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Review of the Latest Gardein Products to Hit Australia

Gardein Meatless Meatballs

There was a fair bit of excitement when Gardein products finally landed in Australia and we were able to get a repeat of that excitement when more products began shipping here. My review of the first batch of Gardein products was quite favourable and these new products are pretty tasty too. First up, the Meatless Meatballs. The packet instructions suggest you place the meatballs in your favourite pasta sauce, so that’s exactly what I did, though because I already had the oven on I decided to cook them (in the oven) first to get nice and brown. I made another pasta meal without cooking the meatballs first (I cooked them in the pasta sauce) and they were fine. The photo above shows my homemade pasta sauce which is made with tomatoes, roasted red capsicum and sundried tomatoes. I really liked the meatballs with this sauce and would happily eat them in a sub kind of sandwich or wrap next time.

Next up, the Crabless Cakes. I’ve never had a non-vegan crab cake but I was assured by a former crab cake eater that these do taste like crab cakes and are a great animal-free alternative. I’m happy to believe that, because they had that fishy flavour, with a little spicy flavouring too.

Gardein Crabless Cakes

The Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites had that exact same taste and texture that you find in non-vegan sweet and sour pork dishes. I used to order that now and then from Chinese restaurants in the past and this vegan version did not disappoint. I stir fried some vegetables and served this over rice. I tried to be a little more imaginative but really, this is the way to serve this dish!

Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites

For the Sweet and Tangy BBQ Wings, I wanted to have them in a wrap with something fruity on the side. I was a bit too lazy to make a proper nectarine salsa, so I just cooked up some brown rice quinoa mix and a red onion, and had it in a wrap with leafy greens and sliced nectarine. I like anything smoky flavoured, so I enjoyed this. If you’re a fan of BBQ style pizzas with those smoky toppings, give these a go:

Gardein Sweet and Tangy BBQ Wings

The final product I tried was the Beefless Ground. This is pretty much your vegan ground beef/mince meat alternative. I had wanted to experiment with a vegan version of my Mum’s moussaka, so I used the mince here and added some brown lentils to bulk it up a bit more. The Beefless Ground is easy to cook with and is already flavoured, so I didn’t add much to it. It’s on the sweet side which I don’t think worked that well in a moussaka but might do better in a lasagna. I’m not used to my bolognese style sauces being sweet and in the 90s when I traveled to the US and Canada, I was surprised that every meat sauce I tried (in restaurants or store bought) was sweet! Still, I liked the flavour though because it is on the sweet side, I would be quite picky about how to use it.

Gardein Beefless Ground in moussaka

 

If you’d like to see where Gardein products are stocked near you in Australia, check out the Gardein Australia Facebook page. In Australia, the distributor is Plant-Based Foods. Check out Plant-Based Foods’ website to see what other products they stock.

* Disclaimer: These products were sent to me for review purposes: thank you to Plant-Based Foods. All opinions are my own and I receive no compensation– I will only recommend products I am genuinely happy with!

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What I Ate… Lately

Whoops, a bit late with this again so let me distract you with a cat staring at fruit picture:

cat with fruit

My giveaway (for US readers) for Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen is still running here for a few more hours yet! One of the meals I’d made was a chickpea spinach curry and I’d frozen some leftovers. This is one of my favourites:

chickpea spinach curry

I have a review coming up of the new Gardein products (well, new to Australia at least!). So far I’ve tried the beefless meatballs. Here I’ve served them with a roasted red pepper and tomato sauce I’d made previously:

gardein beefless meatballs

Also from the new Gardein range are the Sweet and Tangy Barbecue Wings. They come with a sachet of sauce and I had them on a quinoa wrap topped with baby spinach, a rice-quinoa mix, nectarines and cooked red onion:

gardein bbq wings

I was on a bit of a mission to use stuff in the house. I’ve had these yuba (dried bean curd) sheets for ages. I love those crispy bean curd rolls and thought I’d try my own with a filling of all the veggies lying forgotten in the fridge plus garlic and ginger. It was a near disaster, the yuba sheets were impossible to separate without bits breaking everywhere so I had no choice but to soak multiple stuck-together sheets then try and get enough of the yuba to form a wrap. It worked in the end even though the rolls looked awful but once they finished baking, they were okay:

yuba veggie rolls

We went out for some errands then the whole family was hungry. Grill’d was nearby so I got the Friends of Falafel burger (make sure to mention you want it vegan):

Grill'd felafel burger

The rest of what I ate is poopy looking smoothies (you know that colour you get when you have blueberries and greens together?). Most of the time my breakfast is a smoothie or overnight oats. Other times I’ve simply forgotten to take photos of my lunches and dinners!

I’ve started a Facebook page as a tie-in with this blog (after being resistant to the idea for ages). It’s not looking all fancy yet and I’m still learning how to do Facebook page admin stuff, but I’ll be posting more animal/vegan related links there, photos and so on. Certainly photos of my cats because they give me lots of ridiculous content. You can find the Veganopoulous page at http://www.facebook.com/Veganopoulous-745083332264944/

Have an ace weekend!

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Product Review: Everything Gardein

Gardein Mandarin Chick'n

Gardein products finally made it to Australia in June. Hurrah! I’ve seen so many Gardein recipes and pictures from favourite bloggers based in North America and it’s awesome that Gardein are now available for Australians to join in the fun. I was lucky to receive three samples for review. Many thanks to Plant Based Foods for sending those my way!

First up is my favourite so far, the Sizzling Szechuan Beefless strips. I followed the oven bake method and you then toss the strips in the spicy sweet sauce provided. It was a real challenge trying not to eat all the strips before assembling the plate and taking photo. I stir fried some red capsicum, broccoli and carrot and tossed those in the sauce too (that piece of broccoli at the front there just wouldn’t stay still so I gave up). This dish reminded me of a holiday in Canada back in the 90s, where my friend would always order Szechuan Beef from the local Chinese restaurant. I wasn’t vegan back then, and your common Australian Chinese restaurant menus never seemed to have this dish even though it seemed to be on every restaurant menu in North America at the time. I’m really pleased to have a vegan version:

Gardein Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips

Next up are the Chipotle Black Bean Burgers. I really like these, the chipotle added a nice kick and I’d certainly buy these again. They’re gluten free too. When nectarines are back in season I’ll make a spicy salsa and add some guacamole:
Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burger

The Crispy Chick’n Sliders are a convenient quick snack option. The buns are included in the four-pack of sliders. The buns are the sweeter sort that I encountered everywhere on my travels to the US. In Australian bakeries our plain hamburger rolls are not sweet. I cooked the sliders in a non-stick pan (no oil required). You add the buns to the pan to warm them just before the sliders are done. The sliders themselves are not as flavoursome as I had anticipated but they do make a good base for whatever flavours you want to add. I enjoyed mine with salad and lemon scented mayonnaise:

Gardein Chick'n Sliders

The Golden Fishless Filets were incredibly fish fillety. I never liked fish before I was vegan and when eating these I had that momentary panic of “maybe I got it all wrong and this is the one non-vegan product in the range”. It’s all vegan of course. Arthur loved these and has put in an order for many more (and yes, that’s an awful lot of empty space in the photo. The other dishes were in the dishwasher so big dish it was):

Gardein Fishless Fillet

Okay so I’m not very adventurous when it comes to burger fillings. I’m happy with greens, red onion and tomato (if you haven’t noticed already). I toasted some bread for these as we didn’t have any bread rolls at home. These taste exactly like chicken burgers I used to get many years ago from fish and chip shops:

Gardein Chick'n Patties

The Mandarin Crispy Chick’n (shown in the top photo) comes with a packet of sauce. I made the Kung Pow Chick’n recipe from the Gardein website, which calls for adding some garlic, ginger, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to the provided sauce. I cooked these in a frying pan with a little sesame oil. The texture was softer than chicken though next time I’ll oven bake them to see if they turn out differently.

I knew the kids would go for the Seven Grain Crispy Tenders. We tried some plain to begin with, dipped in tomato sauce. These make a great filling for a salad wrap:

Gardein Seven Grain Chick'n Tenders

Finally, the Chick’n Scallopini.  I marinated the scallopini in a little lemon juice, olive oil and dried mixed herbs then served it on top of some roast garlic and dill mashed potato. The texture of the Scallopini is like the Fishless filets, though obviously without the fish taste. This was quite chicken-like and does well on its own with some veggies, or as part of, well any meal you like really! The Scallopini is also gluten free:

Gardein Chick'n Scallopini

I also bought the Teriyaki Chick’n Strips but haven’t used those yet.

Overall I liked everything I tried. Some of the products will be purchased again and will come in handy for those times when I’ve completely forgotten about getting dinner ready. I did find that when I baked the Fishless Filet, Crispy Chick’n Patties and the Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, they all released a fair bit of oil though nothing a paper towel couldn’t fix.

I purchased my Gardein products from La Manna supermarket at Essendon Fields. Until July 26th the range costs $8.99 each, currently making La Manna the cheapest option to my knowledge. Other stockists include the Cruelty Free Shop, Prahran Convenience Store, Smith & Deli, selected IGA supermarkets and more. Please check the Gardein Australia Facebook page for info on their stockists.

The Gardein website has loads of recipe ideas and videos too. I’ve bookmarked quite a few ideas to try. I just need to decide where to start as everything looks good!

Disclaimer: I received a packet of Chipotle Black Bean Burgers, Szechuan Beefless Strips and Crispy Chick’n Patties for review. The remaining products were purchased by me.