10 Alternative Lean Meats To Try

 Field & Flower


Trying to eat a little leaner for the New Year? Take a break from the traditional chicken approach with these ten more unusual meats.


New year, new meat? For many of us, the New Year is the perfect time to spark a complete lifestyle overhaul, wave goodbye to bad habits and perhaps welcome a new, healthy diet – but this doesn’t have to mean living off of grilled chicken and vegetables.

Pot Roast Pheasant

Often, chicken is the first port of call when it comes to slimming down, bulking up, or simply working on a healthier diet, thanks to its lean yet protein-packed properties – but there are plenty of other low fat meats to add variety into your diet.

Field & Flower

Award-winning grass-fed meat and sustainable fish delivery service, field&flower, have compiled a list of the ten best lean meat alternatives to chicken, that are still packed with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and health benefits.

Try these 10 lean meat alternatives:


Mutton cannon


Mutton has a bolder, more ‘meaty’ flavour than lamb, and it also happens to be lower in fat too. Cut from the loin, it’s ideal for roasting but it can also be sliced for grilling or frying. Try searing it in a hot pan before transferring to the oven for a tender and lean piece of meat with a great depth of flavour.

Try it with Gill Meller’s mutton tartare with pan-roasted oysters & wild garlic flowers.

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2 Venison


You can buy venison steaks, burgers, sausages, or simply opt for a wild venison roasting joint – so the possibilities with this one are endless. Venison meat is often thought of as being similar to beef, but venison has more vitamins and minerals per serving than beef, and it also has advantages in iron, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin.

It also has more protein than any other red meat, which means that it sates the appetite really well.

Try it with Josh Eggleton’s venison burger.

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Rabbit


Rabbit meat is well known for its high protein content. The sodium content of the meat is comparatively less than other meats, and the ratio of meat to bone is high, meaning there’s more edible meat on the carcass than a chicken. Rabbit is also extremely low in fat content, contains just 350 calories per kilogram, and tastes divine in a homemade rabbit pie!

Try it with Francesco Mazzei’s Sicilian rabbit.

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Wood pigeon


You don’t have to be a professional chef to enjoy wood pigeon. Rapidly seared (just a minute each side) and then rested, soft, succulent breast has the fine grain of a prime steak but thanks to the diversity of its wild diet (seeds, acorns, buds, berries, green crops) it has a more complex and earthy, woodland taste. The meat has a rich store of beneficial minerals, in particular iron, which is crucial for energy production and a robust immune system.

Try it with Nathan Outlaw’s spiced wood pigeon with figs.

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5 Mallard


The mallard is the most common duck used for food, and a wild duck will contain just 15.2g of fat per 100g serving. Duck liver is a particular delicacy that you may want to add to your diet, as it contains a good source of protein, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid. It’s also great to use more than just the breast and leg meat of these birds.

Try it with Robert Thompson’s roasted breast of mallard.

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6 Partridge


Partridge is a great little game bird with a subtle flavour. It’s a small bird, so a whole one feeds one person, and newbies shouldn’t be afraid to keep it simple when it comes to this bird.

Young partridge, simply grilled or roasted and served with a light gravy from the cooking juices, is a delicious dish that only needs sweet, roasted winter vegetables. Don’t treat partridge as you would a chicken though – these birds need far less time in the oven, and are best served pink and juicy.

Try it with Johnny Boyd’s partridge with piccolo parsnip.

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7 Pheasant


Pheasant is always a first-rate meat choice. It has a sweet and earthy flavour and is perfect for roasting or braising. It contains a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B6 and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, and is really low in calories, with one wild pheasant breast containing just 130kCal.

Try it with James Mackenzie’s roast pheasant breast with parsnip purée.

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Pork tenderloin


Pork loin and pork tenderloin are often confused as one and the same thing, but they’re not cut from the same part of the animal and in fact, look really different. Pork tenderloin is thin and small, while a pork loin is wide enough that you can cut steak-like pieces from it. Pork tenderloin is boneless and best quickly cooked over a fairly high heat. It’s a lean, delicately flavoured meat, and is the most tender cut of pork if you are quick-cooking it.

Try it with this sumptuous pork tenderloin recipe. 

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9 Calves liver


Bursting with flavour and extremely soft and tender, grass-fed calves’ liver really is ‘melt in the mouth’ delicious. It has a fairly strong flavour (the longer you cook it the stronger the taste becomes) so is fantastic to add to stews and casseroles, as well as enjoying on its own pan-fried with some creamy mash and spinach.

Try it with Jane Hornby’s Calves’ Liver With Sticky Onion Relish & Prosciutto.

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10 Cockerel


One of the most like-for-like swaps which you may not have considered before is cockerel. Cockerel shares all the same benefits as a chicken (lean, high protein) but it’s bigger, and yet still cheaper than a turkey!

Try it with this roast cockerel dish. 

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