Time for another review. This time i am reviewing Neat Foods products which specializes in creating meat and egg replacements using nuts and other natural vegetarian ingredients. In this review i would be talking about the company’s inspiration for the product range and my taste test review ! Read on.
Neat Foods is a company based out of Pennsylvania and they make meat replacements using natural, soy free and vegetarian ingredients. They have a very interesting story. The company is started by a couple who were looking for protein rich, meat replacements to feed their daughters who just decided to give up meat one day. Not having found the right product for their requirements in the market, the couple concocted their own recipes for creating mixes which not only taste similar to their meat counterparts but also can be made to look the same. They found their idea pretty “NEAT” and thus meat replacements became Neat !! Cool eh !
My review actually began right from the time i got to know about the products on the web. I absolutely loved their approach about meat replacements. Being a blogger, i am always on a lookout for interesting recipe ideas but many of the ones i find exciting are non-vegetarian and that is something which makes it really tough to try out those recipes. Being a foodie, i find that painful. So, when i came across their website and saw their product range, it was exactly like something i wanted. From the first impressions, i like the fact that they have a really exciting product range :
- The Neat Egg – Egg substitute
- Original Mix – For burgers, chilis
- The Italian Mix – Meatballs, Lasagna
- The breakfast Mix – Quiches and Breakfast Sandwiches
- The Mexican Mix – Tacos and Nachos
The company send me their “Neat Egg” and “Original Mix” for samples. Hop onto their website and check out their interesting array of flavours here.
As the product is marketed, it is a 100% vegan, soy free, gluten free, Non GMO and guilt free egg substitute which is made using chia seeds and garbanzo beans mix. Neat egg pack comes in a size of 4.5 oz/ 128 gms and that is equivalent to 18 eggs !! Now, that’s really neat 🙂 Also, both these ingredients are protein rich which makes it “nutrition wise”pretty wise. I opened the pack and tasted the mix just a little bit because i could not resist. The mix has a very neutral taste and smell which is ideal for cooking. It would not interfere with the flavours of the dish and still should be able to work as a binder. I am really excited to try it out in a recipe.
For today though, i am going ahead with tasting the Original mix and making a recipe i have always been wanting to make – Neat Mix Stuffed Poblano !! So exciting !!
The Original mix is a meat replacement for ground beef. This mix is made using pecans, garbanzo beans, cornmeal, oats and spices. Each pack is weighed at 5.5 oz/156 gms which is equivalent to 1 pound of ground beef. It can be used for preparing Burgers, Chili, sloppy joes and many other dishes.
What i love about this mix ??
Well one of the first things i noticed about this mix and instantly loved was that this is a “Dry mix“. The great thing about dry mixes are the extended shelf life.Dry mixes become versatile as they don’t need any refrigeration ! They can be bought in bulk and taken along for trips and can be made in a jiffy when needed. Another thing which works well for the original mix is the neutral taste. This works like a blank canvas for mixing in spices and other flavors and creating interesting combinations for various dishes.
Now, for the recipe ! When i received the samples, i really wanted to just pop these open and create something fun with it. I have always been wanting to try classic non veg recipes but usually i am not able to think of the substitutes except tofu or soy for them. When i got to know about these products, it got be extra happy because now i could just try using their ground beef substitute for the recipe while call for ground beef. I decided to go Mexican with it and created “Stuffed Poblano or grilled Chiles Rellenos” 🙂 Let’s read how i made it.
Neat Stuffed Poblano Peppers / Grilled Chiles Rellenos
Neat Stuffed Poblano Peppers/ Grilled Chiles Rellenos
- 4 Poblano peppers
- 1 cup black bean, boiled
- 1 pack (5.5oz) of neat original mix
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/s cup water
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preparing the Poblano Peppers
- Begin with roasting the poblano peppers on an open flame/grill till you get char marks. The peppers will emit smoke and might irritate your eyes. Best to grill either outside or with windows open.
- Once the poblano are soft and charred, remove from the flame and let it rest on a plate for sometime. The resting will make the outer skin of the poblano soft and it would be easier to peel it off.
- Carefully remove the skins of the peppers and discard the skins. Now, with a knife, make a slit across the length of each pepper and remove the seeds from inside. This will create a pocket inside the poblano so that they can be stuffed. Keep the peppers aside.
Preparing the Neat mix stuffing
- To make the stuffing, use one pack of neat mix and make into neat crumbles by following the instructions provided on the pack. Keep aside.
- Now, in a pan. Add in some oil and add the chopped onions, bell pepper and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes or till the onion turn translucent. Next, add in the neat crumbles and black beans. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin powder, oregano and hot sauce. Mix together well. Now, add in water and bring to a boil.
- After it come to a boil, reduce the flame to simmer and cook for another 5 minutes with a lid on the pan. The stuffing is ready.
Pre-heat the oven at 375 F. Take a baking sheet and grease it with oil. Now, take one pepper at a time and carefully scoop the filling nicely inside each pepper. Place the stuffed pepper on the baking tray. Finally sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top of each stuffed pepper and bake for 12-15 minutes or till the cheese is melted. Serve with guacamole, salsas or mexican rice (recipe to follow soon) .
I would like to sign off this review by saying a big thank you to “neat foods” for sharing their product samples with me. This product range has opened up by recipe box capacities and now i can recreate some of the meat classics using the meat free substitutes 🙂 Check out Neat foods on their instagram, twitter and facebook accounts.