Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gardein Product Reviews

Becoming vegan, vegetarian, or even just cutting out meat once a week for "Meatless Mondays" can be tough if you don't know what to eat or where to start.  Think about it, there's a meat for every meal! How can you get away from it when it's all you used to?  Tofu is not the only answer, though if you ask any unknowing person, that's the only thing that vegetarians/vegans eat..that and salad!  WRONG!!! (see the recipes on this blog, I eat way more than that!)  There are some great products on the market that are easier to cook with, have better textures, and even better tastes than tofu! 

I first became aware of gardein products when I saw them featured on The Ellen DeGeneres show back in December.  The show featured gardein's Chick'n Scallopini, which by definition, scallopini (n) sauteed cutlets (usually veal or poultry) that have been pounded thin and coated with flour.  But gardein (garden + protein) has created their products to resemble meat while being made from soy, wheat, and pea proteins, grains, and vegetables.  Their scallopini is great for everything, from being coated in flour and sauteed (as stated in the definition) to an addition to pot pie, and even dredged in spices and cooked for a delicious chick'n fajita!

They've truly created endless possibilities for people who don't eat meat!  But they don't only have a chicken substitute...  Miss having a burger or even BBQ sandwiches during the summer?  They've got you covered with an AMAZING burger (you won't believe it's vegan!) and BBQ Pulled Shreds that blew me away when I first tasted them.  But it doesn't stop there!  They have a such wide variety of fresh and frozen products (see the fresh products here and the frozen products here) that even restaurants and famous food labels are starting to use them! (Some places include zPizza, Jenny Craig, and select Chipotle restaurants!)  There's even a rumor going around that Lean Cuisine has started using some of the gardein products in their "VeggieCuisine" line (which is not mentioned on their website, but was discovered in some Walmarts/Supercenters.  These meals, however, are not vegan.  Just vegetarian.)

So, why do I love my gardein?  It's so incredibly versatile not to mention CARNIVORE FRIENDLY!!   It's fun for me too because I switched to a vegan diet because my body just had issues digesting meat.  So while my tastebuds miss some of my favorite meals (though, my stomach doesn't), I don't have to anymore because I just sub in gardein for the meat!  I've done pot pies, chick'n soup, beef-less tips stew, General Tso's chick'n, Black Pepper Chick'n/Beef, tacos, fajitas, even "meat" sauce for my spaghetti!  

While I've tried a lot of the products from gardein, there are a few that I have not tried because I couldn't find them in my store (though now I think Whole Foods should be carrying the ENTIRE line WOOOHOOO!), I do have 2 new products in my kitchen.  Last night we tried the Herb Dijon Breasts for the first time.  Delish! Not to mention EASY!  In one box comes 2 individually wrapped portions (brilliant), a "chick'n breast" and the sauce.  Simply heat the chick'n, then cover with the sauce and simmer for a few seconds and you're set to eat!  I mean does it get any easier!?  

The fun part for me is taking what they've made and making it my own or creating something with it, though I do like to try the product how they recommend first so I know what I'm working with.  (creating something tonight...)

With as much as I rave about gardein, I should probably note that I am not being paid by the company to write about them... Though if anyone at gardein is reading this, I wouldn't mind it!! :-) 

So what do I recommend you try first?  Well that depends on you... But the products that I've always got on hand are the Scallopini, Beefless Tips, Beefless Burger, and Crispy Tenders.  (I may be 23 and living on my own but until I became vegan, I always ordered chicken tenders/nuggets/fingers--whatever they were called-- when I went out to eat.  I'm a kid at heart!)

I hope you try gardein whether you are carnivore, vegetarian, pescetarian (shout out to my twitter friend @ThatSkyeIAm who also loves gardein like I do), vegan-ish, or vegan, I'm sure you will love them!

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