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Vegan for the Holidays


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All the world is nuts about

    What's in The Nut Gourmet

The Nutty Gourmet

Vegetarians in Paradise

VeggieTaster Report


At considerable expense (a truckload of birdseed) we have engaged the services of a preeminent vegan food taster. With years of experience developing a discriminating gullet and a keen ability to peck out the best as well as the worst, our VeggieTaster will warble brutal honesty in evaluating vegan food products.

The tastings of this renowned authority are compiled in the VeggieTaster Report, an ongoing feature of Vegetarians in Paradise. Check back frequently to keep up to date on the latest tastings.

VIP Bird
The VeggieTaster's Newest Ratings


KATHLEEN'S CURRIED BEANS WITH LENTILS, GARBANZOS, AND SPLIT PEAS
SKINNY LEMON CO. THE MASTER CLEANSE
SIMPLY BALANCED MUSHROOM MISO TURKEY
NII ALMOND CHOCOLATE CHIP BAR
SWEET EARTH CURRY RECIPE SEITAN
BUDDY FRUITS



VeggieTaster Ratings Scale


The VeggieTaster rating system is strictly for the birds with five birds for the highest and one for the lowest. Ratings appear at the end of each item.


5 Birds



Soaring with the Eagles


4 Birds



Chirping in Close Harmony


3 Birds



Winging It


2 Birds



Cruising at Low Altitude


1 Bird



Fell Out of the Nest





Product Categories

Appetizers

Beverages

Breakfast Foods

Burgers

Cheese Substitutes

Chicken and Turkey Substitutes

Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and Candy

Cultured Non-Dairy "Yogurt"

Energy and Food Bars

Frozen Non-Dairy Desserts

Grains

Hot Dogs

Jerky

Meat Substitutes

Miscellaneous

Noodles and Pasta

Nut & Alternative Butters

Salad Dressings and Condiments

Sandwiches

Snacks

Soups

Sweeteners

Tofu and Tofu Products

Vegan Entrees

Product Index



Appetizers


Choked Up Over Artihearts

Oooh! Lucky me! I am basking in a sea of Monterey Farms ArtiHearts and lovin' it like crazy! They come in Grilled, Buffalo, Herbal, and Natural flavors and are cut into bite-size chunks. Each package holds 6-ounces of ready-to-eat flavored artichoke hearts that are to-die-for. Honest! I'm even licking my fingers to take advantage of every tidbit. The package suggests ways to cook them and use your favorite dip or dressing, but why spoil a good thing? They're perfect just they way they are. On second thought, they'd be great in a salad or on a vegan pizza -- yum! 5 Birds





Taste Treasures from the Land of Canaan

Searching for something vegan and gourmet for a small party, I lucked out with Canaan Foods-Elianni, a brand that makes the coolest Veggie Pate I've ever met. How about organic, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free, too! Ordered the Mushroom, Vegetable, Red Pepper-Olive, Peppercorn, and Vegetable flavors and man! Were they a hit! Needed plenty of crackers! These are the creamiest, smoothest pates with most alive flavors you can imagine. That first bite was Nirvana. So was the second and third. Licked my fingers and so did everyone else! Small cans 4.4 ounces but they go a long way. You can love it, too online at http://www.toeatwell.com 5 Birds





Beverages


This True Solution Will Shake You Up

This impressive high protein True Solution Nutrition Shake makes a tasty base for a morning smoothie. Tossed it into the blender and added a banana and a couple of handfuls of frozen blueberries and gave it a whirl. Went down smooth and easy--couldn't be more convenient, and would you believe it's got 17 grams of protein in only 11 ounces? This high-protein shake is great for my friend who just had jaw surgery and is wired shut for a whole month. All he can eat is liquid. This is just what he needs--and it's made from pea protein--not dairy or soy and is gluten-free. Come to think of it, this is perfect nourishment for anyone who has chewing issues. 5 Birds





Oat Works Really Works

Who would believe a beverage labeled Oat Works could possibly taste good? It didn't sound good, but the delicious Peach-Mango oat-powered fruit smoothie worked like magic to win me over. Actually it's a savvy fruit smoothie that has soluble fiber from oats to hit you with a dose of something actually healthy. The smoothie is 100% juice that's gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and kosher. It contains no added sugar and nothing artificial, just the well-hidden oats that you wouldn't even know were there. Tucked the 12-ounce bottle in the fridge and loved it totally--great refresher and energy booster with only 170 calories and not a drop of fat. Way cool! 5 Birds





This Herbal Coffee Suits Me to a "Tea"

Never been a coffee drinker, but I found Vanilla Nut Herbal Coffee, one heckofa cup of "tea" made by Teeccino. Really cool thing is it comes in tea bags so I didn't need a coffer maker, which I don't have anyway. Loved the flavor--it wasn't bitter like real coffee, but had a hint of sweetness hidden behind the assertive roasted barley taste that jumps right out in front. That's what was so yummy, and the ingredients knocked me over--it's mostly grains, nuts, and fruit. Cool, right? The tea bags come in a ton of flavors I have on my list to try. 5 Birds





Squeeze a Nut and See What Happens

Oatmeal with So Delicious Almond Plus Almondmilk Vanilla Flavor sounded so good I had to try it. Honestly, it really IS So Delicious and made that same old bowl of oatmeal come alive with flavor that actually zings! It's got a little touch of sweetness, but not too much, and the vanilla flavor is great. The best part is that it really tasted like almonds. Yeah, man, never enjoyed oatmeal so much! I'm keeping this stuff on my regular shopping list. It's pretty healthy, too, with only 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams total fat, and 5 grams of protein for an 8-ounce serving. Didn't use it all on the cereal and loved drinking the rest! 5 Birds





There's Passion in This Coconut Water

Combining coconut water with aloe vera isn't my idea of a delicious and refreshing drink--doesn't aloe go on sunburns?--but Coco Exposed coconut water with aloe vera, passion fruit, and pineapple is a game changer. The combo of the subtle coconut flavor with the just barely sweet tropical fruits feels like an indulgence, but it's only 60 calories for nearly 12 ounces. Also, the aloe vera pulp adds an inviting mouth feel, sort of like drinking bubble or boba tea, except that it's healthy for you and, the texture is more like really soft, small lychees. Even more of a turn-on are all the flavors to try--mango and mangosteen, pomegranate and cranberry, pink grapefruit and lemon, and some that sound really weird, like wheatgrass and goji berry and lychee. 5 Birds





Easier Than Cracking a Coconut

"Nature is smarter than science," is what the neat little 11-ounce carton of ZICO Pure Coconut Water says. And they're not kidding. Drinking this coconut water is just like opening one of those conical-shaped young coconuts and drinking right from the source. And it's so refreshing to read the ingredients list and find only 100% natural coconut water. Gotta admit it's really good chilled. Decided it keep a few on hand for car travel. Beside the pure taste, it's jammin' with 670 mg of potassium, 40 mg of calcium, and 25 mg of magnesium. And that's all natural! 5 Birds





Smoothie As Silk

Silk Live! Smoothie made by White Wave Foods cranks with great fruity flavors, but I really dug their cool, tangy peach. These smoothies are thick and creamy to the limit, and hey! they even have live cultures. Cooler still, they're dairy-free and kosher. You can use them as a pick-me-up, but I scarfed mine down for lunch and finished with a piece of fruit--felt so healthy and energized I buzzed through the afternoon without a hunger pang. Of course, with 7 g protein, 3 g fiber, and 220 calories for a 10-ounce bottle that lists between 10 and 35 percent DV for Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin E, Niacin, Folate, Biotin, Phosphorous, Magnesium, and Manganese, why would I need a snack? 5 Birds





Reap the Harvest One Sip at a Time

If I could sing like a pop star I'd belt out words like rich, thick and luxurious in five-part harmony. But hey, forget my voice--it stinks. On the other hand, Living Harvest Hempmilk Original flavor, absolutely sings its own song. It's soooo creamy, not overly sweet, kosher, and herbicide and pesticide free. Topping that, it's loaded with omega 3 and 6 and a list of natural vitamins and minerals that would keep you reading for at least five minutes. If it weren't so pricey, I'd take a bath in it, but instead I'm drinking it one delicious sip at a time. Don't know if they've made ice cream with it yet, but they ought to. 5 Birds





A Smoothie for Cool Cultured Tastes

Both the Apricot Mango and Peach flavors of WholeSoy & Co.'s Cultured Soy Smoothies made it to my list of fave snacks. When the mid-afternoon munchies rolled around, I gulped down half the 12-ounce bottle and saved the rest for later. What a great refresher this baby is! The ultra-thick, creamy texture and sweet-tart flavors were perfection! So good they left me wanting more, but160 calories seemed like enough of a splurge. These little smoothies support organic soy growers, and hey, they even contain four live cultures. 5 Birds





This Smoothie Is From Another Galaxy

Galaxy Nutritional Foods promises "great nutrition anytime" but does not deliver with its new Ultra Smoothie. In this yogurt-like container one will find a complete serving of protein, 100% vitamin C, low fat, cholesterol and lactose free. If only it tasted good. Even though it contains Tropicana fruit concentrate, it had a yucky artificial and chemical taste. You can do much better flinging some fruit and soy milk into a home blender. 1 Bird





Product Categories

Breakfast Foods


There's Power in Those Seeds

I know, I know-- Omega 3s are important, but who on earth can remember what foods have it! I was totally in the dark until I came across a smart, really, really smart product --Power of 3 Seed Blends. This company has it all figured out for us dummies and put the perfect blend of pumpkin, hemp, chia, and flax seeds into 8-ounce packages. And all those seeds have Omega-3s--the good stuff. Very cool! Then it comes down to flavors--so, for sprinkling on my oatmeal topped with tons of fresh fruit, the seed flavors didn't actually matter. What I really dug, though was the little hint of crunch that added so much to a rather mundane breakfast. Where flavor matters more is sprinkling the mixture on salad. That's when it would have been great to have the India Spice or Sea Salt and Garlic flavors. By the way, these itty bitty seeds pack quite a healthy punch with 3 tablespoons delivering 9g of protein, 7g of fiber, and 2800 mg of Omega 3s--impressive--huh! 5 Birds





Muffins for Dunkin' and Jammin'

Passionate about muffins, I find it hard to not love them all, but then, there are exceptions. Though the 2.8 ounce Cranberry Orange muffins from Our Daily Muffin were light and not overly sweet, they were so bloomin' dry my mouth thought it was wandering the Sahara dessert in search of an oasis. The 2.5 ounce Chocolate ones were even more of a parched-mouth experience. I will not crave these, yet they have merit. With only 0.5 grams of total fat for the Chocolate and zero fat for the Cranberry Orange, they might be just right for those on a very low fat diet. Another plus-they're loaded with fiber-4 grams for the Chocolate and 8 grams for the Cranberry Orange. Best way to enjoy them is to either pile on the fruit jam or dunk them into your coffee. 3 Birds





Maple Mornings Brighten the Day

One spoonful of Stark Sisters Granola by Debra's Natural Gourmet, Inc., and I was totally mapleized. The Maple Raspberry Blueberry flavor is deliciously fruity with maple syrup as the only sweetener. A touch of molasses, a ton of pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and pecans, and the hint of maple syrup give the Nutty Maple Molasses its great nutty, chewy character. Top of the list is the Maple Almond--it's maple to the max, full of almonds, and sports a few added grains like rye and barley in addition to the oats. None of the 3 flavors are disgustingly sweet like so many granolas, and none have those giant clumps typical of commercial brands. All have organic grains and 4 or 5 grams of fiber for a 1/2 cup serving--that's cool! They're pricey at $4.95 for a 12-ounce container but totally worth it! 5 Birds





Hand-held Breakfast

Doing breakfast on the run? You can't beat Amy's Tofu Scramble in a Pocket Sandwich! Two minutes in the microwave plus another two in the toaster oven to crisp up the crust and you're chomping away on Amy's grandma's favorite breakfast. Hold on, now--give it a minute or two to cool slightly, then pick it up and bite into this tasty, tofu-filled, dough-wrapped delicacy. Inside are teeny bits of chopped shiitake mushrooms, onions, red bell pepper, broccoli, and tomatoes to jump the flavor up a bit. It's organic, it's vegan. It's great! On this taster's wish-list is that Amy's had thought to make the dough from organic whole wheat instead of white flour. 4 Birds





Bob Has the Right Stuff

Starting the day with a really healthy hot cereal that's got plenty of fiber was Mom's idea of a good breakfast. This taster discovered that The Right Stuff by Bob's Red Mill is exactly what Mom ordered. Yes, it means cooking, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put some water in a pot, pour in some ground-up grains, and turn the stove on! A bowl of this organically grown combination of whole grain wheat, rye, corn, oats, spelt, kamut, and flaxseeds cooks up in about 5 minutes and keeps me chuggin' all the way to lunch. Of course, I top it off with some raisins, nuts, fruit, and soymilk to make breakfast a fun and yummy meal. 5 Birds





Product Categories

Burgers


Go Nuts over Carla Lee's Nut Burgers

The box of Carla Lee's Nut Burgers looked and sounded great and came 4 to a package. So I got ready for a yummy dinner. Followed the stovetop heating suggestion and honestly loved the taste--it was really really rich because it had cashews, pistachios, sunflower seeds, carrot juice, brown rice, and soy protein--all good stuff, but wait! There were a few downsides, some minor and some not.

  • The patty was as thin as a pancake.
  • It was mushy.
  • Each thin 3.5-ounce patty contained 20g of total fat and 2.5g saturated.

  • That's pretty darned heavy duty for one little patty! 3 Birds





    Ole! Chipotle!

    Looking for something different in a frozen burger, I discovered a package of Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle Veggie Burger that practically jumped into my hands. It sounded good. Turns out it was very, very good. I ignored the heating directions for stovetop, microwave, and grill, and popped them into the oven at 400 degrees for about 9 minutes. Perfect. Loved it. It rocks, too, with kernels of corn, black beans, bits of red and green bell pepper. And it comes with my flavor fave--a lively hit of chipotle! It's really delicious on its own and was even better as a filling for my pita. The bonus is it's low-cal, a mere 100 calories, 5g protein, and 5g fiber. Watch the fat, though--3g in each patty. 5 Birds





    Oh, Bahama, It's Jerkin' Good

    Searching for a soy-free burger I made a yummy discovery in the freezer section at the natural food market-- Bahama Rice Burger, Jerkin' Spicy flavor. It was a refreshing find--burgers made from a blend of brown rice, black rice, and wild rice and beans and totally soy free, wheat free, and gluten free--a real bonus for the soy and gluten-intolerant. Tasted them with and without the bun and loved the way they spiced up the whole meal. Great flavor and plenty of punch and hey, only 140 calories a burger, 5 grams of fat, and 5 grams of fiber in the deal. The only downside--they lack the chewy texture one might expect from a burger--the somewhat mushy consistency might not please everybody, but those burgers and I got along just fine. 4 Birds





    Tofu Goes Wild in the Wood

    Those tasty little Tofu-Veggie Burgers Original made by WildWood Organics come two-to-a-package and just wrapped me around their yummy little bits of carrot, onion, and kale. After warming a burger, I poked it into a pita. Within three bites I was wowed half way to nirvana! These babies are unique because they don't try to be immitation meat--they stand on their own delicious tofu character with perfect seasoning and even have 1 gram of fiber. Don't worry about protein--one great burger is loaded with 13g, but with 61% fat you might not want to slam too many down on your plate at once. 4 Birds





    Maui Zowie! Hawaiian Soul Food

    Browsing the freezer section of my local natural foods market, I spotted The Original Maui Taro Burger made by the Hawaii Taro Co. Inc. Little impulses of curiosity told me I had to try it. Followed the directions and pan-fried it 4 minutes on each side, then tucked it into a whole wheat bun with the usual stuff--lettuce, tomatoes, onions, veg mayo. Man! This is one seductive burger! It's got all the good stuff--brown rice, veggies, sunflower seeds, oats, and taro. To top it off, this baby zings with great flavor and only has 130 calories in its nearly 3.5-ounce patty. Other pluses--low fat, low sodium, and 3 grams of fiber. On the side of caution, this vegan Hawaiian specialty set me back a little over 4 bucks for the package of two patties. 5 Birds





    Surf's Up for This Burger

    Riding the waves in top form, these giant Maui Taro Burger patties by the Hawaii Taro Company crave a supersize bun to keep them from going over the edge. I was totally stoked after tasting this burger that's crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle. They come frozen, two to a package, and are ready to eat in about 8 minutes. You can't go wrong--3 grams of fiber from a combo of taro, brown rice, vegetables, oats, canola oil, sunflower seeds, and some spices--no add-ins you can't pronounce and only 2 grams of fat besides. 5 Birds





    The Veggie Burger That Ain't

    Curious about the new Burger King Veggie Burger with its 140 calories, 4 grams of total fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat, and 9 grams of protein, this vegan bird ordered it without the bun, and without the mayonnaise, and asked that it be microwaved rather than cooked on the meat-tempered grill. The side salad with French dressing completed the order. First impression--it's rather small with a few shreds of carrots and something green finely minced and embedded into an unappetizing, unidentifiable mixture of mashed something-or-other with a layer of glistening fat on the top. Second impressiončit tasted OK, but just OK. It had the mouthfeel of its 4 grams of fat and left one unsatisfied. The salad was mostly iceberg lettuce, a few shreds of carrots, a small wedge of tomato, and a floret of broccoli. Save your money and wait for another fast food chain to play one-upsmanship. 2 Birds





    Ride the Texas Range for Dinner

    Barbecue up an all vegan Amy's Texas Burger with yeeee-haw confidence. It's got great barbecue flavor along with a hint of veggies like onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers! Soy protein and wheat gluten-based for a good hit of protein, (12 grams worth) these burgers, packaged 4 to a box, have a chewy meaty texture characteristic of the real thing. For a frozen item, they're quick to fix, too. I heated mine in the oven, and while it was heating, I put together stuff like sliced tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. Even with all the fixin's, that down-home barbecue flavor got a thumbs-up from my taste buds. It was the perfect burger. 5 Birds





    Hurray for Hempnut!

    The most succulent burger to cross these discerning taste buds is the Hempnut Hempeh Veggieburger that comes wrapped with two patties in a package for sharing with a dining buddy. This tasty burger made from soybeans, brown rice, and hempseeds is all organic and all vegan. It rocks with a zesty smoke flavor and even has a nutty, chewy texture that gives your choppers something to gnaw on. Best of all, each patty provides 10 grams of protein and a whopping 765 mg of that hard-to-get Omega 3. 5 Birds





    Thumbs up, Morningstar!

    Natural Touch, the shining light of the Morningstar Farms line, makes a Vegan Burger that really hits the top of the charts with its earthy, savory flavor, toothy texture, and not too much of the junk additives. By itself, it's a little dry, but that's because it contains zero fat to make it juicy. In a bun with all the fixin's it goes down real easy. Easy to fix, too. All it needs is a little warming in the oven, microwave, or stove-top. If you're foraging for protein, look no further. One "pattie" in this 4-burger package contains 11 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber. 5 Birds





    Thumbs down, Morningstar!

    Guess Morningstar Farms thinks it takes 30 ingredients, many of them unpronounceable, to make a meatless burger with their Better 'n Burgers line. The back of the package carries the 100% vegan seal, and all of those 30 items listed are vegan, but wait! Does your body have a nutritional requirement for flavor enhancers, namely, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, aspartic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid, or succinic acid? Do these patties taste good? Yes, but who needs the chemicals? Pass on this one and choose a burger that's got "real" ingredients. 1 Bird





    Product Categories

    Cheese Substitutes


    Hooray-ah for Daiya

    I found my cheese in San Francisco, in Los Angeles, and even in San Diego, and discovered it's practically everywhere! It's such a kick to make totally vegan, soy-free pizza at home with Daiya Style Shreds in the Mozzarella flavor, a totally vegan cheese that actually melts! This cool company also has a to-die-for wedge of Havarti Jalapeno Garlic flavor. I can't stop spreading it on my whole wheat pita and nearly downed the whole 7.1-ounce package in one meal. Curious little me went to the company's website and discovered they make their cheeses in slices, wedges, shreds, and spreads and even have gluten-free pizza. How cool is that? Gotta put the brakes on gorging, though--these cheeses are not exactly low fat with 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella totaling 90 calories, 6g total fat, and 2g saturated. But they are soooo yum! 4 Birds





    The Parmesan Gods Heard My Prayers

    I'm confessing--I'm a committed Parmesan addict. Because I love the stuff so much I keep hoping someone will create a REALLY great vegan Parmesan. I literally prayed for the stuff, and guess what--my prayers were answered at last! I brought home this really attractive little pot-belly jar called Parmela Parmesan Cheese Replacer and it's AMAZING! It really tastes like Parmesan, but it's totally vegan. Some of the ingredients, like nuts and nutritional yeast, are similar to other imitations, but these guys ferment the stuff--seems to make all the difference. To do a quick test, I made some pizza toast and sprinkled the stuff on the top. Honest, it's the real thing. Not cheap, but worth the $6 price for the 2.5-ounce jar. The best thing is you don't need much to do the job. It goes further than you might think. 5 Birds





    Please Teese This Cheese

    A wicked cheese craving led me to Teese Cheese by Chicago Soydairy for a Mozzarella treat that melts fabulously on a pizza without a hitch--just kick up the oven temp to 450 degrees like the label on the plump little 5 1/2-inch 1-pound chub recommends. It's creamy white and even smells Italian like the real mozzarella. The Cheddar Style is like very mild cheddar and is also a great melter. It works like a dream on open-faced sandwiches under the broiler. I even sliced it and put it over some roasted veggies that I plopped onto some Ezekiel bread. Then I shoved it in the oven for melting. I turned this mess into a real sandwich with a couple of slices of vegan deli turkey and topped it with another slice of bread. Man! What a good eating sandwich! Gotta be careful, though, every ounce has 70 calories and 7 grams of fat, 2 grams saturated. Nice thing is these little chubs will last for 3 weeks in the fridge. 5 Birds





    Have Your Own Highland Sheese Fling

    At long last Sheese, a great tasting vegan cheese made in Scotland, has landed at my doorstep, well, not literally. The Strong Cheddar Style flavor is awesome for just plain eating with a chunk of bread or layered in a sandwich. Its texture is so outrageously good and similar to the real thing. I found it unexpectedly firm for a vegan cheese but still pleasantly creamy, and the flavor has such an edgy feel, sort of crusty--really out there. It's got that sharp, salty bite with a hard-to-describe tang that says, "Hey, this is cheddar!" The cheese comes in 4-inch rounds about 1-inch thick and it's kind of white, so I thought it was mislabeled. It was the real thing, and I could hardly control myself from eating the entire 1/2-pound package in one meal. Good thing I didn't, though. There's 8 grams of fat, 5 of them saturated in every ounce. The Mozzarella strays off course from its name and actually tastes more like a yummy medium cheddar with that same firm texture and cheddar tang. Neither flavor melts terribly well, even when shredded. But I have a better idea. I'm going to save both flavors for shredding into a salad, or to top a tostada--yum! Hey, it might even work as a flavor-booster soup garnish! Like any fancy important cheese, though, it's kind of pricey. 4 Birds





    Those Bagels Crave This Dream Cream Cheese

    The juices really started flowing when I took a look at the label that read Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese Alternative. Snapped it up and hauled a whole-wheat bagel out of the freezer, popped it into the toaster oven, then plunged into the cream cheese and gave the bagel a schmeer. I swear, it's killer stuff! It was thick, creamy smooth, and rich tasting, just like I remembered. Wow! A stunning moment of delicious nostalgia! At last I found my bagel's new best friend! But, hey! If I didn't care about the 8 grams of fat for the 2 tablespoons I spread on, I'd have eaten the whole 8-ounce container right then! 5 Birds





    Feta Wheta the Appetite

    An unassuming little package of Soy Feta Mediterranean Herb by Sunergia Soyfoods pretty near jumped off the shelf of the deli case and into my shopping basket. It read "low fat, vegan, organic, dairy-free, and gluten free." How could I lose? Brought it home and had to make a Greek salad that just lives for feta. Before chowing down, I crumbled some of the "feta" on the top. Man! Was it good! The real feta is just a faint memory now. Been years since it slid down my gullet. Though this version is a bit drier and less salty than I remember, it's a pretty cool stand-in. And would you believe, it even delivers 120 mg of ALA omega 3 per serving. 4 Birds





    It's O.K. to Play with Your Food

    Play Food came up with an out-of-this-world Whip Cheeze that's easy to love. Kinda reminds me of yummy cream cheese--the real thing, that is. But it's totally vegan and raw. The darned thing comes in a squeeze bottle and the stuff oozes out in soft, puffy, squiggles that you can spread on a bagel like I did. You shouldn't love it too much, though, because one ounce has 45 calories with 30 calories from fat--that's two-thirds fat--ouch! Cashews, water, and agave nectar are the main ingredients along with a few enhancers with names I don't recognize. 4 Birds





    Rice Is Nice in the Galaxy

    Craving a grilled cheese sandwich, I grabbed a package of Galaxy Pepper Jack Flavor Rice Slices, and laid two slices of the totally vegan cheese between my whole wheat bread. Poured a touch of oil into a skillet, flipped on the high heat, and plunked the sandwich down. I put a dish on top of the bread, then pressed on it with my hand for about two minutes. Flipped it over to finish the job and loved the cheesy result. The cheese didn't ooze, but it did melt nicely and sported the perfect spice. This faux cheese is a bonus for allergy sufferers--made only from rice, it's soy and gluten free with 2.5 grams of fat for each 45 calorie slice. 4 Birds





    Italian to the Roots!

    Soymage Vegan Parmesan Alternative is an amazing imitation Parmesan cheese that looks, tastes, and even smells like the real thing. Completely dairy-free and made from soy, this item is a winner. All it takes is a little sprinkle over that pasta, ravioli, or lasagne to make it so Italian even Mama Mia would love it. And it's lower in fat and minus the 4 mg of cholesterol in the real stuff. Convenient, too. It comes in a 4-ounce cylindrical container with a lid that lets you shake or pour. 5 Birds





    Non Capisce Parmigiano

    A three-ingredient wonder, Parma! Non-Dairy Parmesan Seasoning made by Eat in the Raw, Inc., falls short of its goal. The first step is the sniff test--nope, doesn't smell like Parmesan. Then comes the taste test--nope, doesn't taste like Parmesan either. However, it does have some positives. It's all raw, totally vegan, and pure as all get-out with nothing more than organic walnuts, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. Enjoy it as a seasoning--just don't expect Parmesan! One tablespoon even offers 4 grams of protein. 4 Birds





    Melt in Your Mouth Pizza Cheese

    For vegans, Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative is the best thing to come along since the discovery of the wheel! The four flavors: cheddar, nacho, Jack, and mozzarella are so exceptional they stand in for the real thing. The best part is this cheese really melts under the broiler and oozes like the real stuff. Totally vegan and made from non-GMO soy, this is a power product that even offers 2 grams of dietary fiber for each 1-ounce serving. You can't get that from the real thing! Try it on pizza, open-faced sandwiches, and salads or shred it into soups for a sensational topping. 5 Birds





    And It Melts, Too

    Soy cheeses without casein (a dairy protein) can be quite dismal. They just don't have that stretchy texture that makes pizza so enticing. Tofutti has some vegan cheeses that are a slice above the others. Their Tofutti Good and Healthy Soy-Cheese Slices are dairy-free and melt on a piece of bread rather than slide off when you take a bite. The slices come in Mozarella and Cheddar flavors, but the Roasted Garlic is the one we like for dressing up a sandwich. They taste great and they're cholesterol free BUT BEWARE! They have partially hydrogenated soybean oil loaded with trans fat. Each 70-calorie slice is 64% calories from fat. 3 Birds





    A Cheese That's Rella-tively Great

    Finding a vegan (casein-free) cheese that measures up to dairy cheese in taste, texture, and meltability is pretty close to impossible. However, this determined vegan found one that passed the test. It's the only Rella variety without casein. Vegan Rella, packaged in an 8-ounce brick, comes in cheddar and mozzarella flavors. Slice off a 1/4-inch strip, lay it on bread, and tuck it under the broiler. Though it doesn't ooze into a melted state like real cheese, it softens to a creamy texture and stays that way until you take the last bite. Flavorwise, it tops the list! Cheddar lovers will say it falls somewhere between mild and medium cheddar, while the mozzarella fans will compare it to a mild mozzarella. 5 Birds





    Soymage Oozes Out of Contention

    On a vegan cheese tasting binge, this taster found the comparison clear. Soymage Vegan (A Natural Alternative to Cheese) falls a little short. Available in 12-ounce bricks in cheddar and mozzarella flavors as well as in an 8-ounce package of individually wrapped singles, this pseudo-cheese doesn't taste bad. Where it misses is in the melting process. Under the broiler, the top "skin" burns while the middle oozes off the bread and makes a messy clean-up, or, with more careful timing, it doesn't ooze, but it doesn't do much of anything else either. The real disappointment is that it doesn't stay soft and melted. Moments after it comes out of the broiler it hardens up to its original state. What a bummer! 3 Birds





    Product Categories

    Chicken and Turkey Substitutes


    Simply Too Unbalanced for Me

    Surprised out of my gourd to find vegan food in the freezer case at Target, especially four frozen entrees packaged with their own Simply Balanced brand. I chose Mushroom Miso Turkey that boasted 13g of protein and "natural ingredients" on the front of the package. Threw the sauce packets in a bowl to defrost while I heated the chunks of fake turkey in a skillet. What a disappointment! The strips were way too soft and tasteless and totally missed on the texture to be labeled "turkey." I wondered who did the final taste test of the sauce. It was a flavorless goop. If Target wants to compete in the meatless arena, they'll have to do better than this. 2 Birds





    Wrap Your Fingers Around These Crispy Fingers

    Discovered a neat little package of frozen dinner eats in Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers. It was easy to wrap MY fingers around these yummy 4-inch long veggie chicken pieces for a whole lot of reasons--namely, the outrageous spicy chipotle flavor and the super-crispy and very well seasoned breading that coats them. Loved that they're so easy to pop in the oven, ignore for 25 minutes, and then gobble up. They were so delicious I could have eaten the whole package, but then, a touch of wisdom stopped me. The nutritional label on the back said that 2 pieces had 16g of protein. I figured that was enough considering it was not the only thing I ate for dinner. I was also surprised to see 2g of fiber in those two pieces--that's good news. The package has 3 servings, so I've got 2 more dinner eats to look forward to. A little heads-up about the fat content--these are definitely not low-fat goodies with 6g total fat per serving. 4 Birds





    There's a Buffalo in the Kitchen!

    Garden Protein International is one hot company! Their Gardein Garden Protein Classic Style Buffalo Wings literally sizzled once they hit home plate--my tongue, that is! Spice lovers like me loved the punched-up heat level of the chile seasoning, and the flavor's not too shabby either. The 9-ounce package holds approximately 10 brazenly sauced ovals reminiscent of real chicken wings, but these boldly delicious soy, gluten-free, and grain-based tidbits went down light and easy. I'm hooked! They even look cool. The package says 2 1/2 servings, but the whole package could easily make a meal if you're a big chowhound on the hunt for lots of protein. I shared and decided these buffalo wings would make a great appetizer to put on skewers with chunks of pineapple. That way they would even go farther--yeah, I'm a cheapskate! 5 Birds





    Hooray for V-USA!

    Made a great frozen discovery that's the ultimate convenience meal for hip vegheads who don't have time to cook! Vegan Kung Pao Chicken by VegeUSA marketed with the brand name Vegetarian Plus: A Meatless World is a royal feast! Defrosted it, chopped up some bell peppers and onions and cooked them up with the yummy looking fake chicken chunks and WOW what a meal! Actually it made 3 meals, although the package says 4 servings. It's got spice, it's got flavor, and it knocks me over with 13 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber. Not bad for a few chunks of non-GMO soy! Go easy though, these treats are a little high in fat and sodium. 4 Birds





    King of the Chicken Coop

    Follow Your Heart Country Smoked Chicken-Free Chicken scores really really big time in the realm of fake chicken. Wrapped in a funky chicken-shaped 10-ounce package, this chickie comes to market to bring joy to the table. One bite and I was hooked--what flavor! Great chewy texture! Its fab aroma knocked me over. Couldn't stop at one bite--had to have more of this incredible flavor. Simply put, it's the best tasting imitation chicken on the planet. Soy protein and gluten form the base. Nutrition-wise, 2 ounces delivers 11 grams of protein, 2 grams total fat, and a low 245 mg of sodium. 5 Birds





    Boca Chik'n Patties Lay Giant Egg

    On the way to the supermarket freezer case, Boca Spicy Meatless Chik'n Patties decided to put on a heavy overcoat -- of breading -- almost half of each patty. Although the label said 6 grams of fat, compared to 13 grams in a real breaded chicken patty, each greasy bite made me feel like a dumb cluck for making this purchase. Spicy, YES. Flavorful, NO. The Boca people need to sample the competition to learn how real fake chicken should taste. 1 Bird





    Clucking over Chicken-Free Patties

    The folks at Health Is Wealth really know how to capture that chicken flavor. These stone-ground whole-wheat breaded Chicken-Free Patties have to be the best things since the chicken crossed the road. Why did he anyway? It's not the 14 grams of protein or the 1.5 grams of fat that brings me back to the freezer case for more, it's the over-the-top flavor that makes this the best breaded chicken patty I've ever tasted. It's a pure vegan delight without MSG, preservatives, artificial additives, colors, or flavors. 5 Birds





    Cutlets Get Smart

    Lightlife's Smart Cutlets sure are dumb. I should have known better! Anything spelled "Chick'n" can't be good. These fake breaded chicken cutlets are just about the most rubbery things I've ever eaten, and they aren't that flavorful, either. I made the mistake of sauteeing them, slicing them into strips, and putting them into a Caesar salad. We didn't even finish them. If you can get beyond the icky texture and lack of taste, they aren't so bad. Nutritionally, they are only 140 calories a piece, with no cholesterol and only half a gram of fat. 1 Bird





    Product Categories


    Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and Candy

    Cuckoo for Coco-Roons

    Coco-Roons Lemon Pie flavor by Wonderfully Raw are the cutest little coconut macaroons I've ever seen--a perfect dessert to serve my friend who's an unabashed cookie addict. We both gobbled them down like they'd be gone tomorrow--actually, they were. Packed into this little 6-ounce bag were 8 creamy white, little mounds about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and about 1-inch high. Made of unsweetened coconut and raw almond flour, they were ultra moist and damn delicious! Here's some neat stuff about them: they're all raw, certified organic, gluten-free, and kosher. Just don't eat them all in one sitting--one cookie has 78 calories, 6g total fat, and 4g saturated fat. 4 Birds





    Maxine Fills the Bag with Heavenly Bites

    I don't know about you, but I need a sweet little nibble in my daily life. Discovered Maxine's Heavenly Vegan Cookies in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin flavors and boy! Are they ever heavenly! Just like you wish your mom could make. Coconut sugar gives them the perfect sweetness without being over the top and the big fat chunks of chocolate in the peanut butter flavor were to-die for. Some vegan cookies are kind of mushy--not these! They're crisp, yet moist, and chewy at the same time! Listen up--they're organic, gluten-free, soy-free and non-GMO. I love 'em--gotta try the other flavors! Watch out, though, they do have a few calories--140 for each cookie! 5 Birds





    Dandies Love Chocolate--and We Love Them Too

    Remember marshmallows? Those puffy little cloud-like sweet nothings we used to put on a stick and roast over a campfire or poke into our cups of hot chocolate? They're back and come in a 10-ounce package of Dandies Minis by Chicago Vegan Foods. Well, they've shrunken a bit and are teeny tiny little air-puffed wonders that taste just like I remember them! And I can tell you these pixie puffs still work great on hot chocolate! Love them! They're also totally vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and gelatin-free. These minis are also a zero-fat delight--seriously--there's no fat in the ingredients. 5 Birds





    Oh Fudge, I'm Indulging

    Chocolate lover that I am, I spotted Fudge Indulgence Cookie on the store shelf, and did it ever shout my name! The message was loud and clear--I simply had to have that chocolaty treat from the Alternative Baking Company. This cookie is to dream about--so, so soft, chewy, and perfectly moist and OMG it's so rich tasting I'm craving another one. Yeah, of course, it's got calories, 230 of them, and it does have a bit of fat, 7g total with 3.5g saturated fat, but I don't go chocolate dipping every day--it's a very naughty once-in-a-while treat, but it's deliriously delicious. And, guess what--it's gluten-free. Would you believe that little 2 1/4-ounce cookie has 3g of fiber? 4 Birds





    Wholly Moly, What a Wild Blueberry Pie!

    A couple of friends came over for some eats, and brought a frozen Wholly-Wholesome Truly Natural Blueberry Pie that was totally vegan. Turned on the oven and stuck it in for the 55 minutes recommended on the package. It smelled good, but I didn't think much about it, since most frozen pies are pretty yucky. Still, that blueberry aroma was pretty compelling. Dessert time came and we all dug in without hesitation. Admittedly, it rocked us all and transported us to gourmet nirvana! Neat thing is, it's not sickeningly sweet--the sweetness is perfect and the flavor of the wild blueberries is awesome! The wheat and rice crust has a great mouth-feel, too. The package says 6 servings, but we polished it off in a blink! Great stuff! So instead of 310 calories had there been 6 of us, we each downed 465 calories! 5 Birds





    At Last, a Real Vegan Marshmallow

    Sweet & Sara did it right! She filled a niche this vegan has been craving forever--a totally vegan marshmallow that really tastes like a marshmallow should. She calls them Marshmallow Meltaways and I went and melted away half a package of the Toasted Coconut ones before I could put on the brakes! Don't come near these if you're planning to diet--they won't help a bit, but they will provide you with at least 5 minutes of pure ecstasy if you chomp 'em down fast. But the best way to enjoy them is to slow down and take tiny bites. That way you can stretch out the dreamy sweet, airy delight and make it last lots longer. Two heads up, though. They're cool dudes--you gotta keep them refrigerated. You gotta earn big bucks to buy these often. 5 Birds





    Thwack Your Taste Buds with Delights

    Vegan Delights Chocolate Treasures are little, unassuming, all-chocolate cookies as slender as a vegan but capable of unleashing a dizzying spin of chocolate rapture that hits the taste buds with a thwack of rich, melt-in-the mouth flavor. Deep chocolate to the core and moist like a typical brownie, these cookies even have a couple of weeks of staying power at room temperature as well. They may not be considered a national treasure, but vegans won't hesitate to adopt them as a vegan treasure! 5 Birds





    Too Good to be True!

    Cookie! Cookie! I need more Cookie! Those were the words I felt like shouting after gorging on my half of the giant 4 1/2-inch vegan Chocolate Cappuccino Cookie by Frankly Natural Bakers. I almost regretted sharing the cookie with my friend. This baby packed a wallop of decadent chocolate flavor, delivered rich texture with whole chocolate chips, and sent me into deep cappuccino ecstasy! Putting it mildly, it's a sensational treat. 5 Birds





    Stranded in Chocolate Chip Paradise!

    It's hard to imagine that one innocent little 2 1/2-inch Chocolate Chip Cookie could send me into a frenzy of delight, but it did! Not too crispy and not too chewy, this divine vegan cookie, made of mostly organic ingredients, by Vegan Delights has got it right with a texture that's halfway between. This tiny treat looks undistinguished, but, ohhhh! one bite tells a different story! This diminutive, sweet, chocolaty, and walnutty baby eased my insatiable cookie cravings in an instant. Hmmm, makes me wonder about the other cookies in their cupboard! 5 Birds





    One Bite Is Never Enough

    Chocolate, oh soy-milk chocolate, how you charge up my spirits and make me smile! What absolutely made my day is popping one of those little foil-wrapped half-balls of ChocoSoy Soy-Milk Chocolate into my mouth and experiencing pure heaven. It's just-right sweet and it's all vegan with non-refined sugar and non-GMO soymilk. Life is good! And good for the environment, too. There are 5 one-inch "balls" of chocolate in each attractively packaged ecologically-friendly brown paper carton that's tied with buriti palm fiber from Brazil. And, as you might expect, one piece of chocolate leads to another--but, fortunately, my indulgence was limited to the 5 pieces in the package! 5 Birds





    Blondies vs. Brownies

    When it came to a choice between the Macadamia Brownie or the Butterscotch Blondie by Frankly Natural Bakers, this taster decided it was almost a dead heat. Both were flat out vegan decadence in the bar cookie category. However, the Butterscotch Blondie with its organic oat flour won out with its exceptional flavor, moistness, and wholesome ingredients. The Macadamia Brownie dished up plenty of real pleasure for the dedicated chocoholic, but it was a tad too dry for my taste. That doesn't mean you should skip it altogether--it's got plenty going for it. Just make sure your mod bod can handle the 400 calories for the Blondies or the 375 calories for the Brownies now and then. Of, course, if you eat half today, and, well,-- you know. 5 Birds





    Decadently Awesome

    Chocolate Decadence holds the patent on the most intoxicating chocolates a vegan could possibly seek out for serious sinning. The Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Espresso, and Double Chocolate buttons were so downright awesome it was hard to believe they were really vegan, but rest assured, they are. Creamy and silky smooth and rich, rich deep chocolate flavor--believe me, they went down easy. Totally dairy-free and casein-free, the chocolates are formed into every possible shape and size and come packed in the nicest little gift packages you could want--lots more flavors, too! 5 Birds





    Shared Pleasure Makes Love Bloom

    Nana's Cookie Company must have had romance in mind when they created their 10 varieties of moist and chewy quarter-pounder cookies that are intended to serve two. My first thought was that these cookies are so plump they must be on hormones! But no, they're just plain voluptuous! The Oatmeal Raisin and the Peanut Butter both have that old-fashioned richness you expect from an indulgence, and neither has that overly sweet taste that comes from refined sugar. These are sweetened with natural fruit juices, have no hydrogenated fats, and are totally vegan. I loved them both for their texture and flavor, and the 180 calories went down without a hitch. My partner kept eyeing my half to make sure I ate it all. 5 Birds





    Eh, What's Up, Doc?

    Fabe's Natural Gourmet Mini Vegan Carrot Cake just knocked me over it was so good! I could actually taste the sweetness of the carrots and the just-right touch of spice. The texture was soft and moist--it was definitely an indulgent dessert without being overly sweet. Just don't splurge too often. With 140 calories for one fourth of the cake you can quickly escort 60 fat grams to your waistline. The mini cake comes in a cute 9-ounce package that makes the perfect little gift to bring if someone invites you to dinner. 5 Birds





    Chocolate Champions

    Heavenly Fudge Brownie by Allison's Gourmet is definitely the world class brownie champion. Unwrap the package and the rich chocolate aroma heads straight for the internal chocolate radar screen. One bite floated me into chocolate ecstasy with flavor so rich and texture so perfectly moist and chewy. It was a nearly guilt-free experience knowing the brownies are made with all organic and natural ingredients. Chomping on Allison's Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies is an experience that closely mimics the brownie tasting. Definitely a cookie and not a brownie, the texture falls between chewy and crunchy, the flavor most definitely chocolate with a robust zap of mint that gives it character. It rocks. 5 Birds





    Chocolate Lover's Heaven

    The Double Chocolate Chip cookie by Fabe's Natural Gourmet is the ultimate chocolate heaven for anyone with a passion for chocolate like this veggie taster. Starting with the just-right fudgy, chewy texture down to that to-die-for double chocolate flavor--it's pure vegan ecstasy. Don't get too carried away, though--each cookie packs 260 calories and 11 grams of fat, 8 of them saturated. It's a treat--a once-in-a-while thing! 5 Birds





    Cookies that Rule

    The spicy splash of cinnamon and cloves puts the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie by the Alternative Baking Company, Inc. on the top of my list. It's soft, chewy, and wonderfully wal-nutty. Better yet, its super size of 4.5 ounces makes it an ideal treat to share. Feels like an old fashioned idea with a hip new style of no dairy, zip hydrogenated oils, no honey, zero refined sugar--it's a vegan cookie lover's dream come true! However, beware the 240 calories and 8 grams of fat, 2 grams saturated per sinful pleasure. 4 Birds





    Hold the salt, please!

    Allison's Gourmet Chocolate Macadamia, Chocolate Chip Pecan, and Peanut Butter Cookies left this taster a little disappointed, but not completely. The texture of each had a good crunchy and nutty quality, but overall they were a bit dry. What came to the foreground was an unexpected saltiness. Perhaps they were not sweet enough to compensate, but salt is not what I yearn for in a cookie. What I want to taste in a peanut butter cookie is a healthy dose of peanut butter-- Allison's Peanut Butter Cookie missed the mark. 3 Birds





    Product Categories

    Cultured Non-Dairy "Yogurt"

    It's So Delicious and Cultured, Too

    Just when I thought there were no new kinds of yogurt to be invented, So Delicious arrived in the deli case with Cultured Coconut Milk in a ton of tempting flavors. Coconut milk base? Wow! That's great for those who can't do dairy or soy. The folks at Turtle Mountain got it right with this smooth, flavorful, ultra creamy delight that will have you hurrying back to the store for more. I went wild over the Pina Colada, Raspberry, and Chocolate that were not overly sweet and noticed they even have a couple of grams of fiber and live cultures. All good, but if you're watching your calories and fat, the six-ounce carton may not be your first choice with the 150 to 170 calories each and 5 grams of saturated fat (from the coconut). 4 Birds





    Who'da Thought of Rice Yogurt?

    Didn't know rice could be sooooooo nice but just struck gold when I discovered Ricera Rice Yogurt a seriously yummy, totally vegan, certified organic, whole-grain brown rice yogurt. It's hands-down perfect for the soy-intolerant, but it stands on its own two feet with rockin' flavor and creaminess. I went for the organic blueberry flavor and could actually taste and feel the bits of ground up berries in the texture--what a plus to have real fruit in a product that lists fruit on its label! Now, I'm a dedicated fan! Get this-- the 6-ounce carton delivers only 1 gram of fat in its 180 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber. 5 Birds





    Faaaabulous Yogurt!

    Count on Trader Joe's Cultured Soy Strawberry or Blueberry flavors to deliver the tastiest, creamiest "yogurt-style" breakfast or snack you've ever tasted. If you crave thick, lavishly rich tasting "yogurt" as much as I do, then look no further. Every spoonful bursts with the fruity sweetness from the real strawberries and blueberries. Both were pure heaven down to the last mouthful. And this might sound strange--it felt good going down--I'm talking great mouthfeel. With 2.5g of fat and 5g of protein in the 6-ounce carton, it runs neck in neck with WholeSoy in ruling the soy culture kingdom. 5 Birds





    WholeSoy Rules the Cultured Kingdom

    WholeSoy Creamy Cultured Soy Blueberry reigns over the soy culture kingdom with flavor and creaminess I just can't get enough of. Like the Trader Joe's brand, it's divinely thick and goes down sooo smooth. You don't have to guess if there are really blueberries in there, you can really taste them. I couldn't help thinking I was floating on a fluffy blueberry cloud. The 6-ounce serving is made with organic ingredients and has 2.5g of fat and 5g of protein. 5 Birds





    Not Wild about Wildwood

    Wildwood Soyogurt Cultured Soymilk Strawberry Patch and Blue Moon Blueberry flavors don't quite measure up to the faaaabulous kings because of their looser, runnier textures that seemed more like a beverage. Flavorwise, they're not a bad yogurt-style breakfast, but both flavors leave a mild aftertaste that wrinkles the nose. I did like the little chunks of real fruit that turned up in almost every light, creamy spoonful. Another thing going for this brand is that it is certified organic. A bit high in fat with 3.5g, it does offer 6g of protein. 4 Birds





    Silk Not So Silky

    Silk Cultured Soy Strawberry and Blueberry flavors left a pronounced aftertaste that made me think they were totally artificial, yet there's real fruit listed in the ingredients. Comparing the colors of each of the brands, I found this strawberry flavor unappealing with its greyish, brownish tint that fought with what attempted to be a soft pink hue. Both flavors have the runniest consistency of all the yogurts I tasted. They pass for soy yogurt and will do when there is no other choice, but - - - 3 Birds





    O'Soy is O'Too Sweet
    A single 6-ounce carton Stonyfield Farm All Natural O'Soy Raspberry Cultured Soy tastes as if it soaked up an entire field of sugar cane. With its 27 g of sugar, this concoction reminds me of overly sweetened pudding that ought to be labeled "dessert yogurt." On the other hand, this cultured soy offers a smooth, fruity taste with no afterbite. Made with organic raspberries, soymilk, and sugar, this creamy yogurt boasts 15% of your daily calcium needs while delivering 7 g of protein and a bunch of active cultures. 3 Birds





    Culture Minus Taste

    Nancy's Cultured Soy Raspberry has everything a healthy yogurt should sport except a pleasing taste. It's made from all organic ingredients like soymilk, amazake, scads of raspberries, and grape juice and even provides more than your daily requirement of vitamins C and E and a generous serving of calcium, but it flunks the taste test. While some cultured soy products are overly sweetened, this one needs a boost in sweetening and a fruitier flavor. 3 Birds





    For those seeking a plain, unsweetened cultured soy yogurt, check out the comments below:

    Blissed by Soyogurt

    Can't imagine a plain, unsweetened soy yogurt could possibly tease out a happy face? Plunge a spoon into Wildwood Plain Soyogurt Unsweetened and feel pure bliss comin' on. I couldn't believe it myself, but it rocks. I threw a few spoons of it on a fruit salad--loved it! I tossed a salad with it and added some salt and pepper--very cool and it was super easy--even for me! Best of all, make a smoothie with a banana, yogurt, a few dates, and a heaping spoonful of tahini--that's nirvana in a glass! Dig these cool numbers: 100% organic soy, 9g protein in an 8-ounce serving, a blast of 550 mg potassium, 6 active cultures, and 6g fiber. Go easy--it's got 38% calories from fat. 4 Birds





    Product Categories


    Energy and Food Bars


    A Chip Off the Old Almond

    Discovered NII Bar-Almond Chocolate Chip flavor. It's organic, gluten-free, vegan, and even soy-free--what's not to love! It's delicious without being over-the-top sweet with its soft, moist, and chewy texture. It's totally fab, and I really like the 1.8-ounce size--just right in so many ways--especially that it keeps me from overindulging. Bet you'll raise the bar with this one! 5 Birds





    Brown Bagging Can be Tasty Organic Fun

    Curious about the brown paper-bag packaging, I picked up a Colossal Coconut Mango Energy Bar made by Bearded Brothers and loved what the package said. So cool it's compostable. It's even raw, totally vegan, gluten and soy-free, non-GMO, and 99% of the ingredients are organic. What more could anyone ask? I really really loved it--so clean and real tasting because the ingredients are just simple stuff from nature and it was not over-the-top sweet like so many other bars. Because one 2-ounce bar is a bit caloric-- 238 calories, I did the smart thing and shared it with my best bud. 4 Birds





    Off the Farm Captures the City

    With so many energy bars to choose from, it's really hard to find one that stands out--but I did! I really, really did! Off the Farm says "Our ingredients are Off the Farm," and they actually taste like it. Their three flavors, Blueberry-Vanilla, Strawberry-Coconut, and Apple-Cinnamon knocked me over! It felt like I was eating fresh fruits and nuts. What I loved best was that I could clearly see and identify the chunks of fruits and nuts--they weren't all mushed up together in one unidentifiable, rectangular glob. And the taste was so awesome I didn't even share the bar. Loved that they weren't excessively sweet, too--they felt more natural, even though they do contain brown rice syrup. Also neat: 1 bar has only 200 calories and 4g fiber. 5 Birds





    Pure--Bar None

    I know. Don't go shopping when you're hungry. Bad idea. But wait! Actually, it's a great way to discover really cool treats like Pure Naturals and Pure Organic, fruit & nut bars in yum flavors like chocolate almond, wild blueberry, and cherry cashew. Can't beat 'em! And they're all raw, organic, and gluten-free. The awesome sweet and chewy 1.7-ounce bar with 190 calories was all I needed to get through the shopping trip with a happy, well-nurtured tummy. Question: How can the package say certified gluten-free when the bars are made in a facility that processes soy, milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, sesame, and tree nuts? 4 Birds





    An Earnest Decision

    A resolution to eat a healthier breakfast led me to an earnest eats granola plank. I decided to buy all three flavors: pomegranate walnut crisp; maple almond crunch; and blueberry vanilla crackle. The crisp, crackle, and crunch in their names not only had marketing appeal, but they also lived up to their descriptive sounds as I crunched, crackled, and crisped my way through three fab breakfasts. These are winners and much more fun to eat than the usually crumbly granola poured out of a bag. With one crunchy plank in my right hand and a piece of fruit in the other, I polished off breakfast like lightning and was out the door. So delicious, so convenient, and pretty darned healthy--that's my take. Each plank is 3-ounces and perfect for 1 serving (even though the package says 2 servings). Here's what makes them so special: tons of nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds) whole, gluten-free grains, dried fruits, and just right sweetness--all that and only 190 calories for half of the plank. 5 Birds





    Insanely Delicious--That's It!

    Prepping for a trip, I like to pack really healthy snacks to keep me fortified. Cruising the net, I happened onto That's It. fruit bars. What a product!--the purest, simplest, and killer delicious fruit bars ever. And would you believe there are only two ingredients in each bar--two kinds of fruit--That's It! Ordered the variety 12-pack and I'm ready to go. Get this--they're totally vegan, kosher, gluten-free, sugar-free, low glycemic, and contain no preservatives. Even better, each 35-gram bar has only 100 calories and 3 grams of fiber. Can't beat that! Just grabbed the apple and cherry bar and chewed up half of it already--sooo good! 5 Birds





    "Get Your Manna Raw"

    You'd swear it was manna from heaven when you wrapped your chops around Mayan Spice WildBar loaded with raw cacao and wild blue-green algae. It's got macadamias for crunch and a tiny bit of cayenne that tickled my very excited neurotransmitters with the first bite. Then I just had to have a second bite. Before I knew it, I had eaten the entire 1.6-ounce bar. This exceptional raw chocolate treat from Ancient Sun Nutrition that promises "sustained energy and stamina" is not only organic, kosher, and high in fiber (14 grams) and antioxidants, but it might also turn you into a raving addict if it were not so pricey. 5 Birds





    GoMega Far Away from This Odd-Walla Bar

    The Odwalla Bar! Berries GoMega tastes like something a medicine man would give you if you had a serious illness. After sampling this odd-tasting energy bar, I came to the conclusion that the Odwalla people should stick to squeezing their juices and stop trying to put baking soda, vegetable glycerin, and sea salt into a fruit bar. Give us a break. If you only have 21% organic ingredients in this weird tasting clump, why bother to mention it at all. 1 Bird





    The Sun Really Shines on These Raw Food Bars

    One bite and I was hooked. I wanted to scarf down a bushel of Soleil Organic Raw Food Bars, especially the blueberry flavor. How lucky can you get-they're organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and pure as hell. Not a preservative in sight! And I even got some omega 3's because they're made with flaxseeds and walnuts. Get this--no blueberry flavoring -- just real blueberries with some real cherries to make it even better. This is the real thing--what a treat to chow down 1.6 ounces in a fruit/nut bar that gives you 3 g of fiber along with 2 g of protein in the160-calorie snack. 5 Birds





    Energize with a Special Dynemo Blast

    Snack time was sublime when I chomped down on a Cinnamon Spice Dynemo Nutritional Energy Bar made by JAT Foods. Ditto for the Peanut Butter flavor and an extra WOW! for the Chocolate Brownie flavor. This company's on the right side of organics with 63% to 67% organic ingredients from real food like dates, nuts, and seeds. Nothing fake about these 1.76-ounce energy bars that promise no refined sugar, no trans fat, no GMO, no grains, no dairy, no cholesterol, no gluten--they're vegan and they're kosher with 6 grams of fiber and 210 mg of potassium. Can't beat that! 5 Birds





    Raising the Bar for a Real Pro

    One bite of ProBar and I wished I could climb inside a ProBar mountain, hibernate there all winter, nibbling now and then for rejuvenation, then slowly chew my way out one divine bite at a time by summer. If only one could make that heavenly 3-ounce bar last that long! Tastewise, this is the best of the bars--it doesn't get any better. It's all vegan, mostly raw, and all the ingredients are real foods that you can actually recognize. There's nothing you can't pronounce--just fruits, nuts, and grains. Loved it! But don't love it too often--each bar has 175 calories and 8 grams of fat. 5 Birds





    Xtremely Fake

    GeniSoy's Lemon Smash Xtreme Crunch Bar was a good idea with its soy nuts, apples, raisins, cranberries, cherries, almonds, and cashews. If only they had stopped with those fruits and nuts--but no! The ingredient list is long enough for bedtime reading, it's loaded with sweeteners (8 different kinds--no kidding!), and it tastes artificial. Not cool. Confession time: the taste test went down before looking carefully at the label (a really rare occurrence), and guess what? It's a vegan reject with its honey and sugar. 1 Bird





    Xtremely Pure

    Vegan Date-Nut Energy Square by Frankly Natural Bakers is wholesome, pure and natural, wonderfully chewy, loaded with flavor and just the right amount of sweetness from the dates to satisfy the urge for an afternoon snack. For those times when there's a long stretch between lunch and dinner, this is what you reach for. The Pecan Energy Square is just so-so--stick with the Date-Nut made with tahini, oats, sesame seeds, dates, sunflower seeds, and walnuts and sweetened with barley malt. Just don't do it too often or you'll add 340 calories by the time you've taken the last bite. 4 Birds





    Nutrition Bars for the Chicks

    The people at Clif, makers of the Clif Bar, make LUNA Bars, the "whole nutrition bar for women." These bars are so tasty and satisfying that many guys I know proclaim these as their favorites. Unlike many nutrition/energy/sports bars that taste like metallic chalk and Fig Newton regurgitation, LUNA Bars are sweet enough to satisfy a sweet craving, have a chewy and crispy texture, and don't taste like they are good for you. They come in tasty flavors such as Lemonzest, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Chai, Trail Mix, and others. The best part is they are free of wheat and dairy products, are sweetened with brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice, and weigh in at 180 calories. With 2 grams of fiber, 35% of the RDA of calcium, 100% RDA of folate, and soy as the first ingredient, these bars are a winning snack. 5 Birds





    Raw Goodness

    Organic Vegan Food Bar is probably the healthiest bar I've come across. The first ingredient is quinoa sprout powder, followed by fava bean sprout powder and soy sprout powder. On the upside, it's cold-processed so it qualifies as a "raw food." It has a total of 15 grams of protein, and -- get this -- it actually tastes pretty good. On the downside each bar is almost $3 (most bars are under $1.60). Additional complaint: the outer wrapper is a colorful yellow, and the yellow ink flakes off onto my hands. 4 Birds





    Wow, Wha Guru Chew!

    These pocket-sized snacks are packed with all kinds of weird stuff (cork tree bark, asian psyllium seed, Chinese goldenthread root, etc.) but they taste great. Sweetened with honey or evaporated cane juice, Wha Guru Chew comes in flavors such as Ginger Almond with Dandelion, Sesame Almond, and Vanilla Cashew (this bird's favorite). Their compact size makes them special for traveling, and they are a great energy booster in between meals. 4 Birds





    2Wice as Good

    Ranking highest in the energy bar category is the 2Wice as Big Gluten-Free Date-Nut Bar by Frankly Natural Bakers with 3.5 ounces of vegan chewy, crunchy, and deliriously delicious flavor. It's so pure it's outrageous. The crunchiness comes from soynuts, sunflower seeds, and walnuts. The chewiness is a combo of dates and sesame, and the vanilla, organic cane juice, and grape juice top it off with that perfect touch of sweetness. Actually, one half of the almost-square bar is just right for an afternoon energy boost, so share it with someone who truly appreciates the good stuff. Be aware that it's a little on the caloric side, so don't do it every day--one half of the bar dishes up a divine 200 calories. 5 Birds





    Product Categories

    Frozen Non-Dairy Desserts


    These Mavens Create OMG YUMMY Desserts

    Imagine an all vegan ice cream that's outrageously delicious, comes in a choice of coconut or soy base, and doesn't melt into a liquid pool the minute it hits air! That's DF Mavens Dairy-Free Frozen Dessert! Tried the New Orleans Salted Praline and Peanut Butter Fudge Mash, both flavors soy-based and dairy-free, and OMG, OMG, OMG! Also tried the Del Lago Chocolate, made with coconut milk. If I were banished to a desert island, these awesome crazy vegan ice creams are what I would choose to take with me, along with some company, of course! These are decadent and totally indulgent treats. 5 Birds





    A Pint-Size Tower of Bliss

    When dessert time came around, I was prepared. The day before, while impulse shopping, I picked up Luna and Larry's Organic Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Bliss in a one-pint carton. Opened the lid and plunged my spoon into the center only to discover it was rock hard. Patience paid off big time. Fifteen minutes later I was deep into coconut bliss and loving every spoonful. The big plus is that this all-vegan, gluten-free, non-dairy frozen dessert is not disgustingly sweet but certainly sweet enough to deliver lots of delirious joy. The chocolate is dreamy, the chunks of peanut butter are yummy, and the coconut nut milk base makes it a total winner. Go easy, though. Each of the 4 servings in the 1-pint container bequeaths 250 calories, 18g total fat, and 11g saturated fat to your body. 5 Birds





    Lip Smackin' Sorbet Frenzy

    I'd shimmy up a coconut tree in a minute if I could lock my lips around Sharon's Coconut Sorbet all day long. Every snow-white spoonful is nirvana and heaven in a bowl--almost a religious experience. Sharon's other flavors go down easy too, but the creamy coconut is so smooth many ice creams would be envious. Bad news--this killer sorbet comes in a 16-oz. container, defying me or anyone else not to finish it in one mad-eating frenzy. It should be labeled, "Purchase at your own risk." 5 Birds





    Oh, So Decadent!

    The Turtle Mountain dudes are so cool! They're packing three new flavors of their Purely Decadent Dairy Free Dessert and are they ever a blast! Pomegranate Chip is my fave, with its killer chunks of chocolate and sweet-tart "pom" flavor, and it even has 5 grams of fiber. How's that for ice cream! My second choice is the Very Strawberry with intensely cranked-up strawberry flavor. It's sweet heaven on earth! Third choice is the Cookie Dough--it's even gluten-free with globs of rice-flour-based cookie dough and chocolate chips. Not a bad trio! But go easy on the treats--they sport more than a few calories! 4 Birds





    To properly evaluate the non-dairy ice cream-type desserts, this taster felt it necessary to purchase the same flavor, Mocha Fudge, from different manufacturers and make a comparison. The following three entries are included in this tasting.

    Sweet Nothings Are Really Something

    The Sweet Nothings Mocha Fudge made by Turtle Mountain provides amazing flavor for its zero-fat content and sweetening only from tapioca syrup. Dieters or those following an Ornish/McDougall food plan can wallow with pleasure in the cooling dessert with its definitive mocha flavor sans the almonds while consuming only 110 calories per serving. The texture is reminiscent of what used to be called ice milk. What's missing is the rich mouthfeel that only a heavy dose of fat can provide. With only 13g of sugar, the flavor lacks a little in depth, but only a little. It still delivers well on its no-fat focus. An added bonus, it's kosher. 3 Birds





    Somewhere over a Double Rainbow

    Coffee Almond Fudge made by Double Rainbow offers the most robust mocha flavor, swirls of fudge that really satisfy like fudge, and lots of crunchy roasted almonds throughout. Dieters better side-step this treat with its 240 calories a serving. No claims for low fat on this label--the dessert lacks the creaminess one would naturally expect with a fat content of 13g per serving. Made of kosher ingredients, the exquisitely rich flavor is almost enough to make up for the somewhat grainy texture. 4 Birds





    The Great Mocha Masquerade

    So Delicious by Turtle Island makes a Mocha Almond Fudge that tastes more like caramel than fudge and falls short on the mocha. Still, I had no trouble downing a healthy portion with its excellent creaminess that's to die for. Lower in fat than Double Rainbow, its 9g of fat delivered the best mouthfeel--a true satiny texture, and a few less calories with 200 per serving. There were roasted almonds with almost every spoonful. I wouldn't have had a bite of disappointment if the manufacturer had labeled it Creamy Caramel instead of Mocha Almond Fudge. 4 Birds





    Product Categories

    Grains

    SooFoo Is a Rockin' Moroccan Adventure

    What I gem I discovered when I tasted the first bite of SooFoo Moroccan Medley, a fabulously seasoned 6-ounce packet containing a mixture of healthy whole grains and lentils. This was one of the coolest food adventures I've had in a long time--this stuff is certified organic, non-GMO verified, kosher, and vegan to the core. Since I was not starving and had a ton of stuff to do, I didn't mind the 45 minute cook time--heck, all I did was open the package, pour it into a pot, and add water--not a chore at all and it was such a great-tasting blend of nice chewy healthy grains I couldn't complain a bit. Even better is that each of the 4 servings has only 150 calories and is really low in fat. Loved it! 5 Birds





    It's Freekeh Good!

    Got jazzed when I discovered Freekeh! It's my new food passion, and I simply can't stop eating it. It's Organic, Toasted, Cracked Green Wheat made by Freekeh Foods Inc. and comes in 8-ounce packages. It's an awesome grain and cooks up in about 20 to 25 minutes. It's so good I had to try all three flavors--Tamari, Original, and Rosemary Sage. I love, love, love the chewy texture of the little grains, and it's delish with or without sauce or in a soup or salad. Cool thing is it's damn healthy with only 1g of fat, 6g protein, 4g fiber, and a ton of minerals per serving. 5 Birds





    There's Oatmeal in My Spaghetti

    I love pasta, but even more so when it's made with whole grains, so that's why DeBoles Oat Bran Spaghetti jumped off the shelf and into my grocery basket. When cooked up in only 6 minutes and tossed with a light tomato sauce, this blend of organic semolina and organic oat bran delivers pleasing texture and mild taste with no discernable wheaty flavor in its 5 grams of fiber. 5 Birds





    Going with the Grain

    Seeds of Change sure brought me a cool and very delicious change with their Persia Seven Whole Grain Pilaf Blend. Bought the 5.6-ounce box at the natural foods market because I really dug the all-organic ingredients and was desperate for something besides just brown rice. Here's what makes it hip and hot: brown rice, spelt, oats, barley, wild rice, bulgur wheat, and rye berries. Just 40 minutes in the pot and I was chowing this stuff down and loving every bite of the chewy grains that even came with a seasoning packet. Yup, they made it easy. The package has 2 1/2 servings with 6g protein and 5g fiber per serving. It's even got 390 mg of potassium--that's great--but the 750 mg sodium, well, that's not so great. 4 Birds





    The Incas Brought a Good Thing Down from the Hills--Keen-Wa

    I love quinoa. Been chowing it down for years but didn't know the Quinoa Corporation also has Ancient Harvest Inca Red Quinoa. The 12-ounce package calls it an heirloom variety, all organic, whole grain, pre-washed. Don't even have to rinse it--yea! True to the hype on the package, it cooked in 15 minutes and the reddish brown color was so gorgeous to look at I had to grab my camera! The real deal is the great tasting nutty flavor, fabulous texture, and good for you facts listed on the package. I was amazed to see 1/4 cup of the dry quinoa has 6 grams of protein AND 6 grams of fiber. I'm impressed. It's going to be a regular on my shopping list! 5 Birds





    Product Categories

    Hot Dogs


    Rather than taking on the task of rating several different varieties of hot dogs single-handed, this veggie taster decided to convene a panel of expert tasters to reach a consensus. The panel considered not just taste, but appearance, texture, and aroma as well. All the veggie dogs were fully cooked, easy to steam, boil, microwave, or grill. And for those kitchen-shy wimps, the dogs could even be eaten cold without lifting a finger. For the tasting event, all the weiners were boiled or steamed as directed on the package.

    Top Dog Leads the Pack

    Favorite among the panelists was Yves Tofu Dogs. These puppies were the lowest in sodium, yet held the line on good, classic hot dog flavor. Texture and color received a thumbs up, but consensus was it's still not like the real thing. This baby can brag about its great aroma and a Reubenesque roundness composed of mostly soy protein and wheat gluten. Only half a gram of fat, 240 mg of sodium, and 9 grams of protein make this one top dog. 4 Birds





    Original Jumbo Snags Silver Medal

    Winning the silver medal in the Doggie Olympics is Yves Original Veggie Dogs. The package says Jumbo, and they mean it. Weiner lovers can chow down three-quarters of an inch more meatless dog, also loaded with soy protein and wheat gluten. Although a single Original dog contains 480 mg of sodium, it lacked the savory blast one expects from a hot dog. It was actually a tad sweet. Sliced, it revealed tiny air pockets throughout, while its texture lacked firmness. This Original has 1.5 grams fat, and a surprising 16 grams of protein, and an even more surprising 2 grams of fiber. 3 Birds





    Fiery Dog Challenges Tasters

    Cruising from one end of the spectrum to the other is the Yves Hot 'n' Spicy Veggie Chili Dogs. Some of the panel loved it, some detested it, and some were dead center with a tad more opinions shaking to the "like it" side. The yeas favored its definitively chewy texture, inviting aromas, and zesty spice but said it lacked flavor. The nays found it unpalatable and too peppery. This torpedo has 1 gram of fat, 400 mg sodium, and 13 grams of protein. 3 Birds





    Dog Paddling to Save Its Life

    Coming in just under the wire is Lightlife Smart Dogs. Barely keeping up with the champs, this zero-fat wonder looks anemic and tastes the same. It's limp, tasteless, gummy, and doesn't have the typical, rounded hot dog shape it ought to have. Instead, it looks molded to the shape of the package and was hard to pull apart from the pack. The label says 320 mg sodium, but you'd never know it. The one plus is its 9 grams of protein. 2 Birds





    No Life at Lightlife

    In total agreement, the panel voted the Lightlife Original Tofu Pups a total dud. At first glance, it was hard to dispute its strange orange color. Someone said it drank too much carrot juice, while another said it stayed out in the sun too long. Even its higher fat content of 2.5 grams didn't do much to improve its flavor, or rather lack of flavor. It even smelled funny. Boring, rubbery, bland, dead, odd taste, mushy--not positive adjectives but genuine reactions. One plus, its 8 grams of protein might prevent protein deficiency and starvation. 1 Birds





    Product Categories

    Jerky


    To properly evaluate the vegetarian jerky, this taster felt it necessary to experience the Great Jerky Challenge that involved purchasing from different manufacturers to make a "fair and balanced" evaluation. The following entries are included in this tasting:

    Tofurky Takes Top Banana

    Coming out on top is the Turtle Island Foods Tofurky Jurky Ginger Teriyaki flavor with its great-tasting ginger and smokey touch, its hint of sweetness, its mild spice, and its right-on chewy texture that's reminiscent of chewing on a naturally dried apricot. Loved it--really loved it! And it's made from wheat gluten and non-GMO soy grown without pesticides. The cute little round discs come packaged in a 2-ounce vacuum-sealed bag that make the perfect snack for two people to share on a long drive. It's a powerful snack with 12 g protein and 2 g total fat, but beware of the 450 mg of sodium for each 1-ounce serving. 5 Birds





    Spicy Jamaican Scores Knockout

    A close second, Tasty Eats Soy Jerky in the Jamaican Chick'n flavor is definitely a WOW! This is one spicy snack with its main ingredient of textured soy protein! At first bite it seemed a little dry, but by the time I finished the little, flat 1-inch strip, it had developed into a knockout, rich tasting smokey flavor that was totally sugar-free. The 1-ounce package holds two servings that are surprisingly low sodium with only 115 mg and 1.5 g total fat per serving, Low-carb dieters will love the 1 g net-carb feature. 5 Birds





    Primed for a Knockout Jerky

    Who woulda thunk seitan would turn up as a meatless jerky? The innovative dudes at Primal Spirit, Inc. did it right by cranking out a knockout vegan food called Primal Strips Seitan Terriyaki. Most veggie jerky is hard and dry, but these wheat gluten strips are way cool with a soft, moist texture and flavor that didn't go away for at least three minutes after I had finished the whole 1-ounce package. The package says super protein and they're not kidding. There's 11 grams of protein and only 99 calories. Don't go overboard, though-there's 314 mg of sodium and 3 grams of fat in this jazzy, delightfully chewy snack that's also kosher. 4 Birds





    Perfection You Can Chew On

    Because I'm a sucker for vegan jerky, I picked up some Perfected Foods Soy Bites Jerky Hot Wing flavor and couldn't wait to get it home and rip open the package. The fingernail-size pieces are the perfect way to enjoy these red-hot tidbits with intense flavor and zesty spice. Must admit, though, the first bite delivers a dry, cardboard-like texture until you chew it awhile-then it becomes soft and moist and takes on a deliciously rockin' satisfaction. If you love spice, it's got it all wrapped up in this 1.5 ounce package that dishes up only 130 calories total, along with 14 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of fat (1 gram saturated). 4 Birds





    Jerquee Renders Untempered Chewing

    I'm surprised that Lumen Foods created such a weird-tasting product with their Stonewall's Jerquee Teriyaki Beef Style made from a base of soy flour. Those cute and plump little round discs have such a strange texture I felt like I could be chewing on untempered masonite for an inordinate length of time. Aside from its borderline unpleasant taste, the 1.5-ounce single-serving package lists 9 g of total fat with 2 g saturated and 504 mg of sodium. 3 Birds





    Hot N' Peppered Pleases to the Max

    The first bite of Green Options Vegi-Deli brand Hot N' Peppered Vegi Jerky had me wondering why on earth it was labeled hot n' peppered. Not one molecule of flavor registered on my taste buds. But then, in a matter of seconds, those sneaky little spices and flavors rose up and nearly bit me. No complaints--it was just-right spicy with awesome jerky flavor. The texture that comes from the wheat gluten and soy protein concentrate reminded me of fruit leather--definitely fun and chewy like strong pepperoni. On second thought, this taster has one small complaint. The jerky pieces stick together in the single serving 1.5-ounce package. While the jerky is low in fat with only 0.5 g,, it's a tad high on sodium with 621 mg. 4 Birds





    Meat Substitutes


    Seitan to Curry Your Favor

    Sweet Earth Curry Recipe Seitan makes one of the tastiest prepared vegan dinners I've ever eaten. The pre-seasoned seitan comes in an 8-ounce package that lists 2 servings, but actually I stretched it to serve 3. The seitan was pre-cooked, very well seasoned, and made a wonderful entrée with a few simply stir-fried veggies. The versatility is really cool--the seitan can be sliced or diced, or cut into skinny little strips and tossed into any kind of sauce you like. It's the delicious flavor and tender texture that went down so easy. I should mention that the package says each serving has 500 mg of sodium and 5g of fat--a little on the high side. 4 Birds





    Cutlets a Cut Above

    Because I'm a devout vegan with taste buds that adore meaty flavors and chewy textures, I'm always on the lookout for that perfect product. My positive vibes brought that perfection straight to my doorstep. Elianni Veggie Cutlets (distributed by Canaan Foods LLC) is so crazy good I needed to share the news! The ingredient list is amazingly short: defatted soybeans flour, pinto beans flour, and filtered water. I swear--that's the whole list. First I rehydrated the unseasoned, dried cutlet chunks in veg broth. Then cooked them a zesty tomato sauce with lots of herbs and spices for 30 minutes. Result? Yum!!!! Even a meat-eater would have loved it! The details: gluten-free, high fiber, high protein, very low fat, sodium-free, good source of calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc. The 9.17-ounce box contains about 7 servings--very easy on the wallet! 5 Birds





    This Chub Is Rockin' with the Roll

    Becoming quite the venturesome online shopper, I discovered a delicious totally vegan treat that's pretty new--Elianni Veggie Rolls. Tried the Mediterranean and the Mushroom flavors and fell madly in love with them on the first bite. These are 14.11-ounce chubs that look like old-fashioned, dare I say it, salami? Sliced off a piece and decided it would be perfect cut into chunks and tossed into a stir-fry. Turned out great. Next day, I cut slices and put them into a sandwich --AWESOME! The texture is firm, but smooth and creamy, and it slices well. The chub is gluten-free in a base of certified organic peanuts. The ingredient list reads like a well-stocked herb and spice shelf. It's got protein, fiber, potassium, iron, and some B vitamins. Great stuff! 5 Birds





    Philly Steak Tofurky Style

    Yearning for a deli sandwich, I snapped up a box of Turtle Island Tofurky Philly-Style Steak and raced home. Whole wheat bread, a touch of Vegenaise, watercress, and tomato were piled on first. Then I split the contents of the package with a friend to finish the sandwich. Actually, I tasted one slice plain and found it flavorful, toothy textured and somewhat grainy, but a bit salty. The package says three servings, but seriously, that totally sucks. Realistically, it's two servings. The Philly-style Steak is darned convenient, and killer-delicious. And nutritionally not too bad with only 150 calories, 18g protein, 4.5g fiber, and 4.5g total fat for half the package. The sodium needs a warning sign, though. We each consumed 555 mg of sodium just for the deli slices. 4 Birds





    Don't Lose Your Tempeh

    I must admit I've been unfair to tempeh and have shunned it for many years, but Turtle Island Spicy Veggie Home-style Tempeh caught my eye at the market and I found myself reaching for the package. Well, a kick-ass surprise came with this colorful 8-ounce package in the form of a wild habenero pepper punch that added real pizzazz to the home-made stir fry I made. It was a devilishly good surprise for the friend that joined me that night. The tempeh was pleasant tasting and didn't leave the biting fermented flavor that turned me away for years. The spice level was perfect. and we loved every mouthful. Now there are two new tempeh fans that will scarf down the leftovers like gourmands before venturing out to try the other flavors. And, here's the good stuff: the tempeh is made with organic soybeans, it's gluten-free, totally vegan, and kosher, too! Each serving has 7 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. There's even a recipe on the package. How can you miss? 5 Birds





    These Ribs Stick to Your Ribs

    Shopping when hungry is dangerous, but I got lucky when I brought home a box of frozen Vegetarian Plus Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets in Plum Vinegar Sauce from VegeUSA. No guesswork about it being vegan--it was in humongous letters right on the front of the box. Couldn't be easier. Microwaved it on high for 2 1/2 minutes then plunged in. It was so out-of-this-world delicious I ate the whole 10 1/2 ounce thing even though the box said 4 servings (which is a joke!). The sauce is perfectly thick, sweet, tangy, and spicy and the ribs (made from non-GMO soy and wheat protein) are firm and chewy and great to sink your teeth into--you really can't miss. The box lists 12 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 530 mg. sodium, 8 grams total fat, and 210 calories for each fabulous serving. 5 Birds





    Any Way You Slice It

    Spotted some Tofurky Hickory Smoked Deli Slices at my fave market and snapped it up with visions of the great sandwich I was about to make. Got home, whipped out two slices of whole wheat bread, dabbed on a little Dijon mustard, and piled on one-third of the deli slices. That's it. Sandwich done. Loved it-great smoky flavor. Boy did that go down fast and easy! Second sandwich had the same wheat gluten and soy protein deli slices plus tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. Still great flavor. Third sandwich was like the second but with barbecue sauce-bad idea. The bbq sauce killed the flavor of the deli slices. KISS--Keep It Simple Stupid! One serving (one-third package) laid 100 calories, 13 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber on me, but watch out for the 3 grams of fat. And it's kosher. 4 Birds





    The Other White Fake Meat

    White Wave Seitan is one fake meat you can totally count on when you've got the urge for something to sink your teeth into. I sure did when I chopped it into a stir-fry with chunky veggies. Felt like I was eating something good for me. The texture is rad--tender but still a little chewy, and I couldn't decide whether to give it a chicken or beef focus--you decide. It's that versatile. The hot message is that if anyone tells you a vegan diet doesn't have enough protein, just toss them a package--it rocks with 31 grams of protein in every 3-ounce serving. 5 Birds





    You Wouldn't Rib Me, Would Ya?

    Most of the time I shun Gardenburger products with their frightfully long lists of ingredients, many undesirable, including cheese. The exception is their incredibly delicious all vegan Gardenburger Meatless Riblets made from soy and wheat gluten and doused in a kick-ass smoky barbecue sauce that knocked me over! The amazing thing is that they look like the real thing, yet they are "bone-free" as the label reads. The 10-ounce package makes 2 perfect servings that deliver 17 grams of protein each and only 210 calories. Even the package itself makes interesting reading. But, beware the 720 mg of sodium! 4 Birds





    A Steak That Won't Eat Your Heart Out

    Lightlife Smart Menu Steak-Style Strips are a really neat way to introduce your non-veg friends and relatives to meatless dining! With 11 grams of protein, 70 calories, and zero fat in each of the two servings, they won't miss the meat, and that touch of smoky flavor with a soy punch is perfect for a quick vegan stir-fry. Easy is the key word here. Without much planning, I invited a friend to dinner of salad, brown rice, and veggie stir-fry with these little steak strips. Not sure I made a vegan convert for life, but it was an impressive start! 5 Birds





    True Sicilians Balk at Pepperoni

    It may look like pepperoni, but a true Sicilian would definitely say, "That's not pepperoni!" Packed into a chub ready for slicing is this 95% fat-free, non-GMO flavored wheat protein you wouldn't put on a pizza. Although the Veg-Deli Pepperoni people claim they're "#1 in Taste" on the label, they have a ways to go. Ten slices off this 1 1/2-inch diameter chub have 18 grams of protein with only 3 grams of fat and make this a good choice for people watching their weight. Unfortunately, this pepperoni tastes like someone tried to create a meat substitute but missed. The name betrays the product. 3 Birds





    Now, That's Pepperoni!

    Yves Veggie Pizza Pepperoni would make any veg pizza proud. The label says, "Pizza perfect," and they're right on target. No work is involved. It's all sliced for you. These spicy bites are as remarkably close to that pepperoni we used to eat in our foolish old days. Sixteen slices add up to 70 calories and 14 g of protein with no fat at all. Those little round circles combine soy protein, tofu, wheat gluten, and wheat starch and a raft of spices in a preservative-free, non-GMO concoction. They've even fortified it with Vitamin B12. 5 Birds





    Make My Bacon Fakin'

    These Lightlife "Fakin Bacon" Smoky Tempeh Strips masquerading as bacon won't fool anyone, but they taste great. I sauté them in a tiny amount of olive oil until they crisp up a bit; then I add them to veggie sandwiches or crumble them into a salad. The nice smoky taste adds a barbecue-like flavor to whatever you mingle them with, and they don't have the sourness of some tempeh products. Three slices are only 80 calories, and contain only half a gram of saturated fat. 4 Birds





    Faux Bacon That Sizzles

    If you follow the package instructions for cooking, Lightlife's Smart Bacon comes out crispy and crackly, just like the real stuff. It's salty and smoky, and good enough to eat plain by the strip. Even the skeptical birds munched this one along with their pancakes. You can also crumble it into a spinach salad or layer it in a sandwich. 4 Birds





    Product Categories

    Miscellaneous


    The Royal Shake Out

    Don't normally go in for detox or cleansing beverages and prefer just plain water, but The Master Cleanse from the Skinny Lemon Co. practically landed in my hand and came home with me. I think it was the ingredients that made it so appealing--purified water, organic maple syrup, organic lemon juice, organic cayenne, and ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C. It's been pretty toasty here in Southern California, so I tucked the 16-ounce bottle into the fridge to chill. I sipped half of the bottle in the afternoon and the other half after dinner. Loved the tingly, lively hit of cayenne and tangy lemon flavor each sip punches out and didn't give it much thought, except that it was really delicious! Living up to its name, the beverage delivered a gentle and very thorough cleansing action the next morning. This combo of natural ingredients doesn't lie--it cleanses without a hitch! 5 Birds





    Get Raw and Skinny for Your Sexy Cookies

    Anyone looking for a truly raw coconut oil will be thrilled to find Skinny Coconut Oil. This oil has never been heated above room temperature. How cool is that!!!! I used this fabulous oil for making some raw cookie bars and loved how it added what seemed like sexy coconut perfume to my simple little cookies. Then my mom decided to use it on her dry skin and loved how it softened the rough scaly areas on her legs. Now we share this oil for two totally different uses. Amazing how something so natural has done for her skin what her fancy and kind of expensive cream didn't accomplish. 5 Birds





    Granny Choe's Kimchi Really Sizzles

    After scouring the Asian markets for years looking for a vegan kimchi, I couldn't be happier when I discovered Granny Choe's Kimchi Co. online. Cool thing is it's vegan, awesome, and kind of sizzles on the tongue in a fun sort of way. Even better, there's no MSG or other preservatives. It doesn't need that stuff because Granny Choe is a real grandmother who makes the stuff the old-fashioned way using natural fermentation. The spice freak in me loves the original cabbage version. It's kick-ass hot! The mild white variety doesn't have that kick but goes great with practically anything on my plate. Get this. There's no fat in either one, so it's darned low in calories. You can eat a ton of it and not gain weight! 5 Birds





    Manna from Heaven

    When's the last time you ate a slice of bread that was both delicious and healthy? Nature's Path Manna Bread is all-organic except for the water that's filtered. Made from sprouted grains, this unleavened bread contains no added oil, sweeteners, flour, salt, yeast preservatives or additives. A bite of the Manna Fruit and Nut Bread is like munching on a piece of cake, but cake usually doesn't have this much fiber (6g) or protein (6g). Other flavors, such as the Manna Date Nut Bread rate equally as high. 5 Birds





    Noodles and Pasta


    These Gnocchi Really Gnocch Me Out

    Scouring the frozen food section in a nearby natural food market, I spotted Rising Moon Organics Garlic & Basil Gnocchi, an appealing dinner entrée. Directions were super easy--drop them into gently boiling water for 5 minutes, scoop them out of the pot, and toss them onto a plate. My tasty homemade tomato sauce added the finishing touch and--voila-- a delicious and hearty dinner for 2! The ingredient list is impressively short--potato flakes, flour, sea salt, and herbs. The best part is that the total fat is 0, protein 6g, and it even has 3g fiber. These are so cool! Even better, the product is Certified Organic and is made in the U.S.A.! 5 Birds





    Yea! It's Al Dente

    I confess. I'm a total pasta freak and was blown away by Tinkyada's Organic Brown Rice Penne! Some brands of rice pasta can be weird, but this 12-ounce package made an easy dinner for me and 3 friends who thought they were eating regular durum wheat pasta. Great texture, picks up flavor perfectly, and tastes just as good the next day. Neat thing is it's made in a factory dedicated to making only rice pasta so it's absolutely gluten-free and kosher, too. Dig this--either boil it for 16 or 17 minutes or boil for 1 or 2 minutes, cover, and catch up on email for 20 minutes and it's ready. Cool! And a serving even has 4 grams of protein. 5 Birds





    Instant Thai Dinner for Lazy Birds

    The people at Thai Kitchen have made it super easy to make quick Thai dishes without having to stock your pantry with an array of specialty herbs and spices. This bird was skeptical about the "Just 3 minutes" promise on the package of the Thai Kitchen Garlic & Herb Instant Rice Noodles, but, the promise was fulfilled. I took an extra 5 minutes to cube some extra firm tofu, slice a handful of mushrooms, and cut asparagus into bite-size pieces, and threw them into the boiling water. One minute later, after stirring in the spice packets and rice noodles, dinner was ready. The noodles were not gummy (a common problem with these instant noodle kits) and the broth was lemony, barely sweet, and a bit spicy. For a really impressive entrée, next time I'll sprinkle it with chopped peanuts and cilantro. 5 Birds





    Thai Noodles Are Easy Prep

    Fantastic Fast Naturals Ready Meals rules with their vegetarian Thai Lemon Grass and Rice Noodles. This is a yummy all-vegan dish that's ready in 5-minutes in the microwave or on the stovetop. Thai-food crazy me loved battling with those slippery rice noodles enveloped in a just-right spicy, tangy, lemony coconut sauce dotted with chunks of baby corn, bamboo shoots, and bits of textured soy protein and minced peanuts. Flavorwise, it's a blast. The portion size was about right for me along with a salad, but it sure won't be for a hearty eater. Watching the fat? Better pass. This single 300-calorie serving has 10 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams saturated. 4 Birds





    Noodle-o-Rama

    For those of you who think there is nothing more comforting than a steamy bowl of noodles in broth, Fantastic Foods' Big Soup Noodle Bowls are likely to satisfy. The noodle bowls are also low fat, averaging about 200 calories a package. At about 2 cups prepared, these bowls are larger than the standard cups of soup, making one package a good-size lunch or light dinner. They are also more interesting, with flavors such as Sesame-Miso, Hot and Sour, Spring Vegetable, and Spicy Thai. Hot and Sour is my current favorite, and has a much stronger flavor than the others, but Spring Vegetable is a strong second, for its mild and lemony flavor. The only one that didn't wow me was the Spicy Thai, which had a weird manufactured-sweet taste. 4 Birds





    Product Categories


    Nut and Alternative Butters


    Went Nuts Anyway

    Don't Go Nuts Soy Butter Organic is a blessing for anyone with allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. But the cool thing is the soy butter is also darned good tasting and comes in 5 flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon Sugar, Lightly Sea Salted, Slightly Sweet, and Pure Unsalted. I'm in Loooovvve with the luscious Chocolate to the last teaspoon, but have a sweet spot for the Pure Unsalted when I want that taste that sorta simulates the richness of peanut butter. I even love the thick and toothy texture that gives it super character. Anyone with allergies will be thrilled to know this organic, non-GMO soy butter is made in a totally nut-free and kosher facility. 5 Birds





    Raw, Creamy, and Totally Dreamy

    I've always been a fan of roasted nut butters, but Once Again Smooth Raw Almond Nut Butter is so exceptional it totally blew me away. Got a jar on a whim and now I'm hooked! The sweetness is what took me by surprise--there's not a drop of sugar in it, nothing added, but it's so outrageously delicious I'm addicted. The deal is that it tastes like the real thing and the ingredient label lists only one thing: almonds. This is not some jar of stuff so processed you can't even recognize it was made from nuts. And this is cool, it's certified organic and kosher certified. So to make the jar last longer, I'm doling it out to myself in spoonfuls and enjoying the 4 grams of fiber for 2 tablespoons. 5 Birds





    Couldn't Pick Better Butter

    Peanut Better, Inc. designed a really cool line of 12 seasoned peanut butters--some savory, some sweet with a dozen distinctly different personalities. The flavor names were so tempting, I had to try them all. In a nutshell, they're so versatile, they go with everything and don't fight with anything. A big plus, they're certified organic (except the mixed nuts), kosher, and contain no hydrogenated fats. Of the savories, the punchiest ones are the Thai Ginger Red Pepper, Spicy Southwestern, and Hickory Smoked. When my sweet tooth was calling, I heaped on the Deep Chocolate, Vanilla Cranberry, or the Peanut Praline. They've even combined peanuts and almonds in the Mixed Nuts that comes in creamy or chunky. Very hip, these designer peanut butters. 5 Birds





    Product Categories


    Salad Dressings and Condiments


    Sweet Sauce Turns Up the Heat

    When a foodie like me receives a gift of food, I embrace it with joy--it's my kind of nirvana. The gift was a tall, slender bottle of Dragunara Sweet Chili Sauce by Dragunara, LLC for dipping or stir-frying. My first encounter--divinely delicious! Within the hour I gave it a shake and put it to work as a dip for my oven-roasted yam fries. It was soooo good I simply couldn't stop dipping until the last fry was gone. It's almost as if the sauce had a hidden magnet that kept drawing me back. Though the flavor is pretty darned sweet, sublime heat from the cayenne chilies gives it perfect balance along with a hint of vinegar and salt. In a word--YUM! Here's the good stuff--it's totally vegan, gluten-free, certified organic, and kosher! 5 Birds





    Dressed for a Royal Visit

    On the hunt for a new salad dressing, I picked up a 12-ounce bottle of Follow Your Heart Organic Vegan Caesar and checked out the ingredients. It sounded soooo good. The label even said it was "creamy, thick, and had all the flavor of a traditional Caesar with none of the eggs, dairy, or anchovies." More good. Doused my salad with a good hit of dressing and was soon loving my giant bowl of greens and veggies. It really WAS creamy and thick. And it was tangy. It was everything anyone would want in a dressing. You can't miss--it's organic, gluten-free, and anchovy-free. But like any dressing, it's packs a few calories, like 70 for 2 tablespoons of dressing. 5 Birds





    Almost Instant Indian

    Impress your friends with a simple Indian dish, Vegetable Biryani, using Patak's Original Biryani Paste. The recipe suggestion on the jar explains how to make an excellent rice and vegetable Biryani. It's not too spicy, and unlike a lot of Indian dishes, it can be prepared with fresh vegetables that are cooked until just done. Throw in some tofu and almonds, and it gets even more interesting. 4 Birds





    Follow Your Heart Leads the Mayo Pack

    No matter how you pronounce it Follow Your Heart Vegenaise tastes pretty much like real mayo without the eggs, additives, and preservatives. This vegan mayonnaise comes in four varieties that add zing to any sandwich: Original, Organic, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, and Grapeseed Oil. Grapeseed oil is our favorite. Like the others it's GMO and cholesterol free. Although it's 20% lower in fat than regular mayo, don't slosh it on because it still has 9 grams of fat and 90 calories per tablespoon. 5 Birds





    Say Nay to Veggie Mayo

    Nasoya Fat Free Nayonaise is just wrong. It's a sad and weird imitation of Miracle Whip, and as a result, this spread/dressing is icky sweet. Even more unappealing though is the texture--it's grainy, as if it was made from regular tofu instead of silken. Nothing about it resembles real mayonaise, not even the color, which is strangely grey! If you are seeking a tasty substitute for mayo, I vote for Annie's Goddess dressing, which enhances sandwiches and salads. 1 Bird





    Garlic Lovers Oil

    Consorzio Roasted Garlic Flavored Olive Oil is richly infused with fresh-tasting garlic. The oil is ideal for bread dipping, salad dressings, and cooking. It adds a rich taste when drizzled over fresh tomatoes or cooked tomato sauce. It can also substitute for garlic sauteed in oil, if time is of the essence. 4 Birds





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    Sandwiches


    High Hopes for 3 Square

    This bird was raised on "Hot Pockets," those microwave wonderfoods of dough filled with all kinds of now-forbidden things. When I came across the 3 Square Vegan Pocket Sandwiches, I was pretty excited. If you are willing to consider the pastry wrapper just that, a wrapper, these are quite good. The fillings are tasty--I feasted on a 3 Square White Bean and Basil Pocket, that was also stuffed with crushed tomatoes, brown rice, and herbs. However, as with some vegan pastry, the outside dough was pasty, floury, and unsatisfying. 3 Birds





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    Snacks


    Buddy Up with Buddy Fruits

    With my lunch break so short, only 30 minutes, I rarely have time to eat good stuff like a whole apple or pear. But Buddy Fruits is now my best buddy with quirky little 3.2-ounce plastic squeeze pouches of pure blended fruit. This company must have read my mind and came to my rescue with great flavors like apple and banana, apple and strawberry, and apple and multifruit--yum! I can even pack these pouches with a twist-off cap in my kids' lunches and know they'll actually eat it. Great thing is there's just fruit with nothing else added and nothing taken out except the apple skins. Tastes pretty darned good, too! 5 Birds





    Fabz Favas Are Fabulous

    Never thought beans could make such a cool snack, but Fabz Fava Beans with Sea Salt made by Simply Bean is fabulous! The little 1-ounce package contained snacking treasure so delicious I decided to keep this on hand for travel times, gridlock freeway days, and just hangin' out at the beach. And it's just naturally high fiber, high protein fava beans that are cooked and roasted with oil and sea salt. I even crushed some and used them to sprinkle over my kale salad. How cool is that? Also way cool is that they're gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO verified. 5 Birds





    A Chip Off the Old Block

    It was party time and I needed some chips for my yummy hummus dip, and boy did I ever get lucky. Found Beanfields Bean and Rice Chips in Ranch flavor--YUM! I could have chosen other flavors like nacho, barbecue, pico de gallo, and even salt free. These little triangles are so well seasoned they actually make a great party snack all by themselves and they're kosher, non-GMO verified, and certified gluten-free. The 6-ounce bag disappeared in a zip and so did my party dip. They have plenty of fiber (3g for 1.5 ounces), but they are also high in fat, so don't go nuts too often! 4 Birds





    Look What Sprouted in Brussels

    Found a hot new raw item I absolutely cannot resist and am willing to bet my bottom dollar you won't be able to stop stuffing your face with Brussel Bytes by Wonderfully Raw either. Tried the 2-ounce bags of Chili Pumpkin Seed Crunch and Tamarind Apple Crunch and was amazed at how killer delicious dehydrated Brussels sprouts could be! The secret is in the seasoning made from real stuff--no processed junk! Honest! These treats have so much going for them--they're kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, USDA certified organic, and totally vegan. 5 Birds





    Ready for Kale Popcorn? It's in the Bag

    If you're anything like me and can't resist snacking while binge-watching a Netflix series, then you gotta try a bag of Quinn Popcorn Farm-to-Bag in the Kale & Sea Salt Flavor. The giant 4.3-ounce bag holds about 16 cups worth and packs 39 calories a cup. That's actually not so bad for a really yummy-tasting, kale-infused indulgence--it's so cool it's even green! Nice thing is you don't even have to pop it into the microwave--it's already popped! Check it out online--it's worth the wait! A little heads up though--make it a once-in-a-while treat--each 1-ounce serving (about 4 cups) has 10g of fat. 4 Birds





    Luke's MultiGrain Crackers Are MultiGreat

    In search of a healthy and gluten-free cracker for some fun dips to share at vegan meetups, I got really jazzed to find Luke's Chia Seed MultiGrain & Seed Crackers. I ordered online. Super cool is that they're organic, non-GMO, totally vegan, and, yes, gluten-free. They're hexagonal shaped and look hot with their dark little chia speckles. I'm nuts about the snappy crunch and great flavor, too. That's it! I'm sold and decided to keep these on hand for some everyday munching. Another cool bit is that 1 ounce even has 3g of fiber, and would you believe--not a drop of sugar in the contents. 5 Birds





    Hail Merry, Full of Nuts

    I like to have a few snacky things on hand for little pick-me-ups when I need an energy boost. Found a really cool and super healthy snack by Hail Merry, The Royal Blend Seasoned Raw Nuts. Everyone ought to know about these totally raw nuts! What's so cool about them? The snack is a combo of pecans, almonds, and cashews that were soaked, seasoned, and dehydrated all prepped in a kosher kitchen. Can't get cooler than that! The flavorings are not heavy knock-your-socks-off but really nice and lightly seasoned with Celtic sea salt, Hatch Chimayo chile pepper, black pepper, and organic palm sugar. And all this comes in a 3-ounce bag. 5 Birds





    TThe Chips are Down: They're Just Plain Awesome!

    Went insane and made an awesome impulse buy of Just Pure Foods Spicy Jalapeno Tomato Chips. No regrets -- these all-raw, delicious, crunchy, dehydrated munchies deserve a vigorous shout-out. The minute I got home I reached into the 1.5-ounce bag for a taste and WOW! These dudes know how to make stuff taste great with so few ingredients like herbs, olive oil, and cider vinegar! The chips added a special zing to my salad and were great crumbled over soup -- yum! Loved it so much I almost demolished the whole package in one sitting. The 1-serving package contains 6g protein, 9g fiber, and 3.5g total fat. 5 Birds





    Deep Sea Diving for Seaweed

    Because I heard seaweed is really healthy, I decided to give it a shot. Wasn't sure how seaweed would taste so only grabbed one package from my natural food store. After snacking on Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks, I swear I'm now a dedicated seaweed convert! Sure didn't take long to get through that one little package! This stuff is crazy-good and flavored only with sesame oil and salt and tastes rockin' great! The 1/3-ounce package announces no preservatives and no MSG and contains 20 sheets of seaweed with a total of only 60 calories. Cool! 5 Birds





    Soy What? Take the Crunch with You

    Freeze-dried and lightly seasoned, Cruncha ma-me Edamame packs killer delicious taste into a crunchy and ultra-convenient snack. The lightly-seasoned version and the sea salt and black pepper variety are all about pure edamame flavor, with only a few seasonings that don't distract from the lovable flavor edamame delivers. A snack-size 20-gram (just under 1 ounce) bag has 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and only 90 calories--not bad. I devoured it right out of the bag, but you can even toss this over steamed rice. 5 Birds





    Strip Down to Some All-Natural Fruit

    What happens when apples, pears, strawberries, and lemon juice are married into a fruit snack? You get delicious Stretch Island Fruit Co. All-natural Fruit Strip that smacks of pure fruit and has a satisfying chewy bite. Each half-ounce fruit strip equals half a serving of fruit and weighs in at 45 calories. This pocket-sized package is a naturally sweet and convenient on-the-go way to get more fruit and fiber. 5 Birds





    Wasabi, We're in the Chips Now!

    Wheat-free and gluten-free Lundberg Rice Chips in Wasabi Flavor are a fun, light, and crunchy snack. The wasabi is subtle, so don't expect a punch-in-the-nose burn, but they do have a tinge of sweet mustardy seasoning that hugs the organic sesame seeds. Made with organic whole-grain brown rice and organic rice flour, these chips add zesty crunch to a salad or are great for just plain munching. Though the 210-calorie single serving has 2 grams of fiber, beware of the 8 grams of fat, 1 gram saturated. 4 Birds





    Just a Chip off the Old Bean

    I was hunting for something different in crackers to scoop up my fave appetizer--a big bowl of guacamole. Fate led me to the perfect choice--Beanitos made by Bean Brand Foods. These are to die for, honestly, and they're all vegan and gluten-free too! These stunning chocolate colored, round, crunchy chips are about 2-inches in diameter and perfectly crisp. They're made from black beans, so, naturally, they've got a great black beany flavor and are absolutely delicious with nothing more than sea salt for flavoring. Wow! Beanitos and guac--it's a perfect match! And a serving of 10 chips even has 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. But these tasty, round little babies ought to come with a note of caution for their 7 grams of fat. 4 Birds





    Harvey Slurps with Passion

    Whoever thought up Homemade Harvey was in a brilliant state of mind! This cleverly packaged fruit snack is awesome and worth raving about. First off, it's a delicious combo of organic pureed fruits in an ultra convenient squeeze pack--that's it! Pure fruits! No junk. Nothing added and nothing taken out. Secondly, the package says 100% crushed fruit, 0% bad stuff. And that's exactly what it is. Who can argue with that? I tasted the Mango, Pineapple, Banana & Passion Fruit flavor and my first thought was that at last there's a healthy snack everybody should be chowing down, especially kids. Kids always come home from school ravenously hungry--this is the perfect after school snack. It's packed with vitamins A and C plus a bunch of minerals, and only 90 calories for a 4.5-ounce serving. The only must is that the handy packets need to be refrigerated. 5 Birds





    Go Primal with Foot-Long Ecstasy

    Stocking up on travel food, I threw a couple of foot-long Primal Stick Natural Smoked Flavor into my shopping cart. Curious, I had to taste this vegan jerky before hitting the road and even shared it with a serious meat-eating dude. First bite scored a double 10! Flavored to resemble a beef stick, it's got a winning chewy texture, a perfect hit of spice, honkin' smoke flavor, and an intense lingering savory quality that was easy to love. Because it's a solid foot long, small bites made the 1.5-ounce soy and wheat gluten stick last a long time, which was great--more time to rock on it. It's so hot because it's totally vegan, low in fat, non-GMO, packed with protein, and kosher. The package says 1 1/2 servings--so, that adds up to only 190 calories for the whole bloomin' stick. 5 Birds





    A Chip That's Hip to Dip

    What's life without a little snack once in a while? When I picked up a 3.6-ounce bag of Falafel Chips made by Flamous Brands, Inc. and popped a couple of the spicy wonders into my mouth, they hit my tongue with an ultra-happy WOW! These crispy chips have got it all--great flavor, perfect spice, and no trans fat. FYI, they're gluten-free, certified organic, preservative and additive-free, and totally kosher. I call it a hip chip for a dip-any dip. And they're great with guac. Loved the big 5 nutrition facts: 28 chips deliver 5g fiber, 5g protein, and 5g total fat. Topping that, they're low in sodium. 5 Birds





    Shame on You FruitaBu

    It really pays to read labels before you buy a product! I didn't! Yep, didn't heed my own advice and chowed down on a FruitaBu Smoooshed Strawberry Fruit Twirl made by Stretch Island Fruit Co. Gotta admit the front of the package sold me and the flavor and silky texture of this fruit leather look-alike is compellingly good. It seemed like a really great snack for kids' lunches. But after licking my chops, I read the ingredient list and nutritional info on the back. Honestly, the kids are far better off with a fresh peach, an apple, or a banana. At least the kids would have a full serving of fruit, 2g of fiber, 1g protein, and a heap of real vitamins and minerals without added fats like soy lecithin and palm fruit oil. 1 Bird





    Eco-green Eatin'

    Ever approach a new food with a half-skeptic brain? That was my mind-set for those raw, 100% organic, totally vegan Green Crackers by Lydia's Organics. I swear it didn't take more than a minute, literally, for those little, green, two-inch crunchy squares to leave the skeptic behind and turn me into a fan. Totally dehydrated and green as can be, these grainless, gluten-free, sugar and oil-free babies are made from sprouted sunflower and flax seeds and practically every green vegetable on the planet. They totally rip! Good traveling food, too. And they're so rockin' tasty, bet they won't be around long enough to spoil. And it roars with 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving. 5 Birds





    Mary's Not the Only One Who's Gone Crackers

    In a total snackin' mood, my hand reached out and grabbed a box of Black Pepper flavored Mary's Gone Crackers--no joke! That's the brand name on this box of little, round, ultra crisp, wheat-free, gluten-free, kosher, vegan crackers. These little babies are a real WOW! They've got a little heat from the pepper, but not too much. And as I chewed them, a little hint of flavor from the brown rice and quinoa came through. I didn't put a thing on them--just loved the taste and the extra-firm crispness that really makes you chew. Also, I didn't feel too guiltly about the 29% of calories from fat because that was from the flax seeds and sesame seeds that are good for you. 5 Birds





    Try Sinning with Abundance

    Sheffa Spicy Mix is a dangerously delicious snack and had me hooked with the first bite of those spicy little nibbles. I literally couldn't put that cute little foil pouch down 'til I packed the whole crunchy thing away! What a combo--dried corn, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sea salt, little squiggles of ground chickpeas, and spices that drove me to SIN. Funny thing, sheffa happens to be the Hebrew word for abundance. For about 10 minutes I was chomping away in the land of abundance! These cool Israeli nibbles have no preservatives or food colors, and they're kosher too. Don't go overboard--a 1.5-ounce serving has 132 calories, almost half of those are fat. 4 Birds





    Pass the Crum's Please!

    What's not to like about Crum Creek Mills' Soy Nut Mix? The 1-ounce snack-pack of soy nuts plus was a powerful hitter when I needed a little munchie. It's got crunch from the dry-roasted soy nuts, sweetness from raisins and bits of chocolate, and a pinch of salt that gives it punch. I loved it. It's the perfect size, has rockin' flavor, and packs only 131 calories. Kept me going for hours! 5 Birds





    Oh, Gee! It's an Atomic Snack

    Popped a couple of Backyard Barbecue flavored Protons made by Ogee Foods, Inc. into my mouth and got wowed by a crunchy hit of rockin' barbecue flavor. These tiny little cubes of dehydrated or freeze-dried non-GMO tofu are stacked with lively seasonings that made a great snack. Plopped a few into my tomato soup and got wowed again. Tried them in salad-winners! I was jazzed that these babies come in other flavors, too. The 1-ounce package has two yummy, gluten-free servings that deliver 10 grams of protein and 2 grams fiber. But easy does it--each serving has 5 grams of fat--1 gram sat fat and 300 mg sodium. No trans, though. 4 Birds





    Wish Mrs. May Lived Next Door

    It's amazing how one little 2-ounce package of Mrs. May's Naturals Coconut Almond or Blueberry Peanut can lift the spirits of two bummed out souls and also pack some pretty groovy snacking. These delicious little cubes of incredibly crunchy, lightly sweetened nuts were perfect travelers for the road trip. I kept wondering how Mrs. May got that awesome crunch in each little cube. Then I read the package. She slow roasts them. Great stuff! Wish I'd thought of it. And the all-vegan, wheat-free ingredient list is so short--only 5 to 7 ingredients of stuff, like nuts. Hey, they're actually healthy. 5 Birds





    Flax Crax to the Max

    Yaya's Raw Rah Organic Krackers charged my batteries with the first package and actually made me go out and buy all 5 intense flavors of this dehydrated good stuff--Spicy Flax, Tomato Basil, Sicilian Herb, Onion Flax, and Spinach Curry. Most of these certified organic treats rocked me to the max! Flatter than pancakes, these little crackers are so loaded with fresh veggies, seeds, grains, herbs and spices, they made this sometimes junk food junkie feel health-injected and re-energized. I can live without the Spinach Curry and Sicilian Herb, but my faves are the Spicy Flax and Onion Flax. 4 Birds





    Gopal Gives Go-Power

    Gopal's Power Wraps sure did deliver a knockout punch of raw power on my recent road trip. Venturesome when it comes to food tasting, I chose both the Vegan Curry and Mexican flavors of these low-carb, yummy nut and seed rolls wrapped in nori. The Mexican roll's first bite got my attention--it's definitely got a spicy bent! By the time I finished the Vegan Curry (they come 2 to a package), I was totally in love with these wraps. They're cool, organic, and savory, and look like 7-inch-long cigarettes with a black wrapping. With each roll registering between 70 and 80 calories, they make a really nourishing snack or addition to a light meal. 5 Birds





    Flax Crax Are the Max

    Out of the The Jungle of Colorado emerges Flax Crax, totally raw, organic flaxseed crackers. This VeggieTaster chomped down on a thin, Indian curry flavored, 2-inch rectangle of exotic seasonings. I thought, this has the makings of great party food so I spread some hummus on top, and WOW what flavor! It's alive, literally. These crackers are dehydrated at 109 degrees rather than baked--a definite plus. Very impressive and rather low in calories for a snack food--only 60 calories for 4 crackers plus they have 4.5 grams of fiber. And if you're not a fan of curry, there's also Jamiacan Spice, Smokey Onion, and Tomato Herb flavors. Beware the fat, though--4 crackers have 5 grams of poly and monounsaturated fat, none saturated or trans fat. 4 Birds





    Gotta Have Gojis!

    Dried Goji Berries from Orcas Island Herbal Apothecary could easily become a habit. I knew from their deep reddish orange, leaning toward brownish color these berries had a ton of beta carotene. A lover of dried fruits, I found myself reaching again and again into the bag for more of these wrinkled, elongated little wonders that measure about 5/8-inch in length. Nature has packaged a delightful tangy sweetness and dynamite nutrition in these berries that come all the way from Inner Mongolia where the soil has never seen a chemical fertilizer. They're pure and you can just taste it! What amazed me is that 1/4 cup of these mini gems had 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. I could live on these! 5 Birds





    Crunchy Fruity Snack Rocks

    My brother, the king of snacks, gives Ryvita Fruit Crunch high praise. He says they are good plain and even better with a healthy skim coat of soy nut butter. These 2-gram of fiber per slice crackers are packed with whole grain rye, oats, whole grain flour, and currants. At 50 calories per slice with only 2 grams of sugar, these crackers rule. 4 Birds





    Product Categories


    Soups


    Kathleen Knows Her Beans

    A cup of Kathleen's Curried Beans with Lentils, Garbanzos, and Split Peas sounded tempting. The "Cooking Directions" on the cardboard cup directions were for microwave, which I don't have. Heck, I just poured the stuff into a saucepan, added the water, and cooked it over medium heat for just a few minutes. That day my lunch totally rocked! Loved the flavor and cooking it was no big deal! But the 750 mg of sodium is more than a little hefty. 4 Birds





    You Too Can Be Miso-Able

    Needing something to keep me going for a couple of hours, I popped one little packet of Mishima All Natural Miso Soup into my mug and poured the directed 2/3 cup of boiling water over the powdery stuff. Gave it a stir and let it sit while I grabbed a napkin and washed an apple. The surprise was that it actually tasted great! There were even little bits of tofu and green onions floating in the cup--just like the miso soup at a Japanese restaurant. Good thing is it's made with organic soybeans so I knew there was no sign of GMO's in my cup. And, it's totally vegan. Good stuff to keep in the cupboard when you need a little pick-up. Just don't slurp it down too often--it's loaded with 800 mg of sodium. I would have rated the soup much higher if it hadn't had one-third of a day's worth of sodium. 3 Birds





    Soup for Lazy Birds

    For those of us who can't be bothered with food preparations (or dishwashing!), Fantastic Foods Big Bowl Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup rocks. The bits of soy protein that mimic chicken taste close to the real thing and add a nice chewy texture. The organic noodles have an ideal texture, not too chewy or mushy like some other instant soups can be. At 180 calories (with only 10 calories from fat), this makes a great lunch or light dinner. It's a soothing easy fix for a wintery day. 5 Birds





    Soup's on at Amy's Pad

    Soup lovers will love Amy's Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup --it's hearty, thick, colorful, and all organic. One spoonful and you're into the comfort zone. It's got flavor, it's got vegetables galore, it's got 8 grams of protein per serving, and it smells good while warming on the stovetop. With two small servings in the 14.5-ounce can, this yummy soup makes a perfect light meal or a great starter for a larger meal. For heartier appetites, eat the whole thing--you can't go wrong! A big plus--it's all vegan. 5 Birds





    Mori-No-No Soup Sensation

    Mori-Nu Creamy Corn Soup is so over-the-top sweet it should be labeled creamy corn dessert. Maybe, throwing the one serving, aseptic package into the freezer might qualify it as a frozen dessert. The food chemists who dreamed up this nightmare with the heavy-handed use of sugar and salt need to figure out a better use for their silken tofu. The result is a nutritionist's nightmare with 7 g of fat, 2g saturated, and the rest trans-fat plus 820 mg of sodium. Soup lovers beware! 1 Bird





    Amy Wins Three Bean Salute

    Amy's Pasta & 3 Bean Soup is the perfect quick meal and even better on a cold rainy day when nothing but soup will do. It's loaded with beans and veggies and just the right thickness to rate that homemade quality stamp. Smells great while it's warming on the stove and feels soooo good going down, too. It's all organic and vegan but definitely high on the sodium scale with 680 mg for half the can. The can is supposed to serve 2 but that's for baby servings. To really fill up, eat the whole thing, and watch your sodium intake for the rest of the day. 4 Birds





    Product Categories


    Sweeteners


    The Buzz Is About Bee Free Honee

    Made an awesome discovery! Thought my taste buds were playing tricks on me, but NO. Bee Free Honee is for real. It's made from apples, non-GMO sugar, and lemon juice, so it's as vegan as can be, tastes divinely sweet, and has a consistency similar to the real thing. It even has a gorgeous golden color like the real thing. AND, no bees were harmed in the making or eating of this product. Chalk it up to an ingenious chef. Loved it in my morning coffee and enjoyed it over my plain old oatmeal. Think I'll bake up some Bee Free Honee muffins. Boo Hoo, darn! -- it's not in stores yet. Check out the website http://www.beefreehonee.com/ 5 Birds





    Tofu and Tofu Products


    Foraging in the WildWood

    WildWood Organics really knows their tofu ABCs. I spotted a 6-ounce package of Savory Baked SprouTofu and thought it would make a great sandwich--just what I was in the mood for. By the time I got home, I was craving salad instead and started chopping up some veggies. I used half the package of tofu and, while cutting it into bite-size bits, I popped a couple into my mouth. Could it be that tofu was dipped in love potion? In an instant I was in love with it. Ate it all! Best salad I had all week! Now I'm a regular at the tofu counter and use it in sandwiches, soups, and, of course, salads, too. On the plus side: it's vegan, USDA certified organic, packed with protein, only 150 calories, and devastatingly delicious. Don't go overboard, though, half the package contains 9 grams total fat. 4 Birds





    Toby Knows How to Spread It Around

    Toby's Tofu Pate Spreads and Dips that come packed in 14-ounce plastic tubs are a great find! I bought two flavors, Martini Olive and Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper and tucked them into the fridge. Later I dipped a ton of veggies into the golden pond and even licked my fingers. Though the flavors are delicate, reminiscent of eggless egg salad, the subtle seasonings and textures do come through, namely with chunks of red pepper and slices of green olives. It rocks on whole-grain bread. Another plus--many of the ingredients are organic. 4 Birds





    Tired of Tasteless Tofu?

    I happen to like tofu plain, right out of the plastic tray, but for less simple birds, there are a number of tasty tofu options. My two new favorites are from Trader Joes. Trader Joe-San Asian Tofu and Trader Giotto's Italian Herb Tofu are pleasingly firm and toothsome, flavorful either warm or cold, and quite well seasoned. At $1.99 for a 6 oz. slab, they are reasonable, too. I like them best cubed in salads, as the main ingredient in a sandwich, as a pizza topping, or chopped and sprinkled in a miso broth. My fellow nestmates enjoy them diced right out of the package. 5 Birds





    Tried Thai Tofu

    Since I was on a flavored tofu binge, I tried Nasoya's Thai Peanut Baked Tofu. I like nearly all things Thai or peanut, but I was a bit disappointed in the lack of strong flavor and somewhat bland taste. The texture is nicely chewy al dente, but the sauce didn't penetrate the tofu or have enough taste to adequately flavor the outside of the tofu. My advice to Nasoya: marinate the tofu first, and add more salt. My advice to you: skip this one, unless you prefer more subtle flavors and are trying to avoid salt. 2 Birds





    Tofu a Go Go

    I found a new quick snack that I just love: Pete's Tofu2go Lemon Pepper Tofu with mango chipotle sauce. The tofu triangles are nicely flavored and have that spongy texture that's characteristic of tofu served in Asian restaurants, but they are not greasy. The triangles are tasty at room temperature or slightly heated. The sauce was tangy, sweet, and slightly kicky. A couple of triangles and a hearty salad make a fulfilling and quick dinner. 5 Birds





    Product Categories


    Vegan Entrees


    Pick GoPicnic for a Pick-Me-Up Lunch

    A handy little discovery called GoPicnic Black Bean Dip & Plantain Chips came my way and certainly did come in handy on a day I was not home to prep a fresh lunch. Packed into a little 4-ounce box was a small plastic container of tasty black bean dip, some really crisp plantain chips, a teeny packet of fruit & nut mix, and another teeny packet of dark chocolate & tangerine candies. It was a perfect pick-me-up that carried me through 'til dinner. The whole meal had 380 calories, 13g protein, and 9g fiber--not too bad for an on-the-go that's also gluten-free and kosher. But beware the 17g total fat and 5g saturated fat. 4 Birds





    Daniel's Italian Adventure

    It was my good fortune to have a friend bring me a 10-ounce container of Daniel's Choice Eggplant Parmesan just because she liked it. Rarely is vegan eggplant Parmesan more than just OK. But, this is definitely the exception! It's so delicious, I would serve it to royalty in a blink if the occasion came up! The flavor is awesome and the textures are right on--I wouldn't hesitate to match this one to any non-vegan version. The serving size is hearty, and it looks darned good, too! 5 Birds





    Kale Lovers Unite Behind the Green Jar

    Maggie's Conscious Vegan Cuisine really digs kale, and so do I. Thought I'd give the Green Life a try. The Israeli-inspired stew is crazy delicious, very spiced up with Berbere spices, has tons of garbanzo beans and kale, and is even gluten-free. Really dug the awesome flavors of a well-put-together stew that had stuff like golden raisins, ginger, garlic, basil and a yummy zap of chili. Also appreciated that the kale was chopped into comfortable bite-size pieces. Life is so good in this green jar, it's worth begging for it. 5 Birds





    Daniel's Choice Is the Answer to Your Prayers

    Stedda' Chicken Alfredo from Daniel's Choice was staring longingly at me from the deli case at my natural foods market. Well, I couldn't just leave it there, could I? Took the 10-ounce container home, followed the warming directions, and soon I was having the kind of deep, sensuous experience one could compare to how a cat responds to receiving a gift of fresh catnip. I absolutely could not stop the "mmmmm" and "oooooh" It was that good. The serving size was perfect as were the chunks of veggie chicken and the linguini. But the amazing sauce, sooo rich and creamy, is what makes this irresistibly seductive. It's a little caloric, but every bit worth the delicious moment. 5 Birds





    This Korma Has Good Karma

    After tasting a lentil dish from Maggie's Conscious Vegan Cuisine, I came back for a second shot -- Very Good for You Korma in the freezer section of my natural foods market. Thumbs up! It's everything you could want in a finger-lickin' gluten-free Indian vegetable stew--delicious coconut milk and tomato sauce, tons of veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc., plenty of edamame, and punchy spice. It was vegan nirvana over cooked quinoa. Will definitely buy it again. It's packed with 7g fiber and 13g protein per serving. 5 Birds





    Love Those Bitchin' Lentils

    Ate something new that's an amazing must-have--Maggie's Conscious Vegan Cuisine Lentils with Thai Green Curry. Besides being knock-your-socks-off delicious, one 32-ounce jar makes 4 generous servings. It's perfect for sharing or to wolf down all by your little old self. Loved the bitchin' spice and coconut milk and lime flavors and really appreciated the packed-with-veggies healthy bent. This was so good over brown rice I could have eaten the whole jar--well, almost. Wilder still is that every serving delivers 15g of fiber and 26g protein, but watch the fat - 7g total and 5g saturated. 5 Birds





    Pizza Minus Pizzazz, Any Way You Slice It

    Scanning my go-to natural food market freezer section for something good to eat, I spotted something new: Tofurky Pizza in three flavors -- Pepperoni, Cheese, or Italian Sausage & Fire Roasted Veggies. The 14-ounce package said there were 3 servings--great! Plucked the big, colorful, delicious-looking 10-inch box of sausage pizza from the freezer and was really looking forward to sharing the meal with two friends. The first disappointment was its minimalist size--only 8 inches across--definitely not 3 servings. The second letdown was the lack of flavor. Poblano peppers delivered a touch of heat, but where was the flavor? The Italian sausage didn't punch like it should and the tomato sauce was flat, flat, flat and boring. Can't knock the good sources of protein and fiber and relatively healthy toppings, but that's where excitement ends. 3 Birds





    Visit Candle Cafe in Your Freezer

    Didn't feel like cooking so warmed up the oven and popped in the single-serving frozen tray of Candle Cafe Vegan Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce. Gave it the required 30 minutes, then dug in full bore. It was a cold night, and man! that hot entrée went down like lightening in a thunderstorm. Loved the lemony sauce on the brown rice and the tender chopped seitan! However, I have to say the frozen dish is definitely not like eating the real thing in that great little New York cafe. In a pinch, though, it's a tasty entrée. On the plus side are the 4 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein. Caution: beware the hefty 920 mg of sodium and 3.5 grams total fat. They'll getcha if ya don't watch out! 3 Birds





    There's No Sag in This Super Saag

    Spinach, chickpeas, edamame, and coconut milk in a yummy yellow curry sauce makes a fantastic meal all packed into a 32-ounce jar of Maggie's Conscious Vegan Cuisine Super Saag. This is the good stuff that's even gluten-free and has no added oils in the mix. If you're a spinach-lover like me, you'll love it, too. It felt super healthy all packed with 11g protein, 4g of fiber, and tons of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium and iron. Impressive, right? 5 Birds





    Bolani, an Afghan Delight

    A winning, feel-good meal, that's what I call the Spinach Bolani made by East and West Gourmet Afghan Food, a company that makes the neatest stuffed flatbread I've ever tasted. This yummy, spinach-filled, giant-size turnover was my first encounter with Bolani, but certainly not my last--I'm heading back to Whole Foods to buy another one, maybe the pumpkin, potato, or lentil stuffed, but I'm totally hooked! The package has two giant Bolanis and considers each one 2 servings, but I couldn't stop at half and ate a whole one down to the last crumb. Dropped it on a pan and stuck it in the oven. In 5 or 6 minutes I was in Bolani heaven and lovin' it. The ingredients are pretty wholesome (flour, spinach, green onion, cilantro, soybean oil, salt, and spices), but watch out for the fat calories (23 for half a Bolani). 4 Birds





    These Rolls Really Rock

    Vege USA Vegetarian Plus Vegan Tuna Rolls opened a whole new world of handy grub to grab when my life turned into non-stop on-the-go. The tuna rolls totally rock right out of the package, and if you're a major couch potato, you'll be happy to know they're seasoned and ready to hit the plate. Real tuna is but a faded memory, but this frozen vegan version that comes in two small separately packaged chubs is way better than I remembered. Defrosted it, heaped about half a chub on a piece of whole grain bread, topped it with a tomato slice and vegan cheese and popped it under the broiler. What a meal! And if you're hip to a little KP (for the uninitiated that's kitchen patrol), just chop up a few veggies, mix them with a tuna roll and a spoonful of Vegenaise, and invite a friend to chow down with you. Very cool! Made mostly from wheat fiber, one serving packs 13g of protein, but be aware of the 7.5g total fat and 2.5g sat. fat. 4 Birds





    Let Them Eat the Other Stuff. We'll Feast on Tofurky!

    Turkey shmirky, who needs it when you can sink your choppers into a delicious, totally vegan, kosher roast that's so great tasting you couldn't want for more? Made from wheat gluten and tofu, Turtle Island Foods The Original Tofurky, A Delicous Vegetarian Roast, has all the qualities you need for the perfect holiday main dish: great looking, comforting chewiness, and radically yummy. The box says it serves four but, actually, it goes further than that depending on what else you plunk on the table. And, oh!, you gotta make a gravy for it or it's on the dry side. No big deal. Right on the box are recipes for two different gravies. The thing to remember is that if you buy it frozen, be sure to defrost it before it goes into the oven. Believe me, it's easier than waiting 3 hours for a frozen tofurky roast to cook through. Hey, don't forget that leftovers make fabulous sandwiches with leftover gravy! Wicked good stuff! 5 Birds





    The Good Shepherd Deserves Praise

    Before ravenous hunger strikes, plan ahead. Tuck an all vegan Amy's Shepherd's Pie into the oven for 45 minutes, and plunge your fork into one of the tastiest old English country meals ever created. I romanced this little pie all the way to the last bite--it was sooooo good! The veggies and beans that include tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, onions, leeks, carrots, turnips, garbanzos, and soybeans are all organic. And, they're all nestled under a fluffy pillow of mashed potatoes. Would you believe a generous 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and only 4 grams of fat. The sodium content at 490 mg may concern some people. Pair this cute little pie with a generous bowl of salad for a really fab meal. By the way, with a microwave, dinner can be ready in 5 minutes. 5 Birds





    From Space to Your Kitchen

    Using NASA technology, Fantastic Foods has introduced a line of Fast Naturals Ready Meals. The foods are an amazing convenience--they live in a box, need no refrigeration, and keep about a year on the shelf. In just 5 minutes I was devouring the all-vegan Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili, and really dug every hip bite of the black, kidney, and white bean combo that's packed with bits of corn, and carrots, too. Tofu crumbles give it that neat, chewy texture, and the flavor--WOW! Though it's light on the spice, this dish resembles a real Texas-style chili where the flavor of those great red chiles really comes through, rather than the familiar tomatoey-style chili. Worried about protein? This meal offers 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and only 4 grams of total fat. But, tune in to the sodium at 680 mg. 4 Birds





    La Enchilada es Poco "Sparso"

    The attractive freezer package on Amy's Black Bean and Vegetable Enchilada led me to expect two plump servings of beans and vegetables wrapped in corn tortillas. I even had to wait 50 minutes while they heated in my conventional oven, only to unwrap these sunken, unappealing logs. Even had to wrestle these two emaciated enchiladas out of their little tray. Once on the plate I realized my partner and I were going to be foraging in the fridge to put together a real meal. On the positive side, they tasted really great. Forget the 2 servings, eat the whole thing yourself, and add a hearty salad to complete your meal. 3 Birds





    This Meal Will Almost Bowl You Over

    Amy's Brown Rice & Vegetables Bowl is an easy, quick-to-heat meal in an earth-friendly biodegradable bowl. Five minutes in the microwave was just enough time to put a fork and napkin on the table before retrieving the bowl from the nuke box and digging in. The base is brown rice flavored with itsy bits of minced vegetables topped with broccoli florets, mushrooms, purple onions, and chunks of tofu. It's all organic, all vegan, and all pleasantly tasty with delicate flavors. Wish the airlines would serve meals like this! One downside--the rice was mushy--it had a texture like porridge. The serving size is perfect, but those with big appetites, should consider adding a salad and some whole grain bread to round out the meal. 4 Birds





    I Ate My Rubber Ducky!

    This veggie taster stoically struggled to finish one of the two portions of the vegan Jamaican Jerk Tofu by Gloria's Kitchen. I was wracking my brain to come up with a unique use for the other large, thick, rubbery, tasteless triangle of tofu. I followed the directions to the letter, heating them for 30 to 35 minutes in the conventional oven, but they were still ice-cold. Back in the oven two more times, totaling 65 minutes, finally produced a warm dish that wasn't worth the trouble. The base of brown rice had become dry and crunchy. The sparse vegetables were mere shreds, yet the package displays long fingers of zucchini, carrot, and red and yellow pepper. It might have been more fun tossing the two tofu wedges into the bathtub and pretending they were rubber duckies. The ONLY thing going for this dish is its low sodium content. 1 Bird





    El Burrito Es Muy Delicioso!

    The El Burrito SoyLoaf offers more versatility than the manufacturer intended. All vegan, low in fat (1.5g), and made from non-GMO soybeans, this ready-made mixture is intended to be baked in the oven for one hour. Because I was in a hurry, I made a great time-saving discovery. This one-pound meatless meatloaf chub also makes excellent patties that can be thickly sliced and quickly sautéed to a golden brown in a touch of canola oil. El Burrito es muy delicioso! Distinctly Mexican in flavor, SoyLoaf is a real winner, but if you're watching the sodium, keep your paws off that second helping! 4 Birds





    Paella Package Outshines Its Contents

    Fantastic Fast Naturals Ready Meals gets a hmmmf for their box of vegetarian Spanish Paella that's ready-to-eat in 5 minutes. The prep is easy, but that first bite was struggling to get past my taste buds. To give this all-vegan creation a fair chance, I talked myself into taking a second bite. It wasn't any better. White rice with miniscule bits of onions, artichoke hearts, diced tomato, and corn looked great on the package, but I've never tasted anything this bad. It bites! The package lists 4 grams of dietary fiber and 6 grams of protein, but how they arrived at those figures is a mystery. 1 Bird





    Product Categories


    Product Index



    To read the taste report on any item in this column, click on the name below.

    ALLISON'S GOURMET HEAVENLY FUDGE BROWNIE
    AND ALLISON'S GOURMET MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

    ALLISON'S GOURMET COOKIES:

    ALTERNATIVE BAKING COMPANY FUDGE INDULGENCE COOKIE

    ALTERNATIVE BAKING COMPANY OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIE

    AMY'S BLACK BEAN AND VEGETABLE ENCHILADA

    AMY'S BROWN RICE AND VEGETABLES BOWL

    AMY'S ORGANIC LENTIL VEGETABLE SOUP

    AMY'S PASTA AND THREE BEAN SOUP

    AMY'S PASTA AND THREE BEAN SOUP

    AMY'S SHEPHERD'S PIE

    AMY'S TEXAS BURGER

    AMY'S TOFU SCRAMBLE IN A POCKET SANDWICH

    ANCIENT HARVEST INCA RED QUINOA

    ANCIENT SUN NUTRITION MAYAN SPICE WILDBAR

    ANNNIE CHUN'S ROASTED SEEWEED SNACKS

    BAHAMA RICE BURGER, JERKIN'SPICY FLAVOR

    BEAN BRAND FOODS BEANITOS

    BEARDED BROTHERS COLOSSAL COCONUT MANGO ENERGY BAR/a>

    a href="#Honee">BEE FREE HONEE

    BEANFIELDS BEAN AND RICE CHIPS

    BOB'S RED MILL RIGHT STUFF

    BOCA SPICY MEATLESS CHIK'N PATTIES

    BUDDY FRUITS

    BURGER KING VEGGIE BURGER

    CANAAN FOODS-ELIANNI VEGGIE PÂTÉ

    CANDLE CAFE VEGAN SEITAN PICCATA WITH LEMON CAPER SAUCE

    CARLA LEE'S NUT BURGERS

    CHICAGO VEGAN FOOD DANDIES MINIS

    CHOCOLATE DECADENCE CANDY

    CHOCOSOY SOY-MILK CHOCOLATE

    COCO EXPOSED coconut water with aloe vera, passion fruit, and pineapple

    CONSORZIO ROASTED GARLIC FLAVORED OLIVE OIL

    CRUM CREEK MILLS' SOY NUT MIX

    CRUNCHA MA-ME EDAMAME

    DAIYA STYLE SHREDS

    DANIEL'S CHOICE EGGPLANT PARMESAN

    DANIEL'S CHOICE STEDDA' CHICKEN ALFREDO

    DE BOLES OAT BRAN SPAGHETTI

    DF MAVENS DAIRY-FREE FROZEN DESSERTS

    DON'T GO NUTS SOY BUTTER ORGANIC
    DOUBLE RAINBOW COFFEE ALMOND FUDGE

    DRAGUNARA SWEET CHILI SAUCE

    EARNEST EATS GRANOLA PLANK

    EAST AND WEST GOURMET AFGHAN FOOD SPINACH BOLANI

    EL BURRITO SOYLOAF

    ELIANNI MEDITERRANEAN MUSHROOM VEGGIE ROLLS

    ELIANNI VEGGIE CUTLETS

    FABE'S NATURAL GOURMET CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

    FABE'S NATURAL GOURMET MINI VEGAN CARROT CAKE

    FANTASTIC FOODS BIG BOWL VEGETARIAN CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

    FANTASTIC FAST NATURALS SPANISH PAELLA

    FANTASTIC FAST NATURALS THAI LEMON GRASS AND RICE NOODLES

    FANTASTIC FAST NATURALS VEGETARIAN THREE-BEAN CHILI

    FANTASTIC FOODS BIG SOUP NOODLE BOWLS

    FLAMOUS FALAFEL CHIPS

    FOLLOW YOUR HEART COUNTRY ORGANIC VEGAN CAESAR

    FOLLOW YOUR HEART COUNTRY SMOKED CHICKEN-FREE CHICKEN

    FOLLOW YOUR HEART VEGAN GOURMET CHEESE ALTERNATIVE

    FOLLOW YOUR HEART VEGAN GOURMET CREAM CHEESE ALTERNATIVE

    FOLLOW YOUR HEART VEGENAISE

    FRANKLY NATURAL BAKERS CHOCOLATE CAPPUCCINO COOKIE

    FRANKLY NATURAL BAKERS MACADAMIA BROWNIE AND BUTTERSCOTCH BROWNIE

    FRANKLY NATURAL BAKERS 2WICE AS BIG GLUTEN-FREE DATE-NUT BAR

    FRANKLY NATURAL BAKERS VEGAN DATE-NUT ENERGY SQUARE

    FREEKEH ORGANIC, TOASTED, CRACKED GREEN WHEAT

    FRUITABU SMOOOSHED STRAWBERRY FRUIT TWIRL

    GALAXY PEPPER JACK FLAVOR RICE SLICES

    GARDEIN CHIPOTLE LIME CRISPY FINGERS

    GARDEIN GARDEN PROTEIN CLASSIC STYLE BUFFALO WINGS

    GARDENBURGER BLACK BEAN CHIPOTLE VEGGIE BURGER

    GARDENBURGER MEATLESS RIBLETS

    GENISOY LEMON SMASH EXTREME CRUNCH BAR

    GLORIA'S KITCHEN JAMAICAN JERK TOFU

    GOJI BERRIES FROM ORCAS ISLAND HERBAL APOTHECARY

    GOPAL'S POWER WRAPS

    GOPICNIC BLACK BEAN DIP & PLANTAIN CHIPS

    GRANNY CHOE'S KIMCHI

    GREEN OPTIONS VEGI-DELI HOT N' PEPPERED VEGI JERKY

    HAIL MERRY, THE ROYAL BLEND OF SEASONED NUTS

    HEALTH IS WEALTH CHICKEN-FREE PATTIES

    HEMPNUT HEMPEH VEGGIEBURGER

    HOMEMADE HARVEY MANGO, PINEAPPLE, BANANA, AND PASSION FRUIT

    JAT FOODS DYNEMO NUTRITIONAL ENERGY BARS

    THE JUNGLE FLAX CRAX

    JUST PURE FOODS SPICY JALAPENO TOMATO CHIPS

    KATHLEEN'S CURRIED BEANS WITH LENTILS, GARBANZOS, AND SPLIT PEAS

    LIGHTLIFE "FAKIN BACON" SMOKEY TEMPEH STRIPS

    LIGHTLIFE ORIGINAL TOFU PUPS

    LIGHTLIFE SMART BACON

    LIGHTLIFE SMART CUTLETS

    LIGHTLIFE SMART DOGS

    LIGHTLIFE SMART MENU STEAK-STYLE STRIPS

    LIVING HARVEST HEMPMILK ORIGINAL

    LUKE'S CHIA SEED MULTIGRAIN AND SEED CRACKERS

    LUMEN FOODS STONEWALL'S JERKY TERIYAKI BEEF STYLE

    LUNA AND LARRY'S ORGANIC CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER COCONUT BLISS

    LUNA BARS

    LUNDBERG RICE CHIPS WASABI FLAVOR

    LYDIA'S ORGANICS GREEN CRACKERS

    MAGGIE'S CONSCIOUS VEGAN CUISINE LENTILS WITH THAI GREEN CURRY

    MAGGIE'S CONSCIOUS VEGAN CUISINE GREEN LIFE

    MAGGIE'S CONSCIOUS VEGAN CUISINE SUPER SAAG

    MAGGIE'S CONSCIOUS VEGAN CUISINE VERY GOOD FOR YOU KORMA

    MARY'S GONE CRACKERS BLACK PEPPER FLAVOR

    MAUI TARO BURGER

    MAXINE'S HEAVENLY VEGAN COOKIES--PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP AND CINNAMON OATMEAL RAISIN

    MISHIMA ALL NATURAL MISO SOUP

    MONTEREY FARMS ARTIHEARTS

    MORI-NU CREAMY CORN SOUP

    MORNINGSTAR FARMS BETTER 'N BURGERS

    MRS. MAY'S NATURALS COCONUT ALMOND & BLUEBERRY PEANUT

    NANA'S COOKIE COMPANY OATMEAL RAISIN AND PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

    NANCY'S CULTURED SOY RASPBERRY

    NASOYA FAT FREE NAYONAISE

    NASOYA THAI PEANUT BAKED TOFU

    NATURAL TOUCH VEGAN BURGER

    NOW & ZEN UNCHICKEN

    NATURE'S PATH MANNA BREAD

    NII ALMOND CHOCOLATE CHIP BAR

    OAT WORKS PEACH-MANGO FRUIT SMOOTHIE

    ODWALLA BAR! BERRIES GOMEGA

    OFF THE FARM BLUEBERRY VANILLA, STRAWBERRY COCONUT, AND APPLE CINNAMON BARS

    OGEE FOODS BACKYARD BARBECUE PROTONS

    ONCE AGAIN SMOOTH RAW ALMOND BUTTER

    ORGANIC VEGAN FOOD BAR

    ORIGINAL MAUI TARO BURGER

    OUR DAILY MUFFIN

    PARMA! NON-DAIRY PARMESAN SEASONING

    PARMELA PARMESAN CHEESE REPLACER

    PATAK'S ORIGINAL BIRYANI PASTE

    PEANUT BETTER INC. SEASONED PEANUT BUTTERS

    PERFECTED FOODS SOY JERKY

    PETE'S TOFU2GO LEMON PEPPER TOFU

    PLAY FOOD WHIP CHEEZE

    POWER OF 3 SEED BLENDS

    PRIMAL STICK NATURAL SMOKED FLAVOR

    PRIMAL STRIPS SEITAN TERIYAKI

    PROBAR

    PURE ORGANIC FRUIT & NUT BARS

    PURELY DECADENT DAIRY FREE DESSERT

    QUINN POPCORN FARM-TO-BAG IN THE KALE & SEA SALT FLAVOR

    RICERA RICE YOGURT

    RISING MOON ORGANICS GARLIC & BASIL GNOCCHI

    RYVITA FRUIT CRUNCH

    SEEDS OF CHANGE PERSIA SEVEN WHOLE GRAIN PILAF BLEND SHARRON'S COCONUT SORBET

    SHEESE (MOZZARELLA AND STRONG CHEDDAR STYLE)

    SHEFFA SPICY MIX

    SILK CULTURED SOY STRAWBERRY AND BLUEBERRY

    SIMPLY BALANCED MUSHROOM MISO TURKEY

    SIMPLY BEAN FABZ FAVA BEANS WITH SEA SALT

    SKINNY COCONUT OIL

    SKINNY LEMON CO. THE MASTER CLEANSE

    SO DELICIOUS ALMOND PLUS ALMONDMILK VANILLA FLAVOR

    SO DELICIOUS CULTURED COCONUT MILK

    SO DELICIOUS MOCHA ALMOND FUDGE

    SOLEIL ORGANIC RAW FOOD BARS

    SOOFOO MOROCCAN MEDLEY

    SOYMAGE VEGAN (A NATURAL ALTERNATIVE TO CHEESE)

    SOYMAGE VEGAN PARMESAN ALTERNATIVE

    STARK SISTERS GRANOLA

    STONYFIELD FARM ALL NATURAL O'SOY RASPBERRY CULTURED SOY

    STRETCH ISLAND FRUIT CO. ALL-NATURAL FRUIT STRIP

    SUNERGIA SOYFOODS SOY FETA

    SWEET AND SARA MARSHMALLOW MELTAWAYS

    SWEET EARTH CURRY RECIPE SEITAN

    SWEET NOTHINGS MOCHA FUDGE

    TASTY EATS JAMAICAN CHICK'N JERKY

    TEECCINO VANILLA NUT HERBAL COFFEE

    TEESE VEGAN CHEESE BY CHICAGO SOYDAIRY (MOZZARELLA AND CHEDDAR)

    THAI KITCHEN GARLIC & HERB INSTANT RICE NOODLES

    THAT'S IT. FRUIT BARS

    3 SQUARE WHITE BEAN & BASIL POCKET

    TINKYADA'S ORGANIC BROWN RICE PENNE

    TOBY'S TOFU PATE SPREAD AND DIPS

    TOFURKY PIZZA WITH ITALIAN SAUSAGE & FIRE ROASTED VEGGIES

    TOFUTTI GOOD AND HEALTHY SOY-CHEESE SLICES

    TRADER GIOTTO'S ITALIAN HERB TOFU

    TRADER JOE-SAN ASIAN TOFU

    TRADER JOE'S CULTURED SOY STRAWBERRY AND BLUEBERRY

    TRUE S0LUTION NUTRITION SHAKE

    TURTLE ISLAND ORIGINAL TOFURKY

    TURTLE ISLAND SPICY VEGGIE HOME-STYLE TEMPEH

    TURTLE ISLAND TOFURKY HICKORY SMOKED DELI SLICES

    TURTLE ISLAND TOFURKY JURKY GINGER TERIYAKI

    TURTLE ISLAND TOFURKY PHILLY-STYLE STEAK

    ULTRA SMOOTHIE

    VEGAN DELIGHTS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

    VEGAN DELIGHTS CHOCOLATE TREASURES

    VEGAN RELLA

    VEG-DELI PEPPERONI

    VEGEUSA VEGAN KUNG PAO CHICKEN

    VEGEUSA VEGETARIAN PLUS VEGAN TUNA ROLLS

    VEGEUSA VEGETARIAN PLUS VEGAN CITRUS SPARERIB CUTLETS IN PLUM VINEGAR SAUCE

    WHA GURU CHEW

    WHITE WAVE SEITAN

    WHITE WAVE SILK LIVE! SMOOTHIE

    WHOLE SOY CULTURED SOY SMOOTHIES

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