What Makes a Great Meatless Roast?

The flavor and aroma of a high quality meatless roast should have meaty bouillon and roasted notes. These profiles may also contain onion, garlic, seasoning (sage and thyme), rosemary, wild rice, celery, stuffing/grain, vinegar, and soy sauce notes. There may also be a black pepper note present within the flavor profile. The presence of these notes add to the overall quality, but they must remain in balance with no single note spiking or dominating the others.

The texture of the roast is also important. The overall texture should be at least moderately firm to have a “meat-like” texture. It should have a low/moderate springiness, a moderate chewiness, a moderate level of moistness, and a low/moderate richness. There may be a low/moderate level of crunchiness in the exterior, a very low level of crumbliness, and a low level of adhesion. The roast should not by dry.

The taste profile should lead with moderate saltiness and very low levels of sourness, sweetness, and bitterness. There may also be a moderate level of umami.

The interior of the roast should be moderately brown. It may also have some visible ingredient “bits,” a low level of air pockets, and some darkness of brown in the exterior.

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Tasting terms

  • appearance

    The visual quality of a food. Used to organize attributes such as color and consistency of size, it is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate food. The other dimensions are aroma, texture, flavor and taste. Example: The appearance of green olives includes attributes such as color (pale to dark) and consistency of size (inconsistent to consistent).

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • chew

    The texture of a food as it is being chewed, as opposed to the texture of the first bite. Example: High-quality beef jerky should be tender but have a long chew.