There is a lot of talk about faux meats in the vegan world. Many vegans don’t understand the appeal of fake-meat burgers, hot dogs, ground “meats”, etc. Those vegans tend to state that they don’t miss the tastes and/or textures of meat, and therefore have no desire to consume any products made to resemble them. I happen to be on the other end of this particular teeter-totter. I, and many vegans I’ve talked to online, LIKE faux meat products – they help fill a void left by those foods we were all raised to eat, are used to eating, and might miss for some reason or another.
Last week I decided to try my first Gardein products – I had heard of the brand before, had even seen their products in my usual grocery store, but had never taken the leap to actually trying anything by them. The date of purchase, though, I just happened to be Craving (with a capital ‘C’) a chicken burger so gosh-darned bad. I know that sounds terrible, and I’m not proud of myself, but it just was what it was. So, I grabbed a box of these Chick’n Sliders to try.
When you open up a box of Gardein Crispy Chick’n Sliders you find yourself with two plastic-wrapped packages. Inside each package is two small slider burgers, buns and all. For my first go, I chose to make two of the burgers instead of all four, and picked the quickest way to get them into my belly, which was using the stovetop. I heated just a touch of oil on a skillet and then fried each of the burgers for about five to six minutes per side. The recommended cooking time is only three to four minutes, but I like everything a little extra crispy so I kept the patties on longer. In the last minute of cooking I added the two buns, face down, as directed by the cooking instructions on the package. After I took the skillet off the heat, I swiped a layer of Veganaise on to each side of the bun, added lettuce, and then patties.
As far as taste and texture go, the chick’n patties met my expectations. Though small, the burgers were hearty and filling, and pleasing to the palate. I wouldn’t say they tasted exactly like chicken, but that wasn’t what I was expecting anyways. The most important thing to me was quieting that annoying craving without heading to my nearest McDonalds; I’m happy to say that my hunger for “flesh” was more than satisfied. My only complaint about the Chick’n Sliders pertains to the buns. For some reason I found the slider buns sweet, which put me off a bit. The buns are also slightly domed, so when I heated them up on the skillet the crest of the top over-cooked while the rest of the bun remained slightly chilled. Next time, I will look for Gardein patties specifically, and get the bread to go with them separately.
The only OTHER downside to the Gardein Crispy Chick’n Sliders is the ingredient list. As any successful vegan will tell you, eating whole foods is the way to a healthy and happy body. Often the complaints regarding faux meat products is how chemically processed they tend to be, and Gardein’s sliders are no exception.
But, for a quick fix, or to soothe the savage hunger beast in your belly, these will definitely do in a pinch.