The 6 Best Substitutes For Ground Veal

Ground veal is a common ingredient used in a lot of different recipes, such as moussaka, meatballs, and lasagna. 

The veal meat is lean and full of flavor, so it’s a nice choice for anyone desiring a healthier replacement for pork or ground beef.

Despite its advantages, many people may not be able to obtain ground veal, or are unable to afford its higher cost.

The good news is that if this is the case, some ingredients work well as a ground veal substitute. 

The 6 Best Substitutes For Ground Veal

We’ll list the best ground veal substitutes below for you to use in your recipes. All of these alternatives will have a different type of taste and consistency.

You can experiment with them until you find the one that gives your dish the best flavor. 

We’ve also included more information about ground veal below, like where it comes from, why chefs love it, and some common ground veal dishes.

Keep reading to discover some of the best ground veal substitutes! 

More About Ground Veal

Ground veal is a beef variety that is sourced from calf meat, instead of mature, adult cattle meat. Ground veal is recognized for its delicate flavor, tender consistency, and low saturated fat percentages. 

As is the case with different veal cuts, ground veal meat is sourced solely from male calves that were bred on dairy farms.

Cuts from bigger veal guts are typically processed in a grinder and shaped into patties before wrapping, chilling, and transporting. 

As male dairy calves cannot produce milk or create more calves, they are usually appointed for veal butchering as an economic choice for dairy farmers.

General veal calves are around 16 weeks of age until this procedure occurs.

As is the case with other types of ground meat, minced veal batches may contain meat from different parts of the calf, like the short loins or flanks. 

A lot of chefs like using ground veal as it is a lean, low-fat meat that contains a lot of flavors. Some dishes may require veal to be treated with a kitchen mallet for tenderization, but this step is easy to overdo. 

Veal patties can usually be thinned out by hand, provided that they are of good quality and fully thawed. 

Some simple and popular ground veal dishes are veal meatloaf and veal meatballs. Several cooks choose to mix small quantities of veal with ground turkey or chicken.

This makes healthy, lower-fat meatballs that are still rich in flavor. 

Veal meatloaf is usually made by mixing ground beef with a big proportion of veal, along with seasonings before searing it in the oven. 

The 6 Best Ground Veal Substitutes

Now that you know some more about ground veal, here are some ingredients that can work well in its place. 

1. Ground Pork

Ground Pork

Ground pork is a ground meat variety made from pork. This tends to come from the pork belly or the pork shoulder, which are both fatty trimmings. 

Pork is thought to be the best veal substitute, as pork meat and veal taste very similar. Veal is more tender, but both types of meat are comparably juicy. 

Ground pork is used to make several recipes, like tacos, and burgers. It also works well as a substitute for ground veal dishes, like meatloaf, meatballs, and lasagna. 

If you do use ground pork in place of ground veal, keep in mind that pork is higher in fat compared to veal. You may need to change the amount of fat in your dish to compensate. 

For instance, if your recipe needs a pound and a half of ground veal, you may need to use just a pound of ground pork.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the cooking temperature and time, as pork cooks quicker compared to veal. 

2. Ground Lamb

Ground Lamb

Ground lamb is a ground meat variety sourced from the meat of young sheep, known as lamb.

This is generally bought in its ground version, meaning that it has been processed or delicately chopped into small components.

Ground lamb is a common ingredient in several recipes, like shepherd’s pies, meatballs, and burgers. You can use it as a ground veal alternative in a lot of different dishes.

Ground lamb tastes a little stronger compared to veal, so it’s advised to save it for stronger-tasting recipes, like stews and curries.

If you use ground lamb instead of veal, you’ll need to adapt the seasonings as you go 

For instance, as lamb has a distinct flavor, you might need to use more spices or herbs to counteract its stronger notes. 

If you do use ground lamb as a ground veal substitute, remember to ensure its internal temperature reaches a minimum of 160°F when cooking. This ensures that the meat is safe to eat.

3. Ground Chicken

Ground Chicken

Ground chicken is another type of ground meat sourced from chicken. This is generally made with dark chicken meat, like the thighs, which is then processed into little pieces.

Ground chicken works well as a ground veal substitute in a lot of recipes. You can use it in meatloaf, meatball, and burger recipes.

Ground chicken cooks quicker compared to ground veal, so ensure you change the cooking temperature and time to compensate. You may also find that you’ll need more seasoning, as chicken isn’t as flavorful as veal. 

4. Ground Beef

Ground Beef

Ground beef is a multipurpose ingredient that works well in lots of recipes, including casseroles, meatloaves, and tacos. 

This type of beef has been ground or delicately chopped into small components. This is generally made from tougher beef cuts, like round or chuck. 

Ground beef may be tougher than veal, but you can cook the meat slowly until its texture softens to resemble veal. It also tastes stronger compared to veal, so watch how much seasoning you add to your recipe. 

If you do use ground beef in place of veal, carefully consider the meat cut you use in your recipe. Beef cuts that taste similar to veal are filet, followed by sirloin, as these are lower in fat. 

5. Ground Turkey

Ground turkey is a ground meat variety made out of turkey. This is generally made with dark turkey meat, but you may see it made with white meat.

Ground turkey has a gentle taste and tends to be lower in fat compared to ground beef.

Ground turkey works well in ground veal dishes, like meatballs, burgers, and meatloaf. You can also add it to chili, shepherd’s pie, and lasagna recipes. 

If you do use ground turkey as a ground veal substitute, take care with how much seasoning you use.

Ground turkey isn’t as flavorful as ground veal, so you’ll need to add more seasoning to ensure your dish reaches the right flavor. 

Ground turkey also tends to be leaner than ground veal, so it may require less cooking time. Keep an eye on your dish during cooking to avoid overcooking the meat. 

6. Mushrooms


Mushrooms are a fungi variety that works well as a meat substitute. They have a natural chewy consistency, soak up sauces to infuse them with flavor, and crisp up well when cooked. 

Mushrooms are a good vegetarian meat alternative, but keep in mind that this is only regarding texture and taste.

Nutritionally speaking, they have trace amounts of protein, so they won’t deliver the same amount of protein that is present within veal. 

If you do use mushrooms as a ground veal substitute, you may need to add some more seasonings to the dish. 

Mushrooms have an umami, slightly meaty flavor, but this is very different from the smooth, juiciness of veal meat. You’ll need to add more seasonings like garlic, herbs, and onion to your recipe. 

To substitute mushrooms for ground veal, or any type of ground meat, chop the mushrooms finely beforehand. This ensures the mushrooms take on a similar consistency to the ground meat. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re finding it hard to find ground veal at the store, or cannot access it when you’re making a recipe, the ingredients above all work relatively well in its place. 

Some of these, like ground pork, have a similar flavor to ground veal, whereas others, like mushrooms, are more similar in texture. 

Your taste preferences will also influence which alternative you like best. It’s best to try a few of these substitutions out for yourself and see which ones you prefer. 

We hope you enjoyed learning more about ground veal and some of the substitutes to use in its place!

The 6 Best Substitutes For Ground Veal

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Ground Pork

  • Ground Lamb

  • Ground Chicken

  • Ground Beef

  • Ground Turkey

  • Mushrooms


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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