It looks like a hunk of real beef, but just a little lighter. Vivera’s Vegetarian Minced Meat should not be considered any less than the animal variant; usable for loose mince and with the addition of herbs, spices, eggs and bread crumbs, you might as well make meat balls, burgers or suasages. The mince is made from soy and wheat protein, made to taste by adding pea fiber, spice extract, natural flavour and red beet extract. Iron and vitamin B12 are also added. Due to the use of free-range eggs, it is not suitable for vegans.
According to the description on the packaging, balls, burgers or sausages need about 3 to 6 minutes on medium heat in hot oil or margarine. It is advisable to let them yarn by about 10 minutes after baking. Chopped to loose mince it should only take a minute or two on low heat in oil or margarine to prepare.
For a casserole I choose the chopped version. It is fairly easy to get the hunk into pieces, but the meat remains too sticky – almost mushy – to get it really loose. For a casserole however, this is not a problem. But the mince sticks too quickly to the pan and is not getting the right, tasty colour. That is unfortunate for the eye; a beautiful, brown-baked product is slightly more attractive.
The pure product itself tastes light and neutral; I don’t recognize a specific or predominant flavour. This in itself is not a problem, but by incorporating it in a casserole the taste is fairly completely gone. In a bite of the dish, the structure of the minced meat disappeares almost entirely, because of the almost mushy stickiness. It is therefore not comparable with the bite of ready-made loose vegetarian minced meat and thus probably not with animal minced meat.
I think the Vegetarian Minced Meat of Vivera is an original product within the vegetarian assortment, because more than other products you can edit it by adding spices or marinate it. Due to its neutral taste in the original state little can go wrong. I would not recommend it for chopping into loose minced meat, because of it quickly getting stuck to the pan, not getting the tasty brown baked colour, and remaining sticky. But it most certainly deserves at least a second chance and I’ll give it a try for a veggie ball or burger.
A few weeks later…..
Well, I promised to make a vegetarian meat ball out of this product, so here they are!! Almost just like granny’s recipe. I only added some chopped union but ofcourse you can also add some herbs or spices.
To the traditional meat ball normally there’s also an egg added to keep the meat sticky and prevent it from falling apart during baking. I didn’t do this and to be honest it’s better to do so. Not because the balls fall apart during baking, but because they are pretty dry on the inside. And like the plain product, the balls easily stick to the pan so you have to keep them turning. Doing that makes you create an almost perfect round ball, so it’s well worth the patience. Enjoy you meal!