Monday, April 30, 2007


Best Blog Tips

Spice Island Vegan told me about tasting the Gardein "Chick'n Breast" in a vegan restaurant in southern California and thought they were very good, so I couldn't resist when I saw them in my local health food store. I also bought the "Veggie Chick'n Strips". They aren't cheap, but not unduly expensive for two good servings (up to 4-5 servings for the strips if you mix them with other foods). UPDATE April 2017-- Gardein has been bought out my an American company and now we in Canada can only buy a very few of their products.

The "breasts" come already in a light sauce-- I got the Dijon mustard one. I saved it for a night when I was exhausted from working on the newsletter (I have had the computer week from hell!!-- corrupted files, disappearing uploads, internet service down....). I Just heated them in the microwave while I made a salad and cooked some orzo in veggie broth with mushrooms, green onions and choppped peppers (I cook it like rice, 1 part orzo to 2 parts broth for 15 minutes.)

The texture is pretty amazing! (Aside from the usual wheat gluten and soy protein, it contains pea protein, and carrot and beet fiber.) The sauce was very light, nothing exciting. If I buy this again, which I may or may not, I will rinse off the sauce and make my own. But we enjoyed it with the orzo.

Last night I used the strips (see alternatives in the recipe list) to try an interesting-sounding Palestinian recipe called "Chicken Fatteh" (I'm in a Middle Eastern cooking mode just now). "Fatteh" means that the recipe has fried bits of pita bread in it-- it can be a meat or a bean or a vegetable topping. I had some rather old pita in the freezer and thought I'd use some of it up in this and toast the reast for hummus dunkers.

So, here's the recipe:

Printable Recipe

Servings: 5

I used white basmati rice because I was in a hurry-- cooked 15 minutes in 1 1/2 cups water with a little salt. You could use brown basmati if you have more time (45 minutes). This sounds odd, but it was nice and garlicky, but comforting at the same time. I might add more herbs next time. My husband loved it! The crunchy pita was good.

1 large wholewheat pita bread, cut in little squares
1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup (dry) basmati rice, cooked (see recipe text above)
1 cup vegetarian "chicken-style" broth
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 Tbs olive oil
200 g vegan "chicken" strips OR use about 2 cups reconstituted Soy Curls (2 oz. dry) (NOTE: read more about Butler Foods Soy Curls  here.)
1 pinch nutmeg
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups tofu sour creme (can be commercial or homemade)
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped cashews
fresh parsley or mint, or dried mint

Heat oven to 400°F.

Heat the first 1/2 Tbs of oil in a nonstick skillet and fry the pieces of pita until golden.

Place in a 10" round casserole. Pour 1/2 the broth over the bread, and add 1/4 of the cooked rice and the one clove of garlic. Mix well.

Heat the second Tbs of oil in the skillet and brown the strips in it, adding some broth to keep from sticking. Add the nutmeg and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Spread the rest of the rice over the pita mixture and drizzle the remaing broth over it. Mix the 2 cloves crushed garlic with the Tofu Sour Creme and spread that over the rice.

Top with the Chick'n Strips.

Cover and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, just to heat. Garnish.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving):
320.9 calories; 25% calories from fat; 9.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 483.3mg sodium; 440.4mg potassium; 38.7g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 2.4g sugar; 37.4g net carbs; 21.4g protein; 7.0 points.



thephnee said...

Hi Bryanna! I fully support your Middle Eastern cooking mode. Not only are the flavours nostalgic for me but the dishes are so nice and quick to make!

I wanted to share that I recently tried two products from the "It's All Good" line. The more successful of the two was the Dijon/herb marinated "breasts" that you got. I agree that the merinade is just OK, but I thought it was quite good for a ready-made product. Overall the taste of these was much better than other product I tried, the fillets in lemon/herb rub. The texture was equally good in both, but the latter had a very overpowering "chickeny" taste, and not in a good way! The rub was barely noticable, but that might be because I pan-fried them.

I hope it's just bad luck with that particular flavour, because despite the price I really appreciate how varied and widely available this line of products is becoming.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryanna,

I agree with you about the marinade. I can get this product as Morningstar Farms Chick'n Strips Meal Starter. It is not heavily marinated as you described in It's All Good. It's not in sauce but it is seasoned.

I don't know why the company (Gardein) didn't sell it plain. The vegan restaurants close to me who use it got it plain from the company because they do sorts of of recipe with the Chick'n breasts. Once, I saw the plain 'breasts' in Whole Food, for sale, in their deli case. It was expensive and I didn't know about Gardeins at that time and didn't how it tastes so I didn't buy them. Now, Whole Foods use them as curried salad and other things in their deli case but don't sell them plain anymore.

I also like the Beef Strips. They are great for Fajitas.

Thanks for your recipe!

BTW, Whole Foods called me the second time and told me that FOR SURE, they are not going to sell Sheese in their store. Oh well! :-( I don't miss cheese that much.


Jackie said...

Wish I could get all the wonderful ready made products available overseas but here in South Africa we get only Vegan burgers and sausages.
Still it's an improvement on the days when we couldn't even get soy milk :)

Did an entry on my blog about you and the Vegan Feast website yesterday. Nothing brilliant but does point Vegans, especially new ones who haven't come across your site yet, in your direction. I have learnt so much from you and I am sure they will as well.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Thanks, Jackie! You are a sweetie! You know, I write about these new products, but I don't buy them very often. When we eat vegan "fast food", it's usually Tofurkey Italian Sausages! I like making my own seitan products, usually-- so much cheaper and I can flavor them how I like, use ingredients I like, etc...

For stir-fries, etc., I still like using tofu, and I really like using Soy Curls, a dried product that you can reconstitute to your own tastes. It's very economical, too, and makes a tender product. Are there any Seventh Day Adventists is SA? THey might be able to import Soy Curls. They last a long time (I keep them in the freezer.)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

PS: Instead of the strips, you could use homemade seitan or "Breast of Tofu". The strips are merely a cconvenience, not a necessity, for sure!

Jackie said...

Thanks for the info Bryanna. I never though about the 7th Day Adventists. Huge Church here. They were the first people to expose me to vegetarian food as I went to one of their holiday camps in the mountains as a child and gave my parents huge problems when I came back and refused to eat meat :)