I recently tried a gluten-free, vegan, chicken-free “chicken” product and was blown away by how close the texture and flavor were to real chicken. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’m a “vegan-friendly” omnivore, especially in my own kitchen, where I rarely if ever cook animal products (I think the last animal product I cooked with was eggs, and that was at least a couple of months ago). Also, being gluten-free has prevented me from fully diving into the world of meat substitutes, since the vast majority of them use wheat gluten to mimic the texture of meat, making them not only off limits for gluten-free eaters, but a veritable gluten bomb. I think this has been a blessing in disguise, though– eating synthetic, processed meat-like products can be a treat, but I don’t think it should be the basis of one’s diet. We still, as a country should be (and I’d like to assert, are) moving towards a healthier, more balanced approach when it comes to the amount of fruits and vegetables we consume. In my opinion, fruits, veggies, and grains should dominate the plate, with meat or meat-like vegan products taking a back seat.
That said, the meat I miss the least is chicken. I remember always feeling hungry after eating chicken, the same way that I can still feel hungry after eating a big bag of salty potato chips– the lack of nutritional value just made me want to eat more. But eating more wouldn’t help, because the nutrition my body was seeking was best found in a plant-based diet. So after a while I added more vegetables and less meat to my plate, and I started feeling fuller quicker.
But we all know that eating chicken is not just about getting lean protein. Chicken is culture. Chicken is nostalgia. Chicken is universal. We have managed to tie so many of our precious thoughts, memories, and cultural identities to a bird that can’t fly. And now that we (as a culture) are hooked to that mighty little bird, I for one am grateful that there are companies out there paving the way to remove the bird itself from our cultural and social connections, so that we can still have the nostalgia, without sacrificing the bird.
Enter Beyond Meat, and now I have “chicken” that didn’t come from a chicken, but is instead made from plants. A chicken of the future, no doubt.
I’m excited to see what this company thinks up next.
For the batter, use my savory lentil fry batter recipe. Dip Beyond Meat chicken-free pieces into batter, then coat with Glutino Bread Crumbs (also vegan)
Fry in hot oil (I like to mix canola and coconut oils) until golden brown. ENJOY.
Learn more about Beyond Meat