Break a veg: Sweet and sour porkless bites with veggies and black bean rice

Pork without pigs? I never sausage a thing!

In the spirit of getting more creative and adventurous in the kitchen, and with an old close friend over for a night of movies, drinks, and a dinner that was fancy wkddoesn’t make her want to conveniently be taking her pet rock for a walk the next time I invite her over, I decided to make something new! …kind of. A go-to-favourite dish whenever I’m at one of my favourite Chinese restaurants; I attempted (and pulled off with quite some aplomb if I do say so myself) to recreate sweet and sour pork! Although I did kind of cheat by using these Gardein sweet and sour porkless bites that I picked up from Smith & Deli the other day (with a few other goodies I’ll definitely be posting about soon). Click here for a list of other Gardein stockists in Australia.

Gardein sweet and sour porkless bites – vegan friendly but not gluten friendly

Not only is this my first experience with the porkless bites, but it’s my first experience with Gardein ever! I know, how have I been vegan for over two years and never tried Gardein?! Well, maybe I have at a restaurant somewhere without realising but you get what I mean. Gardein have a pretty big rep in the vegan community and I must say, I definitely was not disappointed. I couldn’t justify buying them regularly, but I will absolutely be purchasing them again in the not-too-distant future.

I wouldn’t say they tasted exactly like pork, or even similar, really. Definitely on the lower third of the one-to-ten scale, but they didn’t have that overwhelming faux meat flavour which is unfortunately so common in many meat replacements. The texture was really satisfying, though, mildly chewy that softened and mushed, and the flavour was strong enough that they did have a kind of meaty taste but it wasn’t over powering. It would go well with any kind of sauce, really, even ones that you wouldn’t normally pair with pork.

Now fair warning – when I’m making a dish for the first, third or hundredth time, I don’t really go by a specific recipe. Even when I follow recipes, I don’t really follow recipes. I just sort of throw in as much of everything as I want. It’s a pretty good way to live, I encourage you to give it a go.

Serves 3-4:

What you’ll need:

  • 1 white onion
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • 1/2 green capsicum
  • As much garlic as your little heart desires
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of black beans
  • One medium to large can of pineapple chunks
  • 1 packet of Gardein sweet and sour porkless bites
  • One jar of Kan-Tongs Pineapple Sweet & Sour Cooking Sauce (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Chilli powder (optional)
  • Wine (optional)

How to do it:

  • FOR THE RICE AND BEANS: (my mum’s recipe) using raw black beans, soak overnight then boil with a bit of salt on a low to medium heat for about an hour. Fry up onion and garlic, add rice, a glass of wine and black beans and cook using the absorption method. However, if you’re lazy like me and use pre-cooked canned black beans, cook rice with most desired method then fry up onion and garlic, add black beans and rice and heat through
  • FOR THE REST: Cut all veggies in chunks, slices, whatever your heart desires!
  • On a low to medium oiled pan throw in onions and garlic (and chilli powder if you’re feeling spicy) and cook until they begin softening
  • Add red and green capsicum and fry for a couple more minutes
  • Throw in the (defrosted, if you had them in the freezer like I did, grab them out when you begin cutting your veggies in prep) porkless bites and cook for 5–10 minutes stirring regularly
  • Add the pineapple chunks and the sauce from the porkless packet, add the Kan-Tong sauce if you’ve opted for that too (we’re quite saucy so we used about 3/4 of a large jar) and heat for a couple of minutes

And it’s as simple, easy and tasty as that! If you give this recipe a go, I really hope you enjoy it and I hope you come back and tell me what you thought! Good luck! Or, should I say, break a veg!

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