Dear Gardein,

I love you. I would marry you if I could. You make my life infinitely easier with your veg/soy based replica meat products. The kid will eat your 7 Grain Crispy Tenders EVERY single day of his life (note to reader, I do NOT feed them to the kid every day, but man alive, he WOULD eat them if that were in any way possible). My current favorite is the award winning Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n. I’m not going to lie though; I am not crazy in love with your sauce. I do make my own.  But I will continue to purchase your products because they are about as good as processed foods get and when I get home from work and the kid is hungry and I have 15.5 seconds to get something even moderately healthy on the table that I know for sure he will eat (and those my friends are very rare foods indeed), I turn to you. NEVER LEAVE ME.

Love J

Do you buy Gardein? I cannot live without it. Yes, it is pre-packaged and mostly frozen food but look at the nutritional label. Two 7 grain crispy tenders have 30% of an adult’s daily requirement of B12. Who are we kidding; even the kid can polish off 4 of those puppies in one sitting. More if they were available.

I decided to make the orange chick’n and make my own sauce. It was fast and easy and with a big scoop of long grain brown rice, a nice perfectly balanced meal. Even the hubs ate it and liked it! Sadly I didn’t have time to cook the chick’n and veggies separately, which is my preference as it is MUCH better crispy. Next time.

Try it!

1 Package of Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1/2 cup toasted unsalted whole cashews


½ cup water

1/2 cup orange juice

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 ½ Tbsp low sodium organic soy sauce

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ tsp ginger root, minced

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

2 stalks green onion, chopped

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons potato starch

1.5 tablespoons water

In a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger, garlic, green onion and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.

Combine potato starch with 1.5 Tbsp of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir starch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Leave on low. Whisk occasionally.

Cook up your Chick’n (I use coconut oil but any good cooking oil would do) as per directions and set aside. Fry up 2 bell peppers with 1 small onion until desired softness (as always, we like ours on the crispy side so we only fry for about 5 minutes, if that). Toss everything together in a big pan (veg, chick’n and sauce) and serve over brown rice (or white if that’s all you have). Toast your cashews in a pan on medium heat or in the toaster over and sprinkle over your dish.  YUM.