Pork is the most eaten meat in the world (along with goat) and very popular in England. This site does not have a ‘them and us’ philosophy about vegans vs meat-eaters. But it’s true to say that most pork eaten in England comes from factory farms, and even for those who eat meat, if you want a free-range industry, then everyone has to eat a lot less meat as there’s not enough land (and that comes from meat-eating chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver). These vegan pulled pork burgers (Lazy Cat Kitchen) are made with Oyster mushrooms and liquid smoke.
These vegan pork meats taste, smell and look like real meat, so keep them away from pets, as many contain toxic ingredients like soy, mushrooms, garlic and onion. For bought items, recycle packaging with household waste or at supermarket bag recycling bins, and if ordering online, keep ice gel packs away from pets and children.
So whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, here are some plant-based alternatives to pork that you may like to try. Swapping pork for these versions most or all of the time can bring better animal welfare, lower cholesterol and it’s better for the planet too. There are always naysayers who say that we should not eat plant foods that taste like meat. But meat is what most people like the taste of, so here they are. What you eat is up to you.
Pork is simply the name of the meat that comes from domesticated pigs. Most pigs used for pork are killed between 6 months to 1 year old, and around 30% of pork is eaten fresh, with the rest cured or smoked to be used in sausages, ham, gammon, bacon or cooking lard. Most pork is cooked to high temperatures to destroy parasites that may live in the meat. Many religions (including Judaism and Islam) ban the eating of pork.
Pigs are amazing creatures. They are brilliant mothers who are very clean (walking up to a mile to go to the toilet away from their nests). They wallow in mud to keep cool (they have no sweat glands) and are as intelligent as a 4-year old child. As well as having 20 grunts and squeals to communicate with each other, the mother pigs sing to their piglets! In many countries, pigs are kept in factory farms, separated by metal grilles, so are unable to move or turn around, or nurse their piglets.
Make Your Own Vegan Pork
Vegan Roast Pork (Full of Plants) is a Vietnamese-inspired dish. It consists of two layers of vegan meat and coconut ‘fat’, and is topped with a crust made from bread.
Vegan Braised ‘Pork’ (Full of Plants) coats the roast pork in a peppered sweet salty sauce. This super-tender vegan pork is so meaty, you would never know it’s not vegan.
How to Make Vegan ‘Pulled Pork’ Sandwiches
Vegan Pulled Mushroom BBQ Sandwich (Crowded Kitchen) looks and tastes similar to meat, due to mushrooms which have a similar mouth-and-taste-feel. Perfect for a summer evening meal, this recipe could even convince a few carnivores! The recipe uses a mix of shiitake, button and portobello mushrooms, with caramelized onions thrown in too.
Where to Buy Vegan Pork
Richmond is a company that makes real pork sausages, but their vegan sausages have to be tasted, to be believed. Unlike some of the more gourmet companies, these are free from palm oil too. They have all the taste and smell and texture, and even a ‘sausage skin’. Just bake for 20 minutes in the oven. You’ll be converted! Sold in nearly all groceries and supermarkets.
Omnipork is an exciting new vegan pork mince developed in Canada, and made in Thailand. Made from peas, rice ,shiitake mushrooms and non-GM soy, it’s sold as pork mince or standard ‘pork’, and in strips for quick cooking. It’s massively popular worldwide, and even Chinese branches of McDonald’s now sell it (65% of all pork eaten worldwide is in China).
The product took years to perfect, and is mostly used in stir-fries (you can also use it for spaghetti bolognese, mince or ravioli). In mostly paper packaging, it has over 300% more calcium than real pork, zero cholesterol and uses almost 70% less water in production. It’s also high in iron, protein and fibre, but low in fat. It’s so popular in China that 85% of those surveyed, said they would change supermarkets if others sold the brand.
It releases oil in the pan and is a bit like luncheon meat.It’s not canned so has to be kept frozen to keep its shape. And unlike most canned luncheon meats that add nitrates to preserve, this does not have the cancer risks. Muslims and Jews can also happily it, without conflicting with religious beliefs. It’s free from broad beans (so people with g6pd can consume it) and because Chinese Buddhists don’t eat garlic or onions, it’s free from those. Also good for people who must avoid purine-rich organ meats, such as people with gout.
Introducing the Vegan Vork Pie!
Pork pies are one of Britain’s most popular snacks. You can buy veggie versions in health shops, but most contain palm oil. It sounds quite a disgusting invention, if you think about it: chopped pork and fat, surrounded by jellied pork stock in a crust. Most people eat it alone, or with ketchup and pickle.
The good news is that the Vork Pie has been invented! Made by artisans and free from palm oil, this award-winning pie comes in several flavours, and can be found in shops or delivered to your door. The pie is even wrapped in compostable packaging. Made on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border, flavours include:
- The Original
- Maple Glazed
- Tamarind Sweet Potato
- The Smoked Beetroot
- Moroccan Inspired Butternut Squash
- The Piri Piri
- The Stoutly
The pies freeze well for up to 3 months, so you can order in bulk. Just defrost thoroughly then heat as per instructions, and use within 2 days (the Scotch egg type snacks cannot be frozen). Pies delivered are good for around a week (vegan Scotch-eggs for 5 days).
Herby Hog’s Pork-Flavoured Seasoning
Herby Hog Food Company was founded during lockdown, and what a great idea it is. This is a range of seasonings to add sensational taste and flavour to your vegan meals. Just coat, rub, sprinkle or stir into your favourite foods. Created after months of experimenting in the kitchen, these are all made with natural ingredients, to liven up everyday favourite foods.
Pork Flavoured Seasoning (with recipe card) is ideal for BBQs. Smoky and sweet, use as a dry rub or making pulled ‘shroom burgers. Or sprinkle or stir into your favourite foods. Has a subtle hint of heat.Also good stirred into dips, shaken over veggie kebab salads or corn on the cob.
Plant-Based Porkless Scratchings!
Pork scratchings are a very popular snack in pubs, but they are horrible things, made by frying pork skin taken from the top of a pig’s hind leg. If you enjoy them, then did you know you can find plant-based versions? Avoid for children and swallowing difficulties as they could be a choking hazard.
- Vegan Pig is an up-and-coming brand. Successfully crowdfunded, COVID has delayed the launch, but they should be good to go now. Made from flash-fried soy and a unique ‘absolutely pigless’ spice mix, they are sold in sea salt or spiced flavour. Pubs can set up a crisp packet recycling program – raise money for the community at the same time.
- Sunshine Deli Pork Scratchings are made in Sheffield. This deli has been producing plant-based deli delights for years in Yorkshire. The best of British – but vegan! Enjoy the sea salt original or spicy American flavours.
- Just for interest, the USA’s Pig Out Pigless Pork Rinds are a popular snack, created by a chef. Apparently the favourite snack of Snoop Dog. Chef Dave says they are almost identical, the only difference that they’re baked (not fried), don’t contain collagen (less ‘sticky mouthfeel) and you won’t get hairs stuck in your teeth!