Product: Sol Cuisine Smoky Chipotle Tinga Meatless Chicken – $6.49+
Ever since I discovered Sol Cuisine vegetarian and vegan protein products, I have been hooked. Seriously. I’ve tried falafal, burgers, and sausage from this fantastic company. One thing that really caught my attention was how Sol Cuisine focuses on organic, non-GMO Kosher, halal, wheat-free, gluten-free, nutritious and delicious ingredients that aren’t loaded with fillers and chemicals. Yes…they are actually healthy and good for you!
Now, I used to do these “faux-meat” replacements all the time when I first went vegetarian. This came to an abrupt end (for the most part) when I was diagnosed as a Celiac. Most meat-replacement products out on the market contain vital wheat gluten or wheat protein to “give it better texture” and other such excuses. Very few companies have made the leap to both vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free for their protein products.
Some have and have failed. Some have and been successful.
Sol Cuisine…has definitely been successful. This was not the first product I have tried from Sol Cuisine, and it certainly won’t be the last. That being said, this was the first of the frozen meatless chicken meals that they put out last year. I have had this in my freezer for a long while, just begging to be used. I have gone to focusing on more natural and fresh ingredients, especially since I get a CSA bin delivered to my door each week. When I leave town though…my bin gets canceled and when I return, I usually try to make the most out of what I have in my freezer, fridge, and pantry.
I returned from New York City this past Monday with very little in my fridge. I wanted to still keep it nutritious and healthy, but really was on a tight budget after the trip. So, I managed to get enough to pick up a few necessities (kale, tomatoes, and some other necessities)…and said the rest could be done through pantry/freezer picking. And that’s when I discovered (all the way in the back) the packet of Sol Cuisine Smoky Chipotle Tinga Meatless Chicken that I picked up at my local Whole Foods…a bit ago. I kept saying I was going to make it…then never did. No excuses this time. Tuesday after work…this is what came out of my freezer.
Sol Cuisine’s Smoky Chipotle Tinga Meatless Chicken incorporates an authentic recipe from Cuernavaca Mexico and brings it to your home – vegan style. I was hoping for something rich and spicy and saucy and yummy. I even served it up as it suggested on the package, but taking my gluten-free corn tortillas and rubbing them down with some oil and toasting them in the oven for some homemade tostadas. Seriously. So easy and can be done while the meal is cooking. You can get tostadas already made, but why? They don’t take much time to make…just a warm oven and a timer so you don’t burn them and remember to flip them. HA!
As I was having a busy week, trying to make up the entire day I missed with delayed flights out of NYC, I needed easy, but healthy dinners this week. And the Sol Cuisine Smoky Chipotle Tinga Meatless Chicken definitely fit the bill. It is so easy to prepare. Simply open the package and remove the sauce packets. Place into a bowl of hot water for about 4 minutes to thaw out.
Then, you can either cook the meatless chicken on the stovetop or in the microwave. I find these things work best on the stovetop…so that was the method I used. To cook on the stovetop, simply place the frozen strips into a lightly oiled skillet and sauté over medium heat for about 3-6 minutes. Then add the sauce and stir until heated through. SO EASY! The microwave technique is super-easy as well and just involves pouring the sauce over the strips in the bag it came in and microwaving the open bag for about 3 minutes on medium…allowing it to rest for 1 minute before serving. Stovetop worked for me and it yielded an amazing end product too. The sauced and cooked chicken was placed on my homemade tostadas over some kale and spinach and arugula. And…dinner…was served.
Now, I’ve had plenty of meat replacements since becoming a vegetarian. Since then, I’ve found a few meatless chicken products that are also gluten-free. This is one of the first times that I haven’t gotten that fake soy/tofu/weirdness that I often do with such products. Not one bit. It tasted amazing. The strips of meatless chicken had a great texture too, chewy without being too chewy or rough. It was amazing. The sauce was spicy with just enough heat that I knew my roommate could tolerate it. I was right…she said it was the perfect level of heat. Meaning…there wasn’t too much of a kick. Not, at least, to the level I like it…but it was really good. And the sauce coated the chickenless strips perfectly, without watering down everything. It was thick and rich and perfect. Pairing it with the greens and the tostada brought nutrients and a great bit of texture and crunch to the dish. I loved it! Every bite of it.
Let’s look at ingredients, shall we? The Sol Cuisine Smoky Chipotle Tinga Meatless Chicken Strips are made from filtered water, soy protein isolate and concentrate, okara, a vitamin and mineral blend (potassium, magnesium, rice flower, iron, B3, zinc, B12, folic acid, Copper, B1, B6, and B2), expeller pressed sunflower roil, yeast extract, tapioca starch, sea salt, and spices. The sauce is made from filtered water, tomato paste, onion, cane syrup, sunflower oil, garlic, lemon juice concentrate, sea salt, chipotle pepper, turmeric, natural flavor and spices.
As for nutrition, I loved what this offered per serving. A serving size is 1/4 of the package. One serving of strips dishes up 60 calories, 2 grams of fat, 110 mg sodium, 190 mg potassium, 2 grams of carbohydtrates, 2 grams of fiber, no sugar, and 10 grams of filling protein. The sauce dishes up 30 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 120 mg sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, no fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. So, all-in-all…AMAZING!! And it tastes amazing too!!
My roommate and I actually split the entire package between the two of us…and it was so amazing and guilt-free!!
Once again, Sol Cuisine has astounded me with its flavorful and delicious (and healthy) options for a gluten-free vegetarian. I am in love with this meal. And now I want to try the other varieties in my Whole Foods freezer…which are Ginger Lime Teriyaki Meatless Chicken and Tangy Korean BBQ Meatless Chicken. Both sound intriguing and amazing. And I’ll definitely pick up the Smoky Chipotle Tinga Meatless Chicken again too! SO DELICIOUS!