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Like all cows used for their flesh, those raised for Wagyu beef are regarded by the beef industry as objects, not individuals. Workers send Wagyu cows to the same slaughterhouses that kill other cows, hang them up by one leg, and cut their throats before skinning and gutting them—sometimes while they’re still conscious.
Cows are gentle, curious, playful individuals who have complex relationships and experience emotions, just as humans do. They don’t want to die, whether it’s for a cheap fast-food burger or a Wagyu steak.
Recognizing the issues with animal-derived products, some vegan brands and restaurants now offer ethical versions of Wagyu beef—made with plants, not cow flesh.
Vegan Wagyu Brands
Waygu “beef” is a tender, flavorful vegan option made from soy protein. Since its launch in 2019, it has received high praise from Japanese chefs, and it’s now available in grocery stores and sushi chains in the U.S. Waygu comes in Sukiyaki-style thin strips and Yakiniku-style thick strips, which can be used in a variety of culinary applications, including sushi rolls, pizza, noodle stir-fries, and sandwiches. They’re available in Teriyaki, Korean BBQ, and Plain flavors, and the thin strips are also available in an Umami flavor.
Next Meats has a variety of succulent vegan meat options, including Next Wagyu, a savory soy-based protein option with hints of garlic, soy sauce, onion, and chili. It’s perfect for traditional Japanese dishes, and it can be marinated and used in tacos, “beef” stroganoff, and many other dishes.
Vegan Wagyu for Dining Out
Eggplant and mushrooms are versatile ingredients, and the vegan sushi restaurant Shojin knows just how to infuse them with rich umami flavor. Its “Wagyu” nigiri is sure to impress anyone.
Vegan Wagyu Recipes
Sauce Stache’s Vegan Wagyu Steak
YouTuber Sauce Stache is known for stunning vegan meat recipes using techniques derived from molecular gastronomy, and this vegan Wagyu steak has to be one of his best creations. The recipe recreates Wagyu’s marbled effect by layering seitan with a coconut oil mixture.
Sauce Stache’s A5 Tofu Wagyu
Sauce Stache also created a tofu-based version of vegan Wagyu. Prepare it for your friends and family and you’ll be the talk of the town.
Okonomi Kitchen’s Wagyumelon Katsu
You may have heard of watermelon steak, but what about watermelon Wagyu? Okonomi Kitchen’s recipe uses salted, marinated watermelon to make a delicious vegan katsu.
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