Thursday, February 2, 2012

Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix

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Whenever VB goes to Whole Foods without me, he comes back with very interesting things to try. This was something that he picked up on one such trip. Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix is a very unique fake meat product. Unlike other fake meat crumbles, this product came dry in a pouch, making it shelf stable. That means it can be stored in the pantry at room temperature -- a big plus for those short on fridge space. Unfortunately, it also looks suspiciously like fish food. Or bath salt. You can decide for yourself.

Dry mix.
Prior to cooking, the dry mix must rehydrate in cold water for at least 15 minutes. Then, it is pan fried until browned.

Re-hydrated mix
For those who are used to flavored crumbles like soyrizo, one key way that this product is different is that it's unseasoned. One pouch is equivalent to 1 pound of ground beef. So while making any recipe, you have to be aware that you need to add enough seasonings to flavor about 1 pound of meat. If you don't like the seasonings already added to products like soyrizo, this can be a good alternative for you.

Browned hamburger mix.
I find the hamburger mix to be very crumbly. It does not hold together by itself. To make my taquitos (more to come on that later), I had to mix in some refried beans in order to get the mixture to hold together without falling apart. The hamburger mix has the telltale texture of fake meat -- a bit springy and mushy. By itself, it tastes unmistakably like fake meat with a slight hint of soy. But when all mixed together and baked into taquitos, I couldn't taste the soy flavor anymore. I do like the fact that you can flavor this any way you want -- with this product, you wouldn't be stuck with all the spices that came in the package.

Taste: 3 out of 5 stars
Texture: 3 out of 5 stars
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars

In A Nut Shell: If you try to have this hamburger mix as is, you will be disappointed by how bland and boring it is. But, if you season it well with spices and herbs, this can be a very versatile product.

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