Quorn's Naked Chik'n Cutlet

Posted on Feb 11th, 2008 by Jamie • 
More info: Quorn

I was happy to see a new brand of alt-meat products, Quorn, pop-up in the freezer the last time I was at the store, but I wasn't holding much hope for their Naked Chik'n Cutlets. The last thing I want to see alt-meat companies do is create "naked" items. Chicken is hard enough to mimic, but when you don't have the all-important herb- and spice-infused breading to help you out, you're pretty much left with a flavorless slab of protein.

In the case of the Quorn's alt-chicken products, they use Mycoprotein.

According to Quorn's website:

"Myco" is Greek for "fungi." The mycoprotein comes from Fusarium venenatum, which was originally discovered growing in a field in Buckinghamshire, England. In the late 1960s, initial product development began, soon recognizing mycoprotein's potential as an efficient and nutritious protein source.

If the fact that these alt-chicken cutlets are made up of 51% "vat-grown mold" doesn't affect you, I'm guessing the way they were packaged might:

Here's a better look at the frozen cutlets:

I'll admit it bothers me to constantly have to throw out the plastic that all the alt-patties come in, but I accept it as a necessary evil - for freshness and safety. For Quorn to just throw the cutlets into a cardboard box to become freezer burned and suck up whatever bacteria is in the air is pretty stunning to say the least.

And if that still doesn't give you pause, here is a link to a page on the Center for Science in the Public Interest's website, describing the widespread allergic reactions that mycoprotein has had on Brittons:

CSPI Quorn Complaints

Of course, it's my mission to review all alt-meat products that I can find, so forged ahead anyway and attempted to grill a Naken Chik'n Cutlet.

In the real world, it's pretty hard to grill frozen chicken cutlets. They don't lay flat like burgers do. And the instructions on the box didn't say to thaw the cutlets first, so I attempted to baste it in olive oil and grill it straight out of the box. It wasn't a huge success. No matter how much oil I brushed on, it just wasn't enough. The cutlet never softened, so I just continued to flip the rock-like cutlet until I assumed it was heated all the way through.

I slapped some alt-cheese on top, and oiled up the bun:

I wish I could say that, in the end, the taste of the cutlets offered some ray of hope. But alas, they tasted pretty much how they looked coming out of the box: dry and unappealing.

I guess the silver lining of the whole experience was that I didn't turn out to be one of the 4.5% who is allergic to mycoprotein. And I can say that these cutlets might actually be a decent meat substitute for meals requiring firm tofu, but only if they're basted or marinated with something tasty. On their own, they don't offer much in the way of flavor.

I may tempt fate once more and try grilling another cutlet with barbeque sauce, or I may just count my blessings that I didn't end up with violent diarrhea, numb lips, paralyzed limbs and a fever (all of which are actual symptoms reported in the CSPI article). I won't write Quorn completely off yet, but I may just ditch the other three cutlets and move on to the next Quorn product (which will hopefully be wrapped in some sort of plastic).

Tags: chicken


elisha3530 days ago
was just researching quorn products, as so far, i have really enjoyed them -- and found this info on the wikipedia entry.

just thought it was worth noting the controversy w/ the CSPI & that it may not accurately reflect the quorn products. while i agree, better packaging would be a huge improvement, with microwave thawing and marination, the cutlets can be tasty! i personally really enjoy the chik'n tenders in my vegetable soup.

Rebecca Hahn3421 days ago
It really helps to steam them or cook them in a little water first - this takes care of the dry part. I agree with Elisha, I love this brand, but add sauce or add them too things. The chicken nuggets are a favorite around here.
ally3420 days ago
they are amazing i love them!
violette3419 days ago
no way, i LOVE these. i like the fact that i can actually season them however i want without the hassle of cooking with tofu. these make a killer parmesan chicken (well, fake chicken) and are awesome cubed in chicken caesar salad...just takes some experimenting!
veggiehead3340 days ago
Clearly you put too much faith in the CSPI (who are down on Quorn because they are in the pocket of Gardenburger Inc.). The 4.5% number was made up by them to discredit Quorn in the US market. Truth is only one in 146,000 consumers have a reaction to Quorn's ingredients. Contrast that with one in 350 people who cannot tolerate soy (400 TIMES as many!).
Quorn is awesome, and has become a staple in my diet. If you don't like the Naked Cutlets, try one of the other products- they taste great, IMHO.
Daphne3316 days ago
No. I'll have to agree with the poster. These are fairly nasty and dry. Even when I microwave them according to the directions, they come out dry and flavorless. This definitely needs sauce. The ones with cheese in them are not as evil.
Kavya3227 days ago
I will stay away from Quorn because when I ate it, my body had no idea what to do with it, how to digest it. It felt just like my body's response to non-food based vitamins - what is this chemical crap you are feeding me?
PS Veggiehead's statistics come from Quorn's makers. Might be a teeny bit biased . . .
Jean3181 days ago
Quorn is my favorite! I love this chicken alt. Of course I only throw it on the grill with BBQ sauce, but I think its great. The turkey is really good too. I'm addicted.
Jean3181 days ago
Oh, and don't put these in the microwave. Put them on the grill seasoned or bake them and make BBQ sandwitches. My roomates even love them and they are not vegetarians!
RaVeN ChAoS3108 days ago
if microwaving them put on a sauce with a good bit of water, it will cook tender and absorb the water.
These are great with picante sauce on them and the kids luv'em with mac and cheese
Nicole3044 days ago
how did you not like these?!
yaya they are bland but on the flip side you can add any flavor to them!
you should try these on pasta with sauce.
Alexy3039 days ago
I love these. Quorn hands down makes the best fake chicken/turkey on the market. I don't put them in the microwave though. Just treat them like a chicken breast. Bake them in the oven at 350 for like 15 min. They are best when you add some kind of sauce and oil to them, otherwise they will dry out. These are perfect when you have a meat eater and a vegetarian to make dinner for because you can essentially make the same dish for both. I think they make the best fake chicken nuggets, breaded chicken patties. Oh and Thanksgiving is not complete for me without a Quorn Roast
JoJo2924 days ago
Never liked Quorn.
Lorelei2924 days ago
If you microwave everything then I can see why you did not like them, however if you let them thaw then pan cook them with seasoning they are really really good. I make a chicken marsala out of them that is to die for and my non vegetarian family loves that dinner. They are very versatile, just remember the rule. DO NOT microwave, if you have to thaw them in the micro keep a close eye on them, they will dry out fast just like any other food you put in a micro that is in there for to long.
Jo2883 days ago
I have only used them to mimic chicken in a Chicken Paprikash recipe. Was VERY pleased with the flavor! Was even better on second day, once flavors had blended more.
Tiffany2876 days ago
Quorn is my family's favorite meat substitute. The breaded chicken is the best, especially the goat cheese & cranberry.

This one was hard for me to figure out how to cook. When I opened the box, I was pretty bummed about how it looked. The best way to cook these is to bake them in a sauce. My favorite is to put them on the bottom of a glass dish, cover thickly with sour cream & put pepperidge farms stuffing on top (careful to check the back of stuffing cartons/bags for chicken fat, etc.). Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 350º for around 30 minutes or until you see it bubble in the center when looking at the bottom of the dish. The cutlets are very moist and tender. Even people at work who poke fun at me for being veg think that recipe is amazing.

I would think if you wanted to grill them, you'd need to let them soak while thawing in some watery marinade, then brush with olive oil before you grill.

As for the cutlets we don't use after opening the box, we put them in a ziploc and put them back in the freezer to keep from getting freezer burned.
Laura2807 days ago
They may not have a whole lot of flavor by themselves, but does a real white chicken breast, previously frozen, then microwaved, by itself with no seasonings have much flavor, either? No.
SugarFemme232779 days ago
I LOVE Quorn! We eat it with just a little salt, pepper, garlic, etc. Nothing much.

We're a fairly new neggie family and they taste exactly like chicken as we remember eating just a few months ago.
Michele2772 days ago
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Quorn. We make fried cutlet, among other things, and they are just as good- if not better- than fried chicken. We've had plenty of people who would never dream of eating vegetarian, request our Quorn meals!
Rebekah2659 days ago
I think these are great! I brush some olive oil on, and season them then bake or grill them. Tastes just like real baked chicken breast to me, and the texture is spot-on.
ian2615 days ago
Quorn products are the best! Some better than others and we have our favourites but we cant live without them. We have quorn just about every day as part of a healthy veggie diet. Cant beat em...!

matt2586 days ago
I tried the Naked Chik'in Cutlet a couple months ago and had an allergic reaction - asthma like symptons for an hour or so along with a very itchy throat. I decided to give it one more try last night and this time my face became hugely swollen like the elephant man, my entire body itched like crazy, and my throat closed up. I almost went to the emergency room but it subsided with benedryl enough for me to wait it out. This morning over 12 hours later my eyes were still very swollen. I went to the doctor and was given a steroid shot. He warned that another exposure could result in anaphylactic shock. The only warning label on the box concerns dairy and wheat...but my allergy is to the fungus. How can they not be made to post a warning for this???
Paula2543 days ago
I thought these were delicious. I cooked in microwave and had with potatoes and Bisto gravy. What is with the loose in box thing though? While they ended up tasting fine they looked freezer burned and I expected them to taste that way. I am not sure I will buy again just because the packaging worries me. I love Quorn, the turkey loaf thing is amazing and all my meat eating friends and family were shocked how good it tasted. I was hoping for similar without having to make the whole loaf with these cutlets.
Jenny2519 days ago
There is nothing wrong with this Quorn product if you cook it properly. If someone has an allergic reaction, it isn't the companies fault and it doesn't make it any less appealing for people who aren't allergic. The "fungi" is a mushroom-type of thing, if I remember correctly. People eat mushrooms, these cutlets aren't much different.
I've never been a fan of grilled food in general, so I don't grill them. I either put them in a pan with a little oil and cook them that way for about 10 minutes. Or I run water over them, then wrap them in saran wrap (also sprinkled with water) and cook it in the microwave if I'm running low on time. Though it's much better on the stove than it is in the microwave. If it comes out dry from the microwave you've either cooked it too long, not used enough water, or both.
These are kind of bland on their own, but they're great in stir-fry, on sandwiches, etc. Sometimes I just dip them in ranch and call it a snack.

I don't get why they're just thrown in the box. I think it would be fresher if they were in plastic. But I've had unopened boxes in my freezer for up to a few months at a time and they weren't freezer burnt at all and still cooked properly.
Andy2462 days ago
I just cooked these last night - they came out great! I breaded them with some Italian seasoning, and baked them in the oven. Served with whole wheat pasta, organic tomato sauce, and sautéed chard, they made a very nice dinner.
autumn2370 days ago
these are actually one of my favorite products by Quorn! I think because there are so many possibilities with them. I make buffalo chick'n sandwiches, chick'n salad with apples and craisins, chick'n wraps. YUM
Shandi2338 days ago
I make a "chicken" stew and these get so tender and delicious after being in with the veggies, potatoes, and broth for 30 minutes.
emma2164 days ago
if you cook them in caesar dressing and eat on top of a fresh sale they are delicious. you just have to cook or serve them with a very flavorful sauce to enhance the flavor.
Yum2161 days ago
This is my favorite Quorn product of them all. I can eat this all day long and never get sick of it. I love to eat it with whole grain bread with "bacon," lettuce, and tomato with some veganaise. Best sandwhich ever. Also chopped up with pasta and tomato sauce. They make the best quick and simple lunches and dinners.
andrea1998 days ago
Everything made my Quorn is incredible...it makes being "veggie" ez!:):)
katie1796 days ago
Soak in water first!!
Celine733 days ago
I just read a lot of comments that told of the these being dry and tasteless. I have good news! I decided to try a fav chicken recipe w these Naked chic. Chicken in Balsalmic vinegar.
Even if you do not make the whole recipe here is the beginning and the you can proceed from there.
__Defrost the whole package (4 cutlets)
_Set oven to 375 degrees
_oil (olive) a baking dish
_put Quorn cutlets in and salt
_Flip cutlets and salt
ADD: enough white wine to cove cutlets half way.
Or water w fresh lemon juice
COVER w oiled parchment paper
BAKE 12 min and flip cutlets
and bake another 12 minutes
COOL in pan if uses wine.
At this time i tasted it and it was delicious...moist and did not taste of wine, but just a good flavor.

Rest of my recipe/ Marinade
_ 1/2 cup good olive oil
_ 1/4 cup Balsalmic vinegar (Fini brand)
_ zest of one lemon
_ 1/2 fresh lemon juice
_ dried tarragon about 1 Tablespoon
_ 1/4 cup of raisons/ plump raisons in boiling water for about 5 min before adding to marinade.
CUT cooled cutlets into bite sized pieces and add marinade. Marinate for at least an hour or overnight great make ahead dish.
This recipe is adapted using chicken breasts or chicken tenders from a book called CUCINA FRESCA.

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