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Monday, March 2, 2015

The #1 Best Vege-Meat Dish Ever

I figure if I'm going to start a vegetarian cooking weblog, I should start off with one of the best dishes you will ever put in your mouth. If you ask any member of my family what their favorite meal is (including meat dishes) they'll say Barbecue Tender-Bits.

Eating vegetarian meat substitutes is a great way to reduce the cholesterol in your diet dramatically and many of the products produced by such companies as Worthington Foods, Loma Linda Foods, Morningstar and Boca offer vegetarian alternatives for a variety of meat products.  But when I get really hungry I crave this really unique vegetarian meal that is my wife's specialty.

Miss Sheila trained under two of the finest cooks I ever knew of - my grandmother and hers. She can hold her own with either of them and, although I would never have told either of them, she outdoes them on many things. Her original idea for barbecue Tender-bits(TM) is everybody's favorite for celebratory meals in the King household. Since Sheila has made me promise to outlive her, I made her teach me how to make her signature dish. I buy Tender-Bits by the case. It is my go-to showoff dish.

Barbecue Tender-Bits
Original Recipe by Sheila King

- Ingredients -
  1. 2 Cans Loma Linda Tender-bits
  2. Flour
  3. Seasoned Salt
  4. Oil
  5. Bulls-Eye or KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce
- Instructions -
  1. Remove the top and bottom from both Tender-bit cans and press from the can. Drain the Tender-bits and halve or quarter each "bit" as you prefer.  I like mine larger, Sheila likes 'em quartered.
  2. Put a quarter to half cup of flour in a large mixing bowl and toss in the Tender-bits.  Dust them thoroughly and lightly season with seasoned salt.
  3. Just cover the bottom of a large frying pan or electric skillet in canola oil and heat..
  4. Place floured "bits" into the oil and cook stirring twice till the outsides are crisp and turn golden brown.
  5. Pour a bottle of barbecue sauce over the Tender-Bits and remaining oil.  With the flour that got into the oil along with the Tender-bits, the barbecue sauce will make a delicious gravy that will cover the vege-meat.  When the gravy begins to bubble, turn the heat down to keep the dish warm while you cook the rest of the meal.  This allows the Tender-bits to marinate in the barbecue gravy.
Setting:  These are our favorite side dishes to go along with Barbecue Tender-Bits

  1. Mama's Southern Mashed Potatoes with a little garlic, butter and cream cheese
  2. Broccoli with a bit of melted Velveeta Cheese
  3. Salad finely chopped with Ranch Dressing
  4. Honeymama's Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls (so good they don't even need butter)
  5. Peach Cobbler with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Where to Buy:
Barbecued Tender-Bits as God intended

This meal illustrates why all vegetarians are not emaciated skeletons. Many of us are quite substantial individuals. This is not a low-cal/low-fat dinner. Tender-Bits are a vegan meat substitute, though for what meat I am not exactly sure. They most resemble seitan, a Chinese wheat gluten product from which they are derived. They work really well in Chinese dishes. One thing, however, if you're expecting chicken, you'll be surprised. Not in a bad way I think but Tender-Bits aren't much like chicken.  They make a nice neutral meat-like garnish for spicy dishes and with tangy sauces.  You can order them by the case on, from Loma Linda or from any regional Seventh Day Adventist book store or vegetarian food store (found in most Adventist college towns) and online.

Tender-Bits are labeled "Vegan" and we don't put any cowish or chickenish ingredients in them, so you need not be cowed by any militant vegans when you serve them up at potluck. A word of caution, however. Be toward the front of the line or they will be gone before you get there.

As you can see from the picture, even just half a can makes up a nice sized batch for two.  When we have the kids and their families over, Sheila makes two or three cans and when it's all done, there are never any leftovers.

© 2015 by Tom & Sheila King


  1. This sounds amazing! I can't wait to test it out! -Maggie B.

  2. It's amazing stuff. Be sure and use the Bulls-Eye or KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce. It makes a huge difference.

  3. Wonder if Atlantic Foods will keep manufacturing Tender Bits? I'd like to see a list of what they'll keep and what they'll do away with.

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