They recently started carrying Gardein products at my local non-organic grocery store, so I bought a package of the Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n. I normally wouldn’t buy a meat analog product, but it was much cheaper than at the local Whole Foods, plus I wanted to show my support for the new vegan products (they also started carrying Vegannaise and tempeh!).

I also bought a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and made a surprisingly quick stir-fry of the two. Gardein’s “meat” always surprises me – the texture is scarily close to the real thing. Coming out of the package, the chick’n was a little slimy, just like real chicken. I can’t remember what real chicken tastes like, but I’d like to believe some of Gardein’s products could convince omnis.

I served the stir-fry alongside some bamboo rice.* My boyfriend and I both really enjoyed dinner. My mom used to make something similar when I was growing up, so it was also a little nostalgic to me.

** In a previous post, I wrote about the bamboo rice I had recently bought. Reader Roxanne found two places where you could purchase this pretty, fragrant rice if you’re interested.
Tropical Traditions (It’s the Jade Pearl Rice)
The Better Health Store


So, I wanted to talk a little about meat analogs.  I know a lot of vegans, particularly those that are really health-conscious, choose to skip any sort of “fake meat” product. Honestly, I tend to do the same thing most of the time. All those products have long ingredient lists, and they are much worse for you than if you just stuck to homemade seitan, tofu, or just having more vegetables in your dish.

That said, I do let myself splurge and enjoy meat analogs from time to time. My boyfriend enjoys vegan pepperoni on our pizzas, and I enjoy cooking with Gardein and Gimme Lean Sausage to make veganized dishes from my youth.

I also think that vegan “meats” are a fantastic way to cook for omnivores or new vegans that miss their favorite dishes.

What are your opinions on fake meat products in your vegan lifestyle?