Gardein: A Vegan Lifesaver

Gardein Bites

In case you've forgotten, one of our editors, Dan Kamys, is undergoing a switch to veganism in the New Year. Though he is currently in the vegetarian phase, he is actively seeking out products to properly transition him to the full switch. Gardein, a plant-based meat substitute, has finally filled the void of delicious meat, at least for Dan. Read on to learn more about this fantastic product for vegetarians, vegans, and those trying to eat healthier.

Though I'm boldly going on this transition, I freely admit that most meat-substitutes are utter garbage. They taste like rubbery, bland shoe leather and have the same consistency. That is, all of them except for Gardein

I should've known that Gardein was good when it took up three shelves of the vegan section at my local supermarket. But how good is it? Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good. That's four pretties to curb your skepticism.

The name Gardein comes from a combo of the words Garden and Protein. Pretty clever, isn't it? I think so. Anyway, one of my main concerns about switching to a plant-based diet was that there would be nothing to replace the taste of meat.

There are a ton of reasons not to eat meat, but the strongest reason to eat meat is the taste. Believe me, I know that. As a foodie, I didn’t want the quality of my food to suffer as a result of cutting meat out. For 22 years I’ve been eating meat, and I had no idea what to expect when I tried the fake meats.

I’d tried all the fake meats possible. Tofu, tempeh, seitan, but nothing captured the texture and flavor of meat. They were like rubbery shoes that had been warmed in the oven. Then came Gardein. I tried the meatless crispy chicken strips this weekend, mainly because I felt lazy and I wanted junk food. I pan fried them until they were golden brown and served them with some ranch dressing (again, not vegan yet).

My god, these were great. The crispiness was there, but I expected that because a good batter can make anything crispy. But biting into the actual gardein piece was unbelievable. The texture of the meat was like a piece of chicken, and the taste was so close I think it’d fool anyone who didn’t know otherwise.

They make so many different variations, everything from scallopini to BBQ skewers and a holiday roast. I’m going to be trying more, but Gardein has definitely made my decision a lot easier since I can regain the taste and texture that I so missed. Believe me, I’ll be sharing how they taste and some recipes using Gardein.

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