I visited the VegFest Brighton event a few months back, and as well as being blown away by the most tasty cream pastries (I ate three vanillia slices over two days, and an apple danish..) I saw this new product from Italy being demonstrated, Muscolo di grano.
It was quite a surreal experience, as they had a vegan roast, and vegan stir fry that really did look like meat. We tried some bits they had cooked up, and as it was pretty tasty to both me and my non vegan boyfriend, I decided to buy a few items to use in future.
Muscolo di grano stores for ages, and it is in space-age foil packets, so it has taken me until now to remember to use them, and I decided to go for a simple stir fry.
This little review will show you what this stuff looks like straight from the pack, cooked and ready to eat. If you are not a fan of mock meats, then it might not be for you, but if like me, you are a newbie to veganism, or share meals with a non vegan, this may just be a great meal option!
Muscolo di grano stir-fry:
Here’s the Muscolo di grano I bought – the “Spezzatino” (also says vegan stew on the box) It looks to me like diced chicken. There is lots of variety in the range, salamis, steaks, cutlets & roasts. I think the Spezzatino a good first buy as it seems quite versatile.
The new vegan astronaut food?
What is in it? Well, this close up shot shows it all, but it’s Italian! It’s sort of like a seitan, made from wheat gluten and legumes.
To make the stir fry – I also used the following suitable for vegans sauce and rice noodles:
This when I just want to point out about vegan eating being a bit of a journey – if you are new, you will make mistakes! Don’t beat yourself up about it! I spent ages thinking I was choosing the vegan option when I was clearly eating egg noodles – I never thought about it when I ordered chow meins, etc – seems silly now but sometimes you do forget! These yummy rice noodles are just as good, and vegan friendly! Live and learn! 🙂
Here’s the spezzantino fresh out the pack. Combined with the foil sachet I have to say it does remind me bit quite a bit of catfood!!!!
Looking a little strange, but don’t be put off!
But, after pan frying it in a few tablespoons of olive oil, it does separate easily into chunks, and goes a nice golden brown – it’s looking much more appetizing now!
Whilst I cook this stuff up, I cook up a selections of veggies, peppers, asparagus, beans, carrots & water chestnuts &once this is cooked through, mix together the meat &the veggies. I like to cook these bits separate, just to ensure this mock meat has browned &cooked through all the way.
The noodles can be followed as per the back of the packet. I like to stir fry them in a bit of oil so they are soft and ready to go.
All finished & on the plate..
Finally, I like to add some seeds on top of my meals to pack in some more nutrients. Today it was hemp seeds, which contain amino acids, vitamin E and omega fats. They are far better raw than cooked, so use them to top any dish. If you haven’t tried them before, they have a pleasant mild, slightly nutty taste.
Hemp seeds added on top.
The taste? I quite like this stuff and will repurchase, especially if they exhibit at any more vegan fairs. The crispy outside and moist middle is tasty and adds a bit more to a simple veggie dish like stir fry. It is also not spongey when you bite into it, like some mock meats can be. The meat comes flavoured with some Italian spices (basil, mint, oregano, laurel & rosemary) so it is not bland on its own, but it is also subtle enough to mix well with any other sauces you cook with. My boyfriend also liked it too – so I give this the thumbs up if you are looking for something a bit different every once in a while.
At the moment you can buy it online ( in bulk & in euros!) on their website, or see it in some health food shops (Brighton Infinity Foods has started stocking it.) Price varies a bit wherever I see it (expect it to be around a fiver). I recommend you keep your eyes peeled for it if you are visited any of the VegFests across the UK to try a sample and see for yourself and take advantage of the great offers they have there. (And cream cakes! 🙂 )
What’s your favourite mock meat? Have you had Muscolo di grano in a dish?
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