If your willing to forgo the flashy packaging, then ND Labs Vegetable Protein could be a good meatless alternative for your kitchen. These old-school vegan products aren’t pretty, and are definitely a function over form food. But they’ve been around for decades, which says a lot in the tumultuous natural food industry. Their website is also bare bones, lacking detailed information. So Sarah shared the ingredients for one of the products that her family tried, and liked.
Tasting Notes for ND Labs Vegetable Protein
We’ve had three different reviewers taste-test certain ND Labs Vegetable Protein products, and their opinions were varied! Some of these products have been discontinued, but they give you a good idea on the taste and texture of their “beefy” substitutes.
ND Labs’ Meatless Burger Bits (DISCONTINUED) by The Hatfields
Recently I received a package of ND Labs’ Meatless Burger Bits, or, as my kids call it, “Fake Meat.” We used them in Peg Bracken’s Green Pepper Stew. The texture and taste were very similar to ground beef, and we agreed that the texture is even more beef-like than their Soy-licious meatless ground beef. In fact, the Meatless Burger Bits are the closest-to-ground-beef meatless product we’ve tried.
If it were up to us, though, we’d probably go with ground turkey or ground chicken or ground venison if we didn’t want beef. But, if you are allergic to beef or a vegetarian or vegan and would like a beef alternative specifically, I definitely recommend this product.
Ingredients – Beef flavored vegetable crumbles (soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, malt color, and wheat starch). Spice blend: hydrolyzed corn and yeast protein, hydrolyzed wheat gluten, maltodextrin, malt extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, dextrose, yeast extract, onion, chili and garlic powders, torula yeast, malic acid, disodium inosiante, disodium guanylate, natural flavors (info from their website states these are dairy-free).
Soy-Licious Hamburger Mix (DISCONTINUED) by The Non-Dairy Queen
I recently tried out a new product called Soy-Licious Hamburger Mix. I have to say that it hit the mark in many ways. It was extremely easy to use even though it looked like it would not work when I started making the burgers. The directions said that you could grill them, but I don’t see how that is possible. The mixture was not that sturdy. I simply scooped the mixture onto a nonstick griddle and the burgers were cooking away.
I was extremely impressed with the texture of the burgers! They held together very well and that is always a problem that I have when it comes to homemade bean burgers.
The flavor with all of the burger components was good, but I have to say that if I were going to make these again, I would add some other flavor components. The patty alone, in my opinion needed a little something. I think it would probably work well as a meatloaf due to all the extras I normally put in my meatloaf and the fact that the mixture holds up so well.
So, if you are looking for a meatless alternative to a beef burger, I would say this would be a good product to try.
Beef-flavored Un-Steak Strips by My Friend Barb
Honestly, I did not know what to expect from the Un-Steak slices when I started out. I cook frequently with meat and occasionally with tofu or eggplant, but this was the first time I had tried a meat substitute. Approaching this new food with caution, I first tried to determine what would best complement the little faux meat slices as far as flavors. I then chose a suitable recipe where I would normally use beef so I could better compare and contrast the Un-Steak with the “real deal”.
I was pleasantly surprised! The Un-Steak was quick to prepare, had a good texture and was easily substituted for beef in the Thai Coconut Green Curry Beef recipe below. When I reheated it again for leftovers it was arguably better than the first time, the flavors having “married” over time.
One ingredient that the Un-Steak was missing was the fat and that was a flavor / texture that I thought I was really going to miss. It turned out to be something that I can happily live without! It was nice to be able to enjoy the taste of the other subtle ingredients without them being overshadowed by the fat of the meat. Another concern I had was that I would not feel satiated or that the fullness would not last. Luckily, that was not the case; with the Un-Steak slices I felt just as full as I would have with the meat and the feeling persisted. I was content with the meal and happy that I could be proud of my healthier food choices.
I would definitely use Un-Steak again in most of my recipes in the place of beef, especially stir fry. Go ahead, give it a try in your favorite recipe or try this one …
- 1 package Un-Steak slices
- 12 ounces coconut milk
- 4 ounces chicken stock or water
- 1 tablespoon green curry paste
- 3 tablespoons fish or soy sauce
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup bamboo shoots
- Prepare the Un-Steak slices according to the directions on the package.
- In a medium saucepan combine the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add to the Un-Steak slices and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve over your favorite quinoa (as pictured) or rice.
The Facts on ND Labs Vegetable Protein
Certifications: We did not note any certifications on ND Labs Vegetable Protein.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, ND Labs Vegetable Protein appear to be dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan, and vegetarian. But we couldn’t confirm ingredients for all. Nonetheless, read the label and check with the company on their manufacturing processes before consumption if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the ND Labs website at www.nutritionaldesignsinc.com.