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Food Review: Quorn Cheese Burgers

Quorn has introduced two new meat alternative products, both of them being burgers. So far I’ve only tried the Quorn Cheese Burgers (was going to add the usual link to the product on the companies site but they don’t have this listed yet, so this goes to their main site). If I were to guess, the regular burger doesn’t taste that much different, but I will review that in another post.

Until now, I’ve loved, lived and sworn by the MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers, sorry my friends, you’ve been dethroned. Quorn’s new product are so similar to a regular burger it’s crazy. It’s not like a hand pattied beef burger, more like a frozen burger (that’s the idea right?).

The patty had a good smoky flavor, even when I pan fried it. In a bun with some catsup, mustard and relish even the most discriminating meat eater would be fooled. I didn’t notice a very cheesy flavor to the patty, again maybe that’ll change once I try the non-cheese patty.

I just want to add this bit, because I’ve been e-mailed by a few people about it. I’ve read the “controversy” about people getting sick, or better yet, having allergic reactions to some Quorn products. I even got into a disagreement with a co-worker about it. I understand how the product is made, I know all of it. I’ve read both sides of the argument.

I’d love to say this though, what are you allergic too? Are you allergic to peanuts? What do you do about it? You avoid them correct? Seems simple enough but some people don’t get it. If you are allergic to something, and have a reaction because of it, stay away from it. My son is allergic to shellfish and guess what? We don’t feed it to him.

Food Review: Lightlife Smart Dogs

I’ve cooked these a couple different ways, and while one way was better than the other, I was not impressed by either.

I had to check the date on the package once I opened these up, there was an odd scent in the air. The date was good, still not sure what the smell was…

I cooked them in the microwave the first go round. Popped em in a bun, added the usual catsup, mustard and relish. First bite… the flavor and texture were quite a bit “off”. The Smart Dog was a bit chewy and the flavor tasted like it went bad. This way was not the right way to cook it, the results proved that.

This afternoon I meant to put them in some mac and cheese, but put the kids hot dogs into the mac while it was cooking. So I had to eat these on a bun again. This go round I browned em up a bit in a skillet with a little butter. The flavor this time was better, but the texture was way off again. The browning seemed to create a crust of sorts, which made it very difficult to bite through.

I know the directions say to boil them, but I could never eat boiled hot dogs, so I’ve avoided cooking them that way. Maybe the next time I try them I will boil them to give them a fair enough shot.

Food Review: Dominex Eggplant Burgers

With all the choices out there, it’s hard to find a decent vegetarian/ vegan burger alternative. Dominex has broken the mold a bit with their Dominex Eggplant Burgers.

Combining textured soy proteins, flavorings and most importantly, fresh eggplant, these burgers are a nice flavor change. Dominex claims to use the skins and seeds of the eggplant, which is evident upon inspection of the patty. The eggplant is a strong flavor, but not so much here. You can taste it, there is no doubt about it, but it is not overpowering.

There is a nice smoky flavor to the patty as well, which after grilling it, made it taste a bit more like a real burger. But don’t be fooled, it really doesn’t taste like a real burger, it tastes like an eggplant burger.

If you are an eggplant aficionado  these burgers will be right up your alley. If not, and your taste for eggplant is iffy, it’s still worth trying. Like previously mentioned, I was never a big eggplant fan, but recently I have reintroduced it into my diet and have been pleasantly surprised at it’s likeability.

Food Review: MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers

There are a plethora of veggie burgers out there. It can be quite overwhelming actually. Years ago I tried to go vegetarian, before this current “try”, and I bought a lot of MorningStar products as they seemed to be the most readily available.

These MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime Veggie Burgers burgers are awesome, and the closest so far to real meat that I’ve tried. That may or may not be your goal, but sometimes I have the craving for something as close as possible.

The texture is great, and being a veggie burger, has none of the gristle of meat. One of the reasons I went vegetarian is because of all that gristle, it got to the point I would get sick whenever that stuff found it’s way into my mouth while eating a burger.

The flavor is good too, there’s a nice smoky flavor and no weird manufactured aftertaste I’ve found in a few veggie burgers. If you are looking for the closest to the real thing as possible, or just an overall tasty veggie burger, the Grillers Prime from MorningStar ought to satisfy the toughest palates.

Food Review: Lightlife Smart Bacon

One of the things I miss the most about not eating meat anymore is bacon. To be blunt, I f$#kin’ loved to eat bacon. I know it’s gross but I could eat nearly a whole package. I put it on everything too, from burgers to salads and everything in between. I even ate it in sandwich form with bread, mayo and bacon. No BLT’s here, just bacon!

So I was really looking forward to finding an alternative. Lightlife has been very consistent so I was excited to try Lightlife Smart Bacon. I tried it in a variety of ways and have to say, some of the experiences were better than others.

Alone, I’m not 100% digging it. I cooked it two ways, in the microwave and in a pan. The pan way was definitely better, but both ways reminded me of jerky. The pan way was a little less jerky-like as it had more of a crunch. The crunch though was not the same, bacon has a crispness to it, crunchiness is way different and was a bit unpleasant.

I added a few strips to a sandwich, a BLT. When put together with other ingredients, the Smart Bacon was very enjoyable. I cooked it in the microwave for the sandwich, and it had a bit more chewiness to it which worked great for the sandwich.

I also crumbled up some strips from the pan and added it to a salad. It was great and works fantastically as a bacon crumble.

I would definitely buy and eat this again, but will be keeping my eye out for other bacon-like products to see if one is a little closer to the real thing.

Food Review: Quorn Meatless Meatball

This was my first encounter with a Quorn beef-like product. I used to love meatballs in my pasta, and loved meatball sandwiches. So I tried these out in both meals.

My mother-in-law had made me some awesome veggie lasagna the other day so I warmed some of that up and added a few Quorn Meatless Meatballs. They fit in perfectly and had a nice Italian like flavor to them. They were somewhat typical of what any freezer meatball might have tasted like, but I was comforted by the fact I could eat these knowing they fit into my vegetarian diet.

Yesterday, for some stupid reason, I hadn’t eaten anything all day. It was about 4pm that I decided I needed something to eat. I grabbed some “everything” Italian Bread, a few meatless meatballs, a couple slices of mozzarella and some red sauce.

The bread went into the toaster for a bit, to add some crunch and to help melt the cheese. I microwaved the meatless meatballs and the sauce together. I sliced the meatballs in half and laid the halves on the bread with the cheese placed over top.

The sandwich was fantastic and was exactly what I needed. It was filling, but not heavy. To be honest, I hadn’t eaten till 4pm because my stomach wasn’t feeling so hot. This sandwich worked out perfectly and tamed the grumbly beast, better known as my stomach.

All in all, I give the Quorn Meatless Meatballs a huge thumbs up.

Food Review: Qourn Chik’n Patties

I’ve always loved fake chicken patties, for some reason they always tasted better than the “real” thing. Quorn’s Chicken Patty was a bit different though than the usual fake chicken patty, as they do not contain any soy. The texture was not as spongy, and didn’t seem like it was some sort of processed chicken, or fake chicken for that matter. Between the mico-proteins and the wheat proteins there is plenty of texture to sink your teeth into.

The nicely breaded patty had more of breast of chicken feel. Again, rather than it being a spongy like processed patty, it felt, and tasted, like a breast of chicken was breaded and served up. The patty was larger than the standard fake patty, so was more fulfilling. It made the patty that more enjoyable.

As for taste, I was surprised at how close in taste it was to real chicken. I know just about anything can be made to taste like chicken, you hear folks joke about it all the time, but this patty truly tasted, and felt, like chicken.

So far, Quorn has hit the mark every time for me.

Food Review: Bumble Bars

I love seeds and nuts so I was pleasantly surprised when I tore into my first Bumble Bar. For lack of a better description, the bar resembles a suet cake. I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s unfortunately the only way to describe the look of this bar.

As you can imagine, the flavor is very earthy with the seeds and nuts, but there are a variety of flavors one can choose from to “enhance” the Bumble Bar experience. The base of a Bumble Bar is made from sesame seeds and quite a bit of flax. Both the sesame and flax seeds have huge amounts of health benefits. It’s quite amazing actually that something so small could be so beneficial to one’s health. Both have been used for hundreds of years, the sesame seed actually being one of the worlds oldest condiments.

I tried 6 different Bumble Bars (Mixed Nut, Almond, Hazelnut, Lemon, Original and Chocolate). My favorite was the lemon, reminded me of the lemon cakes my mom used to make for me. She always thought lemon was my favorite flavor, and year after year she would make me a lemon cake. This carries on today, as she told my wife about my supposed lemon obsession, so she does everything in lemon flavor as well. Yes I like lemon, but not as much as everyone think, getting off topic here though.

I enjoyed every one of the Bumble Bars. While they are not a meal replacement, as I’m sure they are not intended to be, they are quite a filling snack. This will tide you over between meals and is way better for you than a snickers or some other overly processed snack product.

Bumble Bar is organic and gluten free. They also claim to be ethically sourced, whether that be their recycled boxes, cornstarch packing peanuts to the biodegradable cleaning products they use in the processing facility. They deal with farming co-ops throughout the world, where the money goes back into local communities instead of the hands of some corporation that barely gives farmers anything for their hard work.

I love these bars and hope you’ll give them a shot. If you’ve tried them, I’d love to see your thoughts in a comment below.

Food Review: Lightlife Smart Deli Turkey

After trying Lightlife’s Smart Deli Bologna I knew I’d have to try the other deli products. Lightlife’s Smart Deli Turkey is a great alternative to real turkey. Not only does it have the texture, but also the flavor of regular turkey.

I’ve been on a big hummus kick lately and have been using some spinach and artichoke hummus on everything, I figured the Lightlife Smart Deli Turkey would be a perfect match. So I spread some hummus on both sides of the bread (whole grain wheat), some cheese on both sides and some loose leaf spinach. In went 3 slices of the turkey and it was lunch time. Yeah, I was right, it all worked well together and Ive had the sandwich a couple times since making this one. Mmmmm

I didn’t try this on its own, Ive never been someone who enjoys deli meats, or alternatives for that matter, on their own. So I can’t give you an opinion one way or another, but in the sandwich it couldn’t have tasted better for not being the “real deal”.

I’m extremely grateful to companies like Lightlife that have been making it easier for those converting from a meat diet to a veggie diet. They’ve been doing it for a long time and it shows in their products.

Food Review: Gardein Beefless Tips

Again, not letdown from Gardein!

I’ve tried alternative beef products before, and was repulsed at the flavor, texture and overall appearance. Gardein’s Beefless Tips are the closest thing to real beef you are going to get.

Like I mentioned on the main page for these reviews, I am a former meat eater looking for alternatives to fill the void left by no longer eating meat. I’m not looking to live my life as a rabbit, but I choose not to eat them either.

Anyway, I’m going to fill you in on how I prepared these so you can enjoy them as much as I did. The finished product was like a Wild Rice Stew w/ veggies and Gardein Beefless Tips.

I heated up a frying pan with some oil and dropped these guys right in. After pan frying them, browning them up on all sides, I took the tips out and placed them on some paper towels to drain some of the oil. I decided the easiest way to make a stock would be with all the stuff leftover in the pan, a sort of gravy stock if you will. It didn’t turn out as thick as it sounds though. Read more