Good day and happy Vegan (Feast) Thursday.
I am thinking it was back in late 2009 that I first was introduced to Gardein products, watching chef Tal Ronnen, on the Oprah show. Finding all these new vegan protein options opened up a whole new door of menu ideas for our Thursday night feasts, and long after those feasts came to an end, Gardein products remain a staple in our freezer. You can only imagine my delight when “the Gardein team” contacted me via this site, to ask me to review some of their products. They picked the right girl!
Last night was noodle night here at the Zipp home. Yes. I said it. Noodle night. It is one food that Mitch and I will both eat. It is easy, cheap and now that I am running again, usually doing my longest run of the week on Thursday mornings, I feel totally ok about carbing up the night before. Sometimes we want a little protein to go on top of those noodles and since Mitch and I don’t generally eat the same proteins, I will usually cook up some Gardein home style beefless tips to go with mine. That’s just what I did last night and it was a perfect meal. Simply sautéing the tips until they are brown on all sides is all it takes, and that takes under 5 minutes. I have often added onions, mushrooms and even frozen peas to the pan. Last night, I sautéed the tips all by themselves and then put them over the noodles. Easy peasy. 3/4 of a cup of the beefless tips have 170 calories and 20 grams of protein.
The week before Thanksgiving, Derek flew in and we had a pre-holiday Vegan Feast, which happily fell out on a Thursday night. What a welcome surprise it was to see Gardein roasts in the freezer at Whole Foods this year. Though previous years I have made Tofurky roasts, I never personally liked them much. I bought 2 Gardein roasts and everyone agreed they were really good. They had a yummy rice stuffing and cooked up easily in the oven, with cut up veggies surrounding them. I found I needed to put a spice mix with a good amount of paprika on top to make the top of the roast pretty. Needless to say, there were no leftovers. I didn’t pay attention to the nutritional info because it was a night to celebrate!
But talk about no leftovers…another dish I made that night is probably my all time favorite and enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike. I always say if there is just one Gardein dish to try it is my Gardein buffalo chicken wings aka tenders. This particular night I used many bags of the tenders and cut them (while still frozen) in half. I used 45 tenders, to have 90 “wings.” I baked them according to the directions, for about 25 minutes in the oven. I turned them half way through and when they were on their second side, I started the sauce, which is about 1 part Louisiana pure hot sauce to 1 part Earth balance “butter.” I melted the butter (this night I needed a lot) and added the sauce until it was a nice rich red color. This takes no time and gets poured over the tenders. They flew off that table in seconds flat as they always do. I have also used the tenders to make chicken parm and chicken parm subs. Again, following the baking instructions, I then add some marinara sauce and Daiya cheese and put back in the oven till the cheese melts. My guess is anything you like with chicken cutlets would be great with these tenders. 2 pieces have 100 calories, so I do portion control them when I make them for myself. Sometimes on a Friday night, when I don’t know what I want and am feeling like indulging a bit, I will back 4 or 5 of the tenders and make some of the buffalo sauce and I am one happy girl.
The final Gardein item I have to talk about is their breakfast patties. It’s crazy but I never, ever cared for sausage when I was a meat eater. When I saw these patties in the store, I wasn’t optimistic, but thought they might be good to have around for a quick breakfast. Less than 2 minutes in the microwave is hard to beat when short on time. I gotta admit, I am addicted to these things. There are probably healthier things to eat, but high in protein, with no cholesterol or fat and only 90 calories per patty, they are certainly not a bad choice! It’s the taste and satisfaction, though, that brings me back to them every morning. I make 2 in the microwave and put them on a half of a warmed, whole-wheat pita. I spread a little Tofutti cream cheese in the bread, which I think might be weird to some people, but the combo really works for me and keeps me full all morning, for well under 300 calories…and we know I am always counting my calories.
A few weeks ago Publix had a BuyOneGetOne sale on all their Gardein frozen foods. It’s a good thing we have a second freezer because ours were both filled. When they ran out of the breakfast patties at one Publix, Mitch was kind enough to offer to go to another one for more and I definitely took him up on it! I also mentioned this BOGO offer to my students as they are often looking for healthier, less caloric alternatives to what they usually eat, as well as good deals! I was really happy to hear that several took my suggestion and tried them. Hopefully they have been introduced to something they would not have otherwise considered trying.
You can also find Gardein items on menus at some restaurants, as well. We love Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, who has many yummy dishes designed around these products. The Yard House also has a whole Gardein section, but know that only 1 or 2 of those dishes are vegan and I find they are all loaded with salt and high in calories. Still, it is good that they offer alternatives to meat and poultry.
Thanks to the Gardein team for sending me some freebies in return for reviewing their products. I love to work for food! They also enclosed some links to recipes that I will no doubt be trying and sharing with you. I certainly hope if they need some other foods reviewed they will reach out again. I love to spread the word on vegan finds and of course all things peace and fitness.
Enjoy the rest of your Thursday. I’ll be back with more soon! Thanks for stopping in.