Gardein Skewers with a little home-made bbq sauce on top
I've recently discovered an amazing new brand of imitation meat that tops everything I've used before. All of a sudden, I'm finding Gardein products everywhere - Fresh Direct, ShopRite and Fairway to name a few. In the past year, we've been making special trips to Trader Joe's to stock up on basket-fulls of Chicken-less BBQ Pulled Chicken, and Beef-less and Chicken-less strips. Little did I know that this company, Gardein, was behind all of this innovation.
Gardein was founded by Yves Potvin, previously of Yves Veggie Cuisine. According to his interview in Tal Ronnen's The Concsious Cook, he created the original veggie hot dog out of a desire to enjoy the convenience and taste of hotdogs, without the cholesterol. In his new venture, Gardein (Garden + Protein = Gardein), he focuses not only on convenience and deliciousness, but more-so on the health benefits of plant-only proteins.
In two weeks since finding this new protein, researching it, and even purchasing Tal's cookbook featuring it, I've learned more about plant-proteins than I have in my whole life. My reason for eating these fake meats has been mainly because they make it easier for me to use my existing cooking knowledge (from a life of preparing meat-centered meals) to make interesting meals for my vegetarian husband. He seems to really like them, and I've gotten quite used to them. But with the emergence of this brand, and the birth of new cooking styles centered around it's products, there is a wealth of well-marketed information poised to revolutionize the way the world eats protein. Gardein products are high in protein, low fat, and cholesterol free. Increased acceptance of this type of protein could also significantly reduce our reliance on the mass-reproduction of animals solely for human consumption, as the world population continues to grow and increase demand.
Even if you don't care about the animals, the earth, or your health - these new products are a happy addition to our food pyramid. As a meat-loving health-obsessed semi-ecoconscious wife of a vegetarian - I find myself actually choosing Gardein beef skewers over the real ones. Even my fellow barbecue goers who tried them will agree - they're not half bad!