“Dragged kicking and screaming” is how I’d best describe my recent attempts at eating less meat. The goal for me was never to eliminate it altogether, but at a certain point, I realized there wasn’t any great reason—and plenty of not-so-great ones—to be eating meat three times per day.
My (somewhat) successful attempt at reduced meat consumption also coincides with the fast, furious, and continuous introduction of new and interesting plant-based “meat” options into the market.
I’ve enjoyed the meteoric ascent of lab-grown plant-based meats like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meats, both of which are now staples in grocery stores and on chain restaurant menus. But for me, alternative meat succeeds not when it mimics exactly the taste and texture of meat—as Beyond and Impossible do—but when it highlights the naturally occurring meaty tastes and textures of grains and plants like mushrooms, eggplant, and others.
Field Roast, a line of plant-based meats found nationally in stores (including my local market where I discovered them a few months back), does this very well and has become my go-to replacement protein for nights when the old stomach is calling out for a cheesesteak but my wiser (?) brain interjects with “naw, you don’t need it.” The company has been around since 1997, but its line of plant-based meat products has expanded to include everything from the aforementioned sausages to vegan corn dogs, faux buffalo wings, burger patties, and even some elaborate plant-based holiday roasts.
So What Are They Made From?
This is where Field Roast really gets me. While Impossible and Beyond meat tastes more like, well, meat, exactly how they’re made and how good for us the complicated ingredients are is still a bit muddy (more on that here).
By contrast, Field Roast’s ingredients are all recognizable (to me, anyhow). The Italian sausage has only vital wheat gluten (naturally occurring in wheat, though not good for celiacs), pressed safflower oil, eggplant, onions, yeast, red wine, barley malt, and spices. The chipotle, bratwurst and apple sage versions all start from a similar base but with unique spices and flavors incorporated to achieve their desired profile.
You can taste it, too. While lab-grown plant-based meats are almost gamey with a slightly synthetic texture meant to resemble real meat, Field Roast’s sausages hold the subtle flavors of the vegetables they are comprised of but maintaining a fattiness and firmness reminiscent of regular sausage.
What Should You Do With Them?
I’ve had the most success dicing or mincing them and incorporating into regularly scheduled recipes. The Italian sausage, for instance, works very well in place of beef or pork in a bolognese, lasagna, or Italian soup. While the chipotle sausage—a favorite of our Managing Editor Jen Wheeler—goes perfectly in a homemade chili or minced and served with tortillas on taco night.
Pro tip: If you saute the diced sausage separately in a mostly dry environment (meaning some oil but no liquid), they will crisp and brown-up nicely, just like meat-based sausage.
You can find Field Roast sausages in select stores. Or the full line is available online from the retailers below.
Packed with flavor this is a good one to grill up as is or sliced in half and serve on crusty bread with grilled onions or dice it and mix into your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe.Buy Now
A plant-based protein fit for a dinner party with lots of rich fall flavors. Sear it on the outside to get a caramelized crust and serve with mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and greens.Buy Now
Header image courtesy of Field Roast.