Is fake meat edible?

Quitting meat cold-turkey (sorry, bad pun) isn’t going to work for John. But what about slipping in some fake meat products to try to fool him? Well, I figure he’d probably notice, but I thought that perhaps he might actually like some 0f these faux meat products. Personally, I don’t like meat and don’t miss it at all, but since I love my husband and want Operation Carnivore Conversion to work, off I went to the grocery store – a few of them – to hunt down some free-roaming veggies-masquerading-as-flesh and try it out on him…and on me too. Here’s what we found:

Vegetarian Ginger Chicken in Ginger Basil Sauce by Vegetarian Plus

Purchased at Whole Food
Verdict: Edible!
Review: John liked it and said he’d eat it again! I also liked it – good flavor, decent texture. Worked very well in stir-fry. I nuked it first, then tossed it in the stir fry once everything was cooked and ready to serve.

Beefless Beef Tips by Gardein
Purchased at Whole Foods
Verdict: Blehkk. Avoid like a flesh-eating bacteria.
Review: It was just all-around wrong. The texture was kinda squishy and the flavor was weird, even though I marinated it in fajita sauce for a couple of hours. I tried it in fajitas and John, our friends and I all picked around the ‘beef’ tips since the vegetables were way better.

Purchased at Whole Foods
Verdict: Edible!
Review: I used this in a vegan white bean quesadilla and John really liked it! I even liked it, which is saying something since I had never tried chorizo before and the thought of a vegan version scared me. One note though: if you want a chunkier consistency, don’t add it until the dish is damn near done. I added it while I was simmering and blending the other ingredients and it just broke apart and blended with everything else. Is real chorizo supposed to do that? Who knows. But I have a feeling that this will maintain a chunkier texture if you add it only at the end.

Coconut Curry Tempeh
Purchased at Whole Foods
Verdict: Should be used only as building material
Review: This cardboard-textured ‘food’ (how can it honestly call itself food?) damn near permanently derailed Operation Carnivore Conversion. I tried it in a super flavorful Thai red curry but both John and I nearly gagged when we tried it.

Morningstar Farms fake sausage links
Purchased at Safeway
Verdict: Edible!
Review: John really liked it and said he’d eat it again, but he says that it needs to be on his fork with some other form of breakfast food. I tried it and, well, I suppose I’m not a good judge since I hated ‘the real thing’ when my parents forced me to eat it during my childhood. I didn’t like this fake sausage very much since it had too much of a meat-like texture for me and the flavor was sorta meaty too – yuck.

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Categories: Faux meat reviews


Cimeron Morrissey is an award-winning magazine writer who writes about her passions, which include travel, water sports, animal rescue and food.

Operation Carnivore Conversion

This is Operation Carnivore Conversion, an ambitious and potentially hazardous project to transform my meat-loving husband into a vegetarian. Recognizing that his diet was shared by Tyrannosauruses but not by humans who live very long, he has decided - reluctantly - to try to dramatically reduce his consumption of animal-based foods. The success of this project relies on my ability to serve inventive and tasty meals that would satisfy even a femur-gnawing caveman (and to prepare them in less than 30 minutes since I don't have much time). This is a high-risk endeavor. If my husband feels deprived or underwhelmed, he will see my arms as snack-shaped objects and/or whine me to death. Failure is not an option. Oh boy, here we go!

3 Comments on “Is fake meat edible?”

  1. Rhonda
    January 15, 2012 at 4:53 am #

    OOOoo, I think your problem with the Gardein may have been the marinating. That stuff needs to go into a skillet and blasted until the edges turn really dark, almost seared. The texture is great that way (at least we think so.) Failing that, you could try the mushroom-based ‘steak tips’ or ‘beef tips’ from Garden Fresh in Palo Alto. Yummmmmmm.

    • Cimeron
      January 15, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      Unfortunately, that stuff doesn’t work for either of us. I tried it un-marinated and our opinion of it didn’t change. Bummer – I had high hopes for it! Just found out about a fake meat supplier in Oakland who apparently has awesome stuff that we’re willing to try. If you’d like to take a field trip there with me sometime soon, let me know Rhonda! 🙂

  2. Rhonda
    January 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Sounds fun!!

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