Monday, February 25

Protein: Gardenburger Riblets

I've been a vegetarian (of some permutation) for nearly fourteen years. My family never ate a ton of red meat, but it was still a tricky transition for ten-year-old me. For the first year (while I was still eating fish and poultry) the two things I missed most were salami and beef stew (with tender, well-sauced chunks of meat, carrots, and potatoes...ahh). Back in those days, the only meat substitute in my juvenile culinary lexicon was tofu, which I had to admit was not really an adequate replacement for the aforementioned products. I still haven't found a suitable replacement for cured meats, but these days my craving of choice is probably the least vegetarian mass-market meat around: ribs. Yep, I used to really love sucking the flesh off a seared and sauced animal bone. Well. Times have changed, but my tastes still crave the sweet, meaty harmony of barbecued ribs. Fortunately, Gardenburger's "Riblets" serve as a great stand-in, even in (faux) beef stew. These have got to be my favorite Gardenburger product, with a dense, chewy texture, and thick, molasses-rich sauce. Three minutes in the microwave and you've got a superbly satisfying meal. My favorite way to consume these riblets is on a hoagie roll with a little extra barbecue sauce and some stewed tomatoes. Today, however, I took a slightly healthier (and more colorful) route by serving the riblets on toasted sourdough with mustard, spinach, and yellow tomatoes. Still divine. The Gardenburger web site suggests cutting them into hefty chunks and serving on skewers with grilled or roasted vegetables, and I would love to try to cook the riblets themselves on a barbecue. And there's always the beef stew option.

NB: Unless you're downing your riblets at 11am with a cup of green tea, like me, eat them with a hearty Spanish red or beer, beer, beer. A pale ale, IPA, or saison would be my choices -- something with a nice hop backbone and a cutting effervescence.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Yum! I wish there were more "meat" alternative brands here. Those sound delicious & multi-purpose.


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