Fake Chicken – The Real Deal or Fake News?

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.

 

 

Chicken Parmigiana Makeover

There are not many people who don’t love a good Chicken in Pyjamas aka Chicken Parmigiana is there? The age-old parmi is an Italian recipe that has most definitely become an Australian pub favourite.

The thing is, the calories in that baby are right up there and can range anywhere between 400 – 800 calories depending on the recipe and who is preparing it. These numbers equate to between a third to half of my total daily calorie or energy intake and I actually like to eat several times a day, not just one meal.

Enter the makeover.

Making over such an iconic dish needs to be healthy but above all needs to taste good. I know this might be sacrilege for the die-hard fans but trust me, this is actually good.

Let’s start with chicken, which is an excellent protein source, an excellent source of vitamins such as niacin and contains important minerals including iron, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium. It is essential that the chicken used in this recipe is moist and juicy just like the regular Chicken Parmigiana. One of the secret ingredients here is cooked and pureed cauliflower combined with a little Parmesan cheese topped off with the classic tomato sauce and grated cheese.

Altering the traditional recipe just slightly means a huge reduction in the fat and calorie content. Believe me, this one tastes great, ticks the nutrition boxes and can be made in moments.

Chicken Parmigiana

Ingredients:
1 chicken breast, sliced through horizontally into two pieces
2 large cauliflower florets, steamed and pureed
1 cup of your favourite pasta sauce
¼ cup grated reduced fat cheddar cheese

Method:
Place chicken breast pieces on a lined oven tray. Cover with the pasta sauce, followed by the pureed cauliflower, and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Cook in a moderate oven for 35 minutes or until cooked through and golden on top.

Click here to watch me make this super easy chicken parmigiana in a quick video.

In my house, this is a crowd favourite. Delicious and healthy – Buon appetito!