Last July I played around with testing 2 of the most accessible plant-based ground meat substitutes I could find and wrote about it on The Ground Meat(less) to Beat. Jim and I did a blind taste test between Bocca Ground Crumbles vs Morningstar Farms Griller Crumbles.
This time, I lined up 5 different plant-based ground meat substitutes. I still included Bocca Ground Crumbles and Morningstar Farms Griller Crumbles but added LightLife Gimme Lean® Beef, LightLife Smart Ground® Original and Quorn Beef-Style Grounds.
I designated a colored pick to each of the products and it was easy to start to forget which on was which this time because there were 5. I made notes on their appearance before cooking, on how they cooked up in a cast iron pan with olive oil and onion as I made them into Sloppy Joes.
I used identical ingredients and process in making 5 portions and served them on little slider rolls with only their colored pick telling each one from the other.
I almost eliminated Bocca from the race since it had lost in every test to MorningStar but decided to include it (Red pick) again anyway. Sadly, even in a new recipe of Sloppy Joe, Bocca came in 5th out of 5. Jim thought it was saltier, more gristly and chewier and I thought it was hardest to swallow, had a dark soy flavor and was like tough little balls.
We also agreed on #4 (Blue pick), the Smart Ground® Original wasn’t best represented in this recipe. Neither of us liked its texture, found it to be like pellets or grainy. Though I didn’t mind it had an earthy flavor, Jim just didn’t like the mouth-feel of it.
On numbers 2 and 3 we were divided. Jim liked the Quorn (Orange pick) better than the MorninStar and I was the other way around. I thought the Quorn was oddly sweet but Jim thought the small bits carried the flavor well. I liked the familiarity of the MorningStar (Green pick) but Jim thought it was a little greasier. I think it is if I am remembering the nutritional breakdown from the first taste test. I can remember it’s not vegan.
Guess what IS vegan!? Our newest #1 plant-based ground meat substitute choice, LightLife Gimme Lean® Beef! Both of us loved how it cooked up and even though it was the only one that needed to be broken up a bit and stuck to the pan, the flavor and texture was most pleasing to us both. Jim thought it (White pick) really tasted like a BBQ sandwich (Sloppy Joe and BBQ are pretty much inner changable in Pennsyltucky – trust me on this). I liked that it was mellow and although it was a little more coarsely hunked, I know that was how I had cooked it and could change the coarseness by chopping it a bit more.
Like vegetarian food reviews and taste tests!? Check out my detailed review of Soy Bacon Products: (NOT) Bacon Rating! Three vegetarian bacon products, seven taste testers and One WINNER! The follow up taste test pits bacon tempeh to tempeh in the Tempeh Bacon Taste Taste. Did the Maple Kind prevail!?