Product Review: Sol Cuisine Original Sliders

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Sol Cuisine Original Sliders

Product: Sol Cuisine Original Sliders – $5.49+

There is one thing that normally goes missing in my life.  Being a gluten-free vegetarian…having sliders is usually not even an option…unless I make them myself.  I’m okay with that…I’ve done it quite a few times, but sometimes it’s nice to just throw something into the oven or a pan and have it ready in no time flat.

And that was never the case until I spotted these amazing little slider patties at Whole Foods.  What caught my eye?  The box.  It clearly is labeled…these slider patties are vegetarian/vegan, wheat-free, gluten-free, a good source of calcium and iron, and also made with heart healthy soy!  You better believe I didn’t even blink when I grabbed a box of these and tossed them into my basket.  Budget be damned this time.  I wanted some sliders, dammit!

As fate would have it, I happened to have some gluten-free dinner rolls in my freezer, which would definitely make the perfect stand-in for slider buns…because you definitely can’t find those in  gluten-free form.  Not yet.  But gluten-free dinner rolls…they work.  I use them all the time for sliders…normally ones from my hometown allergen-free bakery…or Udi’s.  But this time it was Katz Gluten Free.  Which I toasted up in the oven to get that nice golden crust on the buns.

But…let’s get back to the star of this post…Sol Cuisine Original Sliders.

Frozen little disks of meatless goodness, that aren’t really that highly processed when you look at the ingredients.  Which, I’ll do now, since I brought it up.  These little patties are made from filtered water, soy protein concentrate, sunflower oil, dried onion, modified vegetable gum, dried tomato, sea salt, dried garlic, spices, organic lemon juice concentrate and caramel color.  So, it’s not exactly clean eating…and yes…it is a processed food, but it isn’t too bad.  Not when you compare it to other items out on the market.  And the fact that these are vegetarian/vegan make me one happy girl.

Sol Cuisine Original Sliders
Sol Cuisine Original Sliders

The box supplies about 3 different ways to cook these up.  Oven, stove top, microwave…however you choose.  When I made the Sol Cuisine Breakfast Patties, I cooked them in the oven.  But I already had dinner rolls and hand-cut sweet potato fries (yep…I made my own fries) working in the oven.  So, I figured why not give the stove top a go.  I warmed up a skillet and lightly coated it with some olive oil.  Into the pan I placed four of the little patties.  They immediately began to sizzle and cook.  I gave each side about 4 minutes…and they got perfectly golden and had that great crust you associate with a good burger.  I was already happy.

I plated each one up on one of the toasted dinner rolls and topped it with condiments and served it up with my oven-baked sweet potato fries.  I handed my roommate her plate while I fixed up mine.  She dug right in.  And I could tell she was one happy girl when I saw her take her first bite.  Now, as I have mentioned numerous times before, my roommate LOVES burgers.  She is neither gluten-free nor a vegetarian…but she doesn’t mind eating like one.  Lucky for her…as I am the cook in the apartment.  And she was devouring these.

I settled in and was prepared to try for myself.  Sol Cuisine has wowed me with their Breakfast Patties…and they totally disappointed me with their Tofu BBQ Ribs.  So…I knew this could go either way.  But…it was a total win!!  The little patties are FANTASTIC.  They have this great savory flavor to them.  Pan searing them was definitely the right call.  It gave them this moist texture.  It was the perfect veggie burger, without tasting like a veggie burger.  Honestly!  I was in love with the texture.  I thought the flavors were spot on.  And I wanted to savor each bite.  But…you know…burgers are best when they are warm.  So, I polished it off and vowed to pick them up again sometime…as a treat.

Nutritionally speaking, a serving is 2 patties.  This serving will dish up 100 calories and 3 grams of fat.  That is SUPER!!  These patties are cholesterol free and sugar free.  WOOHOO!!  And they are low on the scale for sodium, with only 240 mg per serving, which is awesome for something that is processed.  In addition, 2 patties will also give you 3 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein.  No wonder this meal filled me up.  I was full for the rest of the night.

DELICIOUS!!

Sol Cuisine…keep this up and I may be working my way through your entire line of gluten-free and vegan products.  I’m one happy slider-eating girl!!  And I can’t stop talking about them!  Thank you!!  THANK YOU!!

Gluten-Free Sliders made with Sol Cuisine Original Sliders
Gluten-Free Sliders made with Sol Cuisine Original Sliders

Product Review: Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa)

Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa)
Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa)

Product: Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa) – $4.49

A long, long time ago…well…maybe not that long ago…but a good while back…Cathy (the roomie) placed an order for some goodies from Katz Gluten Free…which has quickly become one of my go-to places for amazing gluten-free products.  Sure, I have to order online, but the prices are reasonable and they ship immediately.  So I never have more than a 2 day wait to get my order.  Everything goes into the freezer or pantry and I pull it out as I need it.  And life is good.

Because Katz Gluten Free provides good products.  Time after time I have been nothing but impressed by what I have ordered and eaten.

Whenever the last order was placed (which, as I said…was a long, long time ago), the roomie picked out a new product to try.  These were Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa).  When they came in the mail, I put them in the freezer at home and that was where they stayed…waiting…waiting for me to do something with them.  They waited very patiently, being pushed further back into the freezer.  I hadn’t forgotten about them, I just got distracted by my local bakery’s gluten-free dinner rolls.  It happens.

But, after picking up some vegan and gluten-free sliders from Whole Foods a couple weeks ago…I needed dinner rolls for the buns.  And without anywhere to pick up Udi’s Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls (they are really good) and not having picked up any from my local allergen-free bakery…I dug around in the freezer and…like a gift from the gluten-free freezer gods…there they were!!  Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa).  I let them thaw while I was at the office, which they did perfectly.  I was afraid that, with how long they had been in there, they might become mushy or crumbly…but I should have known better.

While these rolls can go without being reheated, I love putting a bit of a crust on my buns when I make sliders.  So, I sliced them in half (which was interesting as they do resemble muffins in shape), expecting them to crumble or fall apart.  But they didn’t.  They were soft and very fresh feeling.  I smiled, feeling better about the situation already.  So, I placed each half on a baking sheet and sprayed a light  mist of olive oil over each cut side.  I popped them into the oven for a couple of minutes while I finished up the sliders in the pan and the sweet potato fries finished up in the oven as well.

Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa)
Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa)

It only took a few minutes to get them perfectly golden.  I plated them and placed a vegan and gluten-free slider on each bottom part.  Then topped it with the top bun.  Dinner was served.

My roommate actually bit into hers first.  And she went, “KATZ RULES!”  So this was a good sign.  I love it when she raves about gluten-free foods…because she eats like this at home by choice…because I have to.  And that’s a huge deal.  Our kitchen is 100% gluten-free…which means she even gets gluten-free bread to eat instead of whole wheat, like she had previously been doing.  Honestly…best roomie ever!!  Aside from that, she said they tasted amazing.  So, as I put my sliders together, I went and settled in to find out for myself.

First of all, even with the gentle toasting in the oven, the texture of the dinner rolls was incredibly soft and fluffy.  I was so impressed.  They had this very light texture to them and this very light sweetness in taste.  I loved it.  I was enamored with the taste of these.  I just wanted to keep eating them.  Forget the slider…these were fantastic.  I loved being able to squish it down like a regular bun, watching as it would bounce back when I set it down.  It wasn’t heavy or dense.  The flavor was a little sweet, but definitely savory.  I could have eaten all four of them in the package.  But I was good…and I shared with my roommate.  We both couldn’t stop raving about them.  If my local bakery didn’t make such amazing ones, I’d be placing another order…STAT!

So, here we get to the science of the product itself…the ingredients and the nutritional information.  Let’s start with the ingredients.  These dinner rolls are free of gluten, dairy, and nuts.  These rolls are made with real ingredients because a bakery makes them…from scratch.  Honestly, that’s what I love about Katz.  Anyway, the Dinner Rolls (Small Challa) are made from Katz Gluten Free flour mix (white rice, tapioca, arrowroot, corn, soy, potato) water, eggs, palm oil, brown sugar, honey, xanthan gum, dry yeast, salt, flaxseed, and apple cider vinegar.

Nutritionally speaking, a serving is one dinner roll.  Each roll contains 150 calories and 6 grams of fat.  One dinner roll also provides you with 20 mg sugar and 2 grams of sugar.  Not bad.  Not at all.  And you also are provided with 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Okay…so as with a lot of gluten-free baked items, they contain more calories and fat than what regular ones would, but they make it up in the amount of sodium used for sure.  And…these were fantastic.  And sometimes…that’s enough!!

These…will definitely make their way back into my freezer in the future.  They just won’t be kept waiting for so long.

Katz…again…your gluten-free goodness is a wonderful thing.  I am so thankful for your products.

Sliders made with Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa)
Sliders made with Katz Gluten Free Dinner Rolls (Small Challa)

Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties bring vegetarian sausage back to my favorite meal of the day

Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties
Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties

Product: Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties – $3.49+

Breakfast.

I have said it once…I’ve said it a million times.  Breakfast is my favorite…absolute favorite meal of the day.  I can eat breakfast foods all day and be completely content to do so.  And, sometimes, this is exactly what I do.  And why not?  It should be the most nutritious meal of the day.  And often, that’s very true for me.

Then there are mornings where my roommate and I decide to revisit classics and make them so that I can eat them.  For awhile, I would bake up cheddar biscuits and slap some Morningstar Vegetarian Sausage Patty between them and have a vegetarian sausage biscuit.  It worked.  It was delicious.  And I loved it.  But Morningstar products, as delicious as they are, are not gluten-free.  So, when I had to cut gluten out of my diet…the breakfast sausage sandwiches went with it.

Until one day when Cathy and I were wandering around Whole Foods.  We never go into the freezer section, but we had time to kill, so we were browsing.  And that was when I spotted them.  A beacon in the frozen food aisle.  Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties.  Right there on the front of the box it listed that they are vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, wheat-free, free from saturated fat, low fat, and made with hearth healthy soy.  GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN SAUSAGE PATTIES!!  (*DANCE OF JOY*)  I had tried other Sol Cuisine products…and it’s hit or miss.  So, I made note that they were there and then for weeks kept talking myself out of purchasing them.  Then, on drunken grocery shopping night with the roomie, I took advantage of her tipsy state and managed to snag a box of these to try.  FINALLY!!

They made the journey home to the apartment and into the freezer.  And that was where they remained for a couple of weeks.  Until one night I made a batch of gluten-free rosemary cheddar biscuits for my running group.  I had leftovers…so I promised to do up Sausage Biscuits for my roommate on Friday.

Well, this morning brought about the morning she had been waiting for.  And so…I got the box of Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties out of the freezer, preheated the oven to 350 degrees, and opened up the box.

Sol Cuisine Veggie Sausage Patties
Sol Cuisine Veggie Sausage Patties

The patties come in two clear packages, each containing three patties.  The first thing I noticed was that these were not all golden brown like the box showed.  Nope.  They were gray.  And in my past experience, I know for a fact that food…should…NOT…be gray!  So, needless to say, I was a little concerned.  I removed four patties from their sealed packages and laid them out on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, preparing them to bake for 20 minutes.  I was hoping that this might put some brown color into them…so they didn’t look gray still.  Into the oven they went for 10 minutes.  Then, I flipped them over and polished off their baking time with another 10 minutes.

They never did get to be that gorgeous golden brown that you think sausages should be.  Even vegan sausages.  So…these biscuits were just going to have to hold a gray vegan sausage.  I’d just attempt to overlook the color.  I plated my roomie’s biscuits first and delivered them to her while I compiled my own gluten-free and vegetarian sausage biscuits.  As it takes me a moment due to having to photograph things for this blog, I saw her nibbling away…so I naturally inquired as to what she thought of the sausages.  I always get nervous when I ask her that.  She is honest to a fault.  Her response…”They taste like sausage!”  Considering my roommate is neither a vegetarian nor necessitating a gluten-free diet (she eats that way at home because I cook and I am a gluten-free vegetarian), this is one of the best statements that can be made about a vegan product.  Honestly.

I settled in with my own sandwich, opting not to throw hot sauce on it this time because I really wanted to taste the sausage itself.  Cathy was right.  These vegan sausage patties are hearty and meaty and have an amazing texture to them.  They may be gray in color, but that can be overlooked.  The flavor is astounding.  By baking them, the outside got this nice crispiness to it, but the inside was soft and chewy.  It honestly tasted like sausage.  It had no strange aftertaste, nor did it taste off.  It was vegan breakfast patty perfection.  I don’t think my freezer will ever not have these in it from here on out.

So…let’s break this all down as usual.  First of all Sol Cuisine is a non-GMO company, which I appreciate and love.  The Veggie Breakfast Patties, in particular, have 80% less fat than pork sausage.  For real.  And with how amazing they taste, you could probably fool any carnivore thinking it was real meat.  Seriously.  They are that good.  As mentioned before, these products by Sol Cuisine are gluten-free, wheat-free, saturated fat free, as well as kosher.

Nutritionally speaking, yes…I do realize how highly processed these are.  But…when you’re a gluten-free vegetarian…you roll with it.  The serving size for Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties is one patty.  This will serve you up only 60 calories and 2 grams of fat.  These patties are also low carb, only providing 3 grams per patty.  In addition, the sodium for a processed frozen food is not so bad, standing at 260 mg.  One patty will also provide your body with 2 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.  They are filling…and delicious…and quite healthy when you break it all down.

I absolutely rave over these.  RAVE.  Honestly, if you have a Whole Foods store near you (I seem to only be able to find these at Whole Foods) go and purchase some.  You’ll see why these have won me over completely.  They are just the epitome of vegan (and gluten-free) breakfast sausage patties.  They are so versatile and I can’t wait to utilize them in other recipes and with other components in the near future.  For now, however, at least I know whenever I bake up some gluten-free biscuits, I can certainly treat myself to an epic breakfast sandwich.

Sol Cuisine…you brought sunshine back to this gluten-free vegetarian’s life.  Thank you for redefining breakfast for me!

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Sausage Biscuits made with Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties
Gluten-Free Vegetarian Sausage Biscuits made with Sol Cuisine Veggie Breakfast Patties

It’s Qrunch time…and veggie burgers have never tasted so good!

Qrunch Foods Original Qrunch Burgers
Qrunch Foods Original Qrunch Burgers

Product: Qrunch Foods Original Qrunch Burgers – $5.99+

Sometimes a product comes along…and it’s intriguing.  It sounds like it could be the most amazing thing ever.  It’s vegan.  It’s gluten-free.  It’s a veggie burger that I don’t have to sit there and ponder the contents of the box.  It’s all laid out…right on the packaging.  No second guessing.  No searching the internet for an FAQ on the company.  No secrets.  Nothing to hide.

That’s what I first loved about Qrunch Foods Qrunch Burgers.

What is a Qrunch Burger, you might ask.  Aside from the earlier prelude that this is, in fact, a veggie burger…let me explain a little more.  Because this is not your ordinary veggie burger.  Not one bit.  In fact, it may be the ultimate veggie burger.  I’ve eaten every brand of gluten-free veggie burger out on the market that I can find in this area.  And while I have raved about many, disliked a few…believe me when I state that the Original Qrunch Burger is…

THE BEST VEGGIE BURGER EVER!

Don’t believe me?  Try it yourself.  But…trust me…you’ll want to believe me.

Where was I?

Oh yes…what is a Qrunch Burger.  The answer to this is simple.  It’s a veggie burger that is “powered” by the superfood – quinoa.  And, as a gluten-free vegetarian, we all know that quinoa is one of my most favorite things in this world.  But the awesomeness doesn’t end there.  This burger is also loaded with organic millet and organic vegetables.  It is free of virtually all common allergens (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, wheat-free, egg-free, nut-free) and made in a gluten-free facility.  These burgers are made from all natural ingredients and do not contain any artificial flavors, colors or GMOs.

Even better…it’s fantastic.

Being that it is Memorial Day, my roommate and I decided that we would have the customary all-American holiday feast.  But for us…that means veggie burgers (as opposed to hamburgers) and hand cut shoestring fries, which I bake in the oven to crispy perfection.  I had a box of the Original Qrunch Burgers in my freezer.  As I received a CSA bin with plenty of fresh veggies that I could utilize for these burgers.  Yep…we were good to go.

Qrunch Foods Original Qrunch Burger patty
Qrunch Foods Original Qrunch Burger patty

So, after I made fresh guacamole to go on the burgers (trust me…it’s awesome) and I got the potatoes cut, seasoned, and into the oven, it was time to turn my attention to the actual burgers.  I pulled out my skillet and got it warming up while I pulled the box of Original Qrunch Burgers out of the freezer.  Once my skillet was properly heated, the patties were put on to cook through.  This takes about 5 minutes on each side.  I went ahead and put a slice of vegan cheese on the patties to go along with the rest of the Memorial Day festivities.  Once each side had been properly warmed and browned on the skillet, it was time to dress the burgers.

I didn’t have any gluten-free hamburger buns on hand this week…so I used gluten-free bread.  I dressed the bread with a light coating of vegan Sriracha sour cream, then placed the red leaf lettuce down.  The Original Qrunch Patty was next, followed by a tomato, red onion, and then a spoonful of my homemade guacamole.  I adorned each plate with a healthy serving of my hand-cut shoestring fries.  With the burger assembled, it was now time to settle in for the holiday feast.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I took my first bite.  I’ve had some pretty epic fails when it has come to taste and texture of veggie burgers.  While most have been passable, the gluten-free varieties just don’t seem to live up to the standard other veggie burgers I used to be able to eat (can’t anymore…because they have gluten in them) laid down.

That is not the case anymore.  I took one bite of my Original Qrunch Burger and was in a new happy place.  Honestly.  What I loved about these was not just the flavor, although it is definitely the best I have had…to date.  The texture is awesome.  The outside of the patty gets this nice crunch to it.  The inside…soft, with that perfect “meatiness” to it that actually makes you believe you are, in fact, eating a burger.  I loved how seasoned this patty was.  You can even see the organic onion, organic carrots, organic broccoli, and organic spinach in the patty.  Nothing fake about these burgers.  Seasoned to perfection with garlic and kosher salt.  The flavors just popped in my mouth.  I was so happy that it took everything in me not to just go into devour mode and shove as much each bite into my mouth at a time.  I savored…and I’m glad I did.

Nutritionally speaking, these burgers do rate a little higher on the calorie scale.  One patty is 190 calories and contains 11 grams of fat.  So…probably not one of the leaner options out there, but not bad as a whole.  I’ve definitely encountered worse.  Each patty will also supply you with 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  Love that quinoa…a protein powerhouse!  In addition, these patties are low in sodium, topping out at 150 mg.  Loving it.

For a burger that elliminates so many foods and allergens from their line-up of ingredients, what emerges is one of the most amazing veggie burgers I have ever had the simple joy of eating.  I don’t think any other burger will find its way back into my freezer.  Qrunch Foods has definitely raised the bar with their highly delicious and very tasty Original Qrunch Burgers.

In fact, it seems that other people agree.  In a recent taste test done by the Washington Post Food Section, the Qrunch veggie burger came in third on overall merits.  And…it was the only allergen-free burger in the top seven.  So, it’s not just me.  Others agree that Qrunch Burgers are something special.

I noticed these are also available in a Spicy Italian flavor.  Oh yeah…I’m going to be trying that out.  And very soon.

If you’re looking for a different flavor or a different sort of veggie burger…Qrunch is the way to go.  Honestly.  Veggie burgers have great potential…but these blew away the competition.  No question about it.  Qrunch rocks!

A burger made from Qrunch Foods Original Qrunch Burger and served with homemade hand-cut shoestring fries
A burger made from Qrunch Foods Original Qrunch Burger and served with homemade hand-cut shoestring fries

Slide into a vegan and gluten-free burger season with SoL Cuisine’s Original Sliders

SoL Cuisine Original Sliders
SoL Cuisine Original Sliders

Product: SoL Cuisine Original Sliders – $5.49+

For the past month or so, I’ve been experimenting with dinner rolls…as slider buns.  And having found out that my very own local allergen-free bakery, Annie May’s Sweet Café, makes the best I’ve ever tasted…well…sliders have become one of my go-to menu items.  And with summer on the way, despite not having a grill, it is burger time.

BUT…being a gluten-free vegetarian sometimes means…I have to make my own sliders.  And, trust me, some recipes work out better than others.  For one thing, mine tend to not want to hold together, turning to mush and not really having that “meaty” texture to them.  Granted, the two recipes I’ve done haven’t really lent themselves to being faux meat, but…the thought was there.  When you bite into something that is meant to be a burger…that’s sort of the texture and taste that you are going for.

The other day, after buying yet another bag of allergen-free dinner rolls from Annie May’s…and knowing I had plenty of fresh produce in my fridge…I thought…sliders for dinner on Sunday might be awesome.  The thing was…I really didn’t want to make my own.  It was a super-busy weekend as it was…and Sunday I had spent a majority of my day listening to the Dalai Lama speak in Louisville.  I was starving when I got out of there (no gluten-free and vegetarian options at the venue) and after downing some ice cream…I went grocery shopping for…the Poblano Chick(pea) patties I blogged about not too long ago.  Except…the store didn’t have them anymore.  My plans were about to go down the tubes.

But…then I remembered the glorious day I spotted SoL Cuisine Sliders (vegan and vegetarian, mind you) at Whole Foods in their freezer section.  While it would mean I’d have yet another blog to write (I was backlogged enough I thought) on a product I could eat…I really wanted some real food for dinner that night.  So…neglecting my initial response to make something I’ve already had before…my roommate and I headed over to Whole Foods and picked up a box of SoL Cuisine Original Sliders.

It was like it was meant to be.  Because this box contained six sliders…and I had six dinner rolls.  Awesome!  Granted, the serving size for this product is 2 patties…we really weren’t out that much more by adding one more for each of us for dinner.  A serving (2 sliders…remember…) will set you back only 100 calories.  Yep.  50 calories per slider.  Not too shabby, right?  I thought it was awesome.  The normal serving size also provides a fantastic 13 grams of protein!  These vegan and gluten-free burgers are are low in sodium (240 mg) and have 3 grams of fiber.  I think I should also mention that two patties is only 3 grams of fat as well.  How awesome are these little veggie burgers of gluten-free wonder?!

SoL Cuisine Original Sliders
SoL Cuisine Original Sliders

And they weren’t difficult to prepare either.  You can grill them, microwave them, cook them stove top, or put them in the oven.  I had other things to prep with dinner…so I decided to do the oven method.  I hoped this wouldn’t backfire, as I’m sure grilling or even doing it stove top would have gotten a nice crisp on the outside of these little patties.  That being said, I prepped a cooking sheet and laid out all six patties, putting them into a 350°F oven.  They had to cook for about 10 minutes on one side…and then flip them over and cook for another 10 minutes on the other side.  Perfect, as I would have to throw my dinner rolls in to toast them up for my condiments and add-ons.

They smelled fantastic while they were cooking.  And in that time I mashed up an avocado for the sliders, cut up some lettuce, chopped up a tomato, and sliced into an onion…all in the name of gluten-free vegan slider goodness.  When the rolls and the sliders emerged, it was time to assemble the burgers.  And I was starving and ready to eat.

So easy.  A touch of avocado, then lettuce, the slider, vegan cheese, tomato, onion, and then more avocado before placing the top of the dinner roll on and making…the perfect slider.  I did this for all of the rolls and patties and served them up to my roommate and I for dinner.  She was already digging in by the time I finished putting mine together…and she was raving about the flavor.  This was good news, as the SoL Cuisine Tofu Rubs were just…meh…okay.  I settled in for my own dinner and lifted a slider to taste.

Oh…yeah…these are keepers.  These are one of those products that will continue to find its way into my freezer.  Seriously!

The SoL Cuisine Original Sliders are amazing.  They are perfection.  They taste meaty without being made from meat.  In fact…they have such great texture and taste, if you closed your eyes, you’d think you were truly eating a burger.  It’s amazing.  It’s awesome.  I am in love with these.  Not only do they have fantastic texture and flavor, but they pair so well with any topping you might want to put on there.  I heaped these sliders full with different condiments and vegetables, and they didn’t detract at all from the taste of the burger.  These definitely compliment anything you top it off with.  Or…if you want to sneak a taste on its own (like I did…for the sake of the blog) know that they are also very delicious on their own.  Three sliders were so filling.  But I was happily stuffed.

The SoL Cuisine Original Sliders are gluten-free and vegan.  They are also kosher, and are a great source of calcium and iron.  And what, exactly are they?  Well, according to their ingredient listings, these little patties of meat-free, gluten-free goodness are composed of filtered water, soy protein concentrate, sunflower oil, dried onion, modified vegetable gum, dried tomato, sea salt, dried garlic, spices, organic lemon juice concentrate, and caramel color.  I love seeing ingredients that I recognize.  Love it.

So, not only are these a healthy choice for a meal, but they are delicious as well.  I can’t wait to purchase more of these, or even try the other two slider varieties in the freezer section: Spicy Black Bean Sliders and Quinoa Sliders.  Both sound…awesome!  They will both be purchased for the sake of the blog and consumed.  I hope they can live up to the high bar the Original Slider set.  Totally loving my gluten-free and vegan sliders.  Thanks to SoL Cuisine…I don’t always have to make my own.  Sometimes…I can just cook them up and leave the prep to someone else.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Sliders made with SoL Cuisine Original Sliders
Gluten-Free and Vegan Sliders made with SoL Cuisine Original Sliders

Allergen-free dinner rolls from Annie May’s Sweet Café a must at any dinner table

Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free Dinner Rolls
Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Dinner Rolls

Product: Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Dinner Rolls – $4.50

So, I got a little impulsive when I was at Annie May’s Sweet Café on Saturday morning.  It happens.  Especially after a good race.  And even more so after having not been to the cafe for two weeks.  Two long weeks.  UGH!  Way too long to be away from my favorite place to grab food that I know I can safely eat.  But, I’m finally back in town for a little while and that means…I’m back to my routine.

After running a great 5K race in Louisville on Saturday, my roomie and I headed to Frankfort Avenue and pulled up (FINALLY!) into Annie May’s Sweet Café parking lot.  It was breakfast sandwich time.  And as we were sitting there noshing on our delicious breakfast (which also included an allergen-free doughnut…because…they are doughnuts and I love them!), Cathy spotted a bag of dinner rolls up on the top of the bakery case.

While we were polishing off breakfast, she asked if I wanted to get them to try.  I gave her that, “Are you really asking me that?” look and nodded my head while happily stuffing my face with more of the allergen-free vegan breakfast sausage sandwich.  With that decided and our breakfast consumed, we went to the bakery case (where I resisted ordering one of the amazing chocolate chip cookies…despite really, really wanting one) and just snagging up one of the two bags of the allergen-free dinner rolls.  We went to the register, paid for them, and went on our way.

I had no idea what I was going to use them for at that point.  But my roommate had suggested I make tzatziki with the cucumbers I got in my CSA bin.  And I had these gluten-free and vegan pablano chickpea patties in my freezer so I thought…why not make sort of a mock falafel slider?  These dinner rolls would definitely make the perfect slider buns.  Saturday we indulged in both Annie May’s Sweet Café and then gluten-free crepes from Sweet ‘N Savory Food Truck at Louisville’s Buy Local Fair.  So, we were pretty full upon returning home that day.  But…that’s what Sunday’s are made for.

Sunday evening, I made up my homemade tzatziki and then got the poblano chickpea patties into the oven.  While they were starting to cook, I got the bag of dinner rolls off the counter and undid the tie.  I pulled out all six of the dinner rolls (carb happiness, yes?) and put them all on a baking sheet.  When the chickpea patties were about halfway done, I slid the dinner rolls into the oven to toast for about 15 minutes at 350°F, just to get them golden crispy on the outside.  I did make sure I watched them though, as I didn’t want them to burn.  The chickpea patties and rolls finished at the same time.  I let them both stand for a minute while I sliced up a leaf of romaine lettuce and pulled the tzatziki out of the fridge.

Annie May's Sweet Cafe Allergen-Free Dinner Rolls
Annie May’s Sweet Cafe Allergen-Free Dinner Rolls

Now…the fun part.  I sliced each of the dinner rolls in half.  They were so soft and steamy on the inside.  They looked absolutely fantastic.  It was definitely food porn of the drool=worthy type.  I placed a dollop of tzatziki on each bottom half of the dinner roll, added some lettuce, put 1/3 of each patty over the lettuce, topped it off with a little more tzatziki, then put the top of the dinner roll over it.  BAM…instant mock falafel sliders.  All gluten-free.  LOVING it.

But, the real test would come with the dinner rolls.  How would they hold up?  How would they taste?

I should have known, given that these came from Annie May’s…that they would be epically awesome.  I never doubted it for a moment, to be honest.  One bite…and I knew that these little dinner rolls had to come to Thanksgiving with me this year.  They were soft to begin with, but I wanted to be sure they could hold up to the sliders I was making.  So, just that short time in the oven and they got this golden crispness on the outside, but remained soft on the inside.  It was dinner roll perfection.  And, they didn’t hollow out.  You actually got an entire dinner roll.  They were light and fluffy on their own, without skimping on the bread part on the inside.  They tasted awesome.  Perfect.  And completely allergen-free.

Annie May’s Sweet Café lists the ingredients for these allergen-free dinner rolls as millet flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, quinoa flour, water, olive oil, egg replacer, agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, and xanthan gum.  I recognize all of those ingredients and think that they have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to their bread mix.  The flours they use just bake up beautifully.  Light.  Not dense.  Not heavy.  And perfect.  I was in love with every bite.  And I meant it when I said I would buy a dozen or so of these for Thanksgiving, which I am hosting this year and keeping gluten-free…because that’s how my kitchen is.

A big shout-out to my local gluten-free bakery, Annie May’s Sweet Café for once again bringing me allergen-free perfection.  This time…in the form of a simple dinner roll.  Sometimes it’s these little things in life…these little kitchen miracles I bring home from your business…that make my gluten-free life so much more amazing.  I love you…and can’t wait to try more of your goodies that I have yet to try.  Until then…see you on Saturday for breakfast.

Mock Falafel Sliders made using Annie May's Sweet Cafe Allergen-Free Dinner Rolls and Moo Moo's Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties
Mock Falafel Sliders made using Annie May’s Sweet Cafe Allergen-Free Dinner Rolls and Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties

Moo Moo’s Poblano Chick(pea) Patties a versatile vegan and gluten-free meal

Moo Moo's Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties
Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties

Product: Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Poblano Chick(pea) Patties – $4.99+

Sometimes…I have to step away from my grocery list and just…splurge on something.  Just take the plunge…grab a product that interests me…and try it out.  That’s what happened when I was in my local natural foods store a couple weeks ago.  I had gone in specifically to pick up some Udi’s Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls while they were still on sale.  The problem is…whenever I go into this store for something specific, I find something else that interests me.  A lot.

This time…it was a product I had never seen before.  Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties.

Intriguing.  Definitely intriguing.  Especially since I love chickpeas and I love poblano peppers.  Screw the budget…screw the grocery list.  I was going to get this.  I had to try it.  I just had to.  So, it came home with me and I tossed it in my freezer for a day where I would need it.

Well…on Friday I was greeted with my first CSA bin in two weeks (I’d been out of town the past two weekends and had to cancel them)…and inside were beautiful cucumbers.  My roommate suggested that I make my tzatziki using the cucumber.  I thought that was a fantastic idea…as soon as I figured out what we would eat with it.  Then, on Saturday morning, we finally made it back to Annie May’s Sweet Café, the local allergen-free bakery here in Louisville, and made a splurge purchase of a bag of their dinner rolls.  We hadn’t tried the gluten-free dinner rolls yet…so we figured…why not?

And that’s when inspiration struck.  As the request for my tzatziki was made…and now we had dinner rolls…what if I used these Poblano Chick(pea) Patties and make sort of a “falafel” slider of sorts.  The roomie was totally all about it…so that was the plan.  This afternoon, while she took in Timothy Dalton as James Bond (GAG!), I was in the kitchen making my infamous tzatziki.  I got it mixed and made and into the fridge.  And a couple of hours later…dinner time was approaching.

I went to the freezer and pulled out the box of Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Pobalno Chick(pea) Patties.  Not real falafel…but something I could work with, yes?  I preheated the oven to 350°F and pulled the tray out of the box.  Per the directions, I lifted one corner of the plastic film to vent and put the tray on a baking sheet.  Into the oven it went to cook for about 30 minutes.  While that was happening, I sliced up a leaf of fresh romaine lettuce (also from my CSA bin) and prepped the gluten-free dinner rolls to join the Poblano Chick(pea) Patties in the oven to get a light toasting.

Moo Moo's Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties with Roasted Corn Salsa (cooked)
Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties with Roasted Corn Salsa (cooked)

They finished up at the same time.  I removed the tray from the oven and let it stand for one minute.  Then, I carefully removed the film.

The tray contained two large patties made from chickpeas, kettle cooked chili onions, brown rice, roasted poblano and red bell peppers.  Included was a roasted corn salsa as well, which I ended up just mashing into the patties.  With the dinner rolls sliced, I placed a small dollop of tzatziki on the bottom half, then placed a little bit of romaine lettuce.  Next came the mix of Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Poblano Chick(pea) Patties.  I separated each patty into thirds and began to spoon up the chickpea-poblano mixture with some of the included corn salsa.  I placed this over each leaf of lettuce, then topped  it off with a small bit more tzatziki.  The top of the dinner roll was placed over everything and…voilà…mock falafel sliders.  YES!

I handed my roommate her plate and went to fix mine.  And before I even started compiling my round of sliders, she was already digging in.  And she was already voicing her thoughts on it through happy grunts between bites.  I asked how the chickpea patties were and she said they were really tasty.  She, as she is a bread person, raved more about the rolls.

So, with my sliders now put together exactly as hers were, I settled in to my own dinner.  I couldn’t wait to try these out.  They smelled amazing.  They looked stunning, if I do say so myself.  So…I lifted one carefully to my mouth and took a bite.

First of all, she was right…the dinner rolls were out-of-this-world good.  But…that will be dedicated to another blog.

Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine got it right with these Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties.  Honestly.  Packed with flavor.  The peppers aren’t spicy at all, and the combination of the chickpeas, peppers, onions, and the corn salsa with my homemade tzatziki…it just all played together so well.  The toasted roll and the crisp lettuce just were the perfect combo to elevate these from microwave dinner to…fine dining.  Seriously…I am in love with this product and can’t wait to purchase more.  Maybe I’ll eat it straight next time.  Or maybe I’ll make more sliders from these delicious patties.

A little bit about Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine.  It was created in 2005 by founder and culinary artist, Michele Rostelli.  The company is committed to providing healthy, sustainable, flavorful vegetarian cuisine that is made with only natural and organic ingredients.  LOVE IT.  You can really taste the quality of the products in each bite.  Trust me…I couldn’t stop eating these sliders I made out of the patties.

As for nutrition…you’ll love this.  A serving is the entire box (both patties).  My roommate and I split the contents, but if you were to sit this down and eat it straight, you would only be consuming 230 calories.  You would also only be set back 3 grams of fat.  A serving of the Poblano Chick(pea) Patties contains only 510 mg of sodium.  But, in addition, you get 9 grams of filling fiber and a kick of 9 grams of protein.  These are completely cholesterol free.  How awesome is that?  Healthy and delicious.  Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine totally got this one right.

Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine makes quite a variety of products, some gluten-free, some lactose free, some vegan…some a combination of all of them.  But if this is any indication of the quality of their products, then I can’t wait to try more of their gluten-free options.  Blown away.  Simple, yet powerful ingredients yield delicious products.  This certainly proves that.

“Falafel” Sliders made from Moo Moo’s Vegetarian Cuisine Vegan & Gluten-Free Poblano Chick(pea) Patties (on Annie May’s Sweet Cafe Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls)

Forget the frozen store brands, the best gluten-free hamburger buns are from Annie May’s Sweet Café

Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns
Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns

Product: Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns – $5.50+

You might have realized that I spend a lot of time at my local allergen-free bakery.  There is a reason for that.  Not only do they provide some of the best food in Louisville, Kentucky, but owners Annie May and Kenna put a lot of time, care, and love into the products they serve up.  And it’s not just cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and the like.  Nope.  They provide lunches and even breakfast every Saturday morning.  Oh yes…this is more than your average bakery.

One of my favorite things to get when I head into Annie May’s Sweet Café every Saturday is their Allergen-Free Vegan Breakfast Sandwich, which consists of a vegan and gluten-free sausage, made by Louisville’s own Grind (a food truck!), Daiya cheese, and all of it goes on this amazing roll.  Ever since I first had one of these breakfast sausages, I had been trying to figure out what they use for the bread.

And, after browsing about the case inside the shop on Saturday morning…it all became clear.  It appears they toast up and use their very own allergen-free (gluten-free and vegan) hamburger buns.  With this incredible revelation, I had to have some for myself.  After all, I had tons of fresh produce to use, so I figured I could do up some of my homemade vegan and gluten-free black bean and soy chorizo burgers and make use of the amazing and very light hamburger buns.

So…yes…I purchased them.

I mean…they were one of my favorite parts of the breakfast sandwich.  I had to have some for my own use.  So, yes…I brought home a pack of four.  And tonight, I mixed up the ingredients for my burgers and prepped all the veggies, some hand-cut shoestring fries from organic russet potatoes, and then sauteed up some shallots and white button mushrooms for these burgers as well.  One thing I did have every intention of doing, however, was toasting those buns like they do at the café for their breakfast sandwiches.  So, after unwrapping two of them, I gave each a light spritz with olive oil, then placed them on the skillet to get a light toasting on them.

Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns
Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns

With the burgers on the skillet, and the buns getting a light toasting, I got everything ready to plate.  And with the homemade fries fresh and crisp from the oven, I started to stack them on the plate.  I took one half of each bun and set it on each plate.  Bibb lettuce was the next addition, followed by the vegan and gluten-free black bean and soy chorizo burger I mixed up.  I melted some cheese over each patty and then stacked some shallots, mushrooms, sliced cherry tomato, and avocado on top.  It then got a light spread of vegan sriracha sour cream.  Then…the top of the bun was placed over the entire burger, completing the package.

Dinner was served.

And…yes…these hamburger buns are exactly what they use on Saturday mornings for those amazing breakfast sandwiches.  Oh.  My.  God.  I was so thrilled to be able to have these in the comfort of my own home this evening with my dinner.  They are so light, fluffy, and delicious.  They have this subtle buttery flavor to them, which just makes them taste all the more amazing.  And they hold up, even with all the layers and textures going on in my homemade veggie burgers.  That’s the best part.  These buns didn’t flake or wilt or grow soggy.  They remained in one piece and, despite being so light in texture, they are sturdy.

The remaining two will be used tomorrow when I toast up the other two homemade veggie burger patties I have already prepared.

Annie May’s Sweet Café is one of those little gems that Louisville should realize how fortunate it is to have in the city.  I would be lost without my allergen-friendly bakery.  I have enjoyed not only the sweet treats, but also the savory pieces I have picked up from there, eaten there, and purchased to take home for later.  Everything is made with great care, and the owners pour their heart and soul into every product they put out for the public.

With the onset of summer, I am hoping hours will be extended once again so I can make it over there for dinners sometimes.  Their daily specials always sound so intriguing, but I work in Indiana and don’t get out of work in time to make it over there currently to enjoy their specials.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert…all in one place.

And, you can easily purchase their baked goods, including their hamburger buns, right there at the shop.  So head over to Frankfort Avenue and give their products a try.  You’ll never guess that all of them are gluten-free…and most are also allergen-free.  And all of it…super delicious.

These hamburger buns, especially, make a nice addition to the dinner table.  Don’t take my word for it though.  Go in there and purchase some for yourself.  They’ll beat out any store-bought brand from the freezer any day!

My homemade gluten-free and vegan black bean and soy chorizo burger sandwiched between Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns (shown with homemade hand-cut shoestring fries)
My homemade gluten-free and vegan black bean and soy chorizo burger sandwiched between Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns (shown with homemade hand-cut shoestring fries)