Chipotle is at the forefront of the healthy fast food movement. You all know how I feel about the place, after reading this post. A quick recap of why they are so great: according to founder Steve Ellis, Chipotle uses “unprocessed, seasonal, family-farmed, sustainable, nutritious, naturally raised, added hormone free, organic, and artisanal” products. And now, in case I thought I couldn’t love them any more, they’ve gone ahead and introduced a vegan meat option. Jump for joy!
The new menu item, called “Garden Blend,” is made by the company Gardein. According to Gardein, their plant-based meat substitute is made from soy, wheat and pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet and kamut). What an awesome addition to Chipotle’s short but sweet menu!
This new Garden Blend hasn’t been introduced at all Chipotle locations yet, but I was lucky enough to hunt down the one NYC location that’s carrying it so far. I headed over to the Chelsea Chipotle (on 8th Ave between 17th and 18th) today to have a little taste test.
I got a burrito bowl with Garden Blend (pictured at the top of this post). I kept my bowl vegan with rice, black beans, salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and a squeeze of lemon.
The verdict? WIN! Gardein has created a meat substitute that actually has the juicy texture and smoky, savory flavor of meat – unlike many of the meat substitutes out on the market today. It had the look and feel of chicken, but didn’t feel heavy, fatty or oily at all.
For the record, you can rest easy – Chipotle is cooking their vegan meat blend separately from the animal meat.
As of now, it sounds like Chipotle is only offering the Gardein meat at the Chelsea location in NYC and the Dupont Circle location in DC. If it does well, they’ll introduce it in other stores. Request Garden Blend at your local Chipotle.
Chipotle, my love, what will you think of next?!
Check out a few pictures of the meatless burrito and another review here.
If you don’t live near one of the Gardein-serving Chipotles but want to try the meat substitute for yourself, you can find tasty Gardein meatless products at Whole Foods – including pulled bbq shreds, buffalo wings, beefless tips and crispy tenders. Check out MindBodyGreen’s taste test of Gardein’s bbq pulled shreds. Yum!!