7 Affordable Alternatives to Processed Meats

It's no secret that processed meats aren't great for you. A frightening medical study even correlates them to an increased risk of colorectal cancer and the World Health Organization just rated processed meats as a Group 1 Carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance. Alas meat-lovers, not all is lost. Read on for our roundup of tasty, affordable alternatives to processed meats. You just might discover a new lunchtime favorite.

1. Cauliflower Steaks

Give the modest cauliflower a chance to shine. Slice a whole head of cauliflower, from florets to stem, into flat sections about a half an inch thick. The surfaces of each "steak" caramelize when you roast them in a pan, creating a more healthful, vegetarian version of a steak dinner. Added bonus? At an average price of $1.23 per pound, a head of cauliflower is far more economical than any cut of steak. Flavor to taste with a delicious vegetable gravy of your choice.

2. Brussels Sprouts Sliders

Imagine a confit of caramelized onions, tangy mustard, and savory tempeh sandwiched between two crunchy Brussels sprouts "buns." This creative and nutritious take on ballpark food will leave you feeling sinless. Note: Most hamburger meat is not processed. But if you want to be 100% certain, these vegan-friendly sliders are a sure bet. Not to mention, they're easy on the wallet.

3. Baconnaise

Three cheers for bacon-flavored mayonnaise! Believe it or not, this tasty concoction is vegetarian and kosher. Baconnaise is the smooth and slightly smoky creation of J&D's Foods. The company recommends slathering it on sandwich breads, adding a dollop to your salads, or spreading it over your favorite fish.

4. DIY Roast Beef

Unlike most cold cuts, a home-cooked roast beef isn't processed. And, when cooked right, it can be a juicy substitute to any of the tired lunch meats. Simply chill, slice, and serve on your favorite sandwich bread. (Note that the WHO also added red meat to its list of Group 2 carcinogens.)

5. Egg Salad

There's something homey and downright comforting about an egg salad sandwich. High in protein, the basic egg salad goes something like this: chopped up hard-boiled eggs, onion, and celery mashed together with mayonnaise. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Add some extra pizzazz with mustard, hot sauce, green onion, cilantro, or curry.

6. Marmite

Quite frankly, you'll either love or hate the flavor of this British sandwich spread. For those who haven't been privileged enough to try, Marmite's major ingredients include yeast extract, salt, vegetable extract, niacin, thiamine, spice extracts, riboflavin, folic acid, and celery extract — though the full recipe is a trade secret. At any rate, Marmite is vegetarian and packed with vitamins, and your very first jar will only set you back about $7.

7. Rotisserie Chicken

This delicious dinnertime entree is also great for making wraps, tacos, quesadillas, stir fry, flatbread, chicken salad, and so much more. Whip it together with a hearty helping of Buffalo sauce. Add it to your favorite soup. Lunch opportunities galore.

What's your favorite alternative to processed meats?

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Processed meats aren't great for you, its no secret. That’s why we’ve come up with the list of tasty, affordable alternatives to processed meats. | #vegetarian #meatlessmonday #meatlessrecipes

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Guest's picture

I'm just a kid at heart. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches.