I am thrilled to find that Quorn is now marketing its vegan products in the US!
Well wonder no longer – because they are finally here!
I found Quorn Vegan Chik’n Tenders at Earth Fare the other day. I prepared them in a simple pesto pasta dish and thought that they were every bit as tasty as Quorn’s vegetarian version. The vegan tenders might be a tad smaller in size, but both products cook on the stove top in about the same amount of time. The package of vegan tenders is slightly smaller (10.58 ounces versus 12 ounces for the vegetarian version), but that shouldn’t make much of a difference if you are substituting them in your recipes.
The big difference is that Quorn has replaced the rehydrated egg whites in their vegetarian version with potato protein and increased the amount of pea protein in the vegan product. This change makes the vegan version slightly higher in protein (12 grams of protein per cup versus 10 grams of protein in the vegetarian version). Sodium is quite a bit lower in the vegan version (150 mg. vs. 390 mg.), and even the vegan product’s calorie count is lower (80 vs. 90 in the vegetarian version).
Assuming that you have a jar of pesto in the freezer from last summer’s bounty of basil, here’s my super easy 30 minute weeknight pasta. If you don’t have a jar of frozen pesto handy and need to make your own, check out my recipe for homemade pesto on this website or in Fool a Carnivore. Pesto is super easy to make, but will unfortunately increase your time to dinner by about another 20 minutes.
I served this pasta with some oven roasted green and golden zucchini. Just cut the ends and top off the zucchini, quarter them lengthwise and then cut them into 1-inch chunks. Toss the chunks with some extra virgin olive oil (I used a combination of basil olive oil and lemon olive oil), garlic or garlic powder, sea salt, and a little hot pepper. Roast your zucchini on a foil covered rimmed cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes while you’re making your sauce and cooking the pasta. Your zucchini will be done right around the same time as your pasta!
How’s that for a healthy, super-easy, vegan weeknight meal?
- 4 ounces pesto (fresh or frozen)
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 spring Vidalia onion, chopped
- 1 pint organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved pole to pole
- 1 10.58 ounce package Quorn Vegan Chik'n Tenders, frozen
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 lb. box of gemelli or fusilli
- ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- If you are using frozen pesto, thaw the jar or container in hot water.
- Heat a large skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the chopped onion.
- While the onions are cooking, fill a large pot with water, cover and bring it to a rolling boil.
- When the onions are soft and translucent, add the cherry tomatoes and cook for five minutes until they are softened. Add the frozen Quorn Chik'n Tenders, let cook for about two minutes, and then stir in the white wine.
- Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling pasta water and add the pasta.
- The pasta and the Quorn Chik'n Tenders will take right about the same amount of time to cook at this point (about 12 minutes). While they are cooking, stir occasionally, and toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown. Watch them carefully so that they don't burn - they are too expensive (and too delicious) to waste!
- Taste the pasta and make sure that it is al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain the pasta into a colander.
- Taste the Quorn Chik'n Tenders to make sure they are done, and season with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Dump the drained pasta into the skillet with the Quorn Chik'n Tenders (or put everything into the pasta pot - I don't know the size of your pots and pans!)
- Add the thawed pesto and some of the reserved pasta water. Stir until the pesto is completely incorporated and taste for seasoning.
- Top each serving with toasted pine nuts.
- If you're not trying to make this dish vegan, you can sprinkle your pasta with freshly grated Parmesan - but why not give it a try without the cheese!
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