Kathy Freston turned me onto gardein's meat-free products when she picked them as her favorite healthy food of 2009. The company's products are developed by celebrity vegan chef, Tal Ronnen, who was just recently on Ellen's show and who you might remember as Oprah's chef on her 21-day vegan cleanse.
Let me start by saying I'm a meat-lover. I consume much less now, as eating a more plant-based diet is still a process. When I do eat meat, I always opt for grass-fed organic, but I still love it, and still enjoy it on occasion. With that being said, I felt if I was going to give gardein a proper review, it should include one of their dishes that I was very familiar with -- a dish I even had my own wedding -- pulled-pork. gardein's meat-free alternative is called bbq pulled shreds, and now to the review:
Taste: I was pleasantly surprised. Usually when you try to substitute meat with something that's imitating meat it's a total disaster. This wasn't the case. Although I could tell the shreds didn't come from a top BBQ joint, I felt they could pass for average pulled-pork that you'd fine at a lot of restaurants around the country. I think this alone is a huge compliment.
Calories: The 9oz package comes in at 320 calories (this is a total of 2 servings, but probably 1 serving if you're hungry), containing 38g of protein and 32g of carbohydrates.
Convenience: I popped it in the microwave and it was ready to go in just 2 minutes.
Price: $4-$5 depending on the retailer. Not too bad for a meal.
Overall, I'd say gardein has a very solid alternative for someone who is looking for a meat-free alternative to a BBQ classic.