Beyond Meat's New Vegan Steak Bites Just Hit Shelves, And As Someone Who Is Actively Trying To Eat Less Meat, I Have Plenty Of Thoughts

    "Even my very skeptical partner ended up stealing a few pieces — and said he 'kind of loved it' and that it 'wasn't freaky like some other vegan meats.' (So if that's not a glowing review, IDK what is.)"

    Earlier this week, Beyond Meat's first-ever plant-based "steak" substitute hit grocery store shelves. Though it's not the first steak substitute on the market, Beyond Meat is probably the most well-known brand to launch one — so it's a pretty huge deal if I do say so myself.

    press image of beyond steak in a cast iron skillet being used with nachos

    In my humble opinion, the advances that companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have made on the burger front are pretty darn remarkable. Honestly, sometimes I even prefer a plant-based burger to the real thing. But STEAK?! Replicating the texture alone feels a lot more complicated when compared to ground beef, so I was really curious (and excited) (and nervous) to try and review this new product immediately.

    author holding up bag of beyond steak in his kitchen

    Let's start with the elephant in the room: No, you're not getting a product that looks like a slab of actual steak. Beyond Meat's "steak" more closely resembles steak tips, or chopped-up pieces of steak.

    frozen steak pieces inside bag

    In terms of nutrition facts, one serving of Beyond Steak has approximately 35 fewer calories than the same amount of sirloin steak (according to the USDA). Cholesterol is where things get really interesting, though: As a plant-based product, Beyond Steak contains no cholesterol whatsoever, while the same serving of sirloin would contain approximately 78 milligrams.

    170 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 21 g protein

    When it comes to the ingredients, I've got good and bad news. The good: As the "plant-based" descriptor would suggest, Beyond Steak is 100% vegan. The bad: If you have a gluten intolerance or allergy, you should know that it's...basically made of gluten.

    wheat gluten underlined in the ingredients list

    Beyond Steak is meant to be cooked from frozen, as indicated on the storage and prep instructions on the back of the packaging. So upon opening a package of Beyond Meat, you'll pretty much see a pile of frozen steak nuggets.

    arrow pointing to hidden zipper in the beyond steak bag

    At first glance, the "steak" pieces definitely vary in size. I'd say that most were fingertip-sized, with a few here and there being larger or smaller. Even frozen, I was pretty impressed with how meaty the pieces appeared, almost like the kind of steak you'd find in a cheesesteak or taco.

    frozen beyond steak pieces on a plate

    The directions on the back of the package list two cooking methods: skillet and air fryer. (They also state that they do not recommend microwaving or traditionally baking Beyond Steak.) For the sake of science, I decided to officially test both methods to see if there was any discernable difference.

    cooking instructions listed on the back of the bag: skillet and air fryer

    For the skillet-cooked steak, I placed a cast iron skillet over medium heat and lightly oiled it, per the instructions. Then I added the frozen Beyond Steak pieces to the hot skillet and cooked them for five minutes.

    frozen pieces in a hot cast iron skillet

    I stirred them around every minute or so, and I've gotta say I was VERY impressed with the sear I got. Looks like actual steak, no?

    seared piece in the skillet that look like actual steak

    Once the pieces were cooked and beautifully seared, I removed them to a plate until I was ready to try them.

    author holding up skillet in his kitchen

    As easy as it was to sear up the steak pieces in a skillet, cooking them in the air fryer was even easier. I set my air fryer to 350ºF, let it preheat, then popped the steak in for five minutes.

    At the end of the five minutes, the steak pieces were hot and just beginning to crisp up on the outside, though they did lack that traditional sear of the skillet version since they weren't, you know, seared.

    cooked pieces in the air fryer basket

    Here are the side-by-side results of the two recommended cooking methods. (Spoiler alert: I preferred the look and taste of the skillet version to the air-fried stuff, but we'll get into specifics shortly.)

    skillet vs air fryer beyond steak pieces - the skillet ones are better seared and more brown than the air fryer ones

    I gave them a second or two to cool down before anxiously diving in for a first bite, and...

    author about to bite in

    ...I was surprisingly thrilled with everything going on in my mouth. By my fourth or fifth taste, I was actually pretty darn shocked.

    author chewing and enjoying the product

    In terms of the two cooking methods, I'll be real with you: The skillet is definitely the way to go here.

    check mark over skillet and x mark over the air fryer

    Though I was mostly obsessed with the product, there were also a couple of details that I mostly loved — and one that I didn't love very much at all.

    LOVED: The smell. If my eyes were closed, you couldn't tell me I wasn't searing or eating a real steak. (I'm dead serious.)

    holding the beyond steak to show the shred like texture n the inside

    LOVED: It sears reaaaaally nicely.

    arrow pointing to the sear, close up with text: tell me that isn't steak

    MOSTLY LOVED: The texture of the "meat" itself.

    close up of the steak-like texture

    MOSTLY LOVED: The flavor.

    cooked pieces in front of the bag

    DIDN'T LOVE: It's hard not to break the pieces up when cooking them in a skillet.

    pieces breaking up while cooking them in a skillet

    THE VERDICT: While Beyond Steak wouldn't necessarily trick anyone into thinking they're eating an actual slab of beef, they come pretty darn close. Honestly, they come almost as close to real steak as their Beyond Burgers come to actual beef burgers, and that's saying something.

    author gasping at the pieces on a fork

    If you'd like to try Beyond Steak for yourself, it's currently being sold at a suggested retail price of $7.99 per 10-ounce package at Walmart and Kroger stores nationwide, as well as other select retailers across the country. If you cook it in your own kitchen, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below! 👇