Best Gardein Meatless Products (My Review)

A lot of people may not realize that you can still keep eating all the foods that you’re used to eating while on a 100% vegan diet. Gardein meatless products uses various plant-based ingredients to replicate traditional foods that contains animal products.

It’s incredibly easy to go vegan in 2017

Gardein is probably my favorite for vegan meatless products. Their products are 100% certified vegan and they come up with a vegan version of your favorite comfort foods such as chicken tenders, chicken burgers, battered fish, meatballs, crab cakes, sweet and sour pork… all vegan!

Familiar Comfort Foods

Gardein create many different familiar comfort food products ranging from hot pockets to a holiday roast (vegan roast turkey). Their foods are great to transition meat-eaters who are starting vegan, Gardein can “veganize it” pretty good, and even though I haven’t tried every single Gardein product yet, most of which I have tried are usually excellent.

Below I’m going to do a short review of all the products that I have tried at least once. Actually, aside from the Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n, I’m pretty sure I have bought all the other ones multiple times.

1.) Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n — My rating: 5 out of 10

If you like ordering orange chicken at chinese restaurants then you might like to try this one. I’ve tried this one only one time cause I thought it was just okay. I used the microwave to heat them up and then pour over the “Mandarin Orange” sauce. It came out a little bit crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. You could throw it in the pan and stir-fry it with some broccoli and peppers, serve it on top of rice, it would be better than take-out for sure.

2.) 7-Grain Crispy Tenders — My rating: 6 out of 10

These vegan “chicken” tenders are pretty good on their own, but you can dip it in some vegannaise (vegan mayonnaise) like I do. You bake them in the oven and it comes out with a nice crust on the outside, slightly crispy. The texture is comparable to chicken meat for sure, and I think it taste pretty good, I have bought this one myself more than a couple of times. It taste good cold too, a lot of times I just eat them out of the fridge.

3.) Porkless Bites — My rating: 7 out of 10

Making vegan sweet and sour pork is easy when you have porkless bites, just add in some cooked green peppers and pineapple with the sauce. This did not look red and pretty like the picture in the label, but the taste made up for it. The porkless bites have a chewy meaty texture that soaks up the sauce quite well and is very addictive. The sweet and sour sauce is perfect and is no different from the ones in chinese restaurants.

4.) Beefless Tips — My rating: 7.5 out of 10

Another chinese take-out favorite is beef and broccoli. I have made the vegan version of this a few times with Gardein’s “beefless tips.” It has a really beefy flavor and inside you can taste little bits of onions and other ingredients, it goes incredibly well with rice. Some other meal ideas with beefless tips include black bean beefless chili and beefless tips and vegetable skewers.

5.) Black Bean Burgers — My rating: 7.5 out of 10

I’ve had many different kinds of vegan burgers in the last 5 years, and most of them weren’t that good, it’s always the flavor or texture that was lacking in some ways. So that’s why I was reluctant to try Gardein’s “black bean burger” when I saw it in stock at my grocery store. But since I trusted Gardein products to deliver, I thought I’d give it a try. Not bad at all, very heavy black bean flavors which I like. I heated it up in the microwave and the texture coming out was pretty good, it smelled like it had a good mix of spice in that burger. It is actually one of the top vegan burgers I’ve ever had. I would buy it again for sure.

6.) Mini Crabless Cakes — My rating: 8 out of 10

These vegan crab cakes taste just like the real thing. They come out of the oven golden and crispy, they’re full of crab flavor which is mixed nicely with peppers and green onions in a very creamy vegan mayonnaise. It’s very possible to think these are real crab cakes. They are a great food to eat while watching movies, not good for sharing of course because you’ll want them all by yourself. The first time I tried them I finished the whole bag, pretty sure I could eat two or three bags in one sitting easily

7.) Gardein Golden Fishless Fillet — My Rating: 8.5 out of 10

If you tell someone these fishless fillets are real fish fillets, I bet a lot of people would actually believe you! They have a very strong fish smell and flavor.  Out of the oven you’ll get a nice crispy battered crust, and the fillets have a flaky texture very similar to fish fillets. You can get your omega-3s with fishless fillets without the cholesterol of real fish. It’s great on it’s own or you can serve it with fries (fish n chips), make your own vegan tartar sauce to assemble a vegan Fillet O Fish, or even make meatless sushi roll.

8.) Gardein Chick’n Sliders — My Rating: 9 out of 10

I lost count of how many times I’ve had these. Before I went vegan I used to be a big fan of McDonald’s McChicken burgers, Chick’n Sliders are a great replacement for that. The buns are soft and a little bit sweet, the “chicken” patties are crispy and juicy on the inside. I normally do microwave for these and they turn out fine, if you like extra crispy then use the oven.  Unlike some other ones I have mentioned, these are only good hot and fresh, they don’t do as well when cold.

9.) Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs — My Rating: 9.5 out of 10

If I had to pick my favorite vegan meat substitute of them all, this would be it. They almost do have the texture of real meatballs, and inside they’re full of spices like fennel seeds, paprika and turmeric. Toss it in some tomato sauce and you have a pretty solid vegan version of spaghetti and meatballs. But they go well with almost anything, I have eaten them many times with rice.

Great Vegan Transition Food

Although vegan products are free of cholesterol and hormones, a lot of these meatless meat products are still very highly processed and contains lots of fat. They are a great “training wheel” for people looking to take small steps into a healthier diet and lifestyle. Going from a standard american diet of meat-heavy foods to a vegan diet of fruits and vegetables may be too extreme for some people, meatless meats are a great way to transition yourself slowly in a comfortable way without sacrificing your taste buds.

Where To Buy

Most big supermarket chains or natural food stores like Whole Foods Market carry at least a few Gardein products in the freezer aisle. There are many different variety of products and the availability at each store will vary. If you cannot find the product you want to buy in stores, you could suggest it to the store manager to stock them.

Alternatively, you can purchase these products online at Amazon, I think you can find pretty much any of their products there.


I hope you have found my review to be helpful, let me know of your own experience with these products with a question or comment down below, thanks for reading. Cheers

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29 thoughts on “Best Gardein Meatless Products (My Review)

  1. Travis Smithers says:

    The concept to create food that tastes like meat that is not is a very good idea to transition over to stop eating meats. You mention that the food packages have a higher fat content and processing. Does this mean that while you make the transition the packages are not as healthy as the real meats or are they still better for you?

    • Hey Travis, if you take high fat and processed vegan foods and compare them with high fat and processed non-vegan foods, I believe that the vegan ones would be slightly healthier. So if you’re coming from a diet of KFC and McDonalds, then these Gardein products would be much healthier in comparison. Hope that helps, thanks for your comment.

  2. Jeremy Hood says:

    I didn’t realize Gardein made all of these products! I had the meatballs before and they were pretty tasty. There was about an 18 month period where I was completely vegan but I still tend to eat that way most of the time.

    I think I have a pack of the beef tips sitting in my freezer, I need to check the expiration and see if they are still good. It would be worth a try seeing your rating of a 7.5/10.

    • Kent says:

      glad to hear you still eat vegan most of the time. I feel that people should go on a 7 day vegan challenge and see if it’s right for them, they will quickly realize how easy and fun it is to explore a different world of eating and then stick to it or at least come back to it like you do. I definitely stick to my rating of 7.5 out of 10 for those beef tips, they just taste like really tender pieces of beef and will go well with any recipe that calls for beef cubes.

  3. Robert Junk says:

    Great in-depth article. I have seen this brand at my local specialized grocery store. I wondered if it was worth the cost. I think you saved me a lot of trial and error with the different meals as I would have tried the Orange Chicken first as it’s one of my all-time favorite foods. I think I am going to start with your favorites and work my way backwards on your list. Thanks for the recommendations! Great website overall as well.

    • hey Robert,
      well if the orange chicken is your all time favorite then maybe you would like it more than I do. Its probably not for me cause it was never my favorite, I’m not that big a fan of sweet flavors in a savory dish. so just different strokes for different folks! thanks for your comment

  4. Evie says:

    Sadly we don’t seem to have this range here in the UK as these look pretty tasty and honestly even though I am veggie I like the taste of meat but I am just against killing animals. So meat taste in a veggie alternative is fine for me. We do have a Quorn range though which is made from mycoprotein and pretty tasty and healthy. My only issue is that some items have gluten in them and I am GF – usually it’s easy to find GF or veggie items but more difficult to find items that are both

  5. Liz says:

    This post was great! I used to be a vegan in college for about 3 years and it was really difficult to find vegan food that didn’t taste rubbery during my transition. That is what made me give up after 3 years because it was so difficult. Your post is actually making me consider going back to that lifestyle. (Baby steps of course!)

    • Kent says:

      Hey Liz,

      veganism have come a long way in the last decade. The meat replacement products and other things to help people transitioning have gotten much better now, I would definitely recommend you find some products that have good reviews and trying them out. There are still products that taste rubbery and I’m not gonna name them here, because every person’s taste is different and the ones I dislike you might like it, but I would still recommend you to try some Gardein products. They have yet to disappoint me in all my years doing vegan. The chick n’ sliders are my favorite, I think you should go for it!

  6. Luis says:

    Hi Kent
    I’ve always wanted to try out these types of food but I’ve always noticed that they are kind of expensive. At one point I was going to try to slowly start adding some vegan food into my diets but was held back by the price.

    Are there any economic good vegan foods you could point out for me?

    Would really appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Luis

    • Kent says:

      Hey Luis,

      these meat replacement or any kind of vegan products that imitate animal foods tend to be a bit more expensive. I don’t know where you live but here in Canada they’re not too bad, one bag of these Gardein products costs about $5 each, so 10 crispy tender strips for $5 I wouldn’t say is that expensive.

      But aside from these animal food imitation products, adding whole natural vegan foods into your diet can be very cheap, much cheaper than eating meat. I have a post where I go through my weekly grocery list spending about $50 canadian dollars, about $35USD. Mostly buying starches, fruits, and vegetables. If you’re on a budget I suggest you make those foods your staple, and just try some of the Gardein products once in a while as a special treat, it’s of course much healthier this way as well. hope this helps

  7. jessie palaypay says:

    These all look very appetizing and healthy. Not to mention humane (I hope so at least).

    I’m curious, are these vegan substitutes a lot more flavorful and a lot less dry?

    Also, what would you say to the critics that ask how you get protein? I know this is a tired argument already, but it never seems to die.

    thank you for your input,

    Jessie

    • Kent says:

      Hi Jessie,

      sorry for the late reply. Yes, I still constantly see the critics bringing up protein and asking where we vegans get it from. It’s pretty easy to answer this because many natural whole vegan foods are high in protein, I have given 10 examples in one of my posts.

      Many of these Gardein meatless foods are high in protein just like their meat counterparts, the meatless meatballs for example has 17g of protein per 3 meatless meatballs. I have had them a few times and they are consistently very juicy, not dry at all!

  8. Josh Ellery says:

    wow, i’ve tried some things like this before and it actually tastes really simialr to meat with the texture and everything else. Its surprisingly really good, I didn’t notice the wide variety of different meatless products there actually is either. Which ones would you say taste the best and why?

    • Kent says:

      My top ones are probably the meatless meatballs and the chick n’ sliders. I love the chick n’ sliders because it’s a good substitute for Mcdonald’s Mcchicken which used to be my favorite before I went vegan. I love the meatless meatballs because they’re such good meatballs, good flavor, good texture, its better than real meatballs actually. I also love the fishless fillets, they have a very realistic fishy flavor and it actually flakes like real fish. Beefless tips is awesome too, the crab cakes.. man, I like all of them. its hard to pick 1 or 2 favorites.

  9. mike says:

    thx for a great article. im confused tho. you seem to love the chicken sliders SO much more than the crispy tenders. is the “meat” not the same? i wanted to serve the tenders in a meal im making for my vegan nephew but not if theyre nothing special….
    pls adviseTHX

    • Hey mike, I think the meats used in both the sliders and tenders are similar, maybe even the same, but I just like eating them in burger form so that’s why the sliders are my favorite. I still like the tenders a lot. I’d definitely recommend the tenders, but I would suggest you get some vegan mayo or some kind of dipping sauce for them.

  10. Anne says:

    I didn’t care too much for the Chik’n Sliders, but I eat the meatballs a lot, and the orange chicken is good, too. In the past year, most real meat tastes odd to me (maybe how they are raised?) so I’m doing a lot more vegetarian, and a friend kicked me on to gardein.

    • I know that after I quit eating meat for a long period of time, not only do I no longer crave the animal foods, I feel disgusted by it in a way I’ve never felt before. Like milk for example, I used to drink lots of it. But now I prefer the taste of almond milk, and just thinking about cow’s milk and all that pus and hormones in them makes me sick.

  11. Stacey E. says:

    I’ve tried the fishless filets, and am currently eating the “turkey” by this brand, and I have to say, it tastes like the exact same thing. I’m not saying this basic fake meat is bad, but I feel like I am just eating the same thing with a different package. I’m having a hard time distinguishing this from the fake fish I ate a couple of weeks ago. I suppose if I ate them side by side I might detect a difference. I appreciate having this choice, though. Especially since my favorite brand (Morningstar Farms) rarely makes vegan options.

    • In my experience each product all have their own unique textures and flavor profiles and I haven’t come across any two products that taste the same. But I do understand that these products being plant-based and using soy for protein they are probably derived from similar ingredients. But personally I can absolutely tell the difference between the fishless filets from the turkeys and other stuff.

  12. Mikael says:

    Hi Kent,

    After I became a vegetarian, I did not use this kind of products, and it can be a hard transition to come up with new ideas for food.

    I do now once in a while use soy meat and I really enjoy making spaghetti bolognese with it. I was however not familiar with many of the products on your list. They look almost too much like meat:-)

    What about the health perspective? I guess it should not be something we should eat every day?

    All the best,
    Mikael

    • Hey Mikael,
      they’re definitely not healthy foods, eating them too frequently can easily lead to weight gain. Some are definitely better than others. The black bean burgers for example are made with whole foods like black beans and are pretty low in fat, so they would be a lot better than something like the fried fishless fillets which are extremely high in fat and overly processed. But from the health perspective I would generally stick with things that are as natural as possible and not man-made.

  13. Heather M says:

    If you cannot find the products you desire the post reads “Alternatively, you can purchase these products online at Amazon, I think you can find pretty much any of their products there.”

    Is this safe? Considering they are frozen foods? Will they be guaranteed fresh? Just Curious…….

    • Apparently they put them in a Styrofoam container with cooling gel packs when shipping perishable items. But it’s Amazon, so they definitely know what they’re doing. I mean, they deliver groceries now, so they got the process down right.

  14. loula Passes says:

    Soy products are not healthy to eat especially for women. I would love to find products that do not contain soy.

    • Lots of vegan fake stuff is made with soy. Not sure about soy products not being healthy, I know lots of healthy people eating soy, but it’s just one of those things where you just gotta go with your gut I guess

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