Quorn has held the “best meatless meatball” title for a very long time in my family.
We recently tested a new contender: Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs.
I had already made a batch of sauce in my slow cooker. It featured organic versions of the following ingredients: Vidalia onions, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper, green pepper, two cups of diced heirloom tomatoes, a can of crushed tomatoes, two diced zucchini, a quarter cup of white wine, bay leaves, oregano, parsley, thyme, and basil. It was a gloriously chunky sauce rich with a variety of veggies, which I thought would be a great foil to the meatballs.
Since I was used to the petite Quorn meatballs, I was astounded at the size of the Gardein meatballs. They are literally twice the size of their Quorn counterparts. No wonder the package says that a 160 calorie serving consists of two meatballs! (And to show you just how fast companies are changing their products, I just checked the Gardein website and see that a serving is now 3 meatballs with a calorie cost of 150 calories for 17 grams of protein.)
So, I needed to get past the fact that they are large – very large! The good news (no, the great news) is that they are a convincing stand in for the real deal.
Our son, Nick, made an unexpected trip home this weekend from Stetson for his Fall break. Nick is a notoriously hard judge of all things meatless and even he liked the meatballs and commented on their fennel flavor and texture.
Do we like them?
The answer is a resounding – yes!
Do we need to test them against our Quorn previous favorites?
Stay tuned for my next taste test show down. In the meantime, Gardein’s new meat balls are definitely a top contender for best meatless meatball.
3/7/17 Update – I recently was contacted by Olivia Rose, a prolific food blogger who has done a comprehensive well-researched article on the many facets of meatballs. it was a timely connection because I’m working on some new veggie and vegan meatball recipes, which I’ll be blogging about soon. Although almost all of Olivia’s recipes contain meat, she also has some interesting ideas that are adaptable to plant-based protein meals (which is the world I live in). In the meantime, please check out Oliva’s blog post on meatballs at MyKingCook.com, particularly if you have carnivores that are hankering for “real” meatballs!