Saturday, January 28, 2012

What do you eat - Tofurky or something?

Whenever anyone finds out that I am vegetarian (and especially around the holiday season) I know that within seconds I will hear something along the lines of, "Haha, what do you eat Tofurky or something?"  To be honest, I'm impressed that so many people know what Tofurky is, although I'm inclined to think that many of them just know vegetarians eat tofu, and it's only a hop, skip, and a jump from turkey to Tofu-rky.  

They think it's witty, I want to bang my head against a wall, and they are inevitably shocked that there really is such a thing as Tofurky.  Since it's January, you can imagine that I am just about done with that line, so I wanted to share some of the fantastic meat alternative products that I do eat on a day to day basis.  

For those of you just starting on the vegetarian journey (or for you frustrated, meat-eating parents trying to appeal to a suddenly vegetarian teenager), think of this as a gift:  As a lifelong vegetarian, I've eaten a LOT of crappy fake meat in the last quarter of a century.  And I mean a lot.  Fortunately for you, I'm about to provide a little cheat sheet as to the best stuff out there.  There are links to all of the products' websites, so you can check them out yourself.

You're welcome.  :)

Best Veggie Chicken Patty:  Boca Spicy Chik'n Patty 
  • There's only one thing you need to know about these:  B hid from me for years when we were first together that he would ask the Bean to make him Chik'n patty sandwiches.  I mean, he actually would have cravings for them he liked the flavour and texture so much!
  • Also, Boca is endorsed by Weight Watchers, so that makes it super easy for those of you counting points.  This is neither here nor there to me, but my mom lost a whole heap of weight on Weight Watchers, so I thought I'd point that out.
  • I use this for everything:  Lasagna, meatballs, meatloaf, tacos, Hamburger Helper - you name it, if it calls for ground beef, this is what I use.  My sister prefers the Boca version, because I think it's closer to vegan (no egg whites, but it still has sugar).  
Best Breakfast Line:  MorningStar Farms
  • I haven't really seen many other brands make a serious effort at a vegetarian breakfast line, and these sausage links and patties (the regular, not maple) are so delicious, I haven't been persuaded to try anything else.  
  • I think all vegetarian bacon is a bit of a joke, but their bacon strips are what I grew up on, so on the rare occasion that I'm in the mood for a BLT, this is what I use.
Best Deli Slices:  Tofurky Deli Slices (Especially the Peppered and Italian Deli)
  • These deli slices are almost paper thin, and loaded with flavour.  I have been known to sit and eat half a package in one sitting without even realizing it.  Because I like my sandwich fixings thinly sliced (I can hear my dad saying, "And cut the tomatoes and cucumbers reeeeally thin!"), these really appeal to me.
  • Also, I have an unhealthy obsession with coarse ground black pepper, so it's like these were made for me!
  • LightLife's Smart Deli Roast Turkey Style deli slices are also pretty awesome, but it breaks my heart that they stopped making the salami slices I'm convinced they used to make.
  • I fill that void with Yves Meatless Deli Salami Slices when I can find them...
  • The Veggie Patch hot dogs were a surprise to me.  We always get the Jumbo Smart Dogs, but for some reason (probably because there was a sale and a coupon) I picked up a box of these one day.  They are the perfect size for those cheap, standard hot dog buns because they are slimmer than the Smart Dogs.  When I eat these, I feel like I'm getting a hot dog from a cart in New York.  
  • Note that it is best to microwave, boil or steam these (since they are so thin, grilling them makes them a bit too tough, unless you keep a close eye on them).
  • The Jumbo Smart Dogs are perfect for your summer BBQ.  Thick, juicy and big enough to fill out any bun or roll, these veggie dogs can withstand the heat from a grill, and are all the better because of it.  They're also substantial enough to hold their own against the relish, tomatoes, pickles and sport peppers that make up my favourite dog:  the Chicago Dog.

That's all for tonight!  Tomorrow I'll go over the best burgers, sausages, chicken nuggets and other meatless meal starters.