Which Vegan Meats Taste the Most Like the Real Thing?

On a March 2021 episode of Good Mythical Morning, Rhett & Link did a blind taste test to see if they could guess which real meat different vegan meats were aiming to replicate. It was St. Patrick’s Day, so there were also many Irish jigs involved and Chase was a leprechaun. It was pure (vegan) chaos.

Here are all the meats they tried in order of how much they liked them (and whether they were able to guess them correctly).

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Vegan Salami: Yves Veggie Cuisine Veggie Salami

Upon first trying this number one pick, Rhett said, “Hmmm, that one’s got a very peppery flavor to it.” And Link emphatically said it was “not great but not bad!” The fact that salami has spices in it definitely helped a lot. Rhett correctly identified this as a salami substitute, while Link thought it was pepperoni, which is pretty similar really. Yves veggie salami was the only vegan meat they tried that wasn’t dark brown, so it looked a bit more realistic. And the taste wasn’t bad at all. Rhett said he’d even consider keeping this in his house for snacking.

Vegan Corned Beef: Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli Corn’d Beef

The first thing Rhett & Link pointed out about this corned beef substitute was its peppery, salty, and vinegary taste. Link detected another pepper flavor too—like a “pimento-y” pepper—but both thought it tasted pretty good! Link even actively liked this one. Plus, they both correctly guessed that it was corned beef, so that’s a good sign for the flavor. This faux meat comes in somewhat unappealing uniform brown rectangles, so it definitely tasted better than it looked.

Vegan Bologna: Lightlife Smart Deli Bologna

This veggie bologna from Lightlife tasted better than the Simple Truth “ham” (see below), but looked about the same. Rhett correctly guessed this was bologna, but Link couldn’t pull it off. Rhett’s mom made him bologna all the time growing up, so he was very familiar with the taste and texture and pointed out that bologna is the “perfect thing to imitate” because it is already so processed. Rhett concluded that this was not as good as the real thing, but said, “I think it’d fool me.”

Vegan Ham: Simple Truth Black Forest Ham Style Deli Slices

R&L’s first observation: “It tastes not so much like meat.” Not a great sign. They also found with this one that the more you chew, the nastier it gets. But the initial feeling of it “flapping on the tongue” felt like deli meat to Link. Rhett correctly guessed ham for this one, Link did not. Much like the bologna, it looked like a dark brown circle. Rhett detected a slight ham-like smokiness, like someone was making this based on what they think ham might taste like if they’d never had it.

Vegan Roast Beef: Tofurky Roast Beef Style Deli Slices

This one also looked like—say it with me—a dark brown circle. It also apparently had a dog food-like flavor, and Link would know—he’s consumed a lot more dog food than most people. Link didn’t like it, but Rhett did, although he also didn’t think it tasted like dog food. Once again, Rhett guessed this one right, and Link did not.

Vegan Pepperoni: Feed Your Head Vegan Pepperoni 

Rhett said that this one was “trying something real hard.” Link agreed and said, “Yeah, it’s like a very pungent jerky flavor.” That was a flavor both of them found odd. Link said he tasted “a little spice, a little sour,” as Rhett concluded, “I don’t believe I like it.” They did both guess this one correctly, not necessarily because the flavor was accurate, but because of the spice. Link tried it again unblindfolded and concluded that it’s not as bad when you know what to expect and can see it.

Vegan Turkey: Lightlife Smart Deli Turkey

“This one smells like dog food.” “This is awful.” “This is spongy.” “This is really bad.” “Why’s it so mushy?” These are just a few of the reactions Rhett & Link had to this vegan turkey from Lightlife. I don’t know, it sounds like they really loved it! Also, can you guess what it looked like? If you said a purple square, guess again, because the brown circle is back, baybee! Eventually, Rhett correctly identified which meat this was meant to mimic, making for a Queen Sweep. Nothing tastes better than victory.

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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