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6 Easy Substitutes for Ground Beef: Revamp the Recipes

Let’s be honest, ground beef has been holding a monopoly over our meal plans for far too long. We love a good burger or taco, but sometimes it’s fun to shake things up.

And let’s not even get started on the panic of realizing we forgot to thaw the beef in the freezer. We’ve all been there, right?

So, we decided to put together a list of alternatives that are tasty, versatile, and way easier on the wallet.

From veggies to other proteins, there’s plenty to experiment with. Ready for some fresh ideas? Let’s check out these ground beef substitutes!

6 Easy Substitutes for Ground Beef

For those of us who enjoy meatless meals or want to try something new, these ground beef alternatives are perfect for revamping your go-to recipes.

1 – Lentils

First, lentils are super versatile and cheaper than ground beef. They soak up flavors like a sponge, making your dishes even more tasty. You can swap them in a 1:1 ratio for ground beef.

Need dinner fast? Lentils cook in just 20 minutes. We love them in tacos, pasta, or sloppy joes.

They’re great for meal prep, too. Make a big batch and use it throughout the week.

Lentils give a great texture. They’re firm, not mushy. Check out these other lentil substitutes if you’re curious.

Overall, a must-try ground beef alternative!

2 – Mushrooms

Next up, mushrooms. These fun guys (pun intended) bring an earthy flavor to your dishes that’s hard to beat. Mushrooms work wonders as a ground beef swap in a 1:1 ratio. They’re excellent for soaking up sauces and add a nice meaty texture.

We’ve tossed them in everything, from pasta to burgers. The best part? They cook quickly, making them perfect for speedy dinners. Chop them finely or pulse them in a food processor for the best texture.

Personal fave here: Mushroom Bolognese. It’s rich, hearty, and totally satisfies those beef cravings.

3 – Tofu

Tofu: the chameleon of the food world. It’s versatile, affordable, and packed with flavor when done right. Substitute it 1:1 for ground beef and watch the magic unfold.

We scramble it, marinate it, or toss it straight into the pan. It soaks up all your favourite sauces. Stir-fry? Easy. Tofu tacos? Delicious.

We love tofu for its texture. Firm tofu is a solid choice for those hearty cravings. Pan-fry it for extra crunch.

Want to know more? Check out these tofu alternatives for even more ideas!

4 – Turkey or Chicken

Switching to ground turkey or chicken is a breeze. They substitute ground beef 1:1, making them ideal for any dish. We like using turkey for meatloaf and chicken in tacos.

Turkey has a milder flavor, letting spices shine. Chicken, on the other hand, stays juicy and tender. Both options reduce red meat intake while still delivering satisfaction.

We’ve tossed turkey into spaghetti sauce and burgers. It’s leaner but still hearty. Chicken’s great for chili or stir-fry. Both cook quickly, perfect for weeknight dinners. Swap ’em in and see the difference yourself!

5 – Tempeh

“Tempeh”: It’s like tofu’s cool, older sibling. This fermented soy product is packed with rich, nutty flavors that elevate any dish. We love using tempeh as a 1:1 substitute for ground beef. It crumbles beautifully and soaks up all the spices.

We’ve thrown tempeh in tacos, stir-fries, and pasta sauces. Each time, it’s been a win. The texture is satisfying, firm, and meaty. Slice it, cube it, or crumble it—no matter how you prep it, tempeh delivers. Cooking tip: Steam it first to reduce any bitterness and enhance the flavor.

Ready to swap out ground beef? Give tempeh a shot. Interested in other options? Check out these tempeh substitutes for more ideas.

6 – Cauliflower

Last, we’ve got cauliflower. This veggie’s more than just a side dish. Swap it 1:1 for ground beef. It’s versatile and absorbs flavors well.

We’ve made everything from cauliflower tacos to pizza crusts. The texture? Surprisingly hearty and filling. Chop, rice, or mash it for different dishes.

We love it in stir-fries and meatballs. It’s great for low-carb diets. If curious, check out these tasty cauliflower substitutes.

Less calories, same satisfaction. Cauliflower’s a must-try for fresh, healthy meals.