Banza! It’s Pasta!

I have been hearing about this new pasta craze on social media and I was curious to give it a try. Since the pasta is sold at Costco, I only had the option of a large box. I held my breath and gently tossed the box in my cart, hoping that I didn’t commit to pasta we would not like. To my delight, we really enjoyed the flavor! I was also pleased with the high fiber and protein in the nutritional values. The best part for me was that it was a gluten free pasta that did not fall apart when cooked or reheated. Many rice based pastas do not last well as leftovers. They often get crunchy and/or fall apart.

box with sealpackage of pasta

Overall Grade: A

Product: Banza Pasta, Rotini Shapped

Pros:

  • This product is becoming widely available in stores across the US.
  • The pasta has a delicious taste. The flavor and texture seem very close to wheat pasta.
  • It is certified gluten free and GMO-free.
  • It contains only four ingredients and they are all things that I was familiar with – no funky ingredients.
  • A serving has a whopping 14g of protein and 8g of fiber! Wowsa!

Cons:

  • It is over $4 a box (if you look at the smaller individual boxes). Wheat pasta can be purchased for under a dollar. It doesn’t have the same nutrition, but if we want people to switch to healthier products, we need to make them more affordable.
  • There are two serving sizes on the box, 2oz and 3.4oz. The 3.4oz serving is 340 calories!! I know this is equivalent to wheat pasta, but I wish it were lower calories. If you are not calorie-obsessed like I am right now, then please ignore this con.
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Crab and a Clean Conscience- Gardein Crabless Cakes

Ahoy maidens and mateys!  Veganswashbuckler is back, or you may call me Squashbuckler for short, as me fellow Vegan reviewer Amanda will do.  The crew quite likes it, and I admit it be less of a mouthful than how I was christened.  Just don’t call me late for dinner, especially if Gardein Crabless Cakes be on the menu.  Arr!

These fine morsels deserve the grade of A.

Now, before I became a Vegan pirate, when I was a wee little corpse munching scalawag, methinks I tended to avoid the crab cakes.  I never cared for mayo, and even today I fear the Vegan version.  Nevertheless, if ye like the stuff, by all means check this out, from another of our Vegan reviewers, Dawn.  Nevertheless, blindfold any miserable corpse muncher and give them a taste test, and I dare them to tell me these cakes are crabless, ye scoundrels and crab steaming poltroons!  And, since they already be blindfolded, make them walk the plank unless they reform their ways!

These tender chunks of delight are a treat lightly fried, and they come out crispy on the outside and juicy in the center.  They have the essence of the briny deep, they do, and a fine texture that will leave ye in amazement.  Add these yummy fries as a side, courtesy of another of our Vegan reviewers, Julie, and ye will have yerself a mighty fine repast with little effort.  Tell the chef to have the night off, but to take it easy on the grog and bring yer ship back in one piece.

The only real criticism I have of these nuggets is that they’re a bit tinier than ye think, and they only come ten to a package.  Ye may be left a little unsatisfied, but the flavor is a big winner.

Not Your Parents Tofu Scramble (Microwave), Vegan MoFo Day 26

Last year for MoFo you might remember that we posted about The Vegg’s egg scramble product. Since then they have come up with an updated version of that product called “Not Your Parents’ Tofu Scramble”. The creator of The Vegg contacted us to ask us to provide a review the microwave version of the “Not Your Parents’ Tofu Scramble”.* I loved the old product, but it had complicated directions and it is no longer on the market. The title of the new product is a little confusing. It is an “egg” scramble. It is not a tofu scramble where you use a block of tofu. Confusion of the name aside, this product seems to imitate scrambled eggs quite well. As you can see by the pictures, it looks like scrambled eggs. The directions were very simple. Mix with water, place on a plate, microwave, push curds around, and then microwave more. You might remember that Follow Your Heart has a vegan egg scramble out as well that we reviewed during Day 1 of MoFo 2016. I am a huge fan of The Vegg because they were the first company to come out with a vegan egg yolk that has a wonderful taste and is easy to use.

5 oz package with seal

Product: Not Your Parents Tofu Scramble by The Vegg (Microwave Version)

Overall GradeA

plate with cooked NYPT scramble
Breakfast: GF O’Doughs bagel, Tofutti Cream Cheese, The Vegg Not Your Parents Tofu Scramble, and a SoL patty

Pros:

  • This product has 22g of protein per serving. Move over eggs from a chicken’s butt, this is some serious proteinage!
  • The product has 15% of your daily needs of iron and 20% of your daily needs of B12. The Vegg really took an opportunity to make this product more nutritional than the Follow Your Heart vegan egg.
  • There is NO cholesterol!!
  • The instructions are easy. No stove necessary, just a microwave.
  • The product is able to be made on the stove or in the microwave. Options are good.
  • The products is certified Kosher.
  • I don’t have to add any vegan milks to make this product high in protein. I’ll mention it again…….22 g of protein
  • The product easily makes curds that have a feel just like an egg in your mouth and look like scrambled eggs on your plate. Texture and look of this product is spot on.
  • It is gluten free! It is made in a facility with wheat though.
  • This product is toddler approved! My son loved it.
  • This made us feel like we were eating a plate of scrambled eggs. I’ve often missed that as a vegan and am glad to have this back in my life. I like being able to whip up some vegan eggs on a weekend. And since this is so easy, I can do it during the week too!
Whisked with water, ready to go into the microwave.

Cons:

  • Currently the 5 oz version is sold on The Vegg’s website for $9.59 (plus shipping and tax).  This product is not cheap. A carton of eggs is much cheaper.
  • The current products are mostly available online only. This isn’t for lack of trying on the part of The Vegg. I’d love to see this product on store shelves some day.
  • Without adding black salt, pepper, and other seasonings this product is quite bland. It didn’t have that much of an egg taste. I was able to easily remedy this with seasonings.
  • This product contains soy, which would be a con for people who need to avoid soy.
  • This product isn’t as versatile as it’s competitor at Follow Your Heart. It can only do scrambled eggs. It doesn’t seem to be able to be used for an omelette or quiche. The good news is that I think there are plans on the horizon for a product that makes an omelette. We hope to review that product when available.
NYPTS in microwave
After being microwaved for a few minutes. The curds are starting to form.

 

*We are willing to review any vegan product in exchange for an honest review from a member from our review team.

 

 

Square Bars

I love a good vegan snack bar. Bonus points for it being organic AND gluten free! Square Bars have definitely made it to my favorite list.

IMG_1084

 

Product: Squarebar
Overall Grade: A
Pros: 
  • Delicious! They taste like a less sweet version of a candy bar
  • Organic
  • Gluten-free
  • They have great flavors – the peanut butter and mint are the best
Cons: 
  • On the pricey side ($3 each at the store, however if you order a case on their website and use a coupon code, it can be less than $2 each depending on the sale or coupon code)
  • Not easy to find locally. The only store that I have seen them at is Whole Foods
 IMG_1083

Not Quite A Kitchen Tour (and a protein powder) – Day 13

I’m not going to do a full kitchen tour today for two reasons: 1. I don’t live alone so the kitchen isn’t fully vegan and 2. my cabinets are a mess.  I’m in the middle of reorganizing the ones that are specifically mine, but it’s a work in progress.

Instead, what I’m going to do is share with you a new kitchen addition since last year’s Vegan MoFo.  My nephew gifted my sister and me a Nutribullet last Christmas.

The one we got is red, has two small and one large blender cups, two lids, an extra screw-top handle for the handle-free cups, a blender blade and a mill blade.

My nutribullet is like this one.

This thing is a little powerhouse.  We use it for small batches of hummus, for smoothies, to grind chia seeds, to make flour out of whole grain buckwheat, to make nut meal and for various other things.  It’s easy to clean – all dishwasher safe, except the base obviously.  It’s also easy to take the cups on the go…take off the blade, flip the cup, and screw on the lid. The only real issue we have with it, is it takes just the right hand to get the cup/blade to connect with the base.  I’ve found that if you turn it so it fits into the base and makes a slight “drop” into to then you can the push the cup down to blend.  It was hard to get this down at first, but I think I have it now.

The other day, I made a smoothie in it using Vega Choc-a-lot protein smoothie.  As a recall, this was 1 scoop of the protein powder, 1 small banana, a couple handfuls of kale, coconut milk (beverage, not the canned kind), and a small spoonful of peanut butter.

 

Vega Protein Smoothie

 

 

Made with pea protein, hemp protein and other proteins (no gluten or soy), there’s 15 grams in a single scoop.  It also advertises two servings of veggies per 90 calorie serving.

I like using the variety of protein and getting so much nutrition in a small serving.  But, there’s one caveat.  The stevia taste is strong.  If you dislike stevia, you won’t like this protein powder.  I’m ok with stevia most of the time and it’s even a little strong for me.  I find that using a banana as the fruit helps temper it as does adding a little agave or maple syrup.

I realized as I was writing this post, that I’ve never used it in just a glass of non-dairy milk like it suggests on the package.  It didn’t really change my view on the powder.  It doesn’t fully stir in so it wasn’t smooth like a chocolate flavored milk and the taste is still stevia-like with a mild chocolate flavor.

So, it’s a mixed review from me…it’s something I buy because I like the nutrition, but I have to mask the taste a bit to really enjoy it.