The top 10 mock meat dishes in Toronto
It would be an understatement to say that mock meat is not the most appetizing of foods around which to build a tasty dish. Both meat eaters and vegetarians alike are usually not enamored with the idea of eating fake bacon or something made out of soy that is shaped like a lamb chop. Nevertheless, there's a whole industry built around creating and marketing such cuisine and mock meat is ever-present on the menus of most of Toronto's vegetarian eateries. Alas, I have come to accept it, and in some cases, appreciate and devour it.
Here are 10 of my favourite mock meat dishes that can be found around Toronto.
The Crusted Chicken at Grasslands
This new vegan paradise (formerly Fressen) distinguishes itself from other restaurants of its kind, steering away from quinoa bowls and kale salad and toward more innovative dairy and meat free mains. Composed of a wheat gluten called seitan, The Crusted Chicken ($18) is dusted in turmeric scented rice batter and served with braised vegetables, thyme roasted potatoes and garlic asparagus. Who says a vegan meal can't be exceptionally hearty?
The Pad Thai at Loving Hut
With a name that accurately reflects its hippie vibes, Loving Hut's Pad Thai is all about plant love (that's right, no prawns or chicken here). For $11.45, you get a heaping plate of flat rice noodles, mock prawns and chicken (soy protein that tastes and looks scarily like the meat it so successfully replicates), an assortment of veggies and fresh herbs. This organic, meatless dish could seriously feed about two and a half people.
The Unchicken & Waffles at Hogtown Vegan
For all those vegan/vegetarian chicken & waffle lovers still mourning the loss of not being able to enjoy this legendary pairing, Hogtown Vegan has answered your prayers. In the restaurant's self-declared signature dish ($13), unchicken (soy protein) cutlets are breaded and lightly fried and served atop a freshly made corn waffle. Spiced syrup, collard greens and sweet potato mash accompany this Southern favorite that has so lovingly been adopted into something less calorific. Also noteworthy is Hogtown Vegan's Phish 'N Chips dish.
The B.L.T. at Live Organic Food Bar
An excellent lunch option, the B.L.T salad ($15) from Live Organic Food Bar is made with coconut bacon, greens, marinated tomatoes, spicy mayo, and served with fennel slaw and veggie chips. Ingredients are generally local and organic (and always look pretty). Though steeper prices may dissuade some diners from sampling Live's offerings, the delicious protein-packed bowls and plant-based dishes leave you feeling sated and promising yourself that you'll lead a healthier lifestyle from hereon out. Don't feel bad if that doesn't usually pan out.
The Eggplant Meatball Sandwich at The Slow Room
Here we have mock meat in the form of a recognizable and respectable vegetable - the eggplant! The Slow Room, a College and Dovercourt cafe specializing in locally sourced food and drink, presents us with The Eggplant Meatball Sandwich ($4 for half, $6.75 for full). Ground eggplant is seasoned and shaped into balls before being mixed with eggs and breadcrumbs. The meatless meatballs are then braised in a sauce of basil and tomato before being sandwiched between a fresh ciabatta bun. This tasty 'wich is packed full of Italian flavour without being too heavy.
The Eco Taco at Feel Good Guru
Partake in the Toronto taco craze with this healthful Eco Taco ($12) from Feel Good Guru. Spiced nutmeat, shredded carrots and beets, julienned sweet peppers, guacamole and pico de gallo are lovingly stuffed into a red cabbage leaf and topped with cashew jalapeno sauce. All the elements of a classic taco are present, so don't be afraid to knock back a mojito or two in the true spirit of Tex-Mex dining. See also: The vegan tacos at Hot Beans
Teriyaki Tempeh Sandwich at Urban Herbivore
With three Toronto locations, it's clear that Urban Herbivore's meatless meals are catching on. Their Teriyaki Tempeh sandwich comes with organic tempeh slices marinated in house-made teriyaki sauce, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, red leaf lettuce and lemon tahini dressing between your choice of either olive ciabatta or focaccia bread. Tempeh, a fermented soy product similar to tofu, is packed full of protein and fiber. This sandwich is a sure way to stay full throughout the afternoon.
Protein Marinara at Green Earth
Green Earth (serving Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Vietnamese inspired dishes) sneakily refers to their mock meat as chik'un, which actually tastes like chicken despite being completely meatless. The Protein Marinara consists of grilled chik'un (tender soy protein) drenched in fresh marinara sauce and is served with a side of seasonal vegetables. This is a nice homey dish that could easily pass as a dinner entree.
Satay Veggie Beef Noodles at Cafe 668
Now before you discard this dish for including the term beef, know that crispy fried rice noodles are also a main feature. Slices of veggie beef (actually made from wheat gluten), baby corn, nappa cabbage, carrots and celery are stir fried in satay sauce and served atop a generous mound of the aforementioned noodles ($11.99). Disclaimer: this dish is deliciously spicy.
Vegan Rib-Wich at Disgraceland
Disgraceland serves up mean vegan food that is anything but dainty. Case in point, their Vegan Rib-Wich ($11). That's right, Disgraceland has conquered the meatiest of meats and turned them meatless. Served on a Kaiser with creamy slaw and avocado, these ribs are as saucy and smoky as the real deal. The Vegan Rib-Wich is innovative bar food at its finest.
What did I miss? Add your favourite mock meat dishes to the comments below.
Join the conversation Load comments