EDIT: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO CEARA FOR WINNING A NEAT FOODS 3-PACK!
One of my favorite things about being a food blogger is getting the chance to try new foods. So when I was contacted about sampling a new product, Neat, I jumped at the opportunity. Neat is a healthy replacement for meat the comes in three different flavored mixes: Original, Mexican, and Italian. Before sampling the product, I took a look at the list of ingredients and was pleased to find Neat contains only nuts, chickpeas, oats, cornmeal, and spices. Meaning these meat-substitutes contain no dairy, no gluten, no soy, and no processed or impossible-to-pronounce ingredients.
Led by curiosity, I found myself watching the “our story” video on the Neat website. Neat was produced by a mom who’s children decided to go vegetarian. Since she wanted to ensure her kids still got protein-rich, healthy, whole foods, she avoided the processed meat-substitutes at the grocery store and set to work making her own. As a mama of two vegan children, I love this story for many reasons. Most of all because the parents (and founders) respected their children’s wishes to eat vegetarian and because of it a family-supporting business was born.
Then I sampled, beginning with the Italian mix by making “Neatballs” following the directions on the back of the package. The Neat mixes are meant to be combined with 2 eggs or egg substitutes in order to develop their meat-like texture and I had three chances to find the best egg substitute possible. I started with chickpea flour. The Neatballs had great flavor but I would not suggest using chickpea flour for the egg replacer as there is already quite a lot of chickpea flour in the mixes and the end result was a bit dry.
Next I tried the Original Mix out of which I made burgers – again according to packaged directions – this time with Bob’s Red Mill’s egg replacer. I liked the burgers quite a lot. The texture was good and the flavor was right on. I did not think it resemble a meat burger in the same way that some meat alternatives do (which I’m glad for) but more like a delicious plant-based protein alternative. Oh, and a word of caution: make sure you cook the burgers all the way through. Like I said, there is a good amount of chickpeas in the mixes and raw chickpea flour is quite distasteful. Cooked it’s great.
With only one left to try, I decided it was time to get a little creative. In order to make Neat something I would buy again and again (and I likely will), I needed to give it an extra special touch. So with the Mexican mix, I created this Spicy Chipotle Neat Burger and it made me go from feeling fine about Neat to totally digging it.
The Neat mixes make even these specialty burgers a totally easy and very delicious, healthy meal. I mean, I had a two year old throwing a tantrum while holding a crying infant and I still pulled it off.
- 1 package Neat Mexican Mix
- 2 flaxseed "eggs" (see notes)
- 1/2 cup pico de Gallo (store bought or homemade)
- 4 hamburger buns
- chipotle mayonnaise (recipe follows)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup pico de Gallo (store bought or homemade
- handful of mixed greans
- 1 small avocado
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 chipotles in adobo sauce, diced
- 1-2 tsp adobo sauce
- Prepare the neat burger according to packaged directions using either flaxseeds or chickpea flour as egg replacer. Mix in pico de Gallo. In a non-stick skillet, cook burgers for about 4 minutes on each side over medium heat.
- Meanwhile mix together the ingredients for chipotle mayonnaise.
- Assemble the burgers. Top with chipotle mayonnaise, avocado, pico de Gallo and mixed greens.
- Serve immediately.
- For flax eggs combine 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds with 3 tbsp water (per egg) and mix until thick and gelatinous.
Or go ahead and buy some here. And make sure to check out their Pinterest and Facebook pages for more ideas on how to use Neat’s healthy meat alternatives.
Disclaimer: I was given this product to try but the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.