Gardein and other realistic meat subs


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Jul 30, 2017
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Vancouver, BC
  1. Vegan
I don't work for Gardein, nor is this a plug for them, specifically. As it is, I generally don’t do a lot of processed vegan foods, but I did acquire a taste for Gardein products when I first went vegan. I would still eat them for a special occasion or party/BBQ, etc. I honestly try to keep my diet 100% whole foods, as opposed to anything processed, with the exception of tempeh and once in a blue moon, tofu.

So as vegans with non-vegan friends and family, we all have to try and fit in. Gardein just impressed me from the start. Their ingredients weren't ridicules, and the flavors were amazing. If it weren't for the processed aspect, high oil content, added salt, etc., I would probably buy them all the time. Nonetheless, for transitioning vegans, or in my case, special occasions, it’s a really yummy option.

Anyhow, for any of you Canadians that enjoy their products, I just noticed another 4-5 new products on the shelf today at my local grocery store. They have a black bean burger patty, some turkey cutlet thingy, a chicken wing appy, and I can't remember what the other product was.

The reason I'm posting this is in case anyone tries any of these new products, or of similar quality, I would really love to hear what you think about them. I was amazed at how much their fish fillets tasted like real battered fish. With vegan tartar sauce, I could fool any non-vegan, easily. That's what I find impressive about their products. Every one of that I've tried so far could potentially fool a non-vegan, in my humble opinion. I wonder what these new Canadian products are like. I want to know, but don't want to try them...just yet ;)

I've been slowly perfecting my own seitan recipes, which also emulates different meats very well. It's not that I miss meat so much, as it is me trying to convince non-vegans that the food is amazing. I have quite a few dishes already that non-vegans find impressive. My next huge venture will be trying to make some half decent vegan cheeses. That would be the number one complaint of non-vegans..."I can't live without my cheese".

Nonetheless, I do love working in the kitchen, if you hadn't guessed already. If you've tasted any of the other mainstream vegan cheeses, I'm sure you'd agree there's room for improvement. If you have any recipes along these lines, I’d really love to hear from you...seitan or cheese. I'm not talking quick processor cheeses. I am more thinking the fermented and/or gourmet type cheeses.

Sorry if their products are not available where you live. It's not like this is a healthy choice, anyways, but because they’re so darn convincing, I felt they’re worth mentioning. At the end of the day it's still processed food, but if you are in fact trying to impress a non-vegan, this is such a good product for that. I'm not a culinary guru, but I know what my own taste buds like.

Those new ones that you've seen have actually been around for awhile now. They are probably just getting them now where you are. I've had the turkey cutlets and they taste amazing especially from the oven. Tastes like real turkey and the crust is crispy and wonderful. The chicken wings were ok, loved the sauce with it. They are just a weird shape. It's exactly the same as the scallopini except in wing shape. I haven't tried the black bean burger since I don't really care for those but I have had their ultimate beefless burger which is great. They also have crab cakes but I didn't care for them. They taste too much like it has pickles in it and I've never had crab cakes with pickles. My husband loved them though.

You're in Canada? I've not seen any of those products available in BC since the company sold out in 2014. Gardein's main office used to be based out of Vancouver, but they sold the company to Pinnacle Foods, from what I understand. I know they still have a business in Richmond, BC (Vancouver).

None of those products have been available here where I live since they sold the company. They went from about 15 different products down to about 4 or 5. Today I just happened to notice a few returning to the shelves. I've not tried any of these ones, myself. The turkey one or something similar was available at Christmas and Thanksgiving, which I did try. It was excellent, but disappeared shortly thereafter.
I live in the US. The newest ones they have here are the breakfast pockets which I haven't tried yet.
That explains it then. We have a much different Gardein selection here in Canada.

We're also still patiently waiting for the Impossible or beyond burger here too. Again, it's not because I miss meat that I want to try it. I just want to see how close they've nailed it. The more options like this the better, in my humble opinion.
I'm with you with the more options the better. I actually was a big meat eater before going vegan and love the new meat options. The beyond burger was amazing to me since it was just how I used to eat my burgers. I'm hoping to get my hands on the beyond sausage soon if I can find it. Have to drive an hour to whole foods to see if they have it.
The reason I'm posting this is in case anyone tries any of these new products, or of similar quality, I would really love to hear what you think about them.

I haven't seen them in my area, although there are a few similar products around. I have tried a few mock meat products mostly out of curiosity, but mostly I wouldn't be keen on them for regular purchases. For starters, they tend to be pricey and have ingredients I don't trust. It seems like the general populace and the people who come up with these foods tend to think that unless they super concentrate the protein (soy protein isolate under it's various names as well as other protein isolates), then we're all just going to be deficient or something. What's worse, someone going vegan for health concerns is only going to partially benefit from these foods. The isolates tend to make them too high in protein and as noted in a previous post made here, isolated protein (even from a plant source) (as a concentrate - which it usually is if it's a main ingredient) raises IGF-1. That said, I'll never be a regular consumer unless and until they are made from 100% (or near that) whole plant foods, not the majority of it being isolates and extracts. If I do try them it's mainly to see how it's spiced to see if I can create something similar.
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I agree that a lot of these products are pricey, but for a special occasion like Christmas or Thanksgiving, I don't mind splurging a little bit.

As my own seitan recipes develop, I feel seitan will eventually end up being the center of attention at special events for me. I'm still perfecting my own seitan for some personal family recipes. Some recipes are working well, where others don't have the proper texture or flavour.

As far as health benefits go, I would not eat any processed vegan food with that thought in mind, with the exception of perhaps tempeh or tofu. These fake foods for me serve two main purposes: One, I can entertain non-vegans with food that could potentially impress them. Two, I can go to family and/or social events with a plan...something I can blend into the crowd with, without feeling like a complete misfit. Sure, it always sparks up some questions and conversation, but usually not in a negative way.

In my own experience, people are usually curious as to what your vegan alternative tastes like. However, an actual Tofurkey I tried last year was a complete flop. It really didn't taste that good, and I heard all about it from non-vegans/family. It was so bad, I would not buy a Tofurkey again. Gardein's turkey alternative, however, was excellent. Again, I can probably master a far better seitan recipe for this. We shall see.