If your Mondays are as busy as mine are, you may like Meatless Monday options that are super easy and don’t involve a lot of thought or preparation.
My family was pleasantly surprised at how tasty Gardein’s Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips turned out to be. I had tried an earlier version of this product a couple of years ago, and was impressed with the improved taste and texture of the “new” version. Since my oven has been broken for two weeks (but hopefully will be repaired soon), I was not able to bake the strips (which the package says is the best preparation method). Instead, I sautéed the frozen strips in a little organic sesame oil, while simultaneously working on my stir-fried veggies (onion, zucchini, celery, red pepper, and snow peas). God gave me two hands for a reason, right?
Sautéing them until brown and crispy took about 10 minutes, and then I let them rest off heat for a minute before adding the sauce. Unlike some of Gardein’s other packaged sauces (the absymal gravy that accompanies their decent Turk’y Cutlets comes to mind), the sauce for the Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips is quite tasty. Although not very spicy or authentically Szechuan (at least to my spice-jaded tastebuds), its saving grace is that it is not overly sweet. I plan to amp up the flavor of the sauce next time I make this by adding a smidge of five-spice powder, star anise, srirachi sauce, and freshly ground Szechuan peppercorns. And don’t forget to top the dish off with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds – they add a nice flavor and a bit of crunch.
My biggest gripe with Gardein (and other purveyors of plant-based protein products) is that their portion sizes are unrealistic. The 10.6 ounce package of Beefless Strips is supposed to serve three people – but more realistically serves two. So, for my perpetually hungry hubby and son, I made two packages of the Beefless Strips – which made enough to feed the three of us for dinner, plus two small containers (along with rice and veggies) for brown bag lunches this week.
If you have leftover brown rice (or wisely remembered to set your rice cooker earlier) and are deft at prepping veggies, this vegan dish can be on your table less than twenty minutes after you walk in the door.
Now that’s what I call an easy Meatless Monday!