two other pieces that I really think are worth a read. Some provide pretty definitive answers, others ask pretty thought-provoking questions, all will hopefully get you thinking.
You'll also notice towards the bottom of this newsletter that there's a recipe for Chana Chaat Burgers (made with chickpeas, potatoes, and Indian spices). That's because, in my humble opinion, the best plant-based alternative to meat is REGULAR PLANTS! Whole plant foods, not heavily processed or engineered in a lab. If you don't want to grill these burgers, you can just cook them on the stove in a skillet. They're tasty, and you don't have to go to Burger King to get them.
You have undoubtedly encountered the new wave of meat alternatives, whether online, on a plate, or both. As a result, people are asking questions about Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat, and related innovations: Are they good for you? Good for the environment? Overall, are they reliably better in important ways than the meats they might replace?
We’re inundated with talk of plant-based meat, so we’ve teamed up with the True Health Initiative to suss out what we know and, as important, what we don’t regarding how products from Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat influence animal welfare, the environment, and our health.
There’s no shortage of talk about meat alternatives, from plant-based and cultured proteins to those derived from kelp or mycelium. But in an effort to rethink protein, we’ve ignored the most elegant solution — committing ourselves to better ways of raising animals for meat.
I love the flavors in aloo chana chaat, the saucy Indian appetizer of potatoes and chickpeas, and they happen to make a wonderful burger, too. No need for a bun; serve these with your favorite chutney. These can be a bit crumbly, so if you have a perforated grill pan, use it. Otherwise, just handle them gently. Look for chaat masala in Indian markets; its somewhat tangy taste is distinctive. If you can only find garam masala, go for it: You’ll still be happy.
Talk To Me, Goose!
Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.