I’m always intrigued to find a new plant-based protein product, and Gardein has hit a home run with its sweet and tangy Barbecue Wings. With 15 grams of protein per serving and just 160 calories, one package made a tasty mid-week vegan dinner for me and my hubby – along with my Tri-Color Hash – all in under thirty minutes.
Long before I became a vegetarian at 19, the idea of chicken wings always felt weird and unappealing to me. The wings seemed like the most identifiable anatomical part of the bird and although my parents loved them . . . I invariably pushed them to the side of my plate.
Ironically, many carnivores may also have a problem with chicken wings reminding them of the living animal that was killed for their dinner . . . which may explain the high demand for “boneless wings” (which are actually pieces of chicken breast).
The Gardein package serves two people (five wings apiece). I put the frozen wings in a lightly greased baking dish, covered them with the defrosted barbecue sauce, and cooked them in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. The barbecue sauce is fairly mild, not overly sweet, well-balanced, and pleasantly tangy. The texture of the wings had a realistic “meat feel” to me as a non-meat eater.
But . . . and this is a Big But! Although my hubby enjoyed them, he told me that they would never, ever fool a carnivore. Next time, he wants me to try to cook them in a little oil in a skillet to crisp up the outside of each wing before adding the sauce. Sounds like a plan!
Since the Gardein barbecue wings are vegan, I wanted my side dish to be vegan too. I had a lovely Brussels Sprouts stalk (yes, Brussels Sprouts grow on tall sturdy stalks – not in little plastic bags!)
I also had red onions, russet potatoes, and carrots. In the 15 minutes it took for the wings to bake in the oven, it was a simple matter to make a colorful hash as an accompaniment.
While not haute cuisine by any stretch of the imagination, the combination was hearty, flavorful, and satisfying. Not bad for a mid-week vegan meal in under 30 minutes!
- 2-3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon chipotle olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound Brussels Sprouts (about a foot-long portion of the stalk), trimmed and quartered
- 1 tablespoon citrus olive oil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put the chunks of potato and carrot in a microwave safe bowl, and toss with the chipotle olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Cover and microwave on high for about 6-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put your Brussels sprouts in a cold, non-stick skillet, and drizzle on the citrus olive and the extra virgin olive oil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat to medium-high and cook for about 6 minutes. Uncover and add the red onion.
- By now, the potatoes and carrots will be done. Add the potatoes and carrots (along with any liquid in the bowl) to the skillet, along with the garlic, thyme, and salt. Cook uncovered for about 5-7 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
- Sprinkle on the fresh parsley and the scallions, taste and correct seasonings, adding a bit more salt and freshly ground pepper if needed.
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