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February 21, 2012 at 9:58 AMComments: 7 Faves: 0

Product Review: Lightlife Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

From ethics, to health, to religious views there are many reasons a person might avoid meat. However, most people of this persuasion grow up eating hot dogs, burgers, and burritos and only later decide to change their diet.

If you are one of the brave minority who have made this decision, you understand how finding foods that are healthy, meat-free, AND soul-satisfying can be difficult. And to make things even more complicated, families and friends are often mixed between those who eat meat and those who don’t.

So what do you do?

How can you make sure everyone is happy with the meal on their plate without taking custom orders from everyone?

The answer, my friends, is Lightlife's Gimme Lean Ground Sausage Style vegetarian sausage.

I’m absolutely in LOVE with this product and I know you’re friends and family will be too! 

Here why:

It Tastes Great!

When it comes to great meaty flavor and appearance, this product has it. Almost every person on a meat-restricted diet has a naysayer in their life that denounces all veggie substitutions as “nasty” and feels the need to try and convert them.

I happen to have several.

So, one day while a group of my friends, naysayers included, were over I decided to cook them all dinner, spaghetti and meatballs- and my meat loving friends and they had no idea they weren't eating meat! Even my nine year old daughter, the pickiest of picky eaters, loves it. She says it tastes better than other sausage, and she likes that there are no bone or cartilage bits in it. (Can you blame her? Yuck!) In fact, it’s one of her favorites!

It’s MUCH Healthier Than Red Meat!

You might have guessed that this veggie substitute was healthier than the meat it replicates, but just how much? Let’s compare it with the leading raw sausage product:

Leading Ground Sausage Product

( one serving)

Lightlife’s Gimmie Lean® Ground Sausage

(one serving)




Calories from Fat



Total Fat



Saturated Fat












Total Carbohydrates









Really it's no competition and I swear, when try it you won't miss the fat and calories!

It’s SO Versatile!

As if the taste and health factors weren’t enough, there's the thing I love most about Gimmie Lean Sausage - it's so versatile! While there are other meat substitutes I like a lot, none can be used so readily and in so many ways. That’s because it comes raw and moldable. You can:

  • Form it into thin sausage patties for breakfast.
  • Form it into thicker hamburger patties for lunch or dinner.
  • Mix in your favorite Italian spices and roll it into meatballs.
  • Mix in your favorite Mexican spices and break it into taco or burrito meat.
  • Break it up in a frying pan and add it to your favorite quiche recipe.
  • Use it anyway you could use normal sausage!

A Few Tips

Coat Your Pan. The sausage is great, but since two of its main ingredients are flour and water, it can get a bit sticky. Make sure to use a coating of olive oil on your pan before you cook.

Wait to Break it Up. Breaking it up can also be a little tricky if you try to do it while it's still raw. Be patient. Flatten it into a thin patty and allow it to brown on either side before and then use the side of your spatula to chop it up to your desired chunk size.

Keep An Eye Out. Another thing to keep in mind, it cooks more quickly than meat. I happened to love this aspect of the product, but it does mean you should keep an eye on it.

Have you tried this product before?

How did you like it?

Do you have another meat substitute you’d like to recommend?


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  • One of the problems I have with meat substitutes is the ingredients. If I were to make meatballs, I'd start with ground angus sirloin, add my spices, maybe a little flour. When I look at the ingredients on most meatless products, it's like a chemists rabid nightmare. Then, to review how some of those ingredients are processed with hexane... i don't know. Just worries me that we're switching out cholesterol for carcinogen.

  • It's a valid point. There are definitely healthier meat substitutes and if your worried about processed food and the ingredients used in them, the way to go is to make it from scratch.

    Personally, I do try to avoid eating a lot of processed food, I make half my meal fruits and veggies, I try to eat healthy. But sometimes I eat potato chips or cheetos. Sometimes I use store bought dressing.

    It's a convenience product for vegetarians. I wouldn't suggest eating it at every meal, but when you're craving meat or when you need to please both vegetarians and meat eater for a meal, I'd still say it's a good option!

  • I've tried this brand's ground meat style substitute - basically the same but without the sausage type flavor. It was a bit sticky in the pan, but I just needed a quick sear for color before putting it into my crockpot for the vegetarian chili I was making. It turned out really good, but looked so realistic that I think my vegetarian coworkers thought it was real meat and didn't try any.

    Between the price vs meat, the risk of chemical exposure like sprouty mentions, and the way it stuck to the pan, I think I'll stick with regular meat, and use something simpler for my next vegetarian dish, like quinoa or steel cut oatmeal.

  • I've tried it - not a huge fan. I feel it's just hard to fool a real meat eater. I even fed it to my kids not realizing it wasn't "real" meat because I didn't read the package very closely and it happened to be on sale a the grocery store. Needless to say I don't buy it on a weekly basis. But I do like the sound of the calories and fat numbers listed in the graph! That's awesome.

  • Dave - I honestly can't remember what the price of sausage is anymore, but where I get this, it really isn't very expensive. I think it's around $3.

    The stickiness is a bummer, but like I said, it can be overcome by coating your pan well and waiting to break it up until it's been cooked on both sides.

    Nancy - I think it depends on how you serve it. On it's own, yeah you can probably tell it's not really sausage, but mixed into chilli, like Dave said, it was very convincing. You may find that while you don't like a plain old patty made from Gimme Lean, a thin patty is pretty good in an egg sandwich. Adds flavor and texture without adding a TON of extra calories and fat!

  • is the soy used in the product GM'd???

  • Nope!

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