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  • {Product Review} Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips: Asian Inspired Salad

    Saturday, October 4, 2014

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    There are times when there are about six different voices in my head. Not the kind that tell me that it’s perfectly OK to eat week-old left overs or that I’m not too old to rock a pair of Doc Martens. It’s the voices that go back and forth about whether something is really healthy or better for me.

    This happens more than I should admit….

    …and it’s probably why I hate grocery shopping. I mean, it isn’t bad enough that I have to dodge miniature shopping cart wielding preschoolers and organic-seeking hipsters who seemingly have hours to interrogate the fish monger about the origin and sustainability of the salmon. No, along with having to share the aisles with all manner of humankind, I have to take my overly analytical friends-in-my-head along with me.

    So, imagine, if you will, wandering along the produce aisle and happening upon the plethora of meat substitutes housed inconspicuously in a small (often dimly lit) refrigerated case along side the stacks of fresh ginger and heirloom kale. Perhaps the companies who make meat substitutes hope that you won’t notice the ghostly pallor of most of the products there. Or maybe they know their ideal customer just can’t resist that package of vegan peperoni to pile atop that homemade cheese-less pizza they’re planning for dinner.

    Ponder vegan pepperoni for a moment…

    It’s not disconcerting enough that these products don’t appear next to, oh, I don’t know, actual meat. I mean, wouldn’t that make more sense? Maybe that package of marinated tofu would be more tempting to the guy buying a steak if it was next to, you know, the steak.

    OK…baby steps meat-eaters….Baby. Steps.

    So, here’s where the voices come in. If the ‘healthier’ ingredients have to be processed to the point that the end product doesn’t vaguely resemble said ingredients in order to create a ‘food’ that vaguely resembles animal protein, is it really better for me? Are you following me? Seriously, it’s something I ponder a lot. Not as much as I wonder whether the rest of U2 wants to punch Bono in the face (even just a once)…but a lot.

    All this to bring me to my experiment with Beyond Meat’s Chickenless Strips. I can’t count the number of times I have picked up and put down the package before I finally took the leap. The ingredients seem simple enough, and most are recognizable as actual food ingredients (something the voices tells me is a good thing), but there’s something about the texture that I find a little…

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    You know that moment when you first saw “engineered” diamonds? You knew they were totally fake…but they looked so real. I mean SO. REAL. Real enough, in fact, that you’re pretty sure that you could receive them as a gift and may never know they are imposters. Part of you is like, “I’d be so mad if I found out this diamond bracelet is fake” while another part of you is like, “well, what I don’t know…as long as it doesn’t turn my wrists green…”

    Beyond Meat’s Chickenless strips are like that. I opened the package and was surprised that they live up to the legend of being the texture of chicken breast. I mean, it’s like something a sad, starving vegan would dream up…they’re that ‘meaty’.  They are easy to chop (a little more challenging to shred) and just 6 strips have 20 grams of protein. Pretty impressive. I gave them a little sniff (not so yummy), and a taste. The (wait for it) mouth feel (getting all technical here) is chicken-like, but I didn’t really love that they felt like there was a light coating of fat on them. Fortunately that sensation largely falls away when they are added to a recipe. The recipe I had in mind when I purchased the product was for one of my favorite Trader Joe’s salads (chopped cabbage, green papaya, cilantro, chicken with a lemon dressing), so I thought this presented the perfect opportunity for my Beyond Meat Adventure.

    Asian Inspired Vegan Chicken Free salad_kindred-Kitchen_5_edited_KK

    News flash people….this stuff is pretty impressive. The texture was believable and it made completely respectable substitute in my salad. I really didn’t miss the real thing. I used the left overs in curried chickenless salad the next day (YUM!), and served the remaining strips shredded on top of a Buffalo “chicken” pizza (my husband was astonished when I told him what it was). I’m kinda pumped about the ways I might be able to use this product (so many curry recipes come to mind….).

    Overall, for those of you who are toying with the idea of reducing the amount of animal protein in your diet, this product might be a good ‘gateway’ into meatless eating as it offers a pretty easy substitute in some of your to-to chicken recipes. You may want to start with dishes like chicken chili, soup, or cacciatore , which will up the comfort level for your first adventures with the product.

    (oh, and you might be interested to know, that I was not asked to talk about Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips by the company and did not receive anything in return for the mention. Sometimes I just like to share healthy discoveries with you all…I’m awesome like that :)).

    {Product Review} Beyond Meat Chickenless Strips: Asian Inspired Salad

    servings: 1 | time: about 10 minutes

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    ingredients:

    Juice of 1/2 a lemon

    1 TBSP. tamari

    1/2 tsp. sesame oil

    1 TBSP. grapeseed oil

    1 TBSP. mirin

    2 tsp. unseasoned rice wine vinegar

    1 tsp. freshly grated ginger

    White pepper to taste

    3 cups broccoli slaw

    6 vegan “chicken” strips, chopped

    handful of cilantro, chopped

    1 scallion (green onion), chopped

    1 tsp. sesame seeds

    directions:

    1. Add the lemon juice, tamari, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, mirin, rice wine vinegar, grated ginger, and white pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine

    2. Add the broccoli slaw, vegan “chicken” strips, cilantro and scallion. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve

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