Maybe you’ve been following the dramatic Beyond Meat IPO (stock soared after the company went public last month before falling 25 percent yesterday after it was downgraded). Or maybe you were excited to see the plant-based meat company announce a new, “meatier” burger yesterday—marbling included! Either way, you’ve no doubt heard about the rise of meatless meat, “burgers that bleed” and all (thanks to the addition of beet juice that seeps out when cooked). Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are the two big players, vying for spots in fast food chains and supermarkets, but the category is growing fast as it becomes more mainstream and meat alternatives see an increasing demand.

Meatless "meat" is fine, but at Milk Street we suggest an old-school approach—checking out the naturally meat-free but still boldly flavored foods of North Africa and the Middle East. There’s no need for imitation anything with recipes like Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)—the ultimate comfort food, in our opinion.

At Milk Street, these kinds of vegetarian recipes, many inspired by our travels, are always on the menu. So while the plant-based “meat” companies duke it out, we suggest you try these 8 recipes instead.

Pita and Chickpea Salad with Yogurt and Mint (Fatteh)

Often eaten for breakfast in the Levant, we find this makes a great lunch or dinner, too. Though it’s traditionally made with stale pita, we use toasted fresh pita broken into pieces and topped with warm chickpeas. Yogurt spiked with garlic, tahini and lemon ties everything together.

Bulgur-Tomato Pilaf with Herbs and Pomegranate Molasses (Eetch)

This Armenian bulgur salad is heartier and more substantial than tabbouleh. To make it a full meal, add blanched green beans and crumbled feta cheese, then top with fried eggs.

Spicy Egyptian Eggplant with Fresh Herbs

This oven-friendly version of a dish typically deep-fried by street vendors in Cairo is great served warm or at room temperature, making it a great one to serve at summer gatherings.

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Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions (Mujaddara)

Another dish served hot, warm or at room temperature, this is our version of the ultimate comfort food, found in Beirut. Lentils and rice cook in the same pot, making it as easy as it is satisfying.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Lemon

Here, coating the cauliflower with a little cornstarch mixed with oil, tomato paste and tahini helps the florets develop crisp, nicely browned exteriors. A little hot sauce in the coating adds some piquancy.

Turkish Poached Eggs with Garlicky Yogurt (Çilbir)

This classic Turkish dish nestles runny-yolked poached eggs in a creamy, garlic-spiked yogurt, then finishes the dish with a spice-infused butter.

Palestinian Crispy Herb Omelet

Middle Eastern ijee inspired this herb-packed, crisp-crusted omelet. Most of the work is in the herb prep; once you’re at the stove, the cooking is done in a matter of minutes.

Grilled Eggplant with Sesame and Herbs

Here, high heat transforms simple eggplant. We like serving it in the charred skins, but the cooked flesh also can be scooped into a bowl, mashed and mixed with the herb mixture, then finished with olive oil and lemon juice.

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