So, since Jay became a vegetarian and ruined our lives, we've had to get creative with our protein intake. LUCKILY he didn't go vegan. The problem with the whole veg-head thing is that Jay likes meat, so rather than just doing beans all the time we've gotten somewhat into the fake products. There have been some fails and some successes, and here's what we know so far.
First, we DO go really meat free a lot of nights with noodles, rice, beans, cheese, and veggie-based dishes. We also eat a TON of tofu, which I adore. We always without fail buy firm or extra-firm tofu, and I often break it up and treat it just like this ground beef for a taco filling, or I'll mix it into ricotta for veggie lasagna, and no one has a dang clue. We also of course use tofu for Asian dishes out the wazoo.
So, we aren't opposed to soy. Especially not in tofu, which is a super good form of it for you. The hyper processed fake meats with soy are a little more dicey in terms of THEY'LL DEFINITELY GIVE YOU CANCER, but who really knows anymore, right? Interestingly, we haven't tried any fake stuff that's supposed to be chicken, OR done any frozen black bean patties, even though Jay can give you a really long rundown of the best and worst veggie burgers all over town.
- Boca burgers. I've been eating them for years, and the flavor is really neutral, meaning you can season with Worcestershire and get a nice crust on the outside (I cook them in butter in a skillet) and they act pretty darn close to a burger. Original or Flame Grilled are my flavors of choice.
- Trader Joes "ground beef." Yes. Same as Boca - really mild flavor that works in whatever you put it with. We've had great luck using this in tacos, spaghetti, and lasagna. I'm a massive fan of plain spaghetti and meat sauce, and while this isn't exaaaactly like beef (duh), it makes a dang good replacement.
- Trader Joes soy chorizo. This went off the market (or at least out of our store) for awhile and we didn't know what we were going to do. Luckily it came back. I use it in this vegetarian chili, but also in tacos or to make Mexican rice bowls. The flavor to this one is really good.
We DO NOT love:
- Tofurky sausages. We had been warned by my bff, who is ALSO married to a vegetarian, that they are kind of the worst. She was right. There is a sundried tomato Italian sausage version that tastes like salty honey and ketchup mixed with paste. Even after fried in butter. Also, it molded really quickly. Shouldn't highly processed and salted fake meat products last...forever?
- Tofurky ground beef. This is actually terrible. The opposite of the TJ's version, and I bought it foolishly thinking that they'd all be the same. False. The Tofurky version is a fine texture but tastes like barbecue sauce even in a "plain ground beef" flavor. Kind of terrible when put into lasagna, and you KNOW Jay ate that shit for 6 days because 1. he decided to be a vegetarian and 2. we don't waste food.
- See a pattern?
We haven't tried:
- Tempeh (weird, huh?).
- Morningstar anything.
- Quorn. But see above, BFF's husband is all over that ish.
Know anything about those products, or anything else that is just grrreeat? We're game for new cancer-inducing experiences!
Help us branch out.