Beyond Meat - End of Week Thoughts
So this week I made my lunch for the week. An orzo dish that I whip up and eat over the week. Normally I use chicken or Italian sausage and this week I decided to give Beyond Meat Italian Sausage a try. I'd never tried any form of Beyond Meat so I was going in blind. I also bought normal sausage (it was on sale) as a backup, so I was covered either way.
I normally boil the sausages on the stove and then finish them as coins in the meal while the orzo boils. Can't do that with Beyond Meat, as I quickly realized. About 60-90 seconds into them heating up in the water I realized the water was getting extremely oily and my brain clicked that their casings wouldn't be meat, so were likely soy or something that was deteriorating in the water. So I pulled them out of the water. The casings felt like some sort of jelly. So I dumped the water and cut the sausages and cooked them in the pan with oil as coins. Cooking was fine, but it also was the first clear sign that this wasn't meat. It left a lot on the pan, more than I would expect from similar sausages. Is it a big deal? Not really, there was still plenty of meat, but was a bit of a pain to clean.
Once I was convinced they were done cooking I decided not to transfer them to the cooking orzo, for the same reasons I didn't boil them to cook them. I didn't want the boiling orzo to ruin the casings and the sausage to disassemble. Once the Orzo was mostly boiled, I added the sausages for the last few minutes of cooking.
The food was put into a plastic container and refrigerated overnight. The next day I reheated a portion for lunch. The meat reheated fine, and the best part of the Beyond Meat product is the mouth feel. It feels like meat when you bite into it. The sausage was supposed to be "Hot Italian" but it honestly barely registered for me. The flavor was muted, if anything. It didn't have the umami of sausage, but also, it didn't taste like anything else to me. So as a vehicle for other flavors, it works well enough. It held up through the week with no discernible shifts in flavor or texture.
Overall, I'm a fan. I am not going to be giving up sausage all together, but in this recipe I think it works and I'll be trying it again when I make it for lunch next time. There's another brand friends recommended, Field Roast. I plan to give them a try next and we'll see.
The truth is I've considered going vegetarian for health and environmental reasons, but... I love meat. Steak is so delicious. Burgers. Sausage. Chicken... I love it all. But if I can begin to cut into the ones I eat and find the suitable replacements, that is exciting. Maybe one day I'll be a Vege-steak-tarian. We'll see.
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