Consider This Before Seasoning Plant-Based Meat

For vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians alike, new-age plant-based beef products offer options that, unlike traditional veggie or tofu patties, actually work as alternatives in recipes for meat-less meatballs, meatloaf, cheeseburgers, and more. Leading brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods revolutionized the food world by developing plant-based products that mimic the smell, taste, texture, and experience of eating meat — right down to the red and juicy center. They're so good that even meat eaters enjoy them, a demographic that Market Watch says made up 95% of consumers who ordered them in 2019 alone. 

Whether you've given up animal products entirely, sworn off red meat, want a solid alternative to help reduce the environmental impact of your diet, or simply want to reap the personal benefits, plant-based beef products are a reliable and delicious substitution in your go-to recipes. But, before you start seasoning it like regular meat, you should know that it's not a 1:1 ratio.

Go easy on the salt

Nutritionally, plant-based beef is comparable to the traditional kind, containing roughly 20 grams of protein, between 16 to 25% of available iron, and various added micronutrients depending on the plant-based meat brand, in fewer calories and saturated fats (via Fueled By Science). But the one outlier lies in plant-based beef's sodium content, which comes out to around 370 mg compared to the 80 mg found in regular meat. While it's still significantly lower than the recommended daily intake, it does mean that you should chill out on the amount of salt you add when using plant-based beef as a substitute.  

According to America's Test Kitchen, it's estimated that you should use about a quarter of a teaspoon less salt when you cook with plant-based beef than when you cook with regular beef. To do this, they recommend cutting out the amount of salty ingredients you add, such as salted butter and cheese. Instead, you can opt for other, less-salty flavor boosters like soy sauce, nutritional yeast, or tomato paste.

In the case of burgers, hold out on the salt until after you've cooked your patty to reduce the amount of steam it gives off. When it's done cooking, add just a pinch while you assemble the rest of your plant-based creation.