Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Trader Joe’s – Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese – Food Review

06/27/2018

Trader Joe's, kerrygold, dulbiner, cheese, review, price, calories, nutritionJune 27, 2018

If only there was a pint of Guinness and some crackers sitting on the table along with this.  Sigh!  As the name suggests this cheese has its roots in Ireland. Dublin is its namesake.

The web site says this has characteristics of a Cheddar with hints of Parmesan.  I can buy that, even if I didn’t exactly have the same impression. The first takeaway is, the flavor of this cheese is a little different. That adds a little mystery and conversation as you and any others partaking of the cheese discuss your own interpretations.  My interpretation of the flavor is a cross between a Cheddar and an aged Gouda. The second takeaway is, this is a nice cheese.

The cheese is firm and slices nicely.  Because it’s sold in nice rectangular blocks, it’s easy to divide into cubes for a cheese tray.  While it’s an aged cheese (over 12 months according to Wiki), I did not find any cheese crystals making this also a very smooth cheese.   It melts nicely.  I used some of it as a three cheese combination in a grilled cheese sandwich.  It added a little flavor pop over a straight American cheese grilled sandwich.  In the fine print on the label are the words, “suitable for vegetarians.”  That takes the guesswork out the equation when you try to figure out whether the cheese is vegetarian friendly.  As it’s not an exclusive at Trader Joe’s, it’s likely you can find it at a different store near you if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s close by.

Price  $7.99 per pound      Calories  110  per ounce (28g)

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ALDI – Earth Grown Asian Veggie Burger – Vegan – Food Review

05/19/2018

ALDI, earth grown, asian veggie burger, price, review, calories, nutrition, veganMay 19, 2018

I’m not sure what makes these Asian, as opposed to just a nicely flavored veggie burger.  I guess they had to pick a name because the box is too small to write “Just a nicely flavored veggie vegan burger.”  Maybe I should follow that kind of thinking and change the name of this blog to “Asian.”

The flavor is a little sweet and a very little bit spicy. The burger firms up nicely in the microwave, not falling apart like others.  A pet peeve I have with most veggie burgers is they’re generally on the thin side and are overwhelmed somewhat by a bun.  Putting two burgers on a bun produces a better ratio.  But I wish they’d make a single burger a little thicker/heavier so we don’t have to double up.

ALDI, earth grown, asian veggie burger, price, review, calories, nutrition, veganThis seems to be another special item that’s only around a week.  I don’t know when it will grace the freezer cases again.  The product is labeled vegan and the ingredient label (not shown here) tends to agree with that designation.  At $3.69 per box, this is priced higher than the regular vegan veggie burger at $2.49.

Calories  130 per burger

Price  $3.69 per box of 4 veggie burgers (10 oz. total – 284g)

Disclaimer:

This is an independent review of a product purchased from ALDI.  The author(s) are customers of ALDI and have no business or other relationship with ALDI.  If you have an issue with the product and desire to contact ALDI, either see your local store manager or use the ALDI customer contact URL immediately below to send a message to ALDI.

ALDI customer contact URL – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

Meat Lovers Vegetarian Chorizo Queso Dip – recipe

05/04/2018

recipe, queso, cheese, dip, vegetarian, chorizo

Here’s a vegetarian version of my original queso dip recipe with a vegetarian soy chorizo product substituted for the original Italian sausage.  In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t actually measure the spices.  So vary the guidelines below to your taste.  As is, this is a fairly spicy hot recipe.  However it was always well received at work with repeat requests.

1 pound Clancy’s CheeseMelt (ALDI) or similar vegetarian cheese

1 package (12 oz) Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo or similar vegetarian product

1 – 10 or 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons crushed red peppers

4-8 tablespoons olive oil, or oil of your choice

1 medium diced onion

Add 4 tablespoons oil, oregano, crushed red peppers, basil, black pepper, parsley, onions to a skillet.  Heat and stir for about 2 minutes over medium heat to flavor the oil with the spices.  Remove the soy chorizo from the plastic casing.  Add soy chorizo to the skillet and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until done (see package directions.)  While cooking, add additional oil as needed to keep the soy chorizo from drying out.

Cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes while the soy chorizo is cooking.  Add the cubes to a large microwave safe bowl.  Melt the cheese in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  Remove and stir.  Return to the microwave, reheat and stir as needed until the cheese is soft and fluid.

Add the cumin and diced tomatoes with chilies to the melted cheese.  Add the cooked soy chorizo and spices.  Deglaze the skillet with wine or water and add to the cheese mixture.  Stir together.  Heat the final mixture in the microwave as needed.

That’s it.  The final product tends to be a little too thick for easy dipping.  Spoon over tortilla chips and go at it slowly at first.  Your mouth will be hit with a progression of different flavors ending with the heat.

Target – Sweet Earth – Basil Pesto Lasagna – Food Review

04/28/2018

Target, Sweet Earth, Basil Pesto Lasagana, review, price, nutrition, caloriesApril 28, 2018
There’s gusto in the pesto!  The aroma of garlic permeates the room as the microwave does its thing.  St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t get any greener than this.

There’s only a sprinkle of cheese on the top.  If you’re expecting a restaurant lasagna  where the mozzarella is overflowing the plate, you’ll be disappointed.  The lasagna noodles are a little soft.  To make up for these problems there’s a nice thick layer of pesto on and between the layers.  Mixed between layers are a few identifiable pieces of mushrooms.  One final problem with the product, the plastic film sealing the container is hard to remove.

A strange thing about the packaging is the absence of the word “vegetarian.”  Sweet Earth specializes in plant-based products.  There’s nothing listed in the ingredients that would make one think this is not vegetarian.  All the cheeses used in the product list “vegetarian enzymes” as part of the cheese.  The cheeses are made from milk.  So take a look for yourself, but for now I’m listing this as vegetarian.

Target, Sweet Earth, Basil Pesto Lasagana, review, price, nutrition, caloriesAside from the above issues, overall this is a tasty take on a traditional lasagna.  It may not be traditional, but the generous amount of basil and just enough garlic make this product worth a try. Even a non-vegetarian could like this. The cat cleaned up the bowl.

Calories  450 per container (1 serving, 255g)  –  Price around $4.19,  $3.50 on sale

Target – Sweet Earth – Chana Masala – Food Review

04/28/2018

sweet earth, chana masala, review, price, calories, nutrition, targetApril 28, 2018

Ever since discovering the Curry Tiger Burrito I’ve had Sweet Earth on my mind.  However, unlike the Tiger, this Chana Masala lacks some teeth.  This is a tamed Indian-styled entrée.

For my tastes. this is the result of not enough and the wrong combination of spices.  The tomato sauce surrounding the chana (chickpeas) tastes like, tomato sauce.  For a good Indian dish, the sauce should be a fireworks display for the mouth – hot rockets exploding into bursts of different flavors with an almost overwhelming feel.  This turned out to be a few sparklers at best.

This is a single compartment container so there’s really no way to keep the rice separate from the rest.  I mention that because I like to eat the normally companioned basmati rice separately from the sauce.  But I needn’t have worried about that because the rice here appears to be just unflavored long grain white rice with a funny yellow color.

sweet earth, chana masala, review, price, calories, nutrition, targetWhile disappointing as an Indian entrée, this is a fairly nice chickpea stew in tomato sauce.  Unlike the recently reviewed Sweet Earth Basil Pesto Lasagna, this one is clearly labeled vegetarian.

Calories  320 per container (1 serving, 256g)

Price around $4.19,  $3.50 on sale

ALDI – Earth Grown Chickenless Patties – Vegan – Food Review

04/20/2018

ALDI, Chickless Patties, review, vegan, price, calories, nutritionApril 20, 2018
Using oil to pan-fry, the patty stays together nicely.  Scrapping away some of the breading the underlying patty sort of looks like chicken.  Cooked; the breading is crisp, the mouth-feel is nice, the patty doesn’t fall apart.  The patty almost has the firmness of a thin real chicken patty.  Not surprisingly, the patty does not taste like chicken.  In fact there’s an interesting hint of fried okra.  Even with the slight taste of fried okra, the patty is perfectly edible as is without condiments.  With some lettuce, tomato, and mayo (not vegan), the taste is even better, but that fried vegetable taste still comes through some.  Substituting some aggressive guacamole for the mayo also worked well.

The product is labeled vegan.  For non-vegetarians, this soy protein based patty is an acceptable substitute for the real thing.  Unfortunately this seems to be one of those ALDI special items which are only around for a week or two.  But like most ALDI special items this one will probably make its way back to the freezer cases sometime in the future.

ALDI, Chickless Patties, review, vegan, price, calories, nutritionPrice $2.99 – package of 4 patties

Calories  150 per patty

click on images to enlarge

Disclaimer:

This is an independent review of a product purchased from ALDI.  The author(s) are customers of ALDI and have no business or other relationship with ALDI.  If you have an issue with the product and desire to contact ALDI, either see your local store manager or use the ALDI customer contact URL immediately below to send a message to ALDI.

ALDI customer contact URL – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

Trader Joe’s – Roth Organics – Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Food Review

03/27/2018

trader joe, tj, review, calories, price, nutrition, organic sharp cheddar cheeseMarch 27, 2018
This is a “vegetarian friendly”, certified organic, aged, sharp cheddar cheese.  The texture of the cheese is firm, not hard, and not crumbly.  There’s a touch of a non-cheddar flavor in the cheese.  Regardless, this is a nice cheddar cheese, especially for someone looking for an organic cheese.  Calories 110 per ounce, price $5.99 per pound

Roth cheeses can be found at other supermarkets also, click here to search near you.

One of my pet peeves about cheese labeling is the ambiguous references to “enzymes” in the labeling.  Some enzymes (a minority now) come from animals – making them non-vegetarian.  Animal enzymes are sometimes labeled as rennet (although even the word rennet can be used ambiguously).  Other enzymes (many cheeses use these) are produced by bacterial cultures or are plant-based, and are vegetarian friendly.  By not clearly labeling the type of enzymes used in making the cheese, the cheese makers make it more difficult for vegetarians to find cheeses which suit their dietary preferences.  Even this one which is labeled “vegetarian friendly” – and I assume that means non-animal enzymes  – doesn’t mention the source of the enzymes in the ingredient label.  Here’s some additional reading.

Meat Lovers Vegetarian Chili – Recipe

01/20/2018

recipe, food, vegetarian, soy chorizo, beans, chiliYes, this is a vegetarian recipe.  And yes, there should be no reason for your meat lover to turn up their nose at this.  If they do, it’s only because this is more than they can handle.  So maybe you need to trade in for a new one?

Notes

Chili at it’s best is a dump, heat and eat food.  And basically, so is this recipe.

What’s missing for a meat eater from a typical vegetarian chili is the meat texture and grease.  The Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo (or similar product) adds the texture.  Browning the Soy Chorizo in enough vegetable oil adds the “grease.”  The textured soy protein used as a base for the Soy Chorizo is an oil sponge.  The trick is to saturate the “sponge” with so much oil that it can’t absorb any more.  So start to “brown” the soy chorizo in about a tablespoon of oil, and as the oil is absorbed keep adding oil until the soy chorizo can’t absorb any more.  This will leave enough oil left over to help disperse the spices throughout the chili, leave a nice sheen over everything, and even create those small pools of oil that float to the top.

Between the spices in the soy chorizo and the chili beans, this recipe produces a pretty spicy chili even without adding additional spices.  In fact, it may be too spicy for some.  So be sure to taste before adding additional spices.

Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base contains salt.  For me that was enough salt without adding additional salt.

The easiest way to remove the plastic casing from the soy chorizo is, to cut the tube into about 3  pieces, then cut the plastic casing the long way to get to the soy chorizo.  The plastic casing is not edible.

Ingredients

1 – 15 ounce can chili beans with liquid

1 – 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained but reserve liquid

1 – 12 ounce package Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, plastic casing removed

1/2 –  medium onion, roughly diced

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly diced

1 – generous tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Seasoned Vegetable Base in one cup of hot water

4+ – tablespoons vegetable oil, see notes above

additional seasonings and spices to taste, e.g., cumin, chili powder, oregano, black pepper, red pepper, thyme, salt, etc.

Directions

Brown onions, garlic, and soy chorizo in oil, adding additional oil as needed to keep a “moist” consistency (see note above.)

Add chili beans, vegetable base in water, drained red kidney beans.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir in reserved liquid from red kidney beans to adjust thickness as needed.  Simmer with an occasional stir for about 10 minutes to distribute spices.  Taste and add additional spices as desired.

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ALDI – Earth Grown Veggie Burger – Vegan – Food Review

12/09/2017

aldi, Black Forest Cake Muesli Bars, food, review, price, calories, nutrition, earth grown, vegan, veggie burgeraldi, Black Forest Cake Muesli Bars, food, review, price, calories, nutrition, earth grown, vegan, veggie burgerDecember 9, 2017

The box says, ‘with 11 vegetables’.  How do they fit them all in a 4 inch diameter circle?

One good thing, you can actually see the little veggies in the circle.  Being that the  veggies are of a size that makes them visible, the burgers tend to fall apart if handled too much while cooking.  Like many veggie burgers, the flavor of these is on the bland side.  I saw the word chipotle through the glass freezer case, but somehow when I got home they had changed to just plain veggie burgers.  I’ll look twice the next time.

Along with the bland flavor, these tend to dry out while cooking in the microwave.  Both problems can be overcome with the use of condiments.  For my purposes I topped with a spoonful or two of pickle relish which added a little flavor pop and also some needed moisture.  Problems solved.

While comparable to other veggie burgers on the market in texture and taste, these are also labeled ‘certified vegan’.  What’s also nice is they’re in the ALDI freezer case, meaning you won’t have to go elsewhere looking for a vegan veggie burger.  Now the potential downside is, I don’t know if these are a special item which will soon disappear or whether they’ll be a regular item in the freezer case.

Calories  90 per burger – 4 servings per container (10 oz. total – 284g)

Price  $2.49 per box

click on images to enlarge
ALDI customer contact URL – https://www.aldi.us/en/contact-us/

Trader Joe’s – Veggie Corn Dogs – Food Review

12/02/2017

trader joe, review, price, calories, nutrition, veggie corn dogsDecember 2, 2017
The corn is there. The dog is almost there.  This dog will hunt.

I’m always on the lookout for a veggie meat substitute.  More specifically, I’m always looking for a good veggie meat substitute.  The best I’ve found so far is Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo.  These veggie corn dogs aren’t quite up to that standard.  But still, they’re pretty good.  What’s better than that is, they’re pretty good veggie “junk” food.

trader joe, review, price, calories, nutrition, veggie corn dogsThe texture of the dog is just about right. Even the color is about right. The taste is more of a neutral taste than a real hot dog. The fatty moisture from a real hot dog is obviously missing. However as long as it’s not overcooked, the dog remains fairly moist.  Watch the time in the microwave, just a little too much time (even just 10 or 15 seconds) dries out both the dog and the corn.

Overall, just like a real corn dog,  the corn bread makes up around half of the taste and texture. The veggie dog in the center adds some flavor and texture, but more importantly does not take much away in the form of negatives.

These are slightly smaller than a standard corn dog and missing the animal fat, so the calories are lower.  Unfortunately, the sodium content is relatively high just like a real corn dog.  They’re labelled as meatless and veggie, but not vegetarian.  So check the ingredient label to make sure this conforms to your personal vegetarian standards.

Price $2.99 (4 veggie corn dogs, 10 ounces )

Calories 160 per veggie corn dog


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