It’s our third #TacoMonday! This week, we wanted to switch things up a bit going for carnitas-style tacos. We just so happened to have Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites in the freezer! Ready to know more? Let’s go!
We’re HUGE fans of Gardein. Why? Their range of plant-based, vegan products are super convenient, especially for people like us with busy schedules and don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking. Whether you’re making their Meatless Meatballs or heating up their Pizza Pockets. They help to make meals ready in under 30 minutes, whether you bake, microwave or cook on the stovetop. Of course, The Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites were right in line with that!
We originally were introduced to Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites at Natural Products Expo West in 2015, but we hadn’t seen it hit stores until recently. Our local Shop-Rite just started to carry them! When we saw them, we decided to try them. Well… I was excited to try them. Carlo was a bit nervous, because he didn’t eat pork back in the meat-eating days.
In planning for this week’s #TacoMonday meal, I suggested we make carnitas-style tacos with the Porkless Bites. Why? Because they would take just less than 20 minutes to make…for real! This included making the bites, making salsa, making jicama slaw and assembling the tacos. After a long day at work, it was sounded so perfect…for me. But would they be for Carlo?
Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites come with 3 servings of batter-coated bites. The bites themselves are made with vital wheat gluten, soy protein with added pea protein and spices. Sorry, they’re not gluten-free, but each serving contains 13g of protein! The sweet and sour sauce that comes with it is optional to use. It’s not overpowering in flavor.
The bigger question was still out there: Would Carlo eat them?
I liked the idea of making carnitas with the bites. It would be nice to have a shredded-like protein in our tacos as we’ve been mostly using tempeh, tofu and beans. I cooked them twice. First, I made them on the stovetop in 6-8 minutes, just as stated on the packaging. I let them cool to make some pineapple salsa and a quick jicama carrot slaw. After that was done, I rubbed a chili-paprika spice blend on the bites before slicing them. They were added back to our cast iron pan to cook for another 2-3 minutes to reheat before assembling our tacos.
The results were in! I thought the Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites were actually a little too “real” for me in texture, but delicious in flavor. Carlo, the man who never ate pork, absolutely loved them. He was expecting something bacon-y and smoky, but that wasn’t the case. He said it was more like lighter “beefy” seitan dish that he would eat again. Plus, these were tacos. So, why wouldn’t these be delicious!
We both felt that we didn’t need the sweet and sour sauce pack. So, we’re reserving that for another dish. The pineapple slaw I made actually was rather tart being sweet and tart itself with its mix of tomatoes, onions, peppers and lime juice. The jicama slaw added more sour as it was a simple mix of shredded jicama sticks, ready-made shredded carrot and fresh lemon juice. To add to the great flavors of the porkless bites, there was delicious texture from the slaw and brightness from the salsa.
Want to make these tacos on a busy weeknight? Below’s our recipe, but FIRST click here to get your $1.00 off coupon to save when you purchase your bag of Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites! (Coupon is valid until May 31, 2016)
We hope you enjoy!
- 1 pkg. Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites, reserve the sauce
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/4 onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 c. fresh pineapple, diced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Black pepper and salt to taste (optional)
- 1/2 c. shredded jicama
- 1/4 c. shredded carrots
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 6 corn or flour tortillas
- Avocado, slices or cubed
- Hot sauce (optional)
- Heat olive oil or vegetable broth in a heated cast iron skillet. Add the Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites and cook according to the package instructions
- When done, set the bites aside to cool
- In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, onion powder, paprika and black pepper
- Make the salsa by adding all ingredients in a medium bowl. Toss the mixture a few times. Set aside
- Make the slaw by adding the ingredients to another small bowl. Toss and set aside
- Rub the spice mix into the porkless bites before slicing or shredding. Add the bites back to the pan and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes to warm
- Assemble tacos with the bites, salsa, slaw, avocado and hot sauce
- Do not throw away the sauce packet. Save it for another dish!
- To save time, we used pre-packaged shredded carrots and jicama sticks. The jicama sticks can be shredded or cut into matchstick pieces