I was perusing Alicia's Silverstone's website and saw a chicken recipe that specifically called for Gardein chicken. I figured if it was suggested by name, it must be good. I got the chicken, the pulled pork, and the BBQ beef skewers. I have only tried the skewers so far...
The taste is beefy, I won't argue with that, but there is an aftertaste that I just can't get past. I tried a few preparations, so I feel like I gave this product every chance.
First, I cooked a skewer in a pan with a tiny bit of oil and browned all sides. I didn't add any sauce because I wanted to actually taste the flavors of my mockmeat. The texture was the first thing I notice, it's good. There's a chewiness that really replicates meat in a nice way. I also liked the forward flavor. The problem was this synthetic aftertaste that I can only compare to rubber, which then makes the texture seem gross in my mind when my taste buds tell my brain: "rubber."
I had hoped it something I could mask.
The second time I made these skewers, I cooked three in the broiler. I figured that would give it a rich flavor, and provide a nice base for some sauciness. I tried one with bbq sauce, one with teriyaki sauce, and one with steak sauce. The flavors again were great, and each matched well with the flavor of the meat, but there was still that aftertaste.
I would say that if you can get past the aftertaste, this is a great alternative, but you aren't going to fool any meat eaters with this. I have read reviews of the chicken where people said their meat-eating friends couldn't tell it wasn't chicken. This beef would not fit that description.
I am considering trying these one more time and using them in a stew with a red wine base. I'm thinking the bold flavors of a stew and long cooking time might overpower that plastic-like taste, but I am not ready to spend the money to try again just yet.
We'll see how the other flavors pan out.