DINNER WINNER – Bake and take these for a dip. You’ll be back for more!
I love chipotle. I love lime. I love chicken fingers. On paper, Gardein’s Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers are everything I’ve ever dreamed of. In reality, I’ve never been more disappointed by a vegetarian imitation meat. Is it my fault I had such high hopes? Yes. Absolutely. While I work on reigning in my expectations, Gardein needs to work on improving these vegetarian chicken fingers.
What Is It?
These Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers are another installment in Gardein’s imitation chicken lineup. I am excited to pick these up, since I’ve been pretty pleased with some of Gardein’s a other “chicken” products in the past.
Gardein is a Canadian company who makes imitation meats. They pride themselves on all their products being 100% vegan (most of which are also kosher). You can find Gardein products at most major grocery stores in the freezer section. These Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers are a little harder to find. We were able to buy a 9.5oz bag at our local Whole Foods. The fingers come in the standard Gardein resealable plastic bag, and come 6 fingers to a bag. The fingers are larger than Gardein’s more popular Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, so 6 to a bag isn’t too terrible. However, after actually eating them, I wish there were less.
How Does It Taste?
I hate this. I hate writing this review. Gardein has been so good to us as meat loving vegetarians. Shitting all over one of their products feels like I’m curb stomping a puppy, BUT it has to be done. Guys…. these things taste bad. I wish I could be more eloquent about it, but they’re just REALLY really bad. There’s so much potential with the flavor pairings they’re going for, but this product doesn’t live up to its name.
You ever throw up in your mouth a little bit? My roommate in college used to call them “hot snacks”. You don’t fully puke, but you just feel that wave of stomach acid wash up the back of your throat a little bit. You taste the acidic pre-vomit, and then your throat burns. That’s what eating these crispy “chicken” fingers reminds me of. On top of that, they’re extremely bland. At first the only thing you can taste is that acidity of the lime. Then you keep chewing and any remnants of flavor you could taste in the beginning disappear. Then towards the end there’s a weird spicy kick (presumably the chipotle) with no actual flavor to go with it. It’s a quite bizarre and disappointing experience.
I do have to say, Gardein’s attempt to imitate chicken doesn’t disappoint. They LOOK like chicken tenders. The texture is quite meaty, and when torn apart they don’t quite shred like chicken would, but it’s damn close. There is always an odd wheat-y taste to Gardein’s imitation chicken. Unfortunately it really shines through here with not much flavor to mask it.
So far – taste is downright terrible, but the level of imitation is decent. Unfortunately I’m not done picking on these tenders yet. We need to take about this breadcrumb coating.
The instructions say to cook the fingers at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Per their instructions, they don’t want you microwaving the tenders. After eating them, I bet it’s because of the coating. Even cooked 100% per their given instructions, the breadcrumb coating doesn’t want to stay on. The second you pick these things up, they start shedding. I’m not sure you could call them crispy either. The edges did get a little crispy on the outside, but biting into them doesn’t give you any kind of crunch. It’s a soggy breadcrumb skin that wants to slide right off. Honestly though, they’d probably taste better without the coating anyways.
This hurts me, but I would go as far as to say that I despise these Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers. It’s not going to stop me from trying other Gardein products. They’re still one of the best imitation meat companies out there, but I promise you this is a product you can skip out on.
Overall Rating: 3/10 – Pretty Bad
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Serving Size 2 pieces (90g)
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 150
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 7g11%
- Saturated Fat .5g3%
- Trans Fat 0g
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Sodium 440mg19%
- Potassium 0mg
- Total Carbohydrate 12g4%
- Dietary Fiber 1g4%
- Sugars 1g
- Protein 13g26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Water, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Soy Protein Isolate, Vital Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil, Organic Corn Meal, Methylcellulose, Maltodextrin, Organic Ancient Grain Flour (Khorasan Wheat, Amaranth, Millet, Quinoa), Yeast Extract, Organic Yeast Extract, Sea Salt, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Organic Distilled Vinegar, Wheat Gluten, Organic Cane Sugar, Red Bell Pepper Flakes, Natural Flavors Spices, Onion Powder, Salt, Garlic Powder, Modified Potato Starch, Dried Lemon Peel, Color Added, Citric Acid, Tomato Powder, Sugar, Cane Sugar, Organic Soy Sauce Powder, Yeast, Dried Garlic, Chipotle Chile Powder, Pea Protein, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Modified Corn Starch, Turmeric Extractives.