I need to caveat this entire post.
I am not a vegan. This is important to know because there’s a difference between someone who eats vegan substitutes regularly giving feedback on these products versus an unapologetic carnivorous consumer of carcasses such as myself. Take note.
I also did not eat this meal as a “burger” and so I really can’t speak to that. It would probably be just fine as a burger.
You see, this was supposed to be an Earth Grown meatball review, but my Aldi was completely out of the meatballs in the freezer case. Rather than punting my meal plan altogether since I already had the zukes and the pasta sauce in my cart, I decided to get another “meat” product and use it in the sauce to see how that turned out.
The answer is: not well.
But let’s start with the facts, the ingredient list.
Earth Grown Flame-Grilled Soy Protein Burger Ingredients
filtered water, soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, cellulose gum, natural flavors, salt, dried onion, sesame oil, spices.
I must say, this ingredient list is much simpler than the Chickenless Tenders, which I like. As a general rule of thumb, the fewer ingredients, the better. Once again, if you’re avoiding soy or wheat, this clearly isn’t a good product for you.
This was the “flame-grilled” version of the burgers, and they did indeed have some lovely grill marks on the patties. This helps the presentation and does make them seem more meat-like.
I baked these in the oven per the package directions (12 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit), but I forgot to turn them halfway through. Whoops. I think they still came out okay, though a bit dry looking. I took a little nibble and they actually tasted pretty moist, so the dry appearance turned out to be deceiving. Nonetheless, not the best first impression out of the oven.
While those were cooking I made my zoodles in my new spiralizer, which I love love love. Look at those beauties.
I sauteed those in a pan for a few minutes to soften them up, then drained, and I poured my pasta sauce into the pan to begin to heat. This isn’t a review of the sauce, but if you haven’t yet tried this stuff you need to!
I cut up the now-cooked patties to add to the sauce, and that’s where things started to turn.
Y’all, that does not look appetizing at all. DO NOT CHOP THE BURGERS.
But, you know, at this point I’m all in, so I figured it would get better when I added it to the sauce and it was all covered.
So far so good.
So this is the part where it becomes really clear that I’m not a vegan. Apparently vegan “meats” are notorious for not holding their form. I did not realize this. Rather than having a nice sauce with some chunks of meat in it, I had… whatever this is. Like a sloppy joe, but not.
I think this would have been okay if I’d had another jar of sauce to add to it, but I didn’t, so once again, I’m all in at this juncture.
So I plated. I got some zoodles, topped it with some of the “sauce,” and then sprinkled some Earth Grown Mozzarella shreds on top.
Alright, that doesn’t look so bad.
I literally had to force my way through it. Please note that I’m not reviewing the cheese here, because that really killed it, and not in a good way. Like, I don’t think these shreds are meant to be eaten unmelted. Or at least I hope not. Vegans, if this is what your cheese is supposed to taste like, I AM SO, SO SORRY. That is not what cheese tastes like, in case you don’t have a basis of comparison. Even my little guy, who loves cheese more than a French mouse, asked if it was okay if he didn’t finish it.
So I’m holding off on the review of that particular product, because I really think melting it over something may change the experience. If not, well, I’ll let ya know.
The title of this post says Review, but I don’t think it’s fair to call it that. I didn’t use the product as intended, and I eat real meat on the regular. It would be more accurate to call it an Experience, I think, which it certainly was. So vegans, you can totally ignore this post and should go watch this video instead. Meat eaters, they’re called burgers, so I really recommend you eat them as such. I really think it would turnout better, and based on my taste nibble I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars. This meal, though? One star. Do not attempt this at home.
Speaking of burgers, I have the Thai ones from the Earth Grown line coming up soon, so I’m really, really hoping for redemption. Stay tuned!