Why Are Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes Obsessed with Looking Like Meat-Based Meals?

Why do so many vegan or vegetarian recipes try to look like meat-based meals?

Here's a textbook example of what I mean, a vegan deviled eggs recipe. This recipe is totally vegan, with no animal products used at all, but it is designed to look exactly like a non-vegan food.

In other words, it's supposed to be a simulacrum of a food a vegan wouldn't eat.

Now, my goal isn't to criticize this person's recipe per se. [1] What I want to do is get at a more central problem endemic to vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Which is:

With so many great vegan and vegetarian recipes out there, what is the benefit of making facsimiles of the very foods you would never eat in the first place?

Remember, here at Casual Kitchen we are not vegan or vegetarian, but we often eat vegan or vegetarian meals, and we feature dozens and dozens of easy, healthy and laughably cheap vegan and vegetarian recipes here at this blog.

But imagine a rabid meat eater who didn't know any better. To her, it would seem as if vegan and vegetarian cooking has an insecurity complex. A form of penis envy even. It's as if vegan/vegetarian cooking somehow is all worried that it isn't "real" food, so in order to compensate, it has to somehow imitate or resemble non-vegetarian food.

And so, we are presented with processed pseudo-foods like tofu scramble, vegetarian hotdogs, or my personal favorite: tofurkey. It all suggests that unless a meal looks or seems like meat it can't be taken seriously as a meal.

We all know that this could not be further from the truth. Vegans and vegetarians have no reason to be insecure--much less have penis envy--about what and how they eat. So why the imitative food simulacra? Why so many processed pseudo-foods when there are so many amazing vegan and vegetarian recipes already out there?

Readers, what do you think?

READ NEXT: Casual Kitchen's Core Principles: #2: Embrace Low-Meat Cooking

[1] That said, I can't say I'm appetized by egg whites made of agar agar, which then require a dose of black pepper to mask the taste. This is pure pseudo-food.

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