April 30, 2010

Lightlife Smart Deli Ham

No veggie burgers this week! Finally picked up some other stuff. This week, we're back to Lightlife's Smart Deli line with Smart Deli Ham. I'd had a pretty good experience with their pepperoni, so I was cautiously optimistic. However, as soon as I opened the box, my concerns were alive and well.

Dear Lightlife, ham is not brownish-orange. Ham is pink. See what you can do about that.

I grudgingly opened the plastic surrounding this brown meat, thinking that if I ever encountered real-meat ham that looked like that, I'd throw it right in the trash. Outside. Actually, the neighbor's trash can, maybe. That might be far enough. But I boldly put some of it into my mouth.

Lo and behold, it actually tasted pretty good. And not only that, but remarkably similar to ham. I was a little worried about the almost-first ingredient being wheat gluten, because usually highly gluten-y products have a super gross taste, but this one was pretty much just ham-flavored. So, all you practically-life-long vegetarians who haven't ever eaten ham or just forgot, this is pretty close to what ham tastes like. Now you know.

I even tried it with a cracker and some swiss cheese (my favorite thing to do with lunchmeat ham), and it tasted just like real ham with swiss cheese. I'm very impressed.

The experience:
Texture - nice and chewy, just like real ham
Flavor - very hammy - I like it!

Final grade for this attempt: A+


  1. I've had this a few times now, and it totally doesn't disappoint. The BBQ/Pepperjack/Pineapple/Fake Ham pizza we had was fantastic. A+ indeed (aside from the depressing color).

  2. Thanks for the review! I have always been a little apprehensive to try this...but now I think I'll go out and get some. With crackers and cheese! yum.

  3. Saw this in the store, peaked inside and thought it had spoiled by the color. I will try it now. Of course, I prefer this color to something made with red dyes such as cochineal or carmine, as those are made from crushed bettles. That spoils the idea of vegan or vegetarian food to me. Red dye #40 is made from coal, so while it is still a bit wierd, nothing died for it for millions years.

  4. I am dying to make a veggie Reuben sandwich. I don' t think that there is any veggie corned beef, so I wonder if this would work? Add sauerkraut and thousand island dressing on rye toast...

  5. This product is by far the closest thing to real ham out there!!! As a kid I used to love making ham and cheese sandwiches on my "old-school" sandwich maker. I recently found a similar sandwich maker in a local Goodwill. :) My gf is vegetarian and I attempted to re-make my sandwich.....It came out amazing! highly recommend this "ham".

  6. @trish, I buy this all the time, and its strange because when I eat it cold with cole slaw on rye bread it tastes just corned beef to me! I sometimes eat it hot in a hamburger bun with ketchup and it tastes just like a hot dog! I also eat it hot in a sandwich roll with melted swiss chees and a slice tomato and it taste just like a slim jim. Very versatile, and is maybe the closest I've found to real meat. Delcious

  7. I just bought the ham... the smell made me gag. It wasn't old. Maybe I just got a bad one.

  8. Wierd, maybe they changed the recipe, but these totally taste more like salami than ham. not in a bad way, just unexpected.

  9. Smartfoods makes several different varieties of deli slices and their faux bologna is pink, so maybe they made the ham more brown to differentiate between them? I dunno. Regardless of color, I've enjoyed all of the Smart Deli slices I've tried. The only complaint I have is that the packaging is really hard to open without slashing through the product and also these go bad really quickly after opening them (like, within a few days). So you'd better be ready to eat a bunch of sandwiches right way or you'll find yourself throwing away half the package.