It’s time for another vegan trash food review here on Night Water! This post follows in the grand tradition of my Veganuary fast food tour and is a direct sequel to my review of Simulate Wings from March.
In that review, I mentioned that I tried—unsuccessfully—to procure a free box of the Wings from Simulate’s press team. Luckily, my failure to prove myself as a hashtag vegan influencer didn’t stop me from reviewing the fake meat chicken wings and declaring that they were, unfortunately, not quite ready for take-off.
I sent the review on to the press team and thankfully, they not only didn’t take it personally but actually went ahead and sent me two free boxes of their brand new Tenders, which have been rolling out to stores over the last month and are now available for purchase online.
Simulate makes my absolute favorite vegan nugget: Nuggs. Nuggs are an almost perfect facsimile of fast food chicken nuggets. Since releasing Nuggs three years ago, the company has expanded into other fake chicken products, primarily based on their Nuggs recipe. On first glance, Tenders appeared to be another descendant in this lineage, though on Instagram, Simulate insisted that Tenders weren’t just “long Nuggs.”
But after eating a full box of these things, I can confirm that they are pretty much long Nuggs. That’s not a knock on Tenders—if anything, it’s a selling point, as the Nuggs recipe is everything you’d want out of a frozen plant-based chicken product. Like Nuggs, Tenders are juicy and have a great texture that mimics processed chicken. Unlike Nuggs, Tenders have a new, breaded coating that is much more tender-like. You could put Tenders in front of any chicken-eater and they probably wouldn’t notice the difference.
So, will Tenders replace Nuggs as my frozen vegan chicken product of choice? I primarily eat Simulate’s products as a late night snack, likely after I’ve had a few alcoholic beverages. With this in mind, I think Nuggs still reign supreme. They take less time to cook, and they’re easier to portion control if you only want a few as a little drunk treat.
But if you’re considering frozen vegan chicken for other purposes—an easy meal for a child, or a replacement for breaded chicken in a recipe—Tenders are a strong choice. They might just be long Nuggs, but sometimes, that’s all you need.
You can find small boxes of 7 Tenders at grocery stores across the country ($5.99 at my local Key Foods, though your mileage may vary), or grab two boxes with 15 Tenders each for $44.99 online.