Veggie Guy: Kellogg's Broke My Heart...Those Bastards

Kellogg's just ripped my heart out, slammed it to the dirt, then proceeded to stomp the hell out of it with a seven-inch stiletto!

Ok--high drama, but I'm seriously heartbroken about their recent de-veganizing of one of the best faux meat products on the market.

For years, I used Kellogg's MorningStar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles for all of my Tex-Mex home cooking (tacos, enchiladas, chile relleno, and most any dish that called for ground beef). They were extra "beefy" in texture and taste, even fooling some of my meat-eating friends into thinking they were chewing on real meat. But for some reason, Kellogg's felt the need ruin a perfect product by adding milk and eggs to it.

I just don't get it.

If you're lucky, you might still be able to score the last few bags of MorningStar Farms' original vegan crumbles hidden in the back of your grocer's freezer, but I think it's time to start looking for a replacement--at least until the guys at Kellogg's decide to get their heads out of their asses.

The options:

Bob's Red Mill Texturized Vegetable Protein. I'm not gonna lie. Making your own ground "beef" crumbles out of texturized vegetable protein (aka "TVP") can be a real pain! TVP must first be hydrated with warm water or faux beef stock, then sautéed in light oil to achieve a texture similar to ground beef. Adding the appropriate spices (and maybe a dab of liquid smoke) will enhance the flavor, but the end result leaves a lot to be desired. Crumbles made with TVP work well in bean-based chilis and other hearty stews, but centering a meal around TVP crumbles may result in those dreaded Cheerios-burps. Don't even act like you don't know what that means.

Boca Meatless Ground Crumbles. Much like Boca's Original Vegan Burger, heavy tweaking is required to cover up the distinct soy flavor of the Boca Meatless Ground Crumbles. Boca seems to work okay in Taco Bell-style tacos, but if you're into simple Latin spices like I am, this brand isn't for you. You'd have to up the garlic factor so much, you wouldn't be able to stand your own odor...even two days later.

Lightlife Smart Grounds. Of the three brands of vegan-friendly crumbles I found, Lightlife Smart Grounds came closest to MorningStar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles. These fat-free crumbles have a slightly beany flavor, but do take spice pretty well. Though not quite as "beefy" in feel as MorningStar, Lightlife's crumbles make a decent picadillo and also bake nicely on Tex-Mex pizzas.

So my vote goes to Lightlife Smart Grounds, but I'm still pissed that Kellogg's screwed us vegans over! My response to this move can be best stated with a simple Kindergarten-style hand gesture.