Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Lightlife Gimme Lean Vegan Ground Beef

A veg friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook one day of a burger made with Gimme Lean Ground Beef  and I was intrigued because it looked so much like a cow burger. I'd seen the product at my local store but I just never thought to pick it up but I did last night.

I had read reviews of this product and others and I got frustrated because some reviewers aren't fair to certain products like this.

I call them 'ingredients' because like raw animal flesh, they aren't usually good straight out of the package and you have to do something with them in order to make them into something delicious. Tofu and tempeh are other 'ingredient' products. They are not 'ready to eat' products like a nugget or finished patty is.

If you were to take a hunk of cow flesh and make a patty and fry it up.. it would be pretty boring and bland if you didn't season it with things like salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc (plants - how ironic) so it isn't fair to try and use these products 'as is' in a review.

You can't take a bite of flour and declare it bland and boring because it doesn't taste like a cookie!

Also, some reviewers are meat eaters. A meat eater simply cannot be objective when reviewing vegan anything. Their taste buds are compromised. I know this because I used to be a meat eater. It took me a good 6 months before I could like and appreciate vegan convenience foods. I needed the animal stuff out of my system. You cannot compare apples to oranges. Vegan foods are not trying to be meat .. they are simply in the same form of familiar foods - like burgers, hot dogs, balls, nuggets, deli slices, sausages and crumbles.

When I buy vegan nuggets I want something familiar to me that I can dunk into bbq sauce and serve with fries. They don't taste like chicken (beyond any familiar spices that are added) and I'm not wanting them to.

so.. that said... here is my review:

This comes in a one pound package that is much like those rolls of cow flesh you can buy. It holds together as it's slightly sticky like cow flesh is. It's a little more dense than I was expecting because my intention was to mix spices into it but it seemed a little tight for that. However, my friend adds bbq sauce to hers so I know it can be done, I just didn't want to mess with it today.

I sliced off a 2 oz chunk and formed it into a patty shape. It made a thin patty but comparable in size to a fast food burger and it was the perfect size for my bun. I sprinkled on some course ground 'steak' seasoning that has garlic, onion, red pepper, salt and spices. I fried in up in a pan with a little olive oil. It held together great and it looked just like a cow flesh burger. I think this might even be something you could toss on a grill without it falling apart. It browned up like a cow burger as well. I served it on a toasted whole wheat bun with leaf lettuce and some special sauce I made using Vegenaise, ketchup, dill relish and salt.

It was good. I'd eat it again. The husband (who does still eat meat when we go out) said 'it's pretty good' when I gave him a bite.

I'd compare this to a Boca type burger. They aren't my favorite and I'd rather eat any other kind of burger (ie: veggie, mushroom, bean) than a retail Boca burger if given a choice but I'll definitely make these again.
I think they'd make good meatballs and meatloaf. Although I didn't try to crumble this up, I think if you want to make tacos or use it as a crumble, you should buy the Lightlife crumbles... I think you'd have better luck but it may not be impossible!

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