New Kosher Meatless Alternative Finds Magic in Mushrooms
search

New Kosher Meatless Alternative Finds Magic in Mushrooms

Meatless Nation’s “zamaze” cheeseburger, made from shiitake mushrooms. 
Courtesy of Meatless Nation
Meatless Nation’s “zamaze” cheeseburger, made from shiitake mushrooms. Courtesy of Meatless Nation

You have a hankering for a nice, juicy cheeseburger but you keep kosher, so it’s not possible.

Actually, it’s “Impossible” — that’s the brand name of a meatless line of faux burger products that came under Orthodox Union kashrut supervision last year, riding the wave of newly popular meatless cuisine among gastronomes.

Now comes a new entry into the kosher field of products that look and taste like meat but are not actually fleishig.

Meatless Nation, a start-up based in Teaneck, N.J., recently unveiled seven products — designed to taste like beef, chicken, sausage or bacon — made of shitake mushrooms, with a combination of spices that give them distinctive flavors.

This meat alternative, zamaze, “represents the next generation of meat substitute products,” according to the firm.

Meatless Nation’s founder, Daniel Berlin, is a food industry veteran who developed the pareve meat while working in Vietnam several years ago and witnessing numerous meals made from the mushrooms. Zamaze, he said, is a made-up word and a play on amazing. “It doesn’t mean anything in any language.”

His work on the line of meatless meat predated the new trend in the non-kosher world.

Berlin’s products are under the supervision of the Kof-K kosher supervising agency (a chasidic hashgacha may be added soon) and is now available at about a dozen kosher restaurants and 40 supermarkets in the New York area.

In addition to the OU-supervised Impossible Burgers, Morningstar Farms has for several decades offered a line of dairy “Grillers” products for the kosher consumer who wants a non-meat burger.

Food maven Elan Kornblum, president of the Great Kosher Restaurants Media Group, approves of the mushroom-based “meat.”

“I tried it” at a food-tasting competition, Kornblum said. “It’s a good substitute” for people who need to avoid genuine meat.

The advantage of zamaze? “There’s no ‘junk’ in it,” Berlin says. “Only natural ingredients. No cholesterol. We’re non-GMO, soy-free.” It’s lower in sodium and calories than genuine meat, he says. “It looks and tastes like real meat. You can throw it in a cholent. People don’t know the difference.”

read more:
comments