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Reviewing the meat-free protein, Gardein

Updated on November 19, 2012


Cast your vote for Gardein


Reviewing the meat-free protein, Gardein

Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 1 hour 5 min
Yields: serves 2 with leftovers


  • 1 package Tuscan breast, Gardein
  • 1 28 ounce can San Marzano diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin or chiffonade
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, wash in broken up into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup provolone cheese, shredded
  • 4-6 ounces pasta,cooked, I used frozen potato gnocchis I had made another time.


  1. The instructions for preparing the Gardein are on the box and very simple. The Tuscan breast came with a sauce that I just added to my freshly prepared sauce.
  2. To prepare the freshly made sauce, take a large saute pan and heat two tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat, add onions. Cook for about three to four minutes and then add garlic. Cook for another minute or two as you add the oregano. Saute another minute and add the diced San Marzano tomatos. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix the prepared cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of oil. I like to put my roasting pan in the oven while it heats. It puts a nice carmelization on the vegetables and cooks them faster. When the oven reaches temperature, place the cauliflower in the heated pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile start a pan with boiling water for the pasta. Once the water is boiling add your pasta and cook as specified on the package. Drain the pasta and place on the your serving plate.
  5. Place the Gardein on the plate and ladle the fresh sauce on the pasta and Gardein, and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil. Add the cauliflower to a serving bowl and mix with provolone cheese . Place some cauliflower on your plate and mangia (eat)!


I am not one to eat anything too processed. I keep my proteins to nuts, eggs, some dairy, tofu, tempeh, grains, and seitan. But every now and then a girl needs a quick meal. I found myself facing three eight hour days of continuing education , which left me little time to make sure my husband and I had a home cooked meal. A while a go I ordered a book by Tal Ronnen, called "The Conscious Cook". A very inspiring read but I was sort of turned off by him using "Gardein" in a few of his recipes. He wrote a glowing review about the chef who invented it, including comments that this chef thought with a shrinking food supply and growing population, this may be the protein choice of the future! That's a bold statement, I must investigate!

According to Tal ,Gardein has a savory taste and authentic texture and is made with a blend of vegetables and grains--soy, wheat and ancient grains, peas, beets and carrots. How they make it from that point is a company secret. Okay, sounds good so far. Off to my local grocer. They carried the product in both a fresh form and a frozen variation. For tonight, I chose the Tuscan Breasts. This filled me with memories of when my husband and I were newlyweds. On Friday nights we went to our local Italian restaurant and always order Chicken Parmesean. It was to die for, literally. If you ate too much of this I am sure it would block arteries and cause a massive coronary. It was deep fried and smothered in cheese, served with a pasta doused in Alfredo sauce, white flour bread, and served with an iceberg lettuce salad. Our first mistake is we would eat it all! Nowadays, one dinner portion would likely serve both of us with extra to take home as the portion size was huge. I think I don't need to list the rest of the reasons why this dinner was bad for us. Looking back at how much we ate and how much calorie-rich food we ate in our younger ears reminds me that this lifestyle was unsustainable if we wanted to keep our trim figures. Alas, we no longer eat at this restaurant and no longer eat chicken parm, but I confess, I do miss the rich taste! Could Gardein be my chicken parmesan alternative?

Tonight, I put together the recipe you see before you. I added the cheese to the freshly roasted cauliflower giving it a nice sharp salty bite. My grandfather used provolone on everything and it always brings up fond food memories for me.

My husband and I decided that if a meat eater is looking for a chicken replacement , the Gardein will take some getting used to. It has a very chewy texture. I think combining it with my sauce and other ingredients made it a quick easy dish. We also have tried the " Shredded Barbecue "and that one was alot better. Maybe because it was smothered in barbecue sauce? If you are looking to replace meat in your diet there are plenty of choices that are not processed. Try those first, unless of course, you need a quick dish.

Gardein is a play on two words according to the manufactor, garden and protein.


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