I thought that perhaps one of the reasons I didn't like the LightLife Buffalo Smart Wings (Review) was because I prepared it in the microwave as opposed to the preferred method of pan-searing it. This time, I wasn't going to make that same mistake. I got my pan out, and followed the directions for that method of preperation for the (meatless) Lightlife Honey BBQ Smart Wings. Unfortunately, I know now that making it that way does NOT improve the taste any.
I said it before, and I'll say it again - it really is an insult to "wings" to have that in the title of this product, and it does the product a disservice to have people thinking that this might be similar to wings. It's not ... not even a little bit. It only slightly resembles a wing drumette - and it doesn't have the same texture or taste. The texture is like veggie protein, compact & dry without the sauce. It's not juicy and not even the honey barbecue sauce is the best thing about the product - sweet and slightly tangy, but it wasn't enough to make me like it.
The nutrition facts are pretty good though. Each serving of 4 Lightlife Honey BBQ Smart Wings provides 120 calories, no fat, 430 mg sodium (18% of the daily value), 4 grams of fiber (16% of the DV), 9 grams of sugars and 13 grams of protein.
I received a few samples of Lightlife Smart Cutlets (which are vegetarian - faux meat if you will), for review, and they have been making it easier to have Meatless Mondays for the family. I've already reviewed the LightLife Spicy Sweet & Sour Smart Cutlets was pretty decent, so let me tell you about the Original Lightlife Smart Cutlets.
I followed the directions for doing it on the stove-top, but then got impatient and finished it up in the microwave - I was really hungry! First, I tried it as it - without any condiment enhancement. The texture was thick and ... meaty ... but without the meaty taste. In fact, the taste is sort of wheaty/ soy-ish - not really something I would eat by itself. I made a sandwich with it however, and doused in ketchup and Annie's Naturals Organic Honey Mustard - it was delicious. A pretty good way to get 17 grams of protein with very little fat.
I've been enjoying going meatless for one day a week. Lunch on Monday involved LightLife Spicy Sweet & Sour Smart Cutlets, which I received from the PR company for review. This is described on the box as, veggie protein cutlets in sauce ... a fusion of Asian flavors with a little kick.
The last time I had a LightLife product, the Buffalo Smart Wings, I used the microwave method, and that might have been part of the reason I didn't like it, so this time, I made sure to use the preferred "skillet" method, i.e. dump everything in a pan at medium heat, and cook for 2 minutes on each side.
The box contains 2 cutlets, each 1 is a serving, and you really don't need more than 1, because they are thick! I really liked how moist and juicy these cutlets are, and they are quite tasty too. One thing LightLife always does right is their sauce! It was amazing as usual, sweet with a little hint of a spicy kick to it - not too much so fear not if you don't like spicy foods. There was also a slight soy-ish taste to this though that the sauce couldn't mask - not bad ... just different. Overall I really liked this.
I decided to have mine with a side of Alexia Waffle Cut Sweet Potato Fries, but the next day, I used the other cutlet to make a burger, and it was so good!
LightLife Buffalo Smart Wings is described on the packaging as veggie protein wings, i.e. a vegetarian option to Buffalo chicken wings. The description on their website reads, "It's about to get a little spicy in here, folks. Our juicy wings are bringing all kinds of sassy sauce to the table, whether it's a party or a plain old Tuesday. So pick up a box and start wingin' it!" Please note the words in bold, we'll come back to them later.
Let me start by saying, if you love wings, as I do, LEAVE this product alone. You will not be happy. You WILL think it's an insult to have the term "wings" in the product name. And "Smart Wings" at that. Of course, this is a vegetarian version, but some things are better left in the meat eating world, and this is a prime example. But, I might have to take some of the blame for making a lackluster product from these vegetarian wings. The directions for preparation on the box provided a "Skillet" and Microwave method. I did it in the microwave and that probably wasn't the best way - over at 125 Pounds, they had a good review of the pan-seared wings - but they did give me a choice!
Now, there are some redeeming qualities to LightLife Buffalo Smart Wings ... or rather, there is one redeeming quality ... the "buffalo" sauce isn't terrible. I wouldn't go so far as to call it "spicy" either, but it was flavorful. And while these veggie wings didn't come out dry, I also wouldn't call have referred to them as "juicy". What really weirded me out was the texture of these wing-shaped, veggie protein pieces. It's better if I wasn't thinking "wings" and was thinking textured protein - then this would have tasted just about as I expected.
Feeling adventurous, I decided to pick up Lightlife Smart Deli Bologna Style Veggie Protein Slices at the grocery store today, in an effort to further expand my meatless horizons. Having tried the Lightlife Smart Deli Pepperoniand liking it, I was optimistic about this too. It didn't hurt that a 5.5-ounce package (2.5 servings) was $2.69 - cheaper than some packages of real deli meats.
I brought home my "bologna" and opened the package. Like real bologna, the meatless kind had a sort of tan-pink color. Amazingly enough, it tasted a whole lot like bologna, too. Each slice was thick and satisfying, and not at all artificial-tasting. How do they do it? If all veggie meats tasted as good as this, I'd be a vegetarian in a heartbeat! I ate the slices by themselves to really get a sense of the flavor, but these would be great on sandwiches as well.
As a vegetarian, I am constantly on the lookout for cool veggie protein sources. I am extremely picky, however, so when I find something I like I remain loyal. My favorite brand for most meat alternatives is Lightlife. I don't even like the taste of real meat, but somehow I very much enjoy many of Lightlife's wide variety of substitutes. While stocking up on Mori Nu tofu the other day, I found a coupon for $1.00 off of any Lightlife product, so I decided to try something new instead, and settled on Lightlife Smart Deli Pepperoni. At $2.19 ($3.19 originally, minus coupons savings), it didn't break the bank.
Being impatient and starting to get a little bit hungry, I opened the box and tried a couple slices as my friends and I were walking out of the store. Also, I took the slices out and ate them cold, and my friends laughed at me. "Pepperoni is meant to be eaten warm, cooked, heated up! It will taste better then" they said However, they each tried a bit, and said it wasn't bad, but they we agreed that heated pepperoni would be better. I tried it hot once I got home, and they were right. It was pretty good, though I thought it was fine cold too.
It was an acquired taste for me though, as I am not originally a huge fan of pepperoni flavor in general. It definitely has a very strong flavor, though not exactly spicy. The texture is pleasant, not tough to chew. A little stronger than lunch meat slices, but not like actual cuts of meat. These would go great on a vegetarian "pepperoni" pizza, and could possibly fool the carnivores in your life as well (though I am not sure of this as I haven't eaten pepperoni since I was about 3 years old). There is a little bit of an aftertaste, as one might expect from any kind of pepperoni, meat-free or not.