April 22, 2011

Gardein Homestyle Beefless Tips

This week, I'm checking out another Gardein product: Gardein Homestyle Beefless Tips. It's been a while since I went all out with a fake meat, and this one seemed to have a lot of potential.

I was in the mood for a stir-fry, which we do pretty regularly at our house. A friend of mine had brought me some heirloom cherry tomatoes in a variety of colors, which I figured would go pretty well in a stir fry. I was trying to decide between chicken and pork when I remembered I had these in the freezer. Suddenly the whole meal came together in my head. Beefless tips, broccoli, red onion, and rainbow-colored cherry tomatoes in an oyster sauce. It was going to be beautiful and delicious! My only hope was that the beefless tips wouldn't ruin everything.

I charged ahead confidently, whipping up a super tasty oyster sauce from The Best Light Recipe, while I soaked some rice noodles to go with it. Cooked up the beefless tips, set them aside so they wouldn't overcook, cooked up the broccoli and onion until they were nice and soft, threw in the tomatoes just long enough to wilt them. Poured in the sauce, heated until thickened, added the beefless tips back in, along with the soaked noodles, and tossed all together. It was indeed a beautiful meal. I served it up and we got ready to taste.

I have no complaints about the flavor of the beefless tips. It didn't have a very strong flavor of its own, so it didn't fight with the sauce at all. It just had a sort of general savoriness to it. Not beefy, just savory. I was okay with that. The problem was the texture. Forgive me for the comparison, but it really resembled wet bread. Not your average grocery-store sandwich bread, though. More of a European-style chewy bread that had been soaked in some sort of liquid for a while. Not too long that it was mushy - just soft. That texture doesn't freak me out as much as it does for some people, but it made me wish that I was eating real meat. After a few chunks of it, I kinda got used to it, but I wouldn't say I liked it. Definitely the weakest link in the stir fry. Not bad enough to ruin it, though. Just not as amazing as the rest.

The experience:
Texture - kinda like soggy European-style bread
Flavor - general savoriness - not unpleasant

Final grade for this attempt: B-


  1. In spite of what the package says about NOT overcooking, I have discovered that they are actually WAAAAAY more delicious when you cook them for a really long time. Not to the point that they catch on fire but to the point where they are starting to stick to the pan. It really makes the texture much more wonderful.

    They also take marinades really well and I have passed them off to meat-eating friends who didn't know it wasn't meat.

    I also get a better result using Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (you can use butter) rather than oil.

  2. I was interested to read your review since I really love these, I mean really love them. Perhaps as Jenna said, the problem is the cooking time. I generally do cook them until they are well browned on several sides.


  3. I use them for stew and they are not very good. They look and feel right but taste bad. Better if broken up into smaller pieces.