Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vegans and Fake Meat

This is an article I posted in our local online magazine.

Today we will examine vegan meats, also called faux meat, fake meat and mock meat.
The first vegan meat to discuss is seitan. The biggest controversy is how to pronounce it! Some say “Say–TAN,” hitting the T extra hard so it won’t sound like Satan, but a Japanese man told me it was pronounced more like a southerner would say it, “Sah-ee-tan.” Regardless of pronunciation, making seitan is tricky because it can come out rubbery, but there are people who can conquer it and love homemade seitan. The only seitan I have had success with is when I mail order Bacon Style Seitan Strips by Upton’s Naturals.
Kroger also has faux bacon called Lightlife Smart Bacon. In a sandwich they are great, but don’t expect either one to taste much like real bacon if you are thinking about eating it by itself. Fake bacon has not been perfected yet.
light life

Field Roast is my favorite brand of vegan meat. Country Nutrition carries Field Roast “Celebration Roast” which looks like a small stuffed turkey or pork roast. I have fed it to my husband who eats meat all the time and he finds it tasty.

Country Nutrition also carries Field Roast Frankfurters, which taste similar to a hot dog but are not greasy and are very filling. They have great flavor and are wonderful cut up in casseroles.
Field Roast Italian Sausage has a touch of fennel and has fooled people with its taste and consistency. This cannot be bought in this town; you have to travel to Common Ground Food Coop in Bloomington or mail order it. It is worth it. We do have Tofurky Italian Sausage at Fairview Kroger, and at first it did not warm my heart, but then it made a great comfort food and redeemed itself in a faux sausage, canned artichokes, mushrooms and brown rice casserole.
field roast italian
Fake bacon bits can easily be made using (TVP) Textured Vegetable Protein, a little olive oil and liquid hickory smoke flavoring in a pan on the stove top.  I watched a vegan stop eating one of my pasta salads because he thought the bacon bits were real!
bacon bits
Wal-Mart has come through with some products, including Gardein Beefless tips, which are delicious and can be added to stews or stroganoff.

Butler Soy Curls must be mail-ordered, but they taste just like pieces of chicken and are 100% natural, contain the whole soybean, are non GMO and have no chemical pesticides.  I picked these out of a creamy dish to show their texture.
soy curls in dish
Finally, there is the old standby Boca Original Chick’n Meatless Patties. They are great as a mock chicken sandwich or cut up in pasta salads.
There is even a vegan gourmet ordering service at Do click on the link! You will be amazed at how much the mock meats look like meals from an expensive restaurant.
There are more faux meats, but these are enough to show that vegans have many choices available to them. Now that we have discussed local mock meats, we will talk about the controversies surrounding fake meat in my next article.