Fry it, bake it, nuke it. Plant-based protein in the form of pepperoni-flavored pieces turns out to be quite versatile. Who knew? Future Foods Enterprises, LLC sent me a sample. It was their way of putting their money where my mouth was. It seems I had given lukewarm reactions to the concept of plant-based food in earlier blogs.

I did not ask for the freebie. I promised nothing positive in return. But, trying to be open-minded, I said I would test out this plant-based protein product. Keep in mind I am neither a professional nor amateur food reviewer.

There are several reviews of plant-based pepperoni discs that you can find on YouTube. This will be different, as I was sent pepperoni-flavored pieces.

History of Pepperoni

Before I can discuss what pepperoni isn’t, I feel it necessary to look at what pepperoni is.

The Liguria Foods website offers a “History of Pepperoni.” Very interesting. You should check it out. It says that pepperoni is made by mashing pork and beef. Pepperoni is a cured meat product. It is often seasoned with peppers, garlic, fennel, or mustard seeds and stuffed into a casing.

And– spoiler– it isn’t an Italian delicacy, reveals the Liguria website:

 “Most people, and rightly so, would have thought pepperoni was born in Italy. Although it is hard to say exactly when it was created, it probably popped up in the early 1900s when Italian butcher shops and pizzerias began to flourish on the streets of a burgeoning Italian-American society.”

So, no one should take messing with pepperoni as an insult to Italy. International incident averted.

What’s in the Plant-Based Protein?

Now that we know about what is in traditional pepperoni, let’s look at the kind Future Foods sent me under their PAOW! label

Their website indicates their plant-based protein products begin with three simple all-natural ingredients—soy, water, and salt.

If you have a problem with soy, then stop. Otherwise, continue.

From the catalog, the pepperoni flavored pieces consist of:

Soy Protein Pieces (water, soy protein concentrate, sunflower oil, yeast extract), Sunflower Oil, Smoke Flavoring, Garlic Powder, Kosher Salt, Fennel Seeds, Smoked Paprika, Paprika, Turbinado Sugar, Black Pepper, Low Sodium Soy Sauce (water, soybeans, wheat, salt, sodium benzoate), Mustard Powder, and Cayenne Pepper.

How does it look, feel, smell, and taste?

Let’s begin with the appearance of the pepperoni-flavored pieces. The look and feel were more like beef chunks & slices than the historic-looking red round disc. And that was ok. This gave me the opportunity to experiment. I was able to fry, bake, and microwave the product.

Secondly, the scent given off was distinctly different to my nose. Spicy, smoky, but not like pepperoni. Not a bad thing, as this isn’t pepperoni. Just saying if you’re looking for a certain smell, you might be slightly disappointed. 

And thirdly, the taste of plant-based protein product was good! No cardboard feel. The fennel and peppery tastes hit you after a second. Missing was the greasy feel fondly associated with pepperoni. 

In this “shredded beef” form I was able to:

  • Microwave it to put on a pizzeria cheese slice,
  • Fry it to mix with peppers in a sandwich,
  • Bake it to put in a tortilla with tomatoes.

I did not like the consistency when it came out of the microwave. Maybe I had it in there too long. But in frying and baking the product, it held up in feel, taste, and bringing out a smoky aroma. 

In conclusion, this plant-based protein item should please vegans. Especially those looking for a meat-like product to spice up meal diversity. If you are a meat-eater, these flavored pieces open the door to use beyond just being a pizza topping. 

And that makes this plant-based protein option very versatile.

(What type of content should your business website blog offer? Advice rather than product promotion. Be a valuable info resource rather than an irritating source of sales pitches. For example, if you own a pizzeria or restaurant, then you would benefit from sharing this type of content with customers. Contact me if interested.)