Vegan in Dubai: the growth of meat substitutes

Chef Silvena Rowe talks plant-based alternatives

Vegan in Dubai: the growth of meat substitutes

Silvena Rowe, executive chef at Nassau Dubai, has a history with healthy vegan food. As a new columnist for Time Out Dubai's Vegetarian View, she talks us through how to replace meat in your diet Sales of vegan dubaimeat are booming.

Pretty much every kind of meat now has its own alter ego made from a particular plant protein –whether it’s rice and peas, mycoprotein (which is derived from fungi) or something else made from plant-based ingredients.

The flavour of these ‘meats’ is improving all the time, with the latest vegan burgers even ‘bleeding’ as they’re cooked, mimicking real beef patties.

I’ve watched the growth in popularity of vegan meat with interest for many years as a chef cooking healthy food.

For people who are trying to reduce their intake of meat, these meat-free alternatives can be a great option, but it’s important to note that vegan meat isn’t necessarily healthy just because it’s plant-based.

For a while now, I’ve seen a growing trend towards natural and organic produce. People care more and more about what they put into their bodies and how it affects their physical and mental health.

And that’s a great thing. In all my restaurants I source locally as much as possible and everything is cooked using only the freshest ingredients.

The rise in popularity of vegan meat seems to complement this trend towards natural food and healthy eating.

However, if you want to be healthy as well as plant-based, watch which products you use as some of these meat-free alternatives actually contain just as much sugar and fat as their meat counterparts.

As a way to convert carnivores, vegan meat is a revelation. But if your goal is to eat healthily, just make sure you don’t rely on substitutes in every meal.

That’s why I make my own healthy food at home. That way, you know exactly what is going into your food. It doesn’t need to be difficult and it will taste so much better. If you’re finding more time on your hands at home now, why not give it a go?

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