Review: Gardein Buffalo Wings! »
Because I’m Canadian, I got in on the Gardein craze a little before most of you Yankees, as the Great White North had that shizz a full year or more before the US of A. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know my stuff when it comes to pea-protein-based fake meat, so let me lay on you my review of Gardein’s latest oeuvre, Buffalo Wings!
There are a couple schools of thought when it comes to vegan “wings:” there’s the breaded school (crunchy breading covered with hot sauce) and the not-breaded school. Gardein’s wings are of the not-breaded variety. They are, rather, wing-sized nuggets of Gardein’s magic “chicken” substance covered with a bright red (so you know they’re Buffalo wings) spicy sauce. They come frozen and in a little pouch with the sauce already on, which brings me to my first quibble—you need a microwave to get these out of the pouch and onto the baking sheet in a dignified way. If, like me, you live in a microwave-free household, you have to do what I did and pry those frozen little things apart with your bare hands, which kind of sucks. I mean, it’s hardly a dealbreaker, but you don’t want to do it while wearing a white shirt is all I’m saying.
Once you manage to get them on the baking sheet, though, it’s full speed ahead. The wings bake for about 15 minutes, and then you eat them. First things first: spicy alert! Like I said, I am Canadian, and I’m not terribly heat-tolerant, but these things have a kick! Don’t eat them if you have a bleeding ulcer! Personally, I like a touch more sweetness with my wing sauce, but Gardein’s Buffalo sauce does hit the spot. The wings themselves are satisfying and chewy and pleasantly stringy so that they get ever-so-slightly stuck in your teeth. Floss after eating if you have a date later! Serve with vegan ranch if you have it. I love me some vegan ranch and think that any way I can get it into my mouth is a-OK. I ate a whole package of these by myself for lunch (well, I guess I also ate three pickles with them, but since the nutritional value of pickles is “salt,” I don’t count them), which means I ate 2.5 servings, or 10 pieces. At around $4.50 per package, these ain’t no 10-cent wings, that’s for sure, but they’re certainly cheaper than the napalm-coated wings at Weird Fish (which I love, but they are too spicy). All in all, these are some tasty, reasonably-priced, and surprisingly healthy (not that I endorse counting calories at all, but these are pretty low-calorie, soy-free, and low-fat). Perfect for a night in, and, I suspect, highly compatible with beer.
These things are available in the freezer section at Rainbow and at some Bay Area Whole Foods, and if I know Gardein’s marketing and distribution people, I’m sure they’ll be widely available soon, if they aren’t already.