Maintaining a healthy vegan diet in Japan and other countries where veganism has not caught on often means having to make everything from scratch, from breakfast cereals, breads, egg-replacers, non-dairy milks and mock meats, to vegan mayonaise, cheeses and ice creams.
On my latest trip to the States, I went out of my way to sample a number of vegan ready to eat and convenience foods. Since meeting Tal Ronnen last year, I was intrigued by the Gardein plant-based products he is developing–which according to some vegans–feel too much like eating meat.
While Gardein is not available here in Japan, most grocery chains in the U.S. carry it, and it’s becoming the defacto meat substitute in high-end restaurants across the U.S, too. The best thing about such products is beginning vegans can use them in familiar recipes, and hopefully will discover it’s not difficult to give up eating meat altogether.
First, I prepared the Tuscan Breasts with Tomato and Basil Sauce on the gas grill, served with rice (the 2nd time I substituted a side of whole-wheat spaghetti with homemade sauce). I also tried the Chick’n Scaloppini, which I paired with Cara Mia marinated artichokes from Kirkland.
When Chef Tal prepares scallopini Japanese-French style with sake, shiitake mushrooms, udon and pea-shoots, it looks and undoubtedly tastes a lot better, but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, and wanted to use as little oil as possible, too. The faux breast filets also contain a lot of sodium, so extra salt is not needed.
4 Gardein frozen breast filets (one bag)
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 T oil for pan frying
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup marinated artichokes (drained)
1/3 cup lemon juice
Coat frozen filets with flour lightly, and place into skillet preheated with oil.
Fry 4 minutes on one side, then flip and fry 2 minutes on the other side, draining on a paper towel when done.
Lightly brown garlic in oil and add artichokes with lemon juice, whisking in extra flour to thicken as desired.
Heat artichoke mixture another 1-2 minutes and serve on top of filets. Add fresh pepper to taste.