Planet Protein Bars, Vegan MoFo Day 28

Today we bring to you a review of a product that won’t even be fully launched until sometime next year.  But, Planet Protein was kind enough to offer us a bar each of their two flavors in exchange for an honest review.  You can purchase them in pre-launch from the Planet Protein Facebook Page.

The texture reminded me a lot of the old school Power Bars: chewy, a little gritty/chalky.  I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I really liked the texture of Power Bars and have missed them.  So, if you’ve been missing them too, here’s your vegan replacement!

Product: Planet Protein Plant Power Bar (Cherry Almond Fudge / Cocoa PB Crunch)
Overall Grade: A-  (cherry) / A (peanut butter)

 

planetprotein

 

Pros:

  • 20g of plant based protein
  • Chewy, lightly gritty – a la the old Power Bars
  • Non GMO
  • Gluten and soy free
  • No sugar alcohols, added flavors, no preservatives
  • No stevia so no funky aftertaste like some vegan bars
  • Cherry & Peanut Butter varieties?  Yes, please.  They’re both lightly sweet.  You wouldn’t confuse them with candy, but that’s not what Planet Protein sets out to be.

Cons:

  • They’re a little spendy.  From what I can tell MSRP is $3.50 per bar when purchased individually.  But, that’s the tradeoff for supporting small business and healthful products so I didn’t ding it in the grade for this.
  • The cherry got an A- instead of an A because I’d like just a little more cherry flavor. The texture was also just a tiny bit harder than the PB which I thought was perfect.
  • I can’t go pick one up on my lunch break tomorrow 😉

 

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Follow Your Heart Vegan Sriracha Vegenaise Gourmet, Vegan MoFo Day 23

On the eve of Thanksgiving here in the US, most of us are thinking of rich, comfort foods and cool creamy desserts.  But, after a day or two of that, I want something with some kick.  Having this in the fridge could come in mighty handy.  Of course, if you’re heat averse, you’ll need to forego this.  But if you’re not, you need to go for it.

Product:  Follow Your Heart Vegan Sriracha Vegenaise Gourmet
Grade: A-

sriracha

 

Pros:

  • Available in a handy squeeze bottle
  • Perfectly creamy
  • Heat in mayo form
  • Really good with vegan sushi and salad rolls.  I usually just squeeze a little on top, but it would be good thinned out as a dipping sauce too
  • One word: sriracha
  • Gluten free, soy free, non-gmo

 

Cons:

  • There’s not much bad to say, but if I were making it, I’d give it a little more mayo cool tang and a little less sriracha heat.

 

 

 

Trader Joe’s Vegan Spread and Dressing, Vegan MoFo Day 22

From what I’ve heard just recently there’s been a Trader Joe’s vegan spread for years, but it was never labeled as such.  Now, there’s a new, improved and labeled vegan (mayo style) spread on Trader Joe’s shelves across the country.

Product: Trader Joe’s Vegan Spread & Dressing
Grade: A

 

wn-vegan-spread-dressing3

 

Pros:

  • The thickness.  It’s a little thicker than Vegenaise and a little thinner than Just Mayo…just the way I like it.
  • The texture.  It’s smooth and creamy.
  • The flavor.  It’s actually a little more like I remember Miracle Whip than how I remember mayo.  I could be off on that memory, but whichever it is, I like it.  It’s mildly sweet, mildly tangy.  I like the flavor a little less than Vegenaise but a little better than Just Mayo (I’d use any of the three).
  • The price.  The jar is a a few dollars cheaper than Vegenaise for the same size jar. TJ’s website advertises it as $2.29/jar.  I’m not sure that’s exactly what I paid for it, but it should be close.

 

Cons:

  • I’m used to Vegenaise for recipes, so I might have to tweak my seasonings a little to adjust for the new spread.
  • The flavor isn’t quite as nice as Vegenaise (but it makes up for it in thickness and price)

 

 

 

 

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust, Vegan MoFo Day 21

I’m a big fan of pizza.  With the exception of tacos, it’s probably my favorite because it can be made so many different ways and changed to fit the season (hello caramelized onion and sweet potatoes.) But making homemade vegan gluten free crust is a lot of work. Buying it at a pizza place is expensive.  For so long there was nothing in between.  Enter Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pizza crusts.  It’s not the best crust I’ve ever had, but it makes up for that in price and convenience.

 

Product: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Grade: B

 

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Pros:

  • Thaw, top, bake.  It’s super easy.
  • It’s inexpensive.  $3.69 for two crusts
  • I don’t have to make homemade crust or leave home for a pizza
  • It’s relatively sturdy while still being soft.
  • Gluten free, no soy ingredients

Cons:

  • If I were reviewing strictly for gluten free folks, I might grade it a little higher. While it’s really good for gluten free crust, I think you can tell that it’s gluten free.  I like things to be gluten free without knowing it.
  • It’s got a coating of flour on it and has a little chalkiness on the outside.
  • Sometimes it’s cracked.  But, that didn’t really cause a problem, I just cut it a little less than evenly

 

Here’s my latest pizza with a little too much Daiya.  I also got a yummy jarred pizza sauce at TJ’s while picking up the crust.

 

 

 

Follow Your Heart Grated Vegan Parmesan, Vegan MoFo Day 16

Unlike Amanda, I am not Italian.  I’m the youngest of 5 children with my earliest memories in the suburbs of Baltimore, born to parents who grew up and met in Baltimore City.  Then my dad went on to school and then on to be the preacher at a little country church in eastern North Carolina.  We were not shredded Parmesan people.  We were spaghetti sauce from a jar, grated Parmesan from a can people.  I’m also a little older than Amanda and when I was little the can was cardboard rather than plastic.  I was probably an adult before I realized that’s not the only kind of Parm there was.  Truth be known, I loved the stuff.  I frequently snuck to the fridge and just emptied some out in my hand to eat.   While Follow Your Heart has the shredded Parmesan people covered (read Amanda’s review here), they didn’t forget about the rest of us.

I’m just going to say it straight up: I loved this stuff!  I even caught myself going to the refrigerator to get some in my hand once… or twice… or let’s just say I lost count.  Since I found it on vacation, I even got one right before I left town to sneak in my suitcase.

 

Product: Follow Your Heart Grated Parmesan

Overall Grade: A+

 

fyhparm

 

Pros:

  • FYH nailed the flavor of the original stuff in the green can (at least as close as I can remember…it’s been a while)
  • Like the shredded, it’s in line with other vegan cheese prices
  • It’s not powdery like the original.  At first I thought that was going to put me off.  It didn’t. I actually liked the texture a little better than the original
  • It was even good alone.

 

I have one con:

  • I can’t find it where I live yet.  I am eagerly on the lookout.  I’m almost to the point of begging FYH to ship me some to hold me over.

 

BTW, I really liked the shredded kind too.

 

 

 

 

Kite Hill Plain Yogurt, Vegan MoFo Day 12

I may be alone in this, but in my dairy days I was a big fan of plain yogurt.  The fruited ones were good, but there was nothing like the plain with my own added ingredients or along side a Mediterranean meal. When I stopped eating dairy, there really was nothing like it.  I’m allergic to soy, so I couldn’t even try most vegan yogurts.  The ones I could try were either overly sweet or they were chalky.  Then I met Kite Hill.

I see on the Kite Hill website that they’ve released an unsweetened plain soon.  I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for that.  But, for now, I present to you the original Kite Hill plain almond milk yogurt.

 

Product: Kite Hill Artisan Almond Milk Yogurt (Plain)

Overall Grade: A

 

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Pros:

  • It actually tastes like I remember plain yogurt.  Even though it has sugar in it, it’s not overly sweetened.
  • It’s creamy not chalky or grainy
  • It’s perfectly tart.
  • The container is recyclable
  • It’s just one of a line of yogurts which will be reviewed in the future.
  • It gives me back one of my favorite breakfasts: plain yogurt, blueberries and granola

 

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Cons:

  • The only thing holding the Kite Hill plain yogurt back from getting an A+ is that it’s not quite as thick as I like yogurt.
  • It’s spendy at $1.99 for a 5.3 oz container (it’s on sale at the WFM in the Triangle area this week for $1.69)
  • I’d like it to come in larger containers too for recipes (can we say tzatziki sauce?)

 

 

Almetta Almond Milk Mousse, MoFo Day 9

From what I can gather, Almetta Almond Milk Mousse launched in late 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. They launched in the Pacific Northwest.  For those of us in NC that usually translates into a long wait to try a product.  We hear about them and then have to wait to get them so we can review them for you.  But, this time, I got to try a product that’s only currently available in the Pacific Northwest (yay vacation!).  We can hold out hope on the east coast though, as they plan to expand their coverage and to get into online retailers who use refrigerated delivery.  UPDATE: I’ve been in contact with the powers that be at Almetta today and it’s their plan to be on the east coast sometime during 2017.

I’m usually more of a pudding fan than a mousse fan, but Almetta could potentially sway that opinion.

 

Product: Almetta Almond Milk Mousse (Lemon)

Overall Grade: A

almettamousseseal

 

Pros:

  • Perfectly lemony. You can taste it, but it’s not too tart
  • Sweet without being overly sweet
  • Recognizable ingredients
  • Fluffy and creamy without being too airy or light.
  • Variety of flavors.  I haven’t tried the others (strawberry, French vanilla, dark chocolate) but I can only imagine they’re good too.  Maybe Almetta can send me some to find out 😉
  • Soy Free, Gluten Free, Non GMO

 

Cons:

  • Current lack of availability in all areas
  • A little pricey  (I think it was around $3 for single serving pack), but that’s the trade off for wholesome ingredients and supporting new vegan business.

 

 

 

 

Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn, MoFo Day 3

This past summer, Trader Joe’s launched a new flavored popcorn. In my opinion the world can’t have enough vegan, flavored popcorns.  I was reading TJ’s product description and they say:  “You might not know you’ve been craving Indian-spiced popcorn, but once you taste Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn, you’ll wonder how you managed to make it this far without it.”  I wholeheartedly agree.  This has quickly become one of my favorite snacks.

Product: Trader Joe’s Bollywood Popcorn

Overall Grade: A+

bollywoodpopcornseal

Pros:

  • It’s like eating a hearty Indian dinner and a movie snack all at once.
  • It’s spicy.
  • It’s perfectly crunchy.
  • It smells really good.
  • It’s only $1.99 (at least in NC)
  • The spice haters leave more for me.
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Look at all that spicy goodness

What?  You’re still here instead of  rushing out to get a couple bags?  Ok.  I’ll make up a con.

Cons:

  • When you tell someone who is hesitant of spice that it’s spicy, they won’t believe you because it looks so cheesy.  They will find out you are telling the truth and possibly knock you down on the way to the water.

 

 

 

 

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo from Veggie Product Reviews!  It seemed only fitting that today we review a frozen taco.  Yes, a frozen *taco*.  I was going to get another box of Carla Lee’s Nut Balls, and right next door I saw Carla Lee’s Nut Tacos.  I’m easily enticed by anything taco and anything mini, so I picked up a box.  I really wanted to love them. Unfortunately, I just didn’t.

Product: Carla Lee’s Nut Tacos

 

nutTacos

Carla Lee’s Nut Tacos with vegan cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and hot sauce.

 

Overall Grade: C+  These were just ok and probably got the + just because they were so darn cute.  I was also a little annoyed by the fact that I had to use a spoon to push down the filling so there was room for toppings.  This is frozen food, it shouldn’t be that much “work”.  Yes, I know that’s lazy, but when I’m cooking prepared food from the freezer it’s because I’m feeling lazy.

Pros:

  • Small and easy to eat
  • The shells crisped up nicely
  • The shells didn’t crack too badly
  • The tacos were more filling than they look.  Those 4 tiny tacos with the toppings really were enough for dinner for me.
  • I recognize all the ingredients, so no scary stuff

Cons:

  • The filling didn’t get a crisp on it like the nut balls, so even for me it was a little soft
  • They’re a little greasy
  • The shells got super hot (obviously) but by the time they weren’t burning my fingers, the filling wasn’t hot enough
  • The heat level was weird.  It was too hot to be mild, too mild to be hot, too hot with the added hot sauce.  And, I like the flavor of my hot sauce better than the heat here)

Overall, I think the problems I had with the nut tacos could be solved by just selling the taco nut meat as crumbles and letting you cook it on the stove top for your own shells. You’re already doing the toppings anyway.   Or, if they’re really excited about the mini tacos, package the shells to go in the oven and the filling to go on the stove top and let you assemble.

 

 

 

 

 

From the Freezer Case: Carla Lee’s Nut Balls

I finally got around to making zucchini noodles last week and I wanted just the right thing to go with them.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting the Beyond Meat “meatballs”, but I haven’t seen them in stores yet. I did come across these while I was checking for them.

Product: 
Carla Lee’s Nut Balls

 

Carla Lee's Nut Balls #vegan #glutenfree #xgfx

 

Carla Lee's Nut Balls served with Zucchini Noodles and Arugula Pesto #vegprodrev #vegan #glutenfree #xgfx
Carla Lee’s Nut Balls served with Zucchini Noodles and Arugula Pesto

 

 

Overall Grade: B+ I really enjoyed them.  If I were the only consideration, I probably would give them an A.  I knocked it down just a little bit in consideration of our readers who aren’t gluten/soy free like I am.

Pros: 

  • Flavor is savory, but not overpowering to other items on the plate
  • I can pronounce all the ingredients and regularly have them in my kitchen.
  • Gets a nice little crisp on the outside
  • Fewer than 10 minutes from freezer to plate
  • They don’t really require quite as much oil as the directions say.  But do be sure to continue to turn them and not just let them sit on one side for too long.  They’re more likely to stick.

Cons: 

  • A little spendy.  But then I realize that I’m getting 3 servings and they’re natural ingredients and that helps balance this out. (plus, Carla Lee’s website says they give 50% of the net proceeds to feed humanity)
  • The name is a bit misleading. They’re called nut balls, but the first listed ingredient is brown rice.
  • Even though they get a nice crisp on the outside, they’re a little soft.  I foresee this being more of a problem for those of you who eat gluten / soy products.