Add plastic made from plants (technology exists), to test-tube hamburger (and other meats, coming this fall), to the Replicator (already exists) and you get Star Trek. It sounds far-fetched, but it is now possible. We already have many artificial flavors, made from natural and laboratory artificial ingredients. One can also find many artificial colors. So, how would it work?
On board a space station there would be a greenhouse for growing plants that would provide the oxygen for the station. Some of those ‘greens’ would also be the various vegetables. Instead of a lot of scraps, there would need to be a way to recycle. What better way than to feed these scraps of grasses and vegetables to a replicator?
A computer program would decide the combination and all it would take then is a vocal recognition program would be used for input. Make your selection and sit and enjoy a totally vegetarian meal that tastes like steak and potatoes. Star Trek is here!