By Meg Claire
There’s something new and fabulous in the frozen food aisle. Something that will make your family look forward to Meatless Mondays. It’s a new fake meat called Gardein (rhymes with “protein”). It was created in 2004 by Canadian chef Yves Potvin, who also created the first veggie hot dog. Made out of grains and veggies, Gardein is high in protein, low in fat, and cholesterol-free. It looks and tastes suspiciously like the real thing and it’s entirely vegan. Gardein has recently been made famous (and more accessible) by chef Tal Ronnen, whose vegan cookbook The Conscious Cook is a New York Times bestseller.
I adapted the below recipe from one my mom cut off an Uncle Ben’s rice box in the eighties. It originally had chicken and honey in it, which I’ve replaced with Gardein’s “chicken” and maple syrup. The broccoli, mushrooms and brown rice take on great flavor from the powerful Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. My husband loves this recipe, and I can see why. It’s savory, comforting, and really substantial: perfect guy food. Gardein is also a satisfying transitional food for omnivores looking to reduce their meat intake.
Maple Dijon “Chicken” with Brown Rice
2 cups of cooked brown rice
Olive oil spray
3 pieces of Gardein “Chicken” Scalloppini (frozen)
2 cups of broccoli, cut into florets
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon, or ½ teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with olive oil spray. Add the “Chicken” pieces and sear 3 minutes on each side. Remove pieces from skillet to a plate and set aside.
Add another coat of olive oil spray to the skillet. Add onions and stir-fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and mix well. Cook for about 7 seven minutes until the broccoli are crisp-tender and the mushrooms have releases their liquid and begun to brown. Meanwhile, cut the cooled “chicken” into bite-size pieces.
Stir in rice, mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add back the “chicken” and cook, stirring until well-blended, about 3 minutes.
Have you tried Gardein? Did it's appearance and texture fool you into thinking it was real?