I’ve been hearing about Gardein products for awhile now. I’m sure you have too. They’re all vegan (unlike Quorn or some Morningstar and Boca brands that contain egg) and made by the Garden Protein International Company based in Canada, eh.
The ingredients are a mixture of wheat gluten, soy and pea protein, and natural flavors.
There are a few different kinds on the market, including a “beef,” “chicken” and “pork”. I bought the BBQ Pulled Shreds and the Veggie Chick’n Bites in a Provencale Marinade.
I have to admit, I was a little trepadacious when I bought them. I typically try to stick to a whole foods diet. I’d rather eat beans and veggies and bread and fruit then eat complicated replications of animal-based foods. That said, there is one huge benefit for this product. Many people transitioning to whole- or part-time vegetarianism need transition foods. It’s a lot easier to cook up some Gimme Lean soy sausage for in the morning than to make a hippy-dippy lentil loaf. Vegetarian and Vegan diets take time, and ease of transition. Companies like Gardein do a huge deal of good in easing the casual meat eater into an animal-free diet.
Especially with the bloooming-in-popularity Meatless Mondays, having great tasting options for meat-free meals is pretty neccessary.
So, how did they taste?
I tried the chick’n bites first.
VEGGIE CHICK’N BITES
I’m definitely a carbohydrate-lovin’ girl, so naturally I had to try it first with some pasta.
I simply cooked up some capativi noodles, steamed some broccoli, then sauteed them together with the chick’n bites.
It was remarkably easy. I threw in a sprinkling of nutritional yeast (of course) and a few cranks of fresh-ground pepper.
This is what it looked like:
Yep. That’s right. My lunch yesterday was DELICIOUS. The chick’n heated up in about 4 minutes. There’s 2 servings per package, which was perfect. I ate my leftovers for dinner.
I haven’t eaten any part of chickens in over 20 years, so I don’t remember what they taste like, but I don’t think this was too similar. It just tasted like nice herbs and spices and had a good chewy texture.
BBQ SHRED SANDWICH
Today I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up some buns for my BBQ pulled shreds experiment. I found a pack of four Delphina’s panini rolls. Which, I just want to say right here, are amazing. I love them. I want to eat them all the time. Sooooo good. Delphina is a Portland-based bakery. I’ve never tried their baked goods before, but these rolls are seriously serious. Seriously super. Since I only needed one, I put the other 3 in the freezer to use later. I don’t want these to get moldy!
So simple to make. Can you read the writing? It says, “Heat and load up on a bun…” Easy-peasy.
I toasted my Delphina’s bun while heating the bbq shreds up on the stove. After the bun was toasted, I spread some Earth Balance on one side (and nutritional yeast, of course) and some Wildwood Garlic Aioli on the other. I had to ask my roommate, “People eat mayo with pork sandwiches, right?” (He answered, “Some people eat mayo with everything.” Ha!)
Threw some spinach on that bad boy, and watch out:
That first picture is a little blurry, sorry. I think my hand was shaking from hunger.
The texture was super similar to the chick’n bites. I’m not sure if they use the same ingredients and ratio for the protein part and just change the sauce, but that’s what it seemed like to me.
The bbq sauce was definitely of the sweeter variety. I think I’m personally fond of more of a smokey or spicy taste, but the sweet flavor worked pretty well.
This sandwich was super. Simply delicious. It was moist and toasty and filling and pretty much perfect.
Both these Gardein products are super easy to make, taste amazing, and are enough to serve two. The only drawback is they are rather expensive–it’s about $4 for one packet. That’s too much for me to buy very often, but when I have an animal-eater friend come over for a meal, these will perfect meal-helpers.
Have you tried any Gardein products? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about them.