Yves Meatless Pepperoni.
The plan for this was to throw it into a stromboli, but I was worried about the results, so I also picked up some real-meat pepperoni, just in case. Before actually baking it into the delicious homemade pizza crust, I had to check them out.
Visually, these kinda resemble pepperoni, if all you know about pepperoni is that they are small round red disks. The biggest problem was merely a random occurrence, which I'm sure most packages wouldn't have - a couple of the slices, instead of tiny specks of mysterious colored substances, had huge blobs of mysterious colored substances. One was yellowish, the other was a grayish brown. Neither looked terribly appetizing. I did not eat those two slices.
The next step, after visual inspection, was to smell them. Not that I could help it - as soon as I opened the plastic, I was hit with a terribly unpleasant smell - that intense gluten-y flavor that I just knew would translate to the flavor as well, and I was correct. It had no flavors that one would associate with pepperoni. It wasn't just that they tried to make it taste like pepperoni but it came out mildly pepperoni-ish… there was no spice whatsoever. The ingredients list indicated that the product contained "spices, garlic and onion powder" but obviously not enough to actually taste them.
Now that I've bashed the appearance and the flavor, let's talk texture. For those who may not remember because it's been too long, real-meat pepperoni is kinda greasy (let's not lie here…) and chewy. This stuff was a little crumbly. It sort of fell apart in my mouth while I was attempting to chew it, which was extremely unpleasant. To be fair, I didn't cook it at all, and it's possible that the application of heat does something to the texture to improve it. If the texture were the only problem, I probably would have tested that out, but I know for a fact that heat would not add pepperoni flavor to something that had none to begin with, so I ended up ditching these and resorting to my real-meat pepperoni.
If you're looking for a fake meat substitute for pepperoni, do not eat these. Instead, try these instead.
Texture - crumbly and weird
Flavor - horrible… just horrible
Final grade for this attempt: F