Quorn is a meat alternative brand headquartered in North Yorkshire, which has been around since the 1960s but kept American vegetarians waiting until 2002 when it made its U.S. debut. The main ingredient in Quorn products — be they beef or chicken substitutes — is “mycoprotein,” which is a protein derived from fungi.
Pinch your face, go on. It does sound unsavory, a meat alternative made from fungus rather than the usual soy. But it is precisely that protein, which undergoes a fermentation process very similar to brewing, that makes Quorn products so darn tasty and healthier for you than their real-meat counterparts.
Quorn products are ideal not only for vegetarians but also for meat-eaters. Even for those who forgo the microwave, preparing Quorn from scratch is faster, easier and not nearly as messy than preparing chicken or beef — and you don’t have to worry about contaminating your cutting board and surfaces with bacteria and other bad stuff that might make you sick.
An added bonus is that while it tastes like the meat it’s substituting, Quorn has fewer calories than the real thing. The brand’s website even offers a calorie counter for those who wish to keep track of just how many calories they are saving while enjoying vegetarian alternatives that are kinder to their waistlines.
Lightly coat a pan with some oil or butter. Dice up some tomatoes, peppers and onions; mince some garlic and throw it in there. Add Quorn Chik’n Tenders and let them cook, stirring occasionally, for about three to four minutes or until the tenders are golden brown. Scoop into a warm tortilla; top off with some shredded cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and a dollop of sour cream; and serve.
You don’t have to handle raw chicken, you don’t have to waste time dicing up the raw chicken and you don’t have to fret about undercooking it and giving yourself a nasty case of food poisoning. Quorn fajitas are done quicker, too, so if you get home from work late, you can still prepare an actual dinner rather than blow your paycheck on takeout or resort to ready-made frozen meals that are likely high in sodium and not terribly filling.
Quorn’s selection also includes Chik’n Cutlets, as well as Grounds, which you can use to make anything from chili and loaded nachos to Quorn bolognaise and stuffed peppers. Other products include Chik'n Nuggets, Meatballs, Gruyere Cheese Cutlet and, for the vegans, the Vegan Burger. You can purchase various Quorn products at select local organic food stores, as well as such chains as Whole Foods and A&P — so rejoice, Peapod users!