Apparently American Thanksgiving is coming up (Nov. 22nd – two days after First Try comes out!) so I thought this month, I might as well review a Thanksgiving related food. Enter: Gardein Turk’y Cutlets.
I’d like to start this review out with a sort of disclaimer: as I’ve said in other posts, before going vegan, I was pollotarian, which means the only meat I ate was poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.). I’ll admit, I like the taste of chicken the most out of meats. So, during these reviews, most of the products I try will most likely be faux poultry, or, if they seem skewed in that if/when I do review faux beef/pork/etc. product, I might not like that as much as some of the faux poultries, take my opinion not as gospel.
Okay? Okay. So, let’s get started.
I’m not gonna lie, these cutlets taste like their Mandarin Orange Chick’n Nuggets and their 7 Grain Crispy Tenders – pretty plain tofu/seitan with breading. I find that – out of the Gardein faux meats I’ve tried – all the faux poultry kinda just tastes the same, with an exception to different breading. Which is fine – I like that taste, so it’s all good.
But the gravy… it tastes like turkey. Not like, ‘oh, it’s sage’ – no. This gravy tastes straight up like turkey. My meat-eater friend confirmed – this tastes like they used real turkey drippings to make the gravy. If this gravy didn’t come out of a Gardein pack, and was just sitting on the table/otherwise handed to me by somebody else, I’d assumed they made a mistake and gave me non-vegan gravy.
And, while I understand wanting to make vegan food that tastes like meat, to me, I just… I don’t know how to feel about this. It tastes a lot like meat gravy, so much so, I got that wretch in the pit of my stomach, because that smell is associated so much with the dead body of a turkey. It was a bit off-putting, to say the least.
I’m one of those vegans, who is okay with eating plants that taste like plants – if it’s close in taste, I’m all for it. When I get skeptical/uneasy, is when it tastes exactly the same. Give me a mushroom burger that tastes like mushrooms, I’m happy. I actually like the taste of plants, so that doesn’t matter to me. (I touched on this more in my Beyond Burger review)
Obviously, if you’re someone who enjoys vegan food tasting near identical to the real thing, I’d say go for it. I’m not going to not recommend something just because it tastes too ‘real’. Also, it’s not even that – this product is good, the chick’n itself tastes like their nuggets, so you could even just use the cutlets without the gravy packet, if that’s something that would freak you out.
I’d say, if you are going to try the gravy, do so more then once – after getting over the initial shock of how close it tastes your brain calms down and it really does start to taste like sage.
All in all, I’d recommend this product, with probably just a word of caution about the gravy. It can throw you if you’re not expecting it, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from trying an otherwise good product. I know I, myself will definitely buy this product again in the future, (just as I did with the Beyond Burger), but I would do so with the expectation of knowing what I’m getting. I think that would help your first taste-test go well, too.
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