food review

I tried Gardein’s Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n

My Gardein’s Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n on steamed rice

I’m always a little curious about vegetarian replacements for meat, especially since vegetarian options have proved to be much easier for my digestion.  I have had pretty good luck with Gardein in the past so when I saw this Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n I was fully on board.  Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of chicken find it to be basically flavorless.  Although, I do enjoy chicken nuggets.  Because of this I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be disappointed if this didn’t taste like chicken.  So here’s what I thought.


Be sure to read the packaging!  As you can see in the picture, 140 calories is highlighted in a beautiful, encouraging, green.  Sounds great, right?  Below that, not highlighted, it states “per serving without sauce”.  If you are buying this you want the sauce, otherwise it’s not Mandarin Orange.  I did not read the packaging.  Luckily, I was not worried about the calories today.  Besides, this review isn’t about healthiness or calories, just taste.

There were a few different cooking options listed on the back.  The front of the package says it takes 8 minutes and that is probably accurate if you cook it on the stove.  Keep in mind that the rice is not included so factor that into your cooking time.  I have a rice steamer so I started the rice just before starting the oven preheating.  I chose the bake option for my “Chick’n” and this takes about 16 minutes once the oven is ready.  I line my pans with foil and then spray an olive oil cooking spray on the foil.  Next step, spread out the nuggets and placed in the oven for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes, I turned the pieces over and cooked for 8 more minutes.  The sauce packet needs placed in hot water for at least 3 minutes to warm up.  Once the pieces are cooked, place them in a bowl, pour the sauce in and stir the pieces in the sauce.

Once I put the pieces on the bed of rice and tossed on some green onion, I was ready to enjoy!  The flavor of the sauce was pretty tasty.  A sweet taste with a hint of citrus.  It had the consistency of syrup and I would prefer it a little thicker, but it covered the pieces well.  The nuggets themselves seemed to taste a lot like chicken nuggets to me.  The breading was pretty good and the texture was very much like a chicken nugget.  I thought the sauce was going to make the pieces soggy or soft, but they remained crispy.  I’ve tried other frozen chicken nuggets, that had meat and I thought these were pretty comparable 

The overall result is that I was pleasantly surprised and would recommend giving it a try.  I will be buying it again and I hope you like it too.