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Gardein went kosher!

Maybe I'm late to this party, but I only found this out recently. I was browsing my options in the frozen section last week and saw something unusual. Was that hashgacha? On Gardein? Yup.

According to their website: All gardein frozen retail products made after July 1, 2013 are certified kosher (by BC Kosher – a division of the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of BC Canada) with the exception of our chick’n sliders, beefless sliders, breakfast sandwiches, and Holiday Turk’y Roast.

I took some 7-grain crispy tenders home and they were delicious. The outside got properly crispy and had flavor of its own. The protein was firm and even did well on a plata for shabbat lunch. We'll be trying out their mandarin chick'n tomorrow night for dinner.

Since it sometimes takes companies a while to get through old packaging without the hashgacha, I wrote to them to find out the relationship between production dates and the "best by" dates stamped onto the bottom crimp of each bag. In my local whole foods, only two products have the new packaging but why limit myself if I don't have to? I'll report when I hear back.

Edited to add that it looks like all of the products are not only kosher but also pareve.

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  1. Wow! Looking forward to trying the mandarin chikn

    I think the 7grain tenders are the same as what trader joes is selling. Those appeared in TJs mid summer

    8 Replies
    1. re: cheesecake17

      Are these available in supermarkets in NY/NJ area or only in Trader Joes. I haven't seen them.

      1. re: kosherfoodie1226

        They're trader joes private label. Yellowish/mustard colored bag.

          1. re: queenscook

            go to coupons.com to get a $1.00 coupon for gardein

            1. re: queenscook

              Yes. Cost is $2.99 (at least on the UWS).

              1. re: queenscook

                Yes. It's a BC on top of a K inside a rectangle. Printed underneath the rectangle is "not pas yisrael"

            2. re: kosherfoodie1226

              I get mine at whole foods and fresh direct carries a few of them. I had the mandarin chick'n one last night and didn't want to share. :-)

              1. re: kosherfoodie1226

                I have found these at Shop Rite and Target in the NJ area. They are pretty good.

            3. This is amazing news!!

              1. Great, I was wondering what that symbol was and if it was good.

                2 Replies
                1. re: azcohen

                  it is Rabbinical Council of British Columbia

                  Rabbi Avraham Feigelstak
                  604-731-1803 401-1037 W Broadway
                  Vancouver, B.C. V6H 1E3

                  crc chicago says it is a good hasgacha

                2. Here's the response I received from Gardein about kosher items in old packaging :

                  Thank you for your email and interest in our gardein products. All of our frozen products have a 1 year shelf life permitting they are stored appropriately. Thus anything that is made after July 1st, 2013 (or expire after July 1st, 2014) would be considered kosher aside from the 4 products listed on our website. I hope this answers your question.

                  1. Bought a mandarin chicken tonight but it was $6! It had better be good at the price of steak.

                    10 Replies
                      1. re: avitrek

                        Are you saying that's high or low?

                        There's plenty of types of steak available in the $6.00 range here in Queens. Seasons' current circular has a number of varieties for in the $5.00--$8.00 per pound range, so unless you are eating the entire pound, $6.00 is probably about right for a serving. In fact, the Gardein stuff is really far more expensive, since the $6.00 is for a package that probably weighs 8 oz. or so. Therefore, the per pound price would be closer to $12.

                        1. re: queenscook

                          Wow. Fresh direct(easiest to check online right now) has steaks for $14-$15/lb with the steaks being ~.9 lb.

                          1. re: avitrek

                            Competition here in Queens has brought prices down over the past few years (with the addition of Aron's and Season's), but even before that, I don't think steak was ever in the $15 range. I don't buy steak, but remember that brisket was about the most expensive meat I ever bought, and even that was "only" in the $10/lb. range. I occasionally paid more for bison, when that was easily available. Now I try to buy only grass-fed beef, since I haven't seen any bison around, so that can cost a bit more, but Season's often has good specials even on the grass-fed beef, where the brisket is only $5.00/lb or so.

                            1. re: queenscook

                              Brisket in general is a cheap cut of meat on a per pound basis. It's expensive because you're buying multiple pounds at a time. But I've always remembered brisket being cheaper per pound than steaks. And for the record, brisket is currently $14/lb at Fresh direct.

                              1. re: avitrek

                                why are we talking about meat while discussing gardein?

                                1. re: avitrek

                                  Also, with Fresh Direct, you are paying for convenience. (A lot, if you ask me!)

                          2. re: avitrek

                            The Gardein is around a half pound. I can probably get a serving of steak for that price.

                          3. re: SoCal Mother

                            Where are you getting a package for $6? Even Whole Foods charges less. Also, is that steak for two people for $6?

                            1. re: CloggieGirl

                              Krogers. But I found some at 3.69 tonight in Target.

                          4. Super Target has a pretty extensive selection of the Gardein products. Trader Joe's has the chicken nuggets, a stuffed "turkey" product, and I suspect the mandarin chicken product they carry is also Gardein because it is made in Canada, but the package doesn't have the hechsher yet.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sharonfl

                              I tried the stuffed turkey. The gravy needed some pepping up but it certainly beats the other fake turkeys (heckshered and otherwise) that I've had. That's not the highest bar to surpass but I would gladly buy more.

                            2. for anyone interested, im told gardein is on sale this week at fairway

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: shoelace

                                Which Fairway? UWS did not have them when I checked a couple of weeks ago.

                                1. re: queenscook

                                  ive seen them at pelham recently, and in queens over the summer- which doesnt mean thay havent had them in queens recently, but that im not big frozen section person in the fall

                              2. Got multigrain tenders from Fairway- they were amazing! Most of the varieties did not yet have hashgaha.

                                1. Just an update: I've been sampling the Gardein products that are now certified, and so far have been quite impressed! I tried some breaded "chicken" cutlet type strips in a sandwich with avocado, lettuce and tomato -- delicious, quick and easy. I also used the "beefless" ground meat substitute in a quick burrito filling with sauteed onions, tomatoes, peppers and salsa. The beefless ground beef is significantly better than the widely available substitute ground beef I have been using until now, and it was easy to measure the amount I wanted to use out of the frozen bag and stick the rest back into the freezer for future use. I also noticed that Trader Joe's "Chickenless" Mandarin Orange Morsels are now kosher, with the same certification as Gardein. (TJ's often packages products from major labels under their own label - they are likely made by the same manufacturer.) Anyone else have particular products or recipes to recommend?

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: DevorahL

                                    I agree. I like the products. I've made meatball sandwiches with the faux meatballs. I've also cut the meatballs in smaller pieces to go in pasta sauce and as a lasagna filling. The unbreaded items make a pretty good fajita (add onions, peppers, tomatoes and Mexican spices). I cut them into strips. The breaded items that come with sauce make a pretty good stir fry with added vegetables.

                                    1. re: sharonfl

                                      I think Gardein is hit or miss. It's really the sauces that do it for me. If the sauces are bland and have no flavor, I'm not too keen on buying them again.

                                      1. re: tamarw

                                        So far, I've had good experiences with the sauces. The only thing that bothers me is that their products really are soooo much better when cooked on stovetop, rather than microwave. Morningstar, Whole Foods, etc do just fine in the microwave and it's faster and I don't have to clean up.

                                        1. re: CloggieGirl

                                          I think the sauces are pretty good too. It's true that the breaded products are better in the oven or stove top, but the coating has a better texture than Morningstar breaded products. There always seems to be a trade off..............

                                    2. re: DevorahL

                                      As a kosher vegan, I'm so pleased to have the Gardein products which have been recommended by vegan chefs via blog and book for years. We find keeping the cutlets, (no sauce, no breading, just the equivalent of a skinless chicken breast) on hand is a life saver both for weekday dinners and as a vegan entree when we are serving chicken for our omnivores on Friday nights. I make most of my own seitan and I've been doing it for years, but i can't quite equal the gardein texture and the convenience is obvious. I like to sautee with a little oil and mushrooms and then add a lot of lemon juice and cook until the cutlet has sucked up the oil and lemon. Yum

                                      1. re: lburrell

                                        Have you tried Beyond Meat? I am also a kosher vegan and looking to try and up my protein intake a little...

                                        1. re: marissaj

                                          We just bought our first package and haven't had a chance to try it. Have you experimented making your own seitan? Not quite as "meat like" in texture, but the taste is great in many recipes. We actually had some vegans tempted to reject our seitan Burgundy because they thought it must be actual meat. We are also enjoying Sophie's Kitchen's jack fruit seafood, kosher and vegan. You might want to look into Everyday Vegan Eats. I tested for that book and found the protein dishes easy and convenient to prepare. I'm also doing a lot more with nut substitutes for cheese. I've decided to be in the safe side to take a vitamin B supplement.

                                          1. re: marissaj

                                            I have used Beyond Meat. It works well as a fajita filling or as "chicken" with pasta and vegetables. I haven't used as many of their products as the Gardein. I believe their products come in strips and I have used the one that is more plain (they have a southwestern flavor too. I haven't tasted the products side by side so I have no clear preference for either unbreaded line. Most of the Gardein products are coated which brings a lot of flavor and texture to the party!

                                            1. re: marissaj

                                              I have had some of their products and had mixed feelings. The "chicken" strips definitely need a lot of sauce as they are really dry. The "beef" crumbles would be good in a taco or burrito but not something where you'd be adding your own spices and definitely with extra moisture.

                                              1. re: marissaj

                                                The Beyond Meat ground "beef" crumbles made some pretty good vegan nachos. I spiced them up quite a bit though.

                                          2. Does anyone know why Quorn has no hechsher? Have they just not bothered to look into it, or is there some reason why their products are actually not kosher?

                                            1. I *think* my friend (a Rebitzen) in London said Quorn is OK according to the LBD. I was surprised since it has no hashgacha here in the US.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: yaelaldrich

                                                Might have to do with where the Quorn is actually processed. If there is a UK or even European plant, it may be supervised, while many food processors in the US have moved operations to Mexico or other locations to save money and that includes forgoing supervision. Ever notice how many kosher vegan products are made in Canada, as opposed to the US? And Taiwan apparently is another location for supervision. Sophy's Kitchen products come from there, for example.

                                                1. re: yaelaldrich

                                                  The LBD web site lists the frozen mince, but not any of the other products.
                                                  The Manchester Beth Din web site lists grounds and mince as being kosher in the USA.

                                                  1. re: yaelaldrich

                                                    I remember for a while, the "fillets" were acceptable under either LBD or the Dutch authority. A lot of their more recent products seem to be breaded and seasoned (beyond "meat" flavorings) which may be where the problem is.

                                                  2. As a note- some of their products, such as the mandarin "chicken," show up from time to time at Costco, in a huge bag that's much cheaper than individual TJ's ones. But I haven't seen any on the East Coast; only in California (CA Costcos seem to have a much better variety of frozen vegan food, though- go figure?)