The One Plant-Based Steak J. Kenji López-Alt Actually Recommends

It wasn't too far in the past when those who chose to adopt the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle would have had to say goodbye to steak forever. But here we are. 

In a July Instagram video, noted food writer J. Kenji López-Alt, who has said he "limits [his] meat consumption, especially red meat, for a variety of reasons," via Joro, is seen cutting into a piece of filet mignon — except it isn't. López-Alt captions his post: "Plant-based steak from @juicymarbles. They say it's meant to be like filet, but the texture is much more similar to something like corned beef (not dry, but more shreddy than juicy). It sears similarly to an actual steak and gets a nice brown crust."

He adds: "If you want to keep a plant based diet but still looking for something that will satisfy a meat craving, this is the closest thing to a steak I've seen in a commercially available product yet. It won't fool you, but it might scratch that itch and it's definitely moving plant-based meats in the right direction."

López-Alt isn't the only writer who's tried Juicy Marbles' plant-based filet mignon and felt inspired to talk about it. Men's Health food and nutrition editor Paul Kita also tackled a pack of Juicy Marbles and prepared it the way he would a piece of regular filet mignon. While he noted that "the steak looked the part," Kita also compared the steak's texture to dried brisket.

The plant-based meat recreates the look and feel of filet mignon

The latest plant-based meat to hit the market, sold by Juicy Marbles, is made with ingredients that include soy protein concentrate, wheat protein concentrate, sunflower oil, and beetroot powder, per Men's Health. One piece of filet mignon packs 180 calories, 28 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, as well as 8 grams of fat.

Still, chef J. Kenji López-Alt doesn't seem too keen on the idea of enjoying the Juicy Marble as a filet mignon again. As he says, per Instagram: "The flavor is not very beefy but has a similar sort of generic meat smell to Beyond Meats, if you're familiar with those. I have a few more of them left so maybe I'll try something that is better suited to this texture and adds a little more flavor. Shredded or diced and used in something like tacos perhaps."

His social media comments resonated with followers who appeared to be at least interested in a plant-based diet. One said: "I really appreciate that you're not snobby about mock meats unlike some celebrity chefs! I'll check this out." Others saw the post as an opportunity to discuss the merits of consuming meat alternatives, as opposed to eating the real thing. And for the latter, the jury not just on Juicy Marbles, but on giving up meat altogether, is still out.