August 25, 2009

Lightlife Smart Ground, second try

A few days later, it was taco date night. The aforementioned pescetarians arrived, and started to get excited when I told them I was making fake-meat tacos. Armed with my plans, I boldly declared that these tacos were going to be great.

First step in fixing the problems I had before was to prepare absolutely everything else first. The only steps I took were to put the crumbles in the skillet, no heat, and just let them sit there, waiting for everything else to be ready. Once the other ingredients were in place, and still without applying heat, I sprinkled on the taco seasoning and added 3/4 cup water. Also, I stirred in about a tablespoon of tomato paste, just to help counteract any sweetness that may have been present. Once everything was fully mixed together, I finally applied heat. It only took a couple minutes to get it all bubbly, so I quickly removed it from the pan, and we got ready to dig in.

The experience:

Texture - I don't know if it was the extra water, or the not overcooking it, but this time around, it had a great texture. Nice and chewy, like meat is supposed to be, but not into the realm of rubbery.
Flavor - No extra sweetness. Not sure whether this was due to not burning it, or the tomato paste, but either way I was pleased.

If I hadn't known this was fake meat, I'm not sure I would have noticed any difference, at least for the taco application - I'll probably try this in other meals in the future.

Final grade: A+


  1. Our favorite veggie ground beef substitute, which we use in our tacos and chili, are Morningstar recipe crumbles. They come in plain and "sausage" flavor, but we generally stick with the plain because we season the stuff ourselves. Our Rainbow carries them; our Cub does not! In the freezer section.

    That said, I was impressed with the Smart Ground. I would be concerned it would be too moist and incohesive packaged the way it is, but it turned out great.

  2. Agreed. Good job. This product satisfied the pescetarians and non- alike!

  3. I agree with the above that while the Smart Ground crumbles are pretty good, they're not quite as good as the Morningstar crumbles.

    I would give these an A- or A, and the Morningstar Crumbles an A+. Still, you can't really go wrong with either.

  4. I love this! I stock up on it. It works for everything. Chili in the slow cooker, other skillet meals, Manwich, etc.