Looking for an alternative to Ground Beef using real whole food ingredients? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple plant based Ground Beef substitutes for omnivores.
NOTE: If you’re looking for vegetarian substitutes see this list.
Best Ground Beef Substitutes for Omnivores
1. Other Ground Red Meat
The closest substitutes are other forms of ground (minced) red meat like ground lamb, veal, buffalo, bison, venison or even ground kangaroo. Of course the flavour will be slightly different but usually that won’t be a problem.
The other thing to keep in mind is fat content. Lamb will be fattier than beef where as venison and kangaroo will be much leaner. So be prepared to drain off and discard excess fat if using lamb and add a little oil or butter to leaner ground meats.
2. Ground Pork or Sausages
I often substitute ground pork in recipes calling for ground beef for a change of flavour. Raw sausages can easily have the casings removed so the meat can be used like ground beef. Of course the seasoning in the sausages will be stronger so you won’t need to add as much salt.
3. Ground Chicken
Any ground white meat like chicken or turkey can be used instead of ground beef. You’ll just have a milder flavour which may be a good thing.
4. Make Your Own
If you have a sharp knife and some time you can finely dice chunks of beef to turn them into a home made version. The results will be chunkier than using a machine. The other option is to pulse meat in a food processor until it is finely diced.
Scrambled, poached, fried or boiled eggs can add protein as a surprising alternative to ground beef. If using eggs as a burger alternative go with fried eggs. OR for meatballs boiled eggs can work well.
6. Cottage Cheese
A bit of an ‘out there’ option that won’t work in all situations. Cottage cheese will be too crumbly to use in meatballs or burgers or meat loaf. But it will work well for dishes where the ground meat isn’t formed into shapes. Cottage cheese will have more liquid than ground beef so be prepared for a more soupy result.
7. Diced Steak
This is last on my list because it’s not my preferred option. Steak tends to be much more expensive than ground beef and also it will need longer cooking time to tenderise because it hasn’t had the muscle fibers broken down by the grinding process.
Best Ground Beef Substitutes for Vegetarians (Plant Based)
If you prefer a vegetarian diet, I’ve got you covered! See my favourite simple real food substitutes for ground beef.
More Ingredient Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Chilli Bean Sauce
- Collard Greens
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!