(Sort of) Meatless Monday

I meant to post this yesterday, but then I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 pm. Having walking pneumonia is tricky because you feel like you’re getting back to normal, and then you’re riding your bike home and have a crazy coughing fit that scares all the other cyclists and pedestrians and forces you to walk the rest of the way home. For any SF cyclists out there yesterday, yeah, that was me.

Marathon training be damned, I’ll be excited when I can walk up the stairs without getting winded!

Anyway, on to dinner last night. It’s always meatless Monday at our house, but this week I was craving something a little meaty. I wrote last week how I made my own ketchup and how much I loved it, so I needed to make some meals this week that could feature my ketchup but also didn’t require a lot of work.

Enter Field Roast sausages, Mexican chipotle flavor. These faux meat sausages are good enough that a sausage restaurant in SF called Rosamune actually has them on the menu. They are mighty tasty.

For packaged, processed food, they’re pretty healthy too.

Nutrition facts for the Mexican chipotle favor:

  • Calories 250
  •     Calories from fat 100
    Total Fat  12g  18%
  •      Saturated Fat  1g 5%
  •      Trans Fat  0g 0%
  • Cholesterol  0mg 0%
  • Sodium  520mg 22%
  • Total Carb. 12g 4%
  •      Dietary Fiber  4g 16%
  •      Sugars  8g
  • Protein  23g

Ingredients:  

Vital wheat gluten, filtered water, expeller pressed  safflower  oil ,  onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar, naturally flavored yeast extract ,chipotle pepper s, onion   powder,   granulated garlic, brown sugar, spices, sea salt, barley malt, black pepper, chili de arbol peppers, cumin seed, paprika oleoresin and oregano

A little high in fat and sodium, but for a processed fake meat product, it’s pretty damn good, and the ingredient list is all things I recognize.

Served along side some steamed Red Russian kale, it was perfect. This was before I drowned it in ketchup. I was also starving, so the photo is a little bit terrible.

I was nervous the chipotle flavor of the sausage would clash with the ketchup, but they actually complemented each other perfectly. The subtle sweetness of the ketchup balanced out the fiery chipotle.

We don’t eat a lot of processed fake meat; heck we don’t even eat a lot of tofu or tempeh. I stick to mostly beans, veggies, and whole grains at home, and enjoying more processed products when we go out (spicy eggplant with tofu? I’m there!)

As a general rule, I avoid processed foods, but I think they have their place in a vegetarian/vegan diet – and probably an omnivore diet as well. Field Roast in particular has a great ingredient list and solid nutrition facts, plus it’s pretty freaking delicious. As long as you’re not having faux sausage for breakfast, chick’n for lunch, and a soyrizo burrito for dinner, I think you’re good.

There are always pros and cons.

Pros

  • Faux meat products can make the transition from omni to vegetarian/vegan easier for some people. Eating food that’s familiar can be less overwhelming than learning a totally new way of cooking immediately.
  • Convenience.  This dinner came together in less than 10 minutes. Score.
  • Nostalgia. Every Christmas my mom makes pierogs – a little crescent roll filled with bacon and onions. The entire family descends upon them warm from the oven. We made some mushroom ones last year that were good, but I might try to sneak in some tempeh bacon this year to see how it goes.
  • For those times where there just isn’t a substitute. Beans aren’t going to fulfill my barbecue pulled pork craving – but BBQ tempeh will come much closer.

Cons

  • They’re pricey – especially the good ones. I could get a lot of beans for what I paid for a package of 4 Field Roast sausages.
  • Higher in sodium. As with all processed food, the sodium content is higher than making food from scratch.
  •  Not super environmentally friendly – especially soy products.
  • Relying on fake meat products means you don’t learn to cook whole, natural, vegan food – which can be so amazingly tasty and is so good for you.
  • Some say it sends the message that you can’t get enough protein from whole foods (but you totally can).

Much like meat for omnivores, I think this list shows that faux meat is something great to be enjoyed occasionally – or should be a small part of a meal and not the main event (unless you’re jonesing for some ketchup). For the sake of your blood pressure, your wallet, and your cooking skills, it’s best to enjoy these products as a treat and not as a staple.

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