I'm quickly becoming a fan of the Gardein product line though I'm not really sure what to call their products: Fake meat? Faux meat? Alternative meat? Meatless meat?
Their name is a play on the words "Garden" and "Protein" since it's a combination of vegetables, vegetable proteins and seasonings from the garden.
The first product I tried was the BBQ Pulled Shreds, which is a very realistic version of pulled pork. I found it in the refrigerated section at Safeway and brought a package home. Turns out one package will make two sandwiches.
To spice it up I added freshly diced jalapenos from my own garden! Mmmm chopped shreds added to chili with beans would make an awesome chili or burrito filling. But I digress, back to the sandwich I was telling you about.
The shreds come in a small cardboard box, inside of which they are wrapped in plastic.
I cut open one end of the bag and push out half the shreds into a small bowl. The directions say microwaving works best. I set the heat to one minute and covered the bowl.
After one minute I remove the bowl from the microwave, added some shredded cheese, recovered then heated the shreds for 30 more seconds to melt the cheese.
It looks like this.
While the shreds were heating I heated a wheat burger bun in my toaster oven placing it top side down on a cookie sheet to toast the interior surface of the bun by baking it for a few minutes at 300º.
When everything was ready I used a fork to gently slide the shreds and cheese from the bowl right onto the bun.
It's so easy and doesn't it look good?
I've tried two combinations so far, this one is spicy with diced jalapenos and yellow onion. If I want it sweet I leave out the jalapenos and add some bread and butter pickle chips. Both ways are really good!
The sauce itself is a bit on the sweet side for my taste so I may experiment a bit and add in a few more seasoning to balance it out. I hope someday they offer plain shreds you can add your own sauce to. I guess I could try rinsing the sauce off for now and replace it with my preferred brand and see how that goes.
Yum! Dinner's ready!
CLICK HERE for their zip code locater to see who sells Gardein products in your neighborhood.
In San Jose, CA Safeway, Lucky, Nob Hill and Whole Foods all carry the Gardein product line.
Both fresh (refrigerated) and frozen products are available so if you want to try them make sure you check both areas at your local grocery store.
And CLICK HERE for a national list of restaurants that offer Gardein products on their menus.
I first learned about Gardein products when I attended the Fork Lifting event for the new LYFE Kitchen restaurant opening in Palo Alto,CA this September. I tasted the Beefless Tips for the first time at the LYFE Kitchen cooking demo with Chef Tal Ronned just this past week. To read more about each event here are the links:
LYFE Kitchen: The Evolution of Delicious, Affordable, Healthy Restaurant Food
LYFE Kitchen's Tal Ronnen Taught Me How to Cook!