I have stated in other reviews of vegetarian or vegan products that although I am a carnivore at heart, I still do enjoy some vegan products from time to time. I also have a secondary reason for sampling these products, my daughter Molly Ann and her husband are almost exclusively vegetarian. They reside in Germany with our two year old granddaughter Nishi whom we have not yet met because of health issues here with Loraine, and now, the COVID 19 virus has pretty much halted all international travel. Someday, when my daughter and her little family come home for a visit, and I get to meet my little granddaughter for the first time, I would like to provide foods that she will enjoy that also keep with their dietary practices.
This afternoon on my way home from work, I stopped by our neighborhood grocery store to get a gallon of milk and spotted these vegetarian tenders in the freezer aisle. I thought they looked like they would be worth a try, and may be a great snack food for Nishi one day. Afterall, you usually cannot go wrong with children and chicken tenders, right?
I have some good and not so good things to report on these vegetarian chicken tenders…
First, this is a minor detail, but Gardein states they can be ready in ten minutes. The tenders can be ready in ten minutes once you have heated your oven to 450 degrees and have microwaved them for forty five seconds before placing into your oven.
Give yourself a little bit more than the ten minutes.
I baked mine at 430 degrees for twenty minutes, and flipped them at ten minutes. As you can plainly see on one of them, the breading comes off fairly easy if you are not careful with them. This is not a deal killer for me though.
I prepared six tenders which is three servings per the package. I consumed three of the tenders plain and three with habanero hot sauce.
I had the plain tenders first. I have to say that with the first bite, I was not impressed. They were not very crispy, but did have a texture that was very similar to actual meat when eating them which was a good thing. I found they tasted of bland grains and canola oil more than anything. The meat substitute had very little flavor, if any at all. I’m not too sure that a child would want to eat these plain at all. Other than the taste of canola oil, I did not find the taste to be good or bad. I was not disgusted by them, but cannot say that I liked them either. But, I had three more to eat with the habanero sauce…
With sauce, I found the tenders to be better in that they are a good medium for sauces. Thank God, with additional flavor, the strong taste of canola oil disappeared. If you want to eat these, in my opinion, they are far more palatable with a sauce of some kind over plain. I bet your child would agree with this too.
The nutritional data on the packaging does not match that given on Gardein’s website!
For a lot of people, the fact the label does not match the website might not be that big of a deal. However, if you are like me, and track everything you eat, it would be great if Gardein got their information to match!
Note: on the website, they state the tenders are 100 calories per serving and contain 8 grams of protein. However, read the actual label below:
If you look at the product nutritional label above, you will see total and added sugars to be zero grams. However, on Gardein’s website, they plainly list cane sugar as an ingredient!
Sugar is not included as an ingredient on the packaging. You may or may not find the conflicting information regarding sugar to be no big deal. However, I do for a couple reasons; as a rule, I do not consume added sugars for health reasons and the fact I am carb addicted. I will acknowledge the amount of sugar in this product is not going to be enough to spike my insulin and should not leave me craving more sugar later.
However, I believe in truth in advertising!
I do not want to see a disparity between the given information on a products package and that given on the producers website. How would conflicting information workout if one has allergies to nuts. What if one is gluten sensitive?
Nutritional information has to be correct!
I cannot recommend this product to anyone. Not because I find the taste to be that objectionable, but simply because of the disparities in nutritional information. Remember, Gardein products are a processed food which matters little whether it is animal based or vegan. As with most processed foods, some Gardein products tend to be very high in sodium and can do a number on your blood pressure.