“I Tried Vegan Wings And Here’s What I Thought.” Hint: They’re Delicious!
Super Bowl Sunday is almost here and I didn't quite have a plan. How would I satisfy my need to eat plant-based, and my husband's desire to dig into some traditional chicken wings? So when Jack & Annie's offered to send over a box of vegan wings, I was skeptical but I reluctantly agreed to try them. Reluctantly because in all honesty, I don't love the idea of eating fake food, even if it is a plant-based meat alternative, but these are made from jackfruit and sound relatively natural compared to some of the mixtures that vegan meat alternatives are made of. And jackfruit is a great source of plant-based protein and fiber, the Cleveland Clinic tells us.
Meanwhile, while I'm confessing food likes and dislikes, let me share that I was never the biggest fan of chicken wings, to begin with – back when I still ate chicken – since I always found wings to be the greasiest part of the bird, and never could get over the grossness of all the bones and sinewy stuff. Okay, that was then. Now it's part of my job to try plant-based and vegan meat alternatives, wings included, and since the Super Bowl weekend is upon us, it seemed like a good idea to try some store-bought vegan wings. And Jack & Annie's company sounds different since it makes its meat out of Jackfruit (the Jack in the name) and counts this whole fruit as its first ingredient on the label. And with 32 percent less fat than other leading Buffalo-style wings, it almost sounded healthy! Plus, I was curious to know if I served these to my husband, who tolerates my plant-based taste tests, would he be convinced these were delicious enough to skip the real thing?
The wings arrived in a box of frozen battered "chicken" pieces and instructed me that these are not safe to eat until heated to at least 165°F inside and to preheat the oven to 400 and cook them for 12 minutes, turning them in the middle. I got busy, overdid the first side by a couple of minutes, which actually seemed to make them sizzle more. I then kept them in the oven for the requisite 12 minutes and while they heated up nicely, they didn't exactly brown. I should have left them in for longer. But the aroma of the wings was so enticing, and with lunchtime overdue, I pulled the tray out and plated the four delicious-smelling "wings" and realized I needed a dipping sauce. I had some leftover red sauce that was chilled and it provided the exact right counterbalance to the spicey, tender, and perfectly battered wings.
I give Jack and Annie's vegan wings a 5 out of 5 for taste, texture and satisfaction. The inner vegan meat, made of Jackfruit, wheat flour, soy flour, vinegar and canola and soybean oil, may not be as healthy as making your own cauliflower wings at home, but with just 140 calories and 16 grams of carbs for 3 wings and 1 gram of saturated fat, you could also do a whole lot worse. Happy dipping, and I hope your team wins.