Gardein Buffalo Wings Review

Posted on Mar 1st, 2012 by Jamie • 
More info: Gardein

Gardein Buffalo Wings

It seems like the flavor of chicken is the easiest thing to recreate with alt-meat products (at least the flavor of processed chicken that is). I was hoping the Gardein Buffalo Wings would finally be a decent substitute for real chicken wings. Sadly, it wasn't the case.

These alt-wings are easy to cook. Just throw them in a skillet and fry them up until golden. Then pour the included wing sauce over them. The package says that the wing sauce is spicy, and they aren't kidding. Unless you want hot wings, use the sauce sparingly.

Wing sauce tastes vary greatly, so I won't review the taste of the sauce. But I can talk about the texture of the alt-nuggets themselves, and it's not the best. It's just too...juicy. It's a weird term to use, but I can't think of a better adjective. Chicken should be moist at best. I think I'll try and bake them in the oven next time to see if that helps "dry them up" a little.

Overall, unless these are on sale, I wouldn't recommend them. But if you're in need of a great source of protein, and you love wing sauce, give them a try.

Tags: chicken

Organic Sunshine Barbeque Veggie Burgers

Posted on Dec 8th, 2010 by Jamie • 

While a lot of veggie burger companies try to mimic the taste if meat, Organic Sunshine does what I've long thought should be done - stress that their patties aren't meat substitutes but rather a unique taste all their own. But are the Organic Sunshine Barbeque veggie burgers "an excellent flavor sensation" like their box says? Not really. But they have a lot going for them nonetheless.

The first thing you notice about these patties is their outer coating. As you can see from the following picture, they have a noticeable shell. This makes the patties fairly rugged and able to stand up to flipping on the grill, but pan-frying them causes the shell to become extra hard and chewy.

As far as being a self-proclaimed "flavor sensation," these veggie burgers are actually pretty dull tasting. They're fairly low in sodium, and it's noticeable. Oddly enough, however, it turns out to be a bonus. Their lack of distinct flavor ironically gives them the perfect base that melds with whatever flavor condiments you put on them. These patties are supposed to be "barbeque" flavor, but taste nothing like it. I added some swiss cheese and barbeque sauce to mine, and it became an excellent BBQ alt-burger.

If I had to rate these patties based on taste and texture, I'd go with 3 stars. But due to their magical melding abilities and the fact that their ingredient list is impressively short, soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and all organic, they get an extra bonus star.

Tags: burger

Dr. Praeger's Tex Mex Veggie Burgers

Posted on Jun 3rd, 2010 by Jamie • 
More info: Dr. Praeger's

Dr. Praeger's throws its hat into the ring of southwestern-style veggie burgers by adding some spices to their California veggie burgers and creating the Tex Mex veggie burger. And the result is a pretty good vegan alt-burger.

Most vegan veggie burgers have a large flavor obstacle to overcome, and most fail to please the taste buds. But the Tex Mex patties taste pretty good. You're certainly not going to confuse these patties with dry-rubbed brisket, but veg*ns will be pleased with the flavor.

You do notice the lack of eggs, however, when it comes to the consistency. They are somewhat mushy, and I would be hesitant to flip them on a grill. But the other ingredients are something to cheer about. The ingredient list is chockablock with goodies:

Carrots, Black Beans, Onions, String Beans, Corn, Zucchini, Soybeans, Oat Bran, Peas, Red Pepper, Spinach, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Broccoli, Textured Soy Flour, Oat Fiber, Arrowroot, Jalepeno Peppers, Chili Powder, Garlic, Corn Meal, Corn Starch, Cilantro, Salt, Parsley, Black Pepper, All Natural Vegetable Gum

If these patties weren't vegan, I'd probably give them 3 stars, but Dr. Praeger's Tex Mex Veggie Burgers should definitely appeal to vegans looking for a good, zesty, veggie-packed alt-burger.

Tags: burger

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burgers

Posted on Jun 1st, 2010 by Jamie • 

Bucking the trend of most store-brand veggie burgers being boring clones of other veggie burgers, Trader Joe's blazes a new trail with their Indian-inspired Vegetable Masala Burgers.

The Vegetable Masala patties are not your usual alt-meat fare. First off, they're not soy- or brown rice-based; they're potato-based. And they're made with Indian spices (ginger, turmeric, and mustard seeds) which provides a very unique flavor.

The patties just have a good look to them as well. A lot of veggie burgers clearly look like something "processed," but the Masala burgers resemble something you'd make in the kitchen at home.

Best of all, however, is that they're just plain good. Trader Joe's has made a truly unique and truly tasty alt-meat burger.

Oh, did I forget to mention that they're vegan, too? That's right. Finally! A good vegan alt-meat burger!

I get these almost every trip to Trader Joe's and so should you. Let's make sure Trader Joe's never discontinues them!

Tags: burger

Boca Bruschetta Tomato Basil Parmesan Veggie Patties

Posted on Mar 31st, 2010 by Jamie • 
More info: Boca

Boca, the reigning king of mediocre alt-meat products, retains its crown with their Bruschetta patties.

The Bruschetta patties do have a vague "tomato basil" taste, but it's pretty weak. And the texture is more of a paste than a burger.

I fried up a patty and added a little marinara sauce, mozzarella, and lettuce. It was a good combo, but the lack of flavor and the gooey texture made the act of eating the burger not very pleasurable.

I would skip buying these in the future unless I can figure out a way to make them "firm up" a little bit during cooking.

Tags: burger

Lightlife's Smart BBQ veggie protein

Posted on Feb 2nd, 2010 by Jamie • 
More info: Lightlife

Lightlife's Smart BBQ "heat and eat" pouch of veggie protein is an attempt to mimic barbecued pulled pork. I say "attempted" because it falls short.

The easiest thing about mimicking barbecue is the sauce, and Lightlife did an okay job. They could have done better.

Where Lightlife could have done a much better job is texture. What you think you're getting by looking at the packaging is something similar to the texture of pork. What you actually get (as seen in the picture below) is a pile of amorphous slop. If you had a big enough straw, you could probably drink this stuff. Not very appealing.

I've had great BBQ alt-pork sandwiches made with seitan, so I know what is possible. Lightlife needs a lot of improvement.

Tags: pork

Health is Wealth's Chicken-Free Patties

Posted on Sep 22nd, 2009 by Jamie • 
More info: Health is Wealth

I came across the vegan Chicken-Free Patties at Whole Foods, and decided to see if they were any different than every other breaded alt-chicken patty I've tried - bland, tasteless textured protein masked with a zesty breading. Unfortunately, these are no different.

The Chicken-Free Patties try to get away with fooling your taste buds into believing you're eating a good ol' breaded fried chicken patty, but even though the breading is pretty good, it can't overcome the fact that the taste is just...lacking.

What these patties do have going for them is that they're vegan and they use organic flour.

Tags: chicken

Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausages

Posted on May 22nd, 2009 by Jamie • 
More info: Field Roast

I'm a big fan of Field Roast sausages. With most alt-sausages on the market tasting fairly similar, Field Roast's are a true standout.

Do you like spicy food? If not, Mexican Chipotle sausages aren't for you. They pack quite a zing. I like spicy food, but one of my pet peeves - especially with veg*n products - is companies trying to mask the blandness of their foods with spices (see: Boca Chili). Field Roast does an admirable job balancing the flavor and the spiciness.

The texture of Field Roast sausages is also pretty unique. I know people who are turned off by it, claiming that the sausages are too "rubbery," but I find it to be a plus.

My only dislike of Field Roasts's alt-sausages is that they come individually wrapped in plastic casings that you have to cut off. It's not a huge deal, but the Mexican Chipotle links come infused with a red sauce that, if you're not careful while trying to extract the sausage, can stain clothing. So be careful.

The Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausages are definitely worth the trek to Whole Foods for me. (Whole Foods is the only place I've ever seen Field Roast.) So if you're looking for a change of pace from the boring, run-of-the-mill alt-sausages out there, give these a try.

Gardenburger's Chik'n Grill

Posted on Jan 10th, 2009 by Jamie • 
More info: Gardenburger

It's hard to find a "naked" alt-chicken cutlet/patty that doesn't rely on its breading for its flavor. Gardenburger's Chik'n Grill patties rocket past anything else I've had to date, however, and take their place on the throne as the King of Cutlets.

I fried a patty in olive oil for 5-10 mins and slapped it on a whole wheat bun with a little cheese. I'm not sure of the voodoo behind it, but pan-frying these patties results in a taste and texture very similar to a real pan-fried chicken cutlet. I didn't even need any condiments. The patty was moist and delicious enough on its own.

I just can't say enough about these alt-chicken patties. What Morningstar's Cheddar Grillers are to alt-beef, the Chik'n Grills are to alt-chicken. If you see these patties in a store, buy them without hesitation.

I'm a little nervous, however, because I can't find them on Gardenburger's website. I'm really hoping that doesn't mean that they've been discontinued. I have an email in to Gardenburger, and I'll update this review if/when Gardenburger responds.

Tags: chicken

Lightlife's Smart Jumbo Dogs

Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 by Jamie • 
More info: Lightlife

Hot dogs aren't really one of those "meat" foods that I miss terribly, but I do get a hankerin' for one occasionally. Unfortunately, Lightlife's Smart Jumbo Dogs don't do much to fill that void.

The taste of these alt-dogs are okay I guess, but the texture just kills it for me. Real hot dogs have a crisp bite to them and give you something to chew on. Lightlife's Smart Jumbo Dogs are like eating bean paste. In fact, while eating these dogs, it was hard to tell where the dog ended and the bun began.

These just weren't enjoyable to eat. So if you're looking for a good alt-hot dog, look elsewhere.

Tags: sausage
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