In today's post, guest blogger Julia Feliz Brueck gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of one of the most innovative vegan products to come out of Germany: pea meat!
I've been vegan since 2008 and have been traveling to Germany at least once a year for the last 12 years. These trips have allowed me to experience Germany with completely different sets of eyes.
In my mind, Germany has always been at the forefront of amazing vegan products. It's the country that made me realize that flavored tofu and tofu mixed with nuts were - and still are - a wonderful thing. Almond-sesame tofu is still a favorite of mine to this day.
Like in most countries, the types of vegan foods and vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants available in Germany has evolved. Just last year, I visited my first ever vegan fast food place in Karlsruhe. This year, I am hoping to try the local soft serve shop with vegan options in Cologne.
When I first started traveling to the area, options were few. The health food stores had wide selections and were always at the forefront of vegan foods, and they still remain my favorite places to get vegan staples.
However, vegans aren't limited to these types of shops anymore. Nowadays, it is very easy to find specialty vegan foods in restaurants as well as in major supermarkets. Some cities even have their own vegan only supermarkets called Veganz.
The Latest New Product from Vegan Germany
During my most recent few trips, I started to notice a new type of vegan meat alternative made from pea protein, which is easily available in some of the largest supermarkets.
Interestingly, just last month in the town where I live in Switzerland (about 3 hours from the German border), a pilot food production plant run by the local university hosted a demonstration showing just how pea protein meats are made.
I had a chance to see and try the "raw pea protein" before it was cooked and flavored. The "raw" taste was actually quite pleasant, though mild.
The texture was already kind of meaty, even in this state. It’s obvious why there is growing interest in pea protein as the new vegan meat that will inspire meat eaters to move towards a plant-based diet.
Protein is isolated from yellow sweet peas by first shelling the peas and then separating the protein from the starch and fiber of the pea.
Through a process called extrusion, the pea protein can then be texturized to simulate animal meat. Most promisingly, the end product used in pea-based meat alternatives has a very high protein content and covers 95% of amino acid needs in adults.
The cooked pea-based meats are flavored and cut into strips to mimic chicken or beef. You can buy different styles and flavors.
You can also flavor them even further if you like by adding your own herbs and spices, and they make a perfect addition to dishes that would call for these types of meats.
Given the pea meat’s specific look and texture (of which I will spare you the gory details!), I truly believe that a meat eater would not be able to tell the difference if used in the perfect traditional dish.
For me, this is a big benefit when trying to show non-vegans how easy it is to replace traditional dishes and make them plant based.
With its vegan supermarkets, my favorite brand of plant-based cheese, unforgettable tofu, and now these completely new meat alternatives to try, Germany is still one of my favorite countries in which to rediscover my own vegan diet after almost a decade.
I look forward to seeing what the next ten years will bring.
About the Author
Julia Feliz Brueck is the author and illustrator of the first ever vegan-themed board book for children under 4 years old, Libby Finds Vegan Sanctuary, which is based on the story of a real-life rescued turkey named Libby who now lives in a sanctuary. The book is now available on Amazon.