You might think that the fake meat industry has mastered beef, (I agree,) but we cannot dismiss how good fake chicken is. Obviously fake beef is everywhere now and so many restaurants have it, but fake chicken has stuck to its comfort zone in the freezer aisle. Don’t be fooled, fake chicken is delicious. Companies like Morning Star, Gardein, and Quorn all have insanely good options, and they continue to add new ones that amaze me. BBQ chicken? Buffalo nuggets? I can’t make this up. So in no particular order, I will now enlighten you about the incredible fake meat that can be found at Stop & Shop, Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, and more!
Gardein Mandarin Crispy Chick’n
The best thing about this recipe from Gardein is the breading. When making it in the frying pan as it suggests, it makes almost a deep fried texture on the outside like a McNugget. I’m sure they’d be delicious on their own, but it comes with an incredible sweet and sour mandarin sauce that you can then toss them in. Over some white or brown rice, this makes a really great lunch. Plus, the whole bag WITH SAUCE is only 500 calories. Not that I would eat it all in one go…but I can imagine it’s really good…probably…I wouldn’t know.
MorningStar Farms Chik patties
Morning Star used to be the epitome of veggie-filled burgers that I hate. Thankfully, they have stepped it up with some amazing chicken products. I’ll be mentioning more of them later, but one of my favorites is their chicken patties. They make for great sandwiches, but often times I use them for toppings. I cook them in the microwave or oven, and then cut them into breaded strips for pizza and caesar salads.
Quorn Meatless Nuggets
These were the first fake nuggets I tried, and I used to eat them constantly for late night snacks even when I ate meat. They don’t get soggy, even in the microwave, and that is key. They have a great breading and have fooled many-a carnivore in my life. Before MorningStar started putting out nuggets, these were untouchable.
Gardein BBQ Chick’n Wings
“Wings” isn’t the perfect descriptor for these, but they’re still amazing. I once bought these and breaded and fried them in the deep fryer without adding the BBQ sauce with the recipe Chick-Fil-A uses and they were so good. But I’ve also made them as instructed. They’re awesome because they brown up so you can control the texture, and their sauce is amazing. I’ve eaten the entire bag MANY times but get this: 330 calories! For a whole bag of BBQ chicken! Gardein is a blessing that we truly do not appreciate properly.
MorningStar Farms Popcorn Chick’n
Having a bag of these in my freezer everyday is a life goal of mine in my adult life. They are SO good. I do make the effort and cook them in the oven instead of the microwave, but regardless they’re amazing for meals or alone. I sometimes add them to salads or eat them with broccoli and brown sauce from Chinese takeout because I’m insane. These with some Ore-Ida crinkle cut fries and a side of BBQ sauce are my fave lazy lunch.
Gardein Chick’n Scallopini
Every vegan and vegetarian reading this was probably waiting for this. Gardein scallopini has opened the door for so many recipes for herbivores. Prior to it, finding something that imitated grilled chicken was hard to come by, as many fake chicken products were nuggets or breaded patties. This has allowed us to make chicken caprese sandwiches, chicken parm, grilled chicken for salad, etc. A great Instagram called @veganfoodplug uses these all the time for sandwiches and other recipes. Recently I found that Wegman’s brand added some fake grilled chicken cutlets to their freezers, and newsflash: there’s one in my freezer waiting for me as I type this.
MorningStar Farms Chick’n Nuggets
MorningStar has amazing nuggets. Their plain ones are perfect for a snack or meal, but recently they’ve added various flavors for the breading, including garlic parmesan, BBQ (bless) and buffalo (double bless.) I really enjoy them, but the buffalo is HOT. I once made a BBQ chicken pizza with them and almost died. I now buy the plain and use some milder buffalo sauce because my caucasian mouth can’t handle it.
Gardein Chick’n Sliders
A college student staple. These are so yummy and having two is a great lunch. I like to cook it for 30 seconds, then cook the chicken patties for an extra minute so the bun doesn’t get soggy. You’re welcome.
Of the fake chicken I’ve tried, these are definitely my favorites. I have found that fake meat with garbage texture isn’t as big of a problem anymore. The companies mentioned, as well as Boca and some store chain brands have really stepped it up. They also are really great at tricking people who eat meat! Give one a try, or all of them, all at once.