Gardein Vegan Rice Trios
A couple of nights ago, I mentioned that we tried the trio of Gardein vegan rice trios. When I saw them sitting there on the refrigerated shelves with the glowing $1.99 sticker slapped on front, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for us to try them. Now, if you’ve read my blabberings blog from the beginning, you may remember me having a pretty serious case of faux meat dislike. I don’t have any desire to eat meat, so why would I want something that looked like meat? Besides, the faux meats I had tried seems to taste like salty, over-processed slabs of funky junk. But then I started trying some of the vegan blogger recommended products, only to find some brands, like Gardein, were putting a very different product on the market.
Does it taste like meat? Well, it has a very familiar flavor and texture that would make it enjoyable for even my carnivorous dinner guests. It’s been a long time since I’ve had meat, so I’m not sure that I could make the comparison (or want to for my own personal sanity), but I’ve heard other people say it’s “not so meat-like that it’s creepy”. So let’s go with that! These quick vegan meals from Gardein are perfect for my many “it’s what time?!” moments when my toddler’s tummy doesn’t understand “Mommy just needs 20 minutes to slap something together”. Plus, they have plenty of veggie protein for his cute little growing self. Gardein makes all of the nutrition fact labels available on their site.
We tried all three and then my husband and I compared (the little man was less interested in analysis than chewing). They all came with the same fragrant, flavorful sweet jasmine rice. The first trio I served was the burgundy beefless tips. These were actually the favorite all around. The sauce was rich and a little tangy with mushroom slices and diced carrot.
Next was the Sicilian trio. This one was my second choice, with a tomato based sauce and “chick’n” stuffed with veggies, sauce, and Italian seasonings. I thought it had a bold flavor, without being unfamiliar, and definitely could become a comfort food treat for those with a love of Italian flavor. With all three, I loved that there was enough extra sauce to combine into the rice, pulling the flavors all together.
The third served was the Thai trio. This one stayed off the little man’s plate because he hasn’t yet developed his parents’ love of spicy (if he grabs something with even the slightest heat he starts trying to wipe off his tongue with his hand), but was the second favorite choice for the husband. The “chick’n” was in a red curry sauce and stuffed with sauce and veggies. The heat of the curry was enjoyable rather than overpowering and the sweetness of the rice combined nicely.
Both of us agreed that there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch and our rankings were more of a personal flavor preference than “ugh, that one is just off”. I could definitely see keeping a couple of these on hand for the aforementioned mealtime emergencies (especially if I can catch that $1.99 sticker again!) or even to impress my vegan skeptical friends and family. In fact, I think I’m going to suggest these to everyone, especially my mom, for great office lunches. She’s always worrying about protein and the giant 22 grams of protein exclaimed on the packaging will excite her. As far as portion sizes go, the single serving trios are very filling and contain what I felt like was plenty of food. If you’ve tried them or other Gardein products let me know what you think! I’d love to try some of your favorites as well.