While at lunch at The Art Bar in Cambridge, the mid-section of the menu caught my attention: Meatless Monday. There were three items listed, which included an ingredient called Gardein. After poking around the internet, I learned that Gardein is a food product made with soy, wheat and peas, rich in all of the amino acids necessary to form a complete protein (garden + protein). Although I was intrigued, I’m always skeptical about processed/packaged food products, and as a result, ordered the Lentil and Portobello burger instead.
Still, I wanted to learn more. Upon returning home, I went to Gardein’s website, at which point it became clear that meatless eaters now had a product that could provide them with a similar taste and consistency to typical meatful foods. With both fresh and frozen options, a consumer could eat everything from meatless chicken breasts to Sloppy Joes to Barbecue Riblets to Beefless Tips. This could be a vegan‘s meatless heaven (all of their food qualifies as vegan, as they are dairy, egg and meat free). Gardein products have a lot of other ingredients as well, including spices and flavoring, as well as some typical processed type ingredients, such as enriched wheat flour (niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), modified vegetable gum, soy lecithin, cornstarch, and xanthan gum.
As most of you already know, I personally believe that the whole food is much better than the sum of its parts. So, even if it is tasty and delicious (which it very well may be), if I want soy, wheat and peas, I’d rather have them in their whole form, not in a processed version. That being said, it is good to know that the vegan or plant-based food market continues to expand. And, I applaud restaurants for looking to provide non-meat options to their customers.
Have you tried Gardein? Which product(s) did you try and did you like it?