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Among the diet plans I’ve tried, the vegan diet was the most challenging of them all. I never realized how much I relied on animal products and foods until I had to give them up. I couldn’t even eat what I thought were “innocent” foods like eggs or honey! To be honest though, I wasn’t trying the vegan diet because of the guilt some people feel about eating animal-based products. I was trying this way of eating merely to see if I could lose weight by following a vegan diet.
As always, I set about trying to make eating a vegan diet as painless as possible. This meant I had to find replacements for my favorite meats like chicken, lamb, steak, ground meat and the like. The meat substitutes I wanted had to be similar in texture and have the mouth-feel I was accustomed to when I ate meat. To this end, I researched the latest vegan meat substitutes and discovered the Beyond Meat brand.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard all the raves about the Beyond Meat brand of vegan meat substitutes. If not, no worries, in this and future posts, I’ll give brief reviews for their line of vegan “meats” including their signature Beyond Burger. First up for reviews of the Beyond Meat brand, their version of ground beef known as Beyond Beef Crumbles.
Beyond Beef Crumbles – Feisty Version
My cousin the vegan fitness trainer was the first one to introduce me to the Beyond Beef Crumbles. He handed me a frozen bag of Feisty Beyond Beef Crumbles and asked me to trust him. I do trust my cousin, but I still didn’t have any expectation of really enjoying this imitation ground beef. The first thing I did, was to check out the ingredients before I cooked some up.
The Feisty Beyond Beef Crumbles is made with the following ingredients:
Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Canola and Sunflower Oil, Spice, Rice Flour, Tomato Powder, Sugar, Potassium Chloride, Contains 0.5% or less: Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Tapioca Maltodextrin, Onion Extract, Acacia Gum, Salt, Chili Pepper Extract, Natural Flavor, Garlic Extract, Paprika Extract (For Color).
Given that this is a ground beef substitute, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could recognize all the ingredients in what would normally be highly processed food. The nutritional profile of the Feisty crumbles was also impressive with a whopping 13 grams of protein in a half cup serving. These beefy crumbles were also fairly low in calories with only 90 calories per serving.
So far so good, now, I had to cook some up to see if the taste matched the promise and quality of its ingredients.
Making My First Meal with Beyond Meat’s Feisty Beef Crumbles
After carefully scrutinizing the ingredients on the Feisty Beyond Beef Crumbles it was time to bite the bullet and prepare my first meal with this vegan ground beef substitute. I felt like using it to make a quick and easy meal as is my wont, so I decided on making soft tacos. I whipped up a batch of my einkorn tortillas before making the Feisty crumbles because the crumbles cook up in a mere three minutes.
The first thing I did was heat a bit of oil in a nonstick pan and added the Feisty Beyond Beef Crumbles. As it heated, I smelled the earthy spices similar to cumin and paprika. The texture was much finer than you would see in regular ground beef. I was afraid to stir it too much for fear that I’d end up with a slush instead of a nice chewy ground beef texture. Thankfully the crumbles were ready in the span of only 3 minutes.
I prepared my soft taco by spreading the prepared Feisty beef crumbles on an einkorn flour tortilla and adding a bit of cilantro and a few slices of avocado and tomato. I rolled it all up and took a big bite. The verdict? It was absolutely delicious! I was not expecting it to taste so good and I was shocked at my enjoyment. This vegan thing wasn’t going to be so bad after all!
Here’s my brief breakdown of the pros and cons for the Feisty Beyond Beef Crumbles:
- High protein meat substitute
- Low in calories
- Zero Cholesterol
- Good source of iron
- Tastes great!
- The texture is a bit off because the crumbles are too small
- High in sodium with 250 mg sodium per 1/2 cup serving
Even with these two small cons against it, I definitely enjoyed the Feisty Beyond Beef Crumbles and I would eat it again even without following the vegan diet exclusively.
Beyond Meat Beefy Beef Crumbles
You would think that the only difference between the Beyond Meat Beefy Beef Crumbles and the Beyond Meat Feisty Beef Crumbles is that the Feisty one is seasoned. Alas, this is not the only difference between the two and they could not be more different from each other in both taste and texture.
The Beefy Beyond Beef Crumbles is made with the following ingredients:
Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Canola And Sunflower Oil, Rice Flour, Spice, Tomato Powder, Contains 0.5% Or Less: Yeast Extract, Sugar, Potassium Chloride, Tapioca Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Salt, Acacia Gum, Onion Extract, Natural Flavor, Garlic Extract.
Although the Beefy version of the crumbles has many of the same ingredients as the Feisty version, they are quite different in taste. Where the Feisty Beyond Beef Crumbles fails, the Beefy Beef Crumbles excels. For example, when you look at the Beefy version of the crumbles, you would swear you were looking at actual ground beef from a cow. It’s actually very eerie how closely Beyond Meat managed to emulate the look and texture of ground beef.
However, the appearance is the only quality that’s similar to real ground beef as I found out when I made my first meal with the Beyond Meat Beefy Beef Crumbles.
Making My First Meal with Beyond Meat’s Beefy Beef Crumbles
I made another quick and easy meal with the Beefy Crumbles. Instead of tacos, I made corn pasta elbows with Beefy Crumbles and Basil Tomato pasta sauce. In attempts to boost the flavor of the Beefy crumbles, I added a bit of fresh garlic and onion to the pan before sauteing the crumbles and adding the sauce.
I followed the instructions on how to cook the Beefy crumbles, and fried them for about three minutes after cooking down the fresh aromatics. After draining the pasta, I added the Beefy crumbles and pasta sauce mixture over the top. I was looking forward to eating this meal because it looked delicious. I took a bite.
The actual texture and taste of the Beyond Meat Beefy Beef Crumbles are in a word, horrible. The texture was hard and it felt like I was chewing rubber pellets. I was surprised to be disappointed in the Beyond Beef Beefy Crumbles because their Feisty version actually tastes good even though the texture leaves a bit to be desired. The Beefy Crumbles make a pretty picture when served with a bit of sauce and pasta, but the taste is atrocious.
- Soy, gluten and GM free
- 13 grams of plant protein
- Unpleasant rubbery texture
- Bland and tasteless
As much as I enjoyed the Feisty version of the Beyond Meat Feisty Beef Crumbles, I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone buy the Beefy version of the Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles.
A Tale of Two Beyond Beef Crumbles – Feisty vs. Beefy
I never thought there would be any real difference between the two versions of Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles, but boy was I wrong. How could two similar products made by the same company be so different? The Feisty crumbles are well seasoned and delicious. The Feisty crumbles are small yes, but when combined with other bulking additions like pico de gallo or avocado, it makes a very tasty and satisfying meal that you’d swear was ground beef.
The Beefy style crumbles on the other hand is just bad. It has what I imagine the flavor profile of dog food to be. On top of that the Beefy crumbles were just rubbery. They were the right size and greatly resemble actual ground beef but that’s where the similarities end. In the war between Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles the Feisty version wins hands down.
So, Should You Try Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles?
In a word, yes. If you’re a new vegan who still misses the flavor and texture of ground beef, then I highly recommend you try the Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles. Be sure to choose the Feisty version and stay far away from the Beefy version. Even if you’re a seasoned vegan, you too can enjoy Beyond Meat’s Feisty Beef Crumbles.
If you’ve never tried the Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles Feisty, you can get some here.