Home Lifestyle Plant-based diaries: It doesn’t always have to be about meaty business

Plant-based diaries: It doesn’t always have to be about meaty business

Exploring meat alternatives with newly plant-based meat-lover Dané Vermeulen


After a month and a half of plant-based meals, I have realised that it is much easier than I thought it would be. But there are some days when I long for that typical meaty meal. A meal that would just not be the same without that meaty component. Luckily, I have found a solution.

Yes, I am talking about meat-free products: those meat alternative products that look and taste like meat but in fact it is made entirely out of plant-based products.

Now I know what you are thinking, meat is meat, and nothing will ever be able to replace it, and you are right. The first time I cooked a meat-free patty I kept thinking “this will be a disappointment”. But as I have mentioned before, the secret is in the flavour.

Read: This is the vegan flavour bomb your body is craving

As I took my first bite into my meatless, dairy-free burger I was surprised at how much it tasted like the real deal. I was also surprised at how satisfying and light the meal was. All it takes is an open mind and a sense of adventure to start your journey toward a healthier diet and there is a range of products to help you do so.

From patties to braai-style sausages, from chicken nuggets to pied sausage rolls (I’m a sucker for a pie so I loved not having to give that up as well), everything you need to satisfy the memories of an animal protein-filled diet.

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I was also surprised at how accessible and easily available these products were. I never noticed that they were right under my nose in my favourite grocery store. All I had to do was look for it. So next time you are in your local store, look up the vegan and plant-based products and choose a meat alternative to be a little more adventurous, while making the healthier choice.

The Imposter Burger (serves 4)


4 vegan burger buns
4 vegan burger patties (choose any vegan patty you like)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 small bag of rocket
1 small onion
100 ml balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic reduction
2 large gherkins
1 avo
1 cup vegan mayo
2 tablespoons sriracha (or any other chili component)
Olive oil
10 peppadews (diced)
1 clove of garlic (diced)
some fresh lemon juice


Tomato relish:

  1. In a small pan, brown the onions and garlic in some olive oil.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes and stir regularly for about 5 minutes on high heat.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and turn the heat down to medium.
  4. Let this simmer until most of the moisture has cooked down and add the balsamic reduction with some salt and pepper.
  5. Turn the heat off and leave the pan to simmer.

Chili mayo:

  1. In a small bowl, add the mayo, sriracha and peppadews and mix well. Add a little salt and pepper with a dash of fresh lemon juice to taste.


  1. Fry the patties from frozen in a pan with some olive oil until a crispy layer is formed on each side.

The burger:

1. Cut the burger bun in half and grill the inside of the bun in the oven until golden.

  1. Coat the inside of each half with the chili mayo sauce. Start assembling your burger by first placing a layer of rocket, then your slices of gherkins, your patty, the relish, slices of avo and some salt and pepper.
  2. Serve your burger with some potato fries, wedges or sweet potato fries and use your leftover chili mayo as a dipping sauce.
  3. The burger is also great on its own, so you can easily ditch the fries and save yourself sometime in the kitchen.

Read: Plant-based diaries: Weeknight meals on a dime

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Dané Vermeulen
Dané Vermeulen
Dané Vermeulen is a food enthusiast with a strong belief in using fresh produce when cooking. She combines her love for food and photography to share her passions with the world. Her thirst for knowledge keeps her on the top of her game and ready to jump into any conversation, no matter the topic. She has a BSc degree in Biodiversity and Ecology from the University of Stellenbosch and she is a freelance writer for Food For Mzansi.


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