This week, fake chicken has made an appearance in my life and to be completely honest, everything about this product was quite a surprise.
Trying the fake chicken became a thing after a listener called into 6PR 882AM Morning Show a few weeks ago, asking about the nutritional value of some of the vegan/vegetarian ready to eat products.
To Be Or Not To Be Fake Chicken?
I trawled the chilled section of the supermarket on the hunt for some fake chicken and I was rewarded by finding the Chick’n Schnitzel made by the Unreal brand.
If I were to judge a book by its cover (as I keep telling my children that is not what we should be doing), it didn’t grab me. However, I was on a mission. Luckily, there was a 20% discount on the product, which lessened the pain I felt might be coming.
I was finding it hard to imagine enjoying this product, so based on this I decided to make it into a chicken parmigiana. I imagined this ‘chicken’ topped with a couple of tablespoons of pasta sauce and for a lovely finishing touch, some grated vegan cheese which I also purchased.
The ingredients were all set to get this fake chicken on the road. Mind you, wrestling the cheese out of the packet was an extreme sport and once freed from the packaging the aroma nearly overcame me. I soldiered on.
Once assembled, the fake chicken now newly reinvented as Chicken Parmigiana, baked in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Unfortunately one can’t use baked until ‘golden brown’ as an alternate guide to time as the cheese didn’t melt and there didn’t seem to be any colour change to my fake chicken at all. Just set your timer ok?
Taste Test 1,2 3
Once done, I rushed that Chicken Parmi straight to radio where Gareth Parker and I taste tested live on air.
Well. We looked at each in total surprise. This Chick’n Schnitzel made into Chicken Parmigiana was actually tasty and it had a very similar texture to chicken.
As you can see below, the nutritional breakdown of the product ticked boxes across the fat, sugar and salt categories and it has some fibre too. This makes sense as it is a plant based product and the real Chicken Parmigiana is mostly protein with a minuscule amount of fibre in the crumb only.
For those still not convinced just yet, you can check out my meaty version of a Chicken Parmigiana here.
So, I will admit that I was wrong (ouuuccchhh) in assuming the Chick’n Schnitzel was going to be gross. I was correct in my assumptions about the fake cheese though. Just no.
Meat Free Week Coming Right Up
The timing of the Chick’n Schnitzel tasting and revealing fits very nicely into Meat Free Week which runs from next the 23-29 September.
Meat Free Week encourages you to challenge yourself, your friends, your family and your colleagues to try a plant based menu and raise funds for a great cause – the prevention of bowel cancer.
I will write more about Meat Free Week next week but let’s be clear that this is not about abolishing meat from our diets – it’s about eating more plant food.