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Product Review: Tres Latin Foods Pupusas

16 Nov

Tres Latin FoodsTres Latin Foods is a Boulder, CO based company that was born in 2008 when their pupusas were first sold at a local farmer’s market. Six years later, their products can now be found in the freezer section at Whole Foods Markets and other natural grocers across the country.

So, what is a pupusa? It is a Salvadoran corn tortilla stuffed with a variety of ingredients. Similar to the South American arepa, the pupusa is different in that it is filled prior to cooking, and uses a special treated corn dough (source).

Black Bean & Sweet Corn PupusasTres Latin Foods currently offers one vegan flavor, which is their Black Bean & Sweet Corn pupusa. With just five simple ingredients, these pupusas are gluten-free and use non-GMO corn masa. One 10-ounce box contains four 2.5-ounce pupusas.

I first elected to try these plain, straight out of the oven. Upon first bite, I was greeted with a nice dose of refried black beans accented with a little sweet corn, a couple pinches of salt and a touch of olive oil, all encompassed in a nice, soft corn masa pocket. Simple but delicious. While the folks at Tres Latin Foods recommend eating these with a type of cabbage relish called Curtido (which they graciously provide the recipe for both on their website and current product packaging), I opted to enjoy mine with some of my Perfect Guacamole. These pupusas certainly don’t need any help with flavor but the addition of guacamole raised them to a whole new level. Needless to say, I was left wanting to buy a couple more boxes!

My only complaints are that I wish there were more vegan flavors to try (potato perhaps, or even something with vegan cheese), and that these pupusas were larger, or came six, or even eight to a box. Perhaps down the road I will get my wish!

Black Bean & Sweet Corn Pupusas with Guacamole

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NOTE: The product noted above was a free sample provided by Tres Latin Foods, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

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Product Review and Recipe: Tyrrells English Chips

22 Jun

Tyrrell's English ChipsSometimes when I have a craving for salt the easiest and most satisfying thing (albeit not the healthiest) to eat is a bag of chips. There is something about their light, crispy texture that leaves me wanting more. Here’s an interesting fact if you didn’t already know: what we refer to as “chips,” the English refer to as “crisps.” Luckily for us, Tyrrells English Chips, based out of Leominster, Herefordshire in the UK, have kindly used the word “chips” on their U.S. packaging to prevent any confusion. Offering hand cooked potato chips and mixed vegetable chips, Tyrrells USA currently offers five flavors that are completely plant-based.

Tyrrells leaves the skins on their spuds which provides more fiber. The potatoes are then thick-cut and cooked in small batches, spun in their Big Spinny Thing™ to remove excess oil, and finally tossed with their special seasonings, none of which are artificial (source). The result is a crispy chip with a pleasant amount of flavor. This company has some spunk and I like it. A quick look at their website alone was enough to convince me!

Oddly enough I have not had the opportunity to try Tyrrells English Chips until now, even though they are sold in stores all over the United States. So, without further ado, here is my review of their five plant-based potato chip flavors:

Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted Chips Lightly Sea Salted
These chips are exactly as described. With just a touch of salt, Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted chips have less sodium than your typical bag of chips. In fact, 1 ounce of these chips provides 70mg sodium, whereas the same serving of another popular brand has a whopping 170mg! If you want to have your chips and eat them too, this would be the flavor to choose.

Tyrrells Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar Chips Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar
Tyrrells lovingly describes their Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar chips as having a “burly kick,” and boy, do they! With three kinds of vinegar seasoning these chips, they are sure to please any vinegar-lover and would go excellent alongside something sweet. I envision these chips being crumbled atop a fresh salad with sweet dressing.

Tyrrells Sweet Chili & Red Pepper Chips Sweet Chili & Red Pepper
I was expecting these chips to be too hot for my sensitive tongue, given that they contain cayenne pepper and jalapeño chili pepper, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they give off just a slight kick as an after-note. With just a touch of sweetness to accent the slight kick, I find this flavor to have a nice balance of sweet, salty and sassy.

Tyrrells Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Chips Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
Black pepper is often the more dominant flavor in a chip, but these chips provide a nice balance of salt and pepper and are perhaps my favorite of the bunch. These Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper chips compliment any sandwich or soup, and even have the most protein out of the five flavors I’ve tried: 6.3g per serving to be exact!

Tyrrells Veg Chips Veg Chips
Rather than using traditional potatoes, Tyrrells uses beetroot, carrots and parsnips for this version of their chips. With only 5 ingredients total (including the aforementioned vegetables), these Veg Chips are slightly sweet with a bit more salt than the rest; 170mg per serving, to be exact. I prefer a little less sodium but that doesn’t mean these chips are any less tasty.

Potato chips are becoming increasingly popular in recipes and serve as an excellent stand-in for salt, breading and toppings. Fashioned after traditional shortbread but reminiscent of Russian tea cakes or Mexican wedding cookies, these light and airy Potato Chip Pillow Cookies utilize Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted Chips and are sure to satisfy your sweet (and salty) tooth.

Potato Chip Pillow Cookies

Potato Chip Pillow Cookies
Yields approximately 14-16 (2-1/2 inch) cookies

1/2 (5.3-ounce) bag Tyrrells Lightly Sea Salted Chips
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups solid butter-flavored vegetable shortening
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Pour chips into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until thoroughly crumbled. Combine with flour and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together shortening, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Add flour mixture and stir on low until combined.

Scoop mixture out onto a clean, flat, lightly floured work surface and roll out until 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 2-1/2 inch circles (or whatever size you prefer) and place cookies at least 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until very light golden brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before consuming.

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NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by Tyrrells, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Product Review and Recipe: FoMu Ice Cream

8 Jun

FoMu Premium Alternative Ice CreamOne thing I love about the vegan lifestyle is that many of those involved are committed to the environment, and the folks at FoMu are no exception. Specializing in premium alternative ice cream, the company’s ingredients come from local sources, their disposables and packaging are compostable or recyclable, and their stores are built from recycled materials (source).

Based out of Watertown, MA, FoMu (short for “faux moo”) started making and selling their gourmet ice cream in 2011. FoMu’s products are 100% plant-based and certified kosher, using organic ingredients whenever possible, and sweetened with agave nectar and unrefined cane sugar. Not only are their ice creams, toppings and inclusions made from scratch, most of their ice creams are coconut-based, some of which are free from gluten and nuts.

Upon first glance at their list of ice creams, my interest in FoMu was piqued when I noticed flavors such as Avocado and Bourbon Maple Walnut. Alcohol in ice cream? Yes, please! Should you not be the adventurous type when it comes to ice cream, have no fear, among their current selection of 21 flavors, FoMu offers classics such as Mint Chip, Strawberry and Vanilla Bean.

If you don’t live on the east coast, this will come as great news to you: FoMu ships their ice cream to nearly anywhere in the Contiguous United States! With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to enjoy some of this sweet, creamy goodness.

FoMu Banoffee Pie Ice Cream Banoffee Pie
The word I would use to describe this ice cream is magical. FoMu’s Banoffee Pie is a banana and toffee ice cream studded with dark chocolate chips and graham crackers. Basically it is a pie turned into ice cream. Clever! The various inclusions in this ice cream go very well together, with each bite giving you different flavors to enjoy. Banoffee Pie is perfect for anyone, especially the kids.

FoMu Cake + Batter Ice Cream Cake and Batter
Tied for first place as my favorite FoMu ice cream, Cake and Batter is vanilla cake batter ice cream with chunks of homemade cake. I find this particular flavor to be refreshingly sweet, and the chunks of chocolate cake bring it to the next level. This is one of those ice creams that someone could easily eat a whole pint of if left to their own devices. It’s sinfully delicious!

FoMu Dark & Stormy Ice Cream Dark and Stormy
The most creative and mature ice cream of the bunch, Dark and Stormy is fashioned after the popular cocktail, which features dark rum, ginger and a hint of lime. With a softer texture, this gluten-free ice cream is ready-to-eat right out of the freezer. Upon first bite, Dark and Stormy has a strong ginger flavor, which is a bit overpowering for my tastes; however, this ice cream is an excellent choice for those who like the spice. The ginger provides a very slight kick, which is accented by the rum undertones.

FoMu Salted Caramel Ice Cream Salted Caramel
I like salted caramel and am somewhat of a self-proclaimed caramel snob. There is a particular sweet to salty ratio that needs to be met in order for me to approve of it. When I tried FoMu’s Salted Caramel ice cream, I was very impressed! The salted caramel flavor is excellent and keeps me going back for spoonful after spoonful. One minor thing I noticed, however, is a slight burnt aftertaste. Depending on how you look at it, it can be a good thing as it adds an extra dimension of flavor. This gluten-free ice cream is tied for first place as my favorite of the bunch.

I’ve always enjoyed going against the norm by having breakfast for dinner, so why not have dessert for breakfast? Feeling adventurous, I wanted to try melting one of FoMu’s ice creams and using it in pancake batter…it worked! These pancakes are gluten-free (if you use a gluten-free ice cream) and can be flavored with any ice cream of your choosing.

Banoffee Pie Ice Cream Pancakes
Banoffee Pie Ice Cream Pancakes (pictured above)

Gluten-Free Ice Cream Pancakes
Yields 8 (5-6 inch) pancakes

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/2 cup + 4 teaspoons gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup + 4 teaspoons potato starch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
pinch salt

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 cup gluten-free FoMu ice cream, melted*
1 cup regular unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons canola oil

In a medium-size bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined.

Heat a non-stick frying pan or pancake griddle over medium heat. Pour approximately 1/3 cup batter into the pan.

Allow pancake to cook for 30-60 seconds, or until bubbles form and edges lose their gloss. Flip over and cook an additional 30-60 seconds on the other side. Remove and place on a paper towel-covered plate.

Repeat until all batter has been used. Allow to cool slightly before consuming.

*There are currently four FoMu ice cream flavors that are not gluten-free: Banoffee Pie, Chocolate Brownie, Cake and Batter, and Cookie Dough.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream Pancakes
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Pancakes (pictured above)

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NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by FoMu, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Product Review: VBAR

2 May

Benefit Foods LogoBenefit Foods is an environmentally conscious company that buys locally, supports family owned businesses, uses 100% compostable packaging and purchases carbon off-sets to reduce its impact on the environment (source).

Offering clean foods made from responsibly sourced ingredients, Benefit Foods introduced the VBAR in 2012. A line of energy bars free from gluten, soy and GMOs, VBARs are as minimally processed as possible (source).

As of this posting, there are seven VBAR flavors, which I have been given the opportunity to review. I’d like to begin by saying that I really like the texture and consistency of these bars. Not only do they remind me of rice krispie treats due to the crispy rice cereal contained within, they have just the right amount of moistness and remind me of homemade granola bars I grew up with, but without the corn syrup! Sweetened naturally with sorghum syrup and fruit, these energy bars are a healthier option and have a base of either almonds or sunflower seeds for added protein.

Almond/Blueberry

Perhaps my favorite flavor of the bunch, Almond/Blueberry has pleasant blueberry undertones with just enough sea salt to heighten the sweet, slightly sour flavor of this bar.

Almond/Chocolate Chip

With its natural antioxidant properties, chocolate not only lends a healthy helping hand but also provides more of a dessert-like feel to this bar. The Almond/Chocolate Chip bar has almond bits and chocolate chips and is up there in my top three.

Almond/Cherry

Tart cherry seems to be in these days, and I feel this bar nicely encompasses the flavor without too much tartness. The nice sweetness of this bar balanced out the slightly tart undertone.

Almond/Fig/Carob

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen figs and carob together before, and I’m usually not much of a carob fan, but this flavor was actually very good. Perhaps this is because the folks at VBAR lovingly make their own. Needless to say, I enjoyed this flavor and it is my second favorite.

Sunflower/Cashew

Primarily a sunflower-seed base, this bar has a few cashew pieces thrown in for added protein and crunch. Pleasantly sweet just like the rest, I wonder if this bar could be kicked up a notch with some cashew butter added into the mix so that cashew is a little more in the forefront.

Sunflower/Cranberry

Having a couple of samples of this flavor, I found that I didn’t taste much cranberry, but this is quite possibly due to the fact that the samples were bite-sized. The flavor and texture were excellent, with just the right amount of sweetness.

Sunflower/Ginger

Upon first biting into this bar, I noticed the taste of sunflower seeds. After chewing, there was a pleasant ginger flavor that arose with just a tiny hint of a kick. Ginger is something that is easy to over-do but VBAR has added just enough to make it nicely accent the sunflower seed butter.

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NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by Benefit Foods, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Product Review and Recipe: UB Super

10 Apr

UBSuper-LogoLiving proof that “you are what you eat,” Scott Kanyok nursed himself back to health after suffering from a chronic upper thoracic injury in addition to being involved in a life-threatening bicycle accident. By nourishing his body with a mix of superfoods, protein, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics and probiotics, the first UB Super Protein Superfood Nutritional Shake was born and Kanyok is now thriving (source).

Given that I am a runner, I find nutritional protein shakes very beneficial after a workout. Each packet of UB Super provides at least 15g protein in addition to 10 superfoods and a complete amino acid profile, and is free from gluten, soy and GMOs (source). All you need to do to enjoy one of these tasty shakes is to place one (1.2-ounce) packet UB Super in a drinking glass or shaker bottle and add 10 ounces of water or non-dairy milk of choice.

Today I am reviewing two UB Super flavors: Chocolate and Vanilla.

UB Super Chocolate UB Super Chocolate
Choosing to mix mine with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, I found the chocolate flavor and amount of sweetness to be very pleasant as if you are drinking chocolate milk. I could also taste slight earthy undertones which is a testament to all the beneficial nutrients contained within. One minor thing I wasn’t a fan of are the small flecks of solids in the smoothie. An easy and likely remedy for this though would be to put it in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Very tasty nonetheless!

UB Super Vanilla UB Super Vanilla
I enjoyed the pleasant vanilla flavor of this product and the amount of sweetness was just right. Feeling adventurous, I decided to create a muffin recipe that utilizes UB Super Vanilla. In addition, I made it gluten-free to continue the theme. As you likely already know, baking is a science, and for me, gluten-free baking even more so. The result of my baking experiment is sweet little tasty muffins. While a little dense, these guys are not only full of beneficial superfoods, prebiotics, probiotics and various nutrients, they also have a nice touch of chocolate goodness.

UB Super Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Vanilla Muffins and UB Super Chocolate Shake

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Vanilla Protein Muffins
Yields approximately 16 muffins

1-1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups regular unsweetened almond milk
1 (1.2-ounce) package UB Super Vanilla protein powder
1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1-1/2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup gluten-free chocolate chips

Place apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring glass and add almond milk until level reaches the 1-1/2 cups mark. Stir and set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add oil and almond milk mixture and stir until combined. Beat for 1-2 minutes to incorporate air into the batter.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand, just until mixed and set aside, allowing to rest.

Preheat oven to 375º F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with paper/silicone baking cups. Set aside.

Once oven has preheated, divide mixture evenly among muffin cups and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Allow to cool slightly before consuming.

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NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by UB Real, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Product Review and Recipe: Lilly’s Hummus

3 Mar

Lilly's HummusHailing from Portland, OR, Lilly’s Hummus began when owner Lilly whipped up some hummus for a dinner party. Well-received by her guests, she began selling her hummus at a local farmer’s market and the rest is history. Now available nationwide, Lilly’s Hummus provides eight different flavors featuring hand-roasted vegetables. Flavors include Original, Black Bean, Cracked Pepper, Kalamata Olive, Roasted Garlic, Roasted Jalapeño, Roasted Red Pepper, and Smoked Tomato and Basil. If these don’t sound delicious enough to convince you, Lilly’s products are all free of animal products, gluten and GMOs.

Lilly’s Hummus generously provided four flavors for me to try: Black Bean, Cracked Pepper, Roasted Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper. It has often been my experience that many types of hummus I try, have too much oil or tahini — but not Lilly’s! I could easily eat this stuff with a spoon. Not too salty with nice, mild notes, I feel that any of these hummus flavors could accompany a variety of savory dishes in perfect harmony.

Lilly's Black Bean Hummus Black Bean Hummus
Perhaps my favorite flavor and very popular among those whom I let try it, Lilly’s Black Bean Hummus features not only the star ingredients, black beans, but also roasted jalapeños and red peppers, in addition to smoked tomatoes which give it a nice, sweet undertone. When I eat this hummus, it reminds me of refried black beans mixed with a little salsa and lightened with a touch of sweetener. I envision this hummus pairing well with a variety of Hispanic-inspired dishes.

Lilly's Cracked Pepper Hummus Cracked Pepper Hummus
Lilly’s Cracked Pepper Hummus has a nice, mellow flavor with just enough cracked pepper to taste, but not so much that it is overpowering. Cracked pepper is easy to overdo, but Lilly’s got it right. This hummus, having more of a neutral flavor could be paired with nearly any savory dish your heart desires.

Lilly's Roasted Garlic Hummus Roasted Garlic Hummus
Being the big garlic fan that I am, I was excited to try Lilly’s Roasted Garlic Hummus. It has a light garlic flavor that could go perfectly with any vegetable or savory chip of your choosing. If it were up to me though, I would add just a touch more roasted garlic to kick it up a notch. This hummus is a close second in the running for my favorite Lilly’s Hummus.

Lilly's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Perfect for you bell pepper fans out there, Lilly’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is her most flavorful hummus I have tried. Providing a fresh, natural red bell pepper flavor, this hummus is very pleasing and is sure to satisfy any cravings you may have. I can see it being enjoyed with a variety of Hispanic or Mediterranean dishes that would benefit from an added level of flavor.

Check out the recipe below for Mediterranean Vegetable Salad featuring Lilly’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Accompanied by fresh basil, this salad  is full of flavor. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Mediterranean Vegetable Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

6 cups water
1 bulb fresh fennel, white part only, washed and chopped
2 large portobello mushrooms, cleaned and cubed
2 small zucchini, washed and cubed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and minced
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (optional)
1/2 cup Lilly’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus*
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Place water in a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add fennel, mushrooms and zucchini and boil for 1-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to halt cooking process. Set aside, allowing to cool completely.

Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooled vegetables and stir to combine.

* Lilly’s has multiple flavors of hummus that are delicious in this recipe. If you’re not feeling roasted red bell peppers, try Lilly’s Cracked Pepper or Roasted Garlic Hummus.

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NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by Lilly’s Hummus, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Product Review and Recipe: Ariven Imperial Rice

24 Feb

Ariven PlanetHaving been concerned for animal welfare from an early age, Adiphen Bose also noticed the connection between the large amounts of unused land and the staggering amount of people whom were starving in Southern India. These realizations gave Bose a vision, and from it, Ariven Planet was born. Ariven Planet benefits both human and non-human animals by creating sustainable animal sanctuaries that provide quality food for people, with a portion of harvests being used to feed the hungry.

Operating on three main business principles, the folks at Ariven Planet focus on 1) “A purpose beyond profit” 2) “A belief that businesses should do no harm, yet benefit all” and 3) “A dedication to health-minded sustainability.” Without the use of GMOs, chemicals and pesticides, in addition to the use of recyclable and biodegradable packaging, Ariven Planet lives up to its promise (source).

Ariven Imperial RiceAriven Planet currently sells coffee, tea, and rice, and is proud to be the first to bring the Royal Heirloom Rice of India to the United States. Needless to say, I am glad they did! Their Ariven Imperial Rice is like no rice I have ever had before. Having followed the preparation directions exactly, the result was perfectly cooked, plump rice. Though there was a little excess water in the bottom of the pan, it was easily drained and ensured that the rice was moist. The resulting light, fluffy grains impart a nice, slightly sweet yet mild flavor and are a rich source of B vitamins. These precious little pillows could surely be used in both sweet and savory dishes and are excellent for soaking up a variety of saucy toppings. I highly recommend Ariven Imperial Rice and am happy to offer a 15% off coupon code BETHECHANGE108 towards their online store.

For your eating pleasure, below is a recipe for Mushroom Mutter Masala to eat atop this rice. Enjoy!

Mushroom Mutter Masala

Mushroom Mutter Masala

2 cups Ariven Imperial Rice, prepared
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (16-ounce) package sliced white button mushrooms
1 tablespoon garam masala powder
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato paste*
1 cup vegetable broth

Heat oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.

Add garam masala, ginger, garlic and salt to the pot, cooking and stirring for an additional minute.

Place remaining ingredients in the pot and continue to cook and stir until combined and heated through.

Serve over prepared rice.

* Should you prefer less tomato paste, simply use 1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste and decrease your vegetable broth amount to 1/2 cup.

Ariven Imperial Rice

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NOTE: The product noted above was a free sample provided by Ariven Planet, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Product Review and Recipe: The Vegg

9 Dec

The Vegg LogoDeveloped by Rocky Shepheard, The Vegg is a 100% plant-based egg alternative free of cholesterol, gluten, soy, fat and GMOs. The Vegg is also kosher and high in Vitamins A and B12. Based out of Pennsylvania, the company donates 10% of net proceeds each year to animal protection organizations.

Available in a 4.5-ounce container, The Vegg is a yellow powder with a very faint egg-like smell. To prepare one Vegg yolk, blend 1/2 teaspoon of The Vegg powder and 1/8 cup (or 2 tablespoons) water for 30 seconds. The result is a thick, yellow liquid that looks and smells eerily similar to an actual egg yolk. How does it achieve this aroma? Part of the answer is black salt, known for its egg-like smell and taste (click here for more information).

Now the question is, does it taste like egg yolks? If eaten right away, yes. For some reason, the egg-like properties of black salt dissipate after a few minutes, so working with it quickly is key. Regardless, The Vegg has a pleasant flavor that compliments a large variety of baked and cooked goods. Having tried a variety of recipes with The Vegg, I’ve yet to find a single one that I haven’t liked. My favorite, so far, is french toast. The result was a hit with everyone it was served it to, even a self-proclaimed omnivore, who went back for seconds!

Not only used in breakfast foods, The Vegg proves its versatility in this recipe for Cream of Asparagus Soup.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Yields approximately 5 cups

1 bunch fresh green asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Vegg powder
1 pint regular non-dairy creamer
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
fresh cracked black pepper

Wash and dry asparagus. Cut off approximately 1-inch of bottoms and discard. Cut remainder of asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onion, cooking and stirring for a couple of minutes, or until translucent.

Add asparagus and garlic to the pot and continue to cook and stir for an additional minute.

Add vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until asparagus is tender. Remove from heat.

Place Vegg powder in a blender and add asparagus mixture (using 1/2 of mixture if necessary). Blend for 30-60 seconds, or until smooth.

Poor asparagus mixture back into pot, place over low heat, and add creamer, stirring until combined and heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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NOTE: The product noted above was a discounted sample provided by The Vegg. Vegan Food Addict is in no way affiliated with The Vegg, and the views and opinions expressed herein are strictly that of Vegan Food Addict’s.

Product Review: Tasty Bite

22 Jul

Tasty BiteLaunched in 1995, Tasty Bite specializes in Indian and pan-Asian cuisine, offering convenient meals which require no cooking or refrigeration, and contain no preservatives. According to their website, Tasty Bite plays an active role in their community, providing food for disaster relief and scholarships for the children of their factory workers. In addition, 80% of the energy used in Tasty Bite’s factory comes from renewable resources.

Tasty Bite offers 27 different products (as of this posting), which are free of animal ingredients. Ranging in size from 8.8-10 ounces, each pouch can be heated and ready to eat in 90 seconds or less. Having been given the opportunity to try six of these products, below you will find a review for each.


Ginger Lentil Rice and Kung Pao Noodles

Ginger Lentil Rice

A “ginger-flavored long grain rice tossed with brown lentils and red peppers,” this Ginger Lentil Rice (pictured above left) is flavored just enough so as not to create an overpowering taste. Don’t be fooled, however, this product provides a little bit of a kick! As someone who can’t handle a lot of spice, I actually enjoyed this rice. In addition, the added lentils provide extra nutrition without sacrificing flavor. Tasty Bite’s Ginger Lentil Rice would nicely compliment nearly any Asian entrée.

Kung Pao Noodles

These “fresh cooked noodles and vegetables tossed with peanuts in a zesty sauce” work well alongside the Ginger Lentil Rice’s (pictured above right) gentle flavor. Tasty Bite’s Kung Pao Noodles are also spiced with chilies and Sichuan pepper for slightly more of a kick, and put the “Pao” in Kung Pao. Complete with celery, scallions, baby corn, water chestnuts and just a little sugar, this dish provides both savory and sweet tones.

Pad Thai Noodles and Thai Lime Rice

Thai Lime Rice

Flavored primarily with coconut, lemongrass and lime, and accented with lemon, basil and garlic, Tasty Bite’s Thai Lime Rice (pictured above right) has a light but unique flavor that I’ve never before tasted. I enjoyed the flavor of this rice, however, I feel like there is a little too much of something in it. Perhaps basil? Since I paired this rice with Tasty Bite’s Pad Thai Noodles, this rice ‘s subtle flavors helped calm the lingering kick of spice that I received from the noodles. Both had nice flavor.

Pad Thai Noodles

A great dish for those who like both sugar and spice, the Pad Thai Noodles (pictured above left) are described as “fresh cooked noodles topped with vegetables and crunchy peanuts.” Though this version of Pad Thai is different from others I have enjoyed, it does have a nice flavor with different textures to enjoy. Personally, I like tofu in my Pad Thai, and would have liked to have enjoyed this dish with rice noodles, but I still enjoyed it including the nice variety of vegetables including onions, carrots, baby corn, tomatoes, garlic, scallions and ginger.

Channa Masala & Punjab Eggplant

Channa Masala

I’m a sucker for Indian food and chickpeas so I enjoyed Tasty Bite’s Channa Masala (pictured above left). “…slow-simmered with onions, tomatoes and spices,” this dish is an Indian staple with a nice, smooth flavor and just a touch of sweetness. Due to the sauciness of this dish, it goes very well with rice, should you feel so inclined.

Punjab Eggplant

Tasty Bite’s Punjab Eggplant (pictured above right) is described as “roasted eggplant slow-simmered in a hearty tomato and onion sauce.” Though admittedly not an eggplant fan, I enjoyed this dish as it had excellent flavor, and, in typical Tasty Bite style, a kick of spice to liven it up even more. The flavors of this product mingled well together and I would happily eat it again.

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NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by Tasty Bite. Vegan Food Addict is in no way affiliated with Tasty Bite, and the views and opinions expressed herein are strictly that of Vegan food Addict’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others.

Vegan-Friendly St. Louis

5 May

The city of St. Louis is perhaps best known for its famous Gateway Arch, located on the west bank of the Mississippi river. The monument was opened to the public in 1967 and has remained a popular tourist attraction ever since (source). During my visit to this beautiful city, I had the pleasure of visiting a few vegan-friendly establishments.

Pi Pizzeria

This popular pizzeria has three locations in St. Louis and offers various vegan items including deep dish and thin crust pizzas. Aside from your typical pizza toppings, Pi Pizzeria also offers Daiya vegan cheese and vegan Match Meat sausage. Pi’s traditional deep dish pizza is prepared with a buttered pan, so should you want a vegan deep dish pizza, the restaurant requests that you call at least 6 hours before you plan to eat there so that they can prepare a special crust just for you, sans butter.

With so many delicious toppings to choose from, we settled on Daiya cheese, Match sausage, wild mushrooms, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic and fresh rosemary. With a thick cornmeal crust, delicious toppings and tasty chunky tomato sauce, this pizza is one you should not pass up.

If you are able to refrain from devouring a whole pizza, I recommend enjoying a couple of their vegan (and gluten-free) chocolate chip sandwich cookies. Who doesn’t love moist cookies with a delicious vanilla cream filling in between? To top it all off, we washed down this delicious fare with some local Schlafly beer. We left with our stomachs full and our hearts happy.

Deep Dish Pizza from Pi Pizzeria

Deep Dish Pizza from Pi Pizzeria

Local Harvest Café

Local Harvest Café came highly recommended by a friend, and after looking at their menus, I knew I had to go. Needless to say I was not disappointed! With two locations, we stopped by the Tower Grove restaurant for dinner one night. As an appetizer we split an order of the vegetable sushi and got to sample some house-made pickled apple, carrots and pineapple. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the pickled items, but found that their natural flavors were nicely accented with fresh dill and vinegar.

For our entrees we enjoyed the Baby Kale and Crispy Potatoes Salad, White Bean Soup, Sage and Parsley Polenta and the Vegan Mushroom Linguini. The salad was good and we loved the crispy potato topping, which provided a nice texture. The soup was deliciously creamy and hearty, but also crunchy thanks to the black pepper croutons on top. The polenta was drenched with roasted butternut squash stew and accompanied by sauteed tat soi (an Asian variety of bok choy or mustard), which had a very nice flavor to it. Finally, the linguini was served with porcini mushrooms, spinach, garlic, roasted pine nuts and fresh herbs, and covered with a nice, lightly-salted oil. Everything we tried was delicious.

Though the prices at Local Harvest are a little high, the food is very fresh and of high quality to match. From what I understand, Local Harvest takes part in a local CSA, where they obtain much of their produce.

White Bean Soup from Local Harvest Cafe

White Bean Soup from Local Harvest Cafe

Baby Kale & Crispy Potatoes Salad from Local Harvest Cafe

Baby Kale & Crispy Potatoes Salad from Local Harvest Cafe

Sage & Parsley Polenta from Local Harvest Cafe

Sage & Parsley Polenta from Local Harvest Cafe

Mushroom Linguini from Local Harvest Cafe

Mushroom Linguini from Local Harvest Cafe

After viewing Local Harvest’s brunch menu, we were quickly persuaded to visit the Downtown location for brunch a couple days later. After finding out that we are all vegan, our friendly waitress informed us about the vegan specials they had. We chose two of them: the Sloppy Joe Slinger and the Root Beer Float French Toast. Not knowing what a slinger was, we quickly found out that it is a potato hash covered in either chili or gravy. Local Harvest did an excellent job on the slinger as it tasted eerily similar to the Sloppy Joes I grew up with. Accompanied by a couple slices whole wheat bread, the Sloppy Joe Slinger was all you would need in a meal. The french toast was basically dessert for breakfast! Two thick-cut pieces of brioche flavored with root beer, smothered in chocolate syrup and then accompanied by two scoops of coconut ice cream, this breakfast was awesome! Though I could barely taste the root beer (if at all), it was a very memorable dish that I would recommend to others.

In addition to these two dishes, we also enjoyed some house-made coconut granola, potato hash, vegan sausage and a peanut butter banana smoothie. The granola and hash both had wonderful flavors, as did the sausage, however, it was more like a slice of bread (both in look and texture) than actual sausage. It wasn’t bad, however, it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. To top it all off, the peanut butter banana smoothie tasted mostly like banana and could have used a little more peanut butter, but it was lightly-sweetened however, which was refreshing!

Sloppy Joe Slinger from Local Harvest Cafe

Sloppy Joe Slinger from Local Harvest Cafe

Root Beer Float French Toast from Local Harvest Cafe

Root Beer Float French Toast from Local Harvest Cafe

Potato Hash & Coconut Granola from Local Harvest Cafe

Potato Hash & Coconut Granola from Local Harvest Cafe

Vegan Sausage from Local Harvest Cafe

Vegan Sausage from Local Harvest Cafe

Sweet Art

I had heard rave reviews about Sweet Art so we stopped by in between activities one day, and each of us ordered a Boston cream cupcake. A huge Boston cream pie fan, myself, these moist cupcakes had just the right amount of sweetness with a creamy vanilla center and chocolate topping. I could have easily devoured four of these in one sitting. AMAZING.

Aside from offering desserts, Sweet Art also offers brunch and lunch. We weren’t able to try their brunch this time around but we did enjoy some lunch on the following day. One of the nice things about Sweet Art is that they offer a 1/2 sandwich + salad or side deal for around $8. Wanting to try multiple things, we took advantage of this deal and settled on various combinations of their Mackin’ Cheese, Queen Kale Salad, Jewel and River Monster sandwiches. Sweet Art’s Mackin’ Cheese is rich and satisfying and full of greasy goodness. Since they offer Daiya on some of their sandwiches, I’m assuming the sauce is a Daiya mixture with nutritional yeast in addition to a couple other items. Tasty! The kale salad had chunks of sweet potato with steamed kale and a light dressing. Both sandwiches were also good. I especially liked the River Monster as it had panko-crusted seasoned fried tofu with a curry tartar sauce. I could eat that stuff by the spoon, it was so good. In addition, the sandwich also had organic mixed greens and agave-lime pickled red onions. The Jewel sandwich had caramelized onions, fresh herbs, local organic sunflower sprouts, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, Daiya cheese and their signature vegan magic spread on house-made hoagie.

Queen Kale Salad & Jewel Sandwich from Sweet Art

Queen Kale Salad & Jewel Sandwich from Sweet Art

Mackin' Cheese & River Monster Sandwich from Sweet Art

Mackin’ Cheese & River Monster Sandwich from Sweet Art

Since we enjoyed the Boston cream cupcakes so much the day prior, we purchased a brownie, cinnamon roll, carrot cake cupcake and strawberry lemonade cupcake to go. Yes, all vegan! These were all moist and absolutely delicious as well. The folks at Sweet Art sure know what they are doing!

Strawberry Lemonade & Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Sweet Art

Strawberry Lemonade & Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Sweet Art

Cinnamon Roll & Brownie from Sweet Art

Cinnamon Roll & Brownie from Sweet Art

Black Bear Bakery

Having heard that Black Bear Bakery has a great Saturday buffet-style brunch with lots of vegan options, we elected to try it out. Unfortunately, however, we were disappointed. Perhaps the bakery was having an off day, but the buffet was small and the only vegan options offered were tofu scramble, potatoes, steamed kale and fruit. Not exactly my definition of “lots” of options, but then again, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day so I have high standards.

In addition, I found the food to be a bit on the bland side. While this can be seen as a good thing (i.e. healthy), everything could have used just a dash of salt and pepper to liven it up and bring out the flavor. The tofu scramble had carrots, green onion and turnips with a few cubes of tofu, the potatoes were plain but nicely roasted, and the kale had what looked to be a little nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. Luckily there was a table at the end of the buffet with a handful of seasonings such as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and nutritional yeast. After sprinkling some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos on most of my plate, I was happy to finish the rest of my food.

A nice added touch that the bakery provided was musical entertainment. A local folk-type band got their groove on while we all chowed down. We left Black Bear Bakery with a couple cinnamon raisin cookies and a crunchy carrot muffin. Both were actually very good and hearty.

Breakfast Plate from Black Bear Bakery

Breakfast Plate from Black Bear Bakery

I Scream Cakes
After an ice cream craving struck, we found I Scream Cakes, thanks to a friendly fellow vegan who waited on us at Pi. Located next door to Black Bear Bakery, I Scream offers 3-4 vegan coconut-based ice creams each day. Those featured when we stopped by were Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana, Strawberry and Tastes Like Purple. According to the gentleman behind the counter, purple tastes like tropical fruit and also describes the color of the ice cream. The flavors we tried were Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana and Strawberry. Both ice creams were nice and creamy, with the chocolate tasting primarily of, well, chocolate and banana. I felt that it needed more peanut butter as it was a little difficult to taste. The Strawberry ice cream was very fresh, and we could tell that I Scream used real strawberries to flavor this ice cream. Very good!

In addition to their frozen treats, this ice cream shop also sells local vegan baked goods such as cupcakes.

Schlafly Bottleworks
Schlafly is a popular St. Louis brewery offering guided beer tastings each Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the neighboring town of Maplewood. According to Barnivore, all of Schlafly’s beers are vegan, yay!!! After being provided with a 5 or 6-ounce glass, then watching a short video about the brewery, we tasted four of Schlafly’s beers: Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Dry Hopped APA and Oatmeal Stout. There were baskets of pretzels to munch on in between beers, which helped somewhat clear our palates before proceeding with the next beer. My personal favorite was the Hefeweizen as it is a light, unfiltered wheat beer, similar to my beloved Blue Moon. For those of you who enjoy coffee, I recommend the Oatmeal Stout as it tasted like straight coffe and was a favorite among the group.

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