There are many delicious vegan meat substitutes that even your meat-loving friends will enjoy! Some of my favorites include: Beyond Meat, the Field Roast line of products, and more traditional substitutes like tofu and tempeh.
Beyond Meat has a texture that most closely resembles real meat, without the saturated fat or animal cruelty. Their products are 100% plant-based and include The Beast Burger (my personal favorite), Beyond Chicken Strips, Beyond Beef meatballs, and Beyond Chicken Tenders (move over, MickeyD's!). The amount of protein in their products rivals the real thing (the Beast Burger weighs in at a hefty 23 grams!) and comes primarily from pea protein. I've found Beyond Meat products in both the frozen section and in the refrigerated produce area at my local Whole Foods.
Field Roast has a great line of delicious vegan meats, too. Every year when the holiday season rolls around, I head to my nearest Whole Foods and purchase a Field Roast Celebration Roast. It's a succulent grain-meat roast that's stuffed with with a tasty sausage-style stuffing that includes mushrooms, butternut squash, Granny Smith apples, thyme, and sage (my mouth is watering as I write this!). Field Roast makes a bevy of different products, from sausage to burgers to deli slices and frankfurters. Meat aside, I recently discovered the Field Roast brand of vegan cheese called "Chao Slices". They are absolutely delicious, a far cry from the fake rubbery "cheez" of old.
Often misunderstood, tofu and tempeh are the two trusty old staples of the traditional vegan diet. However, you have to know how to cook them properly, otherwise you might be very unhappy with the results. So many times, an inexperienced wanna-be vegan has gone to the store, bought a box of tofu, came home and chopped it up and tossed it into the frying pan, expecting a great-tasting meal. From experience, I can tell you that that meal is very flavorless and disappointing.
If you're going to cook tofu, I highly recommend finding a good vegan cookbook or blog to guide you through the process. The texture of cooked tofu is best when the tofu has been pressed prior to cooking to remove excess moisture. Even better, I suggest going to a Thai or Asian restaurant that knows their stuff; if their tofu has a crispy, light-brown skin and a delightfully chewy texture, you've found the right place.
Tempeh is like tofu's unrefined cousin; it consists of soy beans that have been fermented with a tempeh starter for a period of 24-48 hours. Homemade tempeh has a wonderfully nutty flavor and is significantly better than the bland store-bought variety; however, making your own tempeh can be a time-consuming project to undertake. With tempeh, I highly recommend steaming it first before placing it in a marinade, otherwise it won't absorb the flavors properly. As with tofu, I also recommend finding a great vegan cookbook or food blog for tips and tricks when cooking it.
As shown here, there are many delicious vegan meat substitutes that will fool your carnivore friends into thinking they're eating the real thing. However, I recommend that you don't tell them that it's vegan until after they have happily consumed it and told you how great it was!