Serendipity Strikes

Sometimes It Pays To Just Give It A Try 

As my children have grown into full fledged adults, it is rare that they traverse the grocery store with Momma. But every once in a great while they do and on this particular trip, my eldest, Lauren, was with me.  I’ll give her credit because she spotted this item next to the organic produce.

Lightlife Smart Ground is a soy product made to resemble ground meat in taste and texture.  As a matter of fact, it looks just like it. I was skeptical. The package indicated it’s a vegan product, has 11 grams of protein per serving, zero grams of fat, AND was made with non-GMO soy.  (GMO stands for genetically modified food and great controversy exists as to the long term effects on the environment, people, and animals.) What’s more, it’s only 70 calories a serving–my skepticism was growing. The cost was about the same as a pound of ground round for about 12 ounces. Lauren wanted to try it, so I tossed it in the basket–as skeptical as ever.

Lightlife Smart Ground Original

Lightlife Smart Ground

If you haven’t noticed yet, I try to eat as natural as possible. This product looked ‘ok ‘ for a packaged food–nothing on the ingredients list that I couldn’t pronounce.  But how does it taste?

Lauren used Smart Ground to make an omelet that consisted of 3 eggs, about 2 ounces of the Smart Ground, baby spinach, cheese, and sasonings. The Smart Ground was browned for about 3 minutes, as instructed on the package. She took a few bites and said, “You’ve got to try this! It tastes like real ground meat.”  Now my daughter is a vegetarian 95% of the time, so she still knows what real ground meat tastes like….

I got a fork and, like a 5 year-old being forced to eat lima beans, took a bite. WOW!  It really did taste like ground meat–good ground meat. And the texture is identical.


So here’s the skinny:

70 calories per serving, 0 grams fat, 11 grams protein, 6 grams carbs, 320 milligrams sodium, 3 grams of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar


While I don’t see myself eating this several days a week, I do think it’s useful when you want the look, texture, and taste of ground meat. Take a Sloppy Joe for instance. You can make them with lintels or beans and they taste terrific. But unlike tacos that have several other main ingredients, the only thing on the bread in a Sloppy Joe is the ‘meat’ mixture so in the vegetarian version, the texture isn’t quite what you grew up with. In this case, I think Smart Ground would be wonderful, especially if you’re new to vegan or vegetarian eating.

Give it try and let me know what you think.


Copyright ElleVeg 2013