It’s not a secret that most plant-based meat products are healthier than real meat, but if we take comparison out of the equation, just how good is Gardein in terms of nutrition?
Ask any plant-based eater what their favourite meat substitutes are and they’ll be able to rattle off a list of brands they always reach for, with many citing Gardein amongst them. Thanks to a heady combination of an authentically ‘meaty’ texture and a range of exciting flavours, this is one plant-based meat brand that aims to offer variety to those enjoying a plant-based diet. Can it also say that it offers health benefits though?
What are Gardein products made from?
Gardein lists its products as being a ‘wholesome’ combination of soy protein, wheat and pea proteins. That’s how it gets the meaty texture right. Using wheat gluten is the most common way to garner a tougher food texture that needs to be chewed. Certified as fully vegan, all Gardein products are free from animal and dairy products and all flavourings added to replicate recognisable animal meat flavours are vegetable-based.
Is Gardein healthy?
Despite being processed food products, the entire range of Gardein products is cholesterol, trans and saturated fat-free, making its consumption healthier than eating meat. The soy protein, in particular, has been proven to have potential benefits for people that have high blood pressure, while also contributing to good bone health.
Is anything in the range gluten-free?
Not everything is gluten-free, meaning that those with gluten intolerance will need to double-check ingredient lists. Confirmed gluten-free Gardein items include Chick’n Scallopini, Chipotle Black Bean Burger, the Ultimate Beefless Ground and the Garden Veggie Burger. The use of wheat gluten prevents a large number of products from being gluten-free.
Is Gardein genetically modified?
No. The company is very proud of its non-GMO soy. It takes all necessary steps to ensure that only non-GMO soy is used in all of its products, as this is an issue of significant importance for many consumers and certification bodies.
What are some of the products available in the UK?
A Canadian company, Gardein has taken a little while to reach UK shores, but excited vegans have been flocking to retailers to find out what the big deal is. There’s no point in skirting around the fact that the prices are steep, with relatively small freezer pouches coming in at around £4.50, but even seasoned meat-eaters have found it difficult to tell the plant-based products from their ‘real meat’. So it seems as though a high cost can be — at least partially — justified here.
Some popular product lines include the following.
A tasty alternative to traditional meatballs, these are delightfully textured, hold their shape during cooking and pair perfectly with a ragu sauce. We’ve tried them on pasta and in a homemade vegan meatball marinara sub and can confirm they work well both ways.
Seven Grain Crispy Tenders
A more exciting take on traditional chicken nuggets, these juicy strips are finished with a multigrain coating that stays crunchy after cooking. Add to a salad or a wrap for a lunch with bite.
Mandarin Orange Crispy Chik’n
Crispy, sweet and sticky, these little Chinese takeaway-inspired nuggets are a great way to enjoy a ‘fakeaway’ when local restaurants don’t cater to a vegan diet. Best served hot with sticky rice and a sprinkling of spring onion, advocates frequently stock up when this product is on offer.
Packing a solid nutritional punch, with no cholesterol or saturated fat, Gardein offers a good range of products for vegans who don’t want to say goodbye to flavour as well as cruelty.