16 May Here’s What You Can Eat If You’re Finally Serious About Meatless Mondays
As people start to become more health aware, more and more restaurants are including meat-free options, even renowned chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay has called on fellow chefs to expand their Vegan menu. Michelin-starred greats all over the world have agreed that the true measure of a great cook is how well they can prepare vegetables. I know because they invited me to talk about it with them on “The Future of Food.”
I get consulted by local food chains for advise on what to serve—asking me to recommend something savory, vegan and easy to cook with. Well, mushrooms are always a priority in my book and you can choose from a variety that each gives their own distinct umami flavour—from the locally grown oyster, to the more common button to the Japanese shiitake, Italian Portobello and Chinese king among many.
Tofu is also a staple—it’s bland enough to absorb any sauce or marinade and available enough to rely on. Then there’s the veggie meat that is made of wheat, or seitan which I don’t endorse just because most Asians are intolerant to gluten. There is also isolated soy protein from Taiwan which for me is also not ideal as processed soy is known to be a carcinogen, (stick to nato, tempeh and whole fermented soybeans and don’t eat them with every meal). Basically that’s it!
Until Quorn came along. Corn? Was that a typo? No it’s Quorn—with a Q. Weird name, pretty confusing, considering that it doesn’t contain any kernel. Right?
About three years ago, this popular meat-free alternative was introduced to Filipinos from the UK. It’s packed with fiber, is high in protein and comes in a wide selection—from nuggets, chunks, patties, fillets and grounds. Most of them tastes like chicken, well everything except the sausage and grounds that is. Tears like real poultry too. Which makes Quorn perfect for most cuisine because the taste of white chicken, skin-free, is the easiest to incorporate in any recipe.
Editor’s note: We were made to do a blind tasting of Quorn nuggets vs conventional chicken nuggets, and to be completely honest, I did find the conventional chicken nuggets a tad bit crunchier, perhaps it’s in the breading or the batter. The inside “meat” of Quorn nuggets tasted less saltier compared to real chicken. It’s an otherwise great option if you’re looking at lessening your consumption of traditional animal meat.
Quorn is also the most affordable among the premium meat-free superbrands, selling for less than 150 Pesos a pack versus its 900-1,700-Peso counterparts. This makes it accessible for food service and even everyday home cooking.
But is it really healthy?
Quorn is made of mycroprotein—a synthesised green protein which originates from fungus, (not the bad kind like what you treat with Terramycin, but more like the good bacteria in Yakult). It’s closest to mushroom but not really. It went through a culturing process that is not unlike yogurt fermentation but not exactly. It’s the first of its kind to fall into the “Green Protein” category.
Editor’s note: These Quorn nachos tasted like the real deal. Just prepare with your favorite nacho mix or spices, toss in with corn chips, add some chopped black olives, onions, and tomatoes, and some vegan cheese, and you’re set!
Is it good for you?
I received links that some people can be allergic to Mycroprotein, but at 1-150,000, you’re more likely to reject wheat, soy and nuts than Green Protein.
Is it all-natural? Not completely. Meat substitutes that succeed in both the texture and flavour department is never unadulterated. There’s always some isolate whether it be from pea or soy in it and it’s always lab-extracted.
Is it safe? Absolutely. 100% safer than conventionally raised cattle, poultry, hogs and pond-caught fish.
Better than vegetable? YOU WISH. Eat your greens, grains and fruits—nothing can substitute that, not even supplements!
Quorn is healthier than commercially available meat FOR SURE—it’s clean protein, is virtually fat-free, has fiber, and isn’t injected with antibiotics and growth hormones. Plus, you’re sure it’s not double-dead from disease, (avian flu, mad cow, red tide, etc.)
Would I choose it over organic meat? Probably not. If you can afford it, go organic but I know I don’t always have this option, (most of us don’t). I’d happily swap pork with Quorn chunks for my Adobo, I would choose Mycroprotein grounds on spaghetti over shredded beef any day. You can’t taste the difference but your body will benefit with the better option. Plant-based is always good, even when it’s not organic, as is in this case.
Oh and I wouldn’t feed a 13-year-old with the regular chicken nuggets (which is anything but pure chicken) but I would let them have the Quorn substitute, sausages too. I’d just get their vegan alternatives as processed meat has already been directly linked to cancer by the World Health Organization, and yes, that includes nitrate-free bacon.
The debate with plant-based meat is that it isn’t exactly what nature intended it to be, but what of pharmaceuticals, supplements, energy drinks, stem-cell and even meat (ham, tocino, chorizo, etc.) itself? We’re always modifying what’s available to us, heck even cake isn’t a whole food! Meat-free protein is not much different except that it’s healthier, more ethical and is actually sustainable compared to the average animal by-products.
And now it’s actually more than just palatable, thanks to technology, we can actually enjoy any comfort food, guilt-free.
Quorn, like a lot of the preferred meat-free alternatives (Beyond, Morning Star, Gardein, Tofurky, Impossible, etc.) is a direct substitute. That means you can simply replace any meat ingredient measurement in a recipe with it one-is-to-one.
Good for you. Great for the Planet. Now you can have seconds and not feel bad about it.
Here are just some easy recipe swaps to binge-on:
Check out some amazing recipes done by the renowned Florabel restaurant:
Meat-Free Pasta Alfredo
- Put the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat, then sauté onion and garlic for about 1 minute. Add the Quorn Chunks and cook it for about 3 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Put in the mushroom and the peppers, mix well then season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the whipping cream. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
- Toss it with your favorite pasta.