Veggie Brothers — Product Review #2!

I blogged once before about the great food from Veggie Brothers, and it was so good that I’m back for another round!  Veggie Brothers is a vegan food company specializing in frozen convenience foods, with a focus on vegan versions of well-loved dishes.

First up this time, their Tofu Crab Cakes with Citrus Sauce:

veggie brothers tofu crab cakes 01

As I mentioned in the previous review, the majority of Veggie Brothers products come with instructions for three cooking methods: stovetop boiling in the pouch, microwaving, and conventional oven cooking.  I went with the oven method again this time, putting the cakes and the sauce in a small aluminum tin and covering them with foil to warm them up.

veggie brothers tofu crab cakes 02

While those were heating, I put on some quinoa and green beans to go along with them.  These are big “crab” cakes (3 ounces each), so you can eat them both yourself with a green veggie or split the serving and share!  I did the latter and shared with my mom.

veggie brothers tofu crab cakes 03

No complaints from either of us!  We both used to eat crab and imitation crab meat, and although I don’t have cravings for seafood any more, these were amazing.  The sauce was creamy with a lovely citrus tang, while the cakes were flakey, moist, and tender.  Little pieces of red bell peppers added a realistic “crab” look.  The cakes look like tofu inside, but don’t taste a thing like it!  They’re hearty and just a little fishy without being overwhelming.  The sauce complimented everything nicely.  I would definitely eat these again.

The next one was a bit of a personal challenge for me.  Back when I was omni, one thing I never liked was ground beef.  Didn’t eat meatballs, didn’t eat hamburgers, didn’t eat meatloaf.  There was just something about it that bugged me.  So I thought I’d see if Veggie Brothers could break my meatball bias with their Meatballs in Marinara.

veggie brothers meatballs 01

Again, I warmed these in the oven while cooking up some whole wheat spaghetti and kale as a side.  My mom was interested in trying these, too, so we split the generous 9-ounce serving.  There was a good amount of sauce, and it made for a nice-looking meal.

veggie brothers meatballs 02

The verdict?  I still don’t like meatballs, but not because these were bad.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  For people who miss meatballs, these would be perfect.  The texture and flavor were very much like a traditional meatball.  The only thing my mom and I agreed on that would make the flavor better is chunks of garlic to go along with the chunks of onion inside the meatballs.  The sauce got 100% Italian family approval for both heartiness and the combination of spices used.  These would also make a great meatball sub!

Last up, dessert with chocolate chip cookies.

veggie brothers chocolate chip cookies 01

The only thing you need to do with these before eating is to thaw them.  However, since I’m a fan of warm chocolate, I popped mine in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the chips a little.

veggie brothers chocolate chip cookies 02

These cookies have a crunchy edge and a soft center, reminiscent of both classic Tollhouse and commercial packaged cookies at the same time.  The flavor reminded me the most of the boxed or bagged cookies I sometimes ate at friends’ houses as a kid.  I detected a hint of salt in the aftertaste, but I have to admit that might just have been me since I never put salt in my own baked goods.  These cookies weren’t my favorite of the Veggie Brothers offerings, but they’re by no means bad!  Definitely a must-have if you’re looking for a little childhood nostalgia trip.

I want to extend big thanks again to both Vegan Mainstream and Michael at Veggie Brothers for letting me try all of these amazing products.  It’s been a great experience and I hope that some of you will give their foods a try.  I know I’ll be going back for more!

Veggie Brothers Product Review: Delicious Vegan Convenience Food!

Go ahead and admit it.  As a vegan, there are some dishes that you miss.  Perhaps you’re still transitioning to a vegan diet and keep slipping because of that one thing you feel you can’t live without.  Or maybe you’re just looking for quick and easy vegan meals that taste more like food and less like the box they come in.  Sound familiar?  Veggie Brothers to the rescue!

Veggie Brothers is a vegan food company founded in 2005 by Michael Balducci with the goal of bringing delicious meatless versions of favorite dishes to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.  They aim to use the best quality ingredients possible, focusing on providing organic, non-GMO, and pesticide-free foods.  Their products are prepared and packaged for convenience, with clear cooking instructions for stovetop, oven, and microwave.  With products ranging from breakfasts to soups to entrees to desserts, Veggie Brothers is a versatile choice for quick and easy veggie meals.

I had the opportunity to try several of their products, and I’ve been very impressed so far!  It’s hard to know where to start, but I think these might be a good introduction:

veggie brothers buffalo wings 01
Vegan buffalo wings!  I’ll admit up front that buffalo wings were one of the things I had a very hard time letting go of when first going veg.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge sucker for hot food, and buffalo wing sauce was always one of my favorites.  Veggie Brothers’ Hot & Spicy Soy Chicken Buffalo Wings completely satisfied the part of my brain that still craves that flavor!  Everything from the texture to the sauce itself was just like I remembered buffalo wings being.  They’re even held together with a little wooden dowel in the middle, which makes it that much easier to pick them up and make a mess of yourself as you enjoy devouring them.  The 8-ounce serving is a lot of food, so they don’t really need much in the way of sides or adornment.  You might even want to share them with a friend!

veggie brothers buffalo wings in package
This is how the wings–and all Veggie Brothers products–come packaged, in a convenient sealed pouch that can be boiled as-is in a pot of water, cooked in the microwave, or dumped out in a casserole dish and baked in the oven.  (Some products, like their desserts, simply need to be thawed at room temperature.)  I chose the oven method for these, which worked out very well.  The wings held their heat and were warm from first bite to last, although the spiciness of the sauce probably had something to do with that!  The only potential con with these is the texture.  I loved it, but long-time vegans or people who really don’t like a “meaty” feel to their food might find it disconcerting.  But if you like and miss buffalo wings, these are pretty much epic.

Next up, lentil walnut burgers!

veggie brothers lentil burgers in package
These ain’t your puny, over-processed veggie burgers!  Each burger is 4 ounces of delicious lentil/walnut/vegetable goodness.  We are talking a burger you could serve to hardcore meat-and-potatoes omnivores and get no complaints.  And you won’t get any from me on these, either.  The texture and flavor are both amazing, without a trace of the strange chewiness and aftertaste that some commercial veggie burgers have.  Another big plus is that they’re low in sodium, putting them miles ahead of their processed counterparts.  Occasional bits of walnut add to the hearty feel, and the mushrooms give a fullness to the flavor.

veggie brothers lentil burgers
I served mine up on pumpernickel bread with onion, tomato, lettuce, and a side of mixed greens.  These burgers are pretty versatile, though; I’d imagine they’d even be good crumbled in a pita with a little hummus or served on their own with a mustard sauce.  One warning: they do tend to fall apart a bit as you eat them.  But since this has no effect on how amazingly delicious they are, I’d call it a moot point!

veggie brothers eggplant parm 01
Eggplant Parmesan is one of those things that I didn’t really eat before becoming vegan.  But being 50% Italian, I have a soft spot for just about anything involving red sauce and melted cheese.  Baked pasta dishes and the like were something I missed a great deal before finding viable vegan alternatives.  And speaking of, if you like eggplant parm, give this a try.  Veggie Brothers has this one spot on!  Flavor can be hit-or-miss with a lot of frozen foods, but not so with this.  I was impressed by how fresh the eggplant tasted.

veggie brothers eggplant parm 02
The bread crumb coating was impressive, too; it held together well even in places where it wasn’t smothered in vegan rice milk cheese.  The cheese itself?  Oh yeah.  I’m a Daiya girl through and through, but this was just about as amazing.  Creamy, smooth, and not anything like the crazy plastic stuff that most grocery stores try to pass off as cheese substitutes.  The sauce covering it all actually tasted like Italian sauce, which is saying something considering I grew up eating homemade tomato sauce more often than was probably healthy!  I made some whole wheat pasta with a little oil and Italian seasoning to go with the whole thing, but I think a green veggie like chard or kale would do just as well as a side.  Verdict?  Delicious.

Thus far, the food from Veggie Brothers has been a wonderful treat.  These are all dishes that would be difficult or time-consuming to replicate in my small kitchen.  And as someone who occasionally benefits from having a quick, convenient meal on hand, it’s good to know that there’s a place that is making delicious vegan meals without a ton of processing.  The portions are generous, the sodium content is lower than you would expect, and even the dishes that are higher in fat boast healthy fats rather than saturated.  Two thumbs up from me!  I recommend them highly for transitioning vegetarians, vegans looking for old favorites, and anyone trying to convince omni friends and family that vegan food isn’t all sprouts and lentils (and, even when it is, it’s delicious).

Still to come in a future post: chocolate chip cookies, “meatballs” in marinara sauce, and tofu “crab cakes!”  A big thanks to both Veggie Brothers and Vegan Mainstream for the opportunity to try all of these great foods.  If you want to make an order of your own, be sure to get it in by Monday morning (11/22) for delivery by 11/24!