Tag Archives: Vegan Food

Pizza Oggi’s Mini Calzones with Cauliflower Crust Review

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hope you all had an amazing, relaxing holiday and are ready to get back into it. First article this year is this product review!

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I’ve never heard of this brand before, but decided to go out on a limb and try their product. After all, I like pizza, so how bad could a calzone be?

I first tried these mini calzones on 22.12.14, and I was immediately surprised by how big they were. Considering they were supposed to be ‘mini’ they were a lot bigger than I thought they’d be. One calzone was roughly the same length as my hand (tip of middle finger to palm).

The box itself was relatively small, and 1 box also only came with six. This surprised me, because they were listed under the Appetizers section, and I naively assumed it would come with more, since when I hear ‘appetizer’ I immediately think of a party.

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Don’t get me wrong, these would absolutely still work for a party, but you’d need more than one box. Or, you could cut the calzones into bite-sized pieces, but that might defeat the purpose of eating a calzone.

They also cooked a lot faster than the box recommended. Though my oven burns hotter than most, I was still surprised at just how fast these cooked. The boxes instructions say to cook them at 425 for 12-15min, or until golden. (And to flip halfway through)

I cooked them at 400 for 6min, then had to turn the oven down to 350 for the last 6min because the outsides were starting to look burnt. After the second 6min cooking time, I took them out and they were done! So if your oven tends to burn hotter like mine, I’d recommend doing 350 for the entire cooking time, unless you like calzones extra crispy.

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Once they were cool enough to bite without burning my tongue, I went ahead and divided them between me and my non-vegan friend. (He agreed to help me out with product reviews when he was able to)

My first impression of the calzones was that they didn’t smell very ‘deep’ like regular pizza. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve ever had pizza, it’s almost like you can smell every layer: the dough, sauce, cheese (or lack thereof) and toppings. These smelled more like… nothing.

I’m not sure if it’s because the dough was made out of cauliflower, or if it was a lacking of spice in the sauce, but when I held it up to my nose, it was almost like there was nothing there.

Which is very weird considering how many things were in it!

These calzones had: cauliflower crust, Beyond Meat Italian crumbles, vegan cheese, potatoes, bell pepper, peas, mushrooms, onions and more! Which is great for a food to have that many veggies in it.

But not so great for the taste.

Not that the taste was bad, but I definitely wouldn’t have said they were calzones. Calzones are supposed to taste like pizza, right? Just in a not-quite-pocket shape. These… didn’t. These calzones tasted closer to samosas, Perogies, or even a veggie Jamaican Patty.

They tasted like veggie soup in a wrapper, essentially. And speaking of the wrapper, neither me nor my friend could tell it was cauliflower dough. Even though the box proudly exclaimed it was made with a cauliflower crust, we couldn’t tell at all. In fact, if the box didn’t tell us it was cauliflower, we wouldn’t of guessed. It was that close to ‘real’ dough.

Though it’s clearly listed in the ingredients, you also couldn’t really taste nor see the vegan cheese. There were maybe 3 dots of white mozzarella. The inside of the calzones even looked more dry and crumbly than a calzone is supposed to.

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And sure, you could argue that maybe that’s my oven’s fault for almost overcooking, but even if it did dry them out, the pizza flavour was still missing. My friend agreed. They were great! But neither of us would’ve labelled them as ‘calzones’.

So, the big question: should you try them?

If you like the taste of samosas, Perogies or veggie Jamaican patties, then yeah, absolutely!

But if you’re craving something pizza flavoured? I’d skip this one.


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Gardein Chick’n Noodl’ Soup Review

This is the last post of 2022!

I’ll be taking the last half of this month and first half of January off from posting. I’ll be back Jan. 13th 2023, (9am, ET) with the first short story (and product review) of the new year!

Hope you all enjoy the upcoming holiday season, and get well rested for 2023!


Now that the winter weather is in full swing, I thought what better product to review than a soup?

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Now, I’m going to be honest, I’m not that big of a fan of soup. I hardly ever eat it (Mr. Noodles not included). I think it’s a little weird as a food. It’s practically just juice with chunks in it.

I’m a much bigger fan of stew. Food should be solid, or fork-able. If I wanted to drink something, I would just get myself a beverage.

That said, I decided to take a chance on this soup, because I’m a big fan of most of Gardein’s other products. And let me tell you, I’m very glad I took the chance!

This soup had big chunks of chick’n (the pieces were roughly the same size as their Meatballs), had pretty big pieces of carrot and celery, and there was a decent amount of noodles, too. My can only had 6 pieces of chick’n total, which I guess I could let slide since they were pretty big, but for a soup that is called Chick’N Noodle, you’d think there would be more. That could entirely vary by can, though, so don’t let that be a reason you write this soup off before even trying it.

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The can also made a full bowl, which I was admittedly impressed with – I was half expecting it to be a little under, if anything. The can itself is pretty small, it’s the same size as the Amy’s Kitchen soup cans.

Because I don’t eat soup all that often, I don’t really have much to say in terms of how good it is specifically as a soup, but compared to the Chunky Soup Hearty Chicken I used to eat before going vegan, it definitely stacks up!

One thing I didn’t like about this soup – or any soup that has noodles in it – is how soft the noodles are. I understand that’s what happens when noodles are left soaking in liquid for a long time, they get super soft. And I’m not sure if that’s something others would say is a plus in their soup, but as for me, I like my pasta to have a little bit of a bite to it.

This soup definitely gave me classic chicken noodle soup vibes, and even though I’m not that big a fan of soup in general, I could definitely see myself enjoying this during the cold winter months.

On occasion.


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Que Pasa Sweet and Spicy Ranch Chips Review

I first discovered this brand in 2019, when I was pleasantly surprised by finding their Nacho chips in a No Frills.

As I explained in that article, I was having trouble at the time finding the chips at my favourite grocery stores. Even No Frills seemed to stop carrying the brand after the day I’d discovered them.

After perusing their website, I discovered they had thankfully not only didn’t discontinue the Nacho flavour, but had others as well! And, perhaps the best news, is that all their flavours are vegan!

Being cautiously excited at discovering a new vegan company, I set my sights on trying some of their other flavours. The next flavour I was interested in trying was their Sweet and Spicy Ranch chips. But just like the Nacho flavour, I couldn’t find the Ranch anywhere.

Not content on giving up, I discovered VeganSupply sells a variety of Que Pasa’s chip flavours, but as my luck would have it, they were sold out when I tried getting a bag. This irritation brought me to March of this year (2022), when I decided to try a new-ish wellness website called Well.ca.

I discovered that not only did Well carry supplements, personal products and other wellness products, but they also had quite an array of vegan foods available! In this order, I decided to get a few other products I wasn’t able to find elsewhere that I was planning on using in future reviews. This included Watermelon La Croix, Dandelion Tea, these Ranch chips, and a few other items.

To my great pleasure, I received 0 notices about the Que Pasa chips being out of stock, and actually (finally) got my hands on them when the order arrived.

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Now, I’ll be honest, I was so excited to see a chip bag that said Vegan Ranch on it, that I completely missed the Sweet and Spicy part of the name.

Luckily for me, I spotted the full name before digging in, so I was able to ration my taste test appropriately. The bag I bought was the same size as the Nacho ones had been, and while they were slightly more expensive (Well had them listed for $4.79, but No Frills had them for $3.49), I was more than happy to pay the difference considering I was having so much trouble finding them.

These chips were also more sweet than spicy for me. Being the detail oriented flavour taster that I am, the first chip I tried, I licked some of the flavouring off to get a more complete profile.

Keeping in mind I haven’t had actual ranch flavoured anything in… probably close to 15-ish years, I personally didn’t think these chips tasted ‘ranch-y’. They at least didn’t taste like the vegan Ranch dips/salad dressings I’ve gotten used to. The flavouring actually reminded me of being closer to maple syrup than ranch.

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The heat also didn’t come until swallowing, but luckily it wasn’t too overpowering. There was a little tingle in the back of my throat, but I was able to eat a few at a time without feeling the need to reach for water. There was also no sweating happening, unlike when I eat Sweet Chili Heat Doritos.

I’m not usually a big fan of contrasting flavour profiles in the same dish/food. I just got used to chocolate covered pretzels not too long ago. That said, I really thought the sweetness of the chip when chewing really helped to balance out the heat experienced when swallowing.

They complimented each other nicely, and while I would’ve loved these chips more if they didn’t have that kick at the end, I also can’t say they weren’t good. I will say that even though the Nacho ones were spicier, if given a choice, I’d probably pick the Nacho flavour over these ones.

Have you tried these Que Pasa Sweet and Spicy Ranch chips? How’d you like them? Let me know in the comments!


Like this review? Check out more here! I post new reviews on the 13th of every month.

Beyond Meat Hot Italian Sausages Review

If you’ve been around here before, you’ll know I can not handle spicy foods. I have a very low spicy tolerance, and very, very rarely eat spicy foods willingly.

That said, when the Beyond Meat Hot Italian Sausages came to Canada, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review them.

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I first tried these sausages back in March of last year (2021), and I have to say, I was actually pleasantly surprised!

Similar to the Beyond Meat Burgers, these sausages had a very similar texture to meat sausages (or at least, from what I remember) and even seemed to have a ‘skin’ or casing on them.

These sausages are very meaty tasting, and smelling. Which is great, if that’s your thing! If you’re looking for a plant-based alternative to replace meat products without compromising on taste or texture, these are definitely the sausages for you!

As I’ve said in previous reviews, I’m a fan of plants that taste like plants. Give me a mushroom burger that tastes like mushrooms, and I won’t complain. These sausages, as well as the Beyond Meat burgers… honestly, I think it’s amazing that we can make plants taste that close to meat products, but it’s just not really my thing.

I don’t know quite what it is, but even just smelling the ‘meat’ smell makes me mildly nauseous. Like my body is screaming no, don’t eat that! at me, even though I know it’s made out of plants, and is not a dead body.

For me personally, it’s too close to meat for me to be a big fan of them, or to add them to my regular shopping list. Once in a while is fine, but I really can’t handle them more than that. I just don’t crave that meaty taste – even back before I went vegan, I stayed away from pretty much every meat that wasn’t chicken/turkey, because I just didn’t like the taste – so it’s actually not surprising that I still don’t really dig that flavour.

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Beyond Sausage close up

Not only were these sausages super meaty, but they also definitely lived up to their Hot name. They were spicy. Like, take three bites and burn the back of my throat spicy. Now, as said above, I have a very low spice tolerance, so you may not find them that spicy, but honestly, these messed up my digestion I imagine the same way eating hot wings messes with other people. It was not pretty, nor fun.

Even just thinking back to eating them is making me want to chug a bunch of water. I definitely am a bigger fan of the Mild sausages, though I also found those spicy. Not as bad, but they definitely still had a kick.

I did notice however, that if I chopped up the sausages and mixed them into something else, it did significantly reduce the spicy effects. So, that’s also an option, if you’re worried about how spicy they are.

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Beyond Sausage cut up in a Mr. Noodle stir fry

One thing I definitely don’t like about these sausages, is the packaging. They come in a cardboard container, that’s wrapped in plastic. Also, they only come 4 to a package. I’ve complained about this in other reviews, but seriously, if you want to offer that little in a package, at least have a bigger packaging option. Why not make them available in an 8, or hell, even a 6 pack would be better.

Beyond Meat now makes Breakfast Sausages that come in an 8 pack, so I don’t understand why these big ones can’t also. I’m not for sure on this, but the breakfast links also appear to come in a cardboard box, instead of plastic, which again begs the question: why can’t the big sausages come the same?

I know this review may seem like it’s negative, so I want to be clear: I’m in no way trying to trash this product. I think it’s amazing and crazy that Beyond Meat has figured out a way to make plants taste that close to meat products. It’s truly an incredible achievement, and said above, if you’re someone who’s looking to quell your meat cravings without eating the real thing, you would be hard pressed to find a better sausage than these.

These sausages aren’t something I personally will be buying very often, but I’m still definitely recommending them!


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Kelly’s Triple Fudge Brownie Review

I’ve been very excited to try other products from Kelly’s ever since I tried their Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcake during one of the Vegandale Festivals. I thought for sure I’d be out of luck after learning they were located in Burlington, but fortunately, they deliver to Toronto!

Wanting to try something new last year (2021) for Valentine’s Day, I decided to go ahead and place an order. Now, I’m not sure if it was just me, or the way their shop operates, but their website didn’t have too many offerings at the time I placed my order. Wanting to not go crazy, as well as remain practical (as I was planning on sharing some of the baked goods with friends and family), I decided to go with their Triple Fudge Brownie. Since it was flat, I figured it would be the safest to carry for travel.

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Small brownie tray

I ended up choosing the Small Tray size of their brownie to share, as well as two loose brownies to try beforehand – this way, I could test them myself before giving out possibly bad-tasting baked goods.

Luckily though, their brownie was amazing, and even my non-vegan friend enjoyed it!

Kelly’s Triple Fudge Brownies were firstly a lot bigger in size than I thought they’d be. The ones I got loose were roughly the size of my palm, and were also very sturdy.

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The loose brownies came in this cute pink box!

 

I don’t know if I’ve just had suck-y brownies before, but other brownies I’ve tried were closer in consistency to a cupcake than this was. This one felt a lot denser than ones I’ve previously tried – but not in a bad way!

I was also surprised that it was very soft to bite into, and reminded me of eating ice cream. Soft, yet firm. That said, the brownie was also not overly sweet like some other desserts. You know how sometimes you eat a cupcake and the second it goes into your mouth, your tongue almost recoils because it’s so sweet? That didn’t happen with this brownie.

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Brownie cut in half – like this, you can clearly see where the ganache ends and the brownie begins.

The website also said that the brownie had a chocolate ganache on top, which you can tell by looking at the brownie – the top of it is more of a lighter brown than the rest of it. The ganache also kind of flaked off the top when eating it. This worked out though, because the brownie was the type of dark chocolate that makes you thirsty, so picking up the ganache piece after eating it and letting it melt in your mouth helped with the dryness.

It was actually quite weird, now that I think about it. The brownie was dry, but not dry. I thought at first this may have been because the loose brownies were most likely made during the morning, but I didn’t receive the order until later in the day. You know that sort of dryness baked goods get if you leave them out on the counter? It was similar to that. (Though of course, I can’t say for sure whether or not the brownies were sitting around, and I’m in no way accusing Kelly’s of doing this)

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How the two loose brownies looked in the pink box.

My non-vegan friend said they liked the brownie as well. They said they weren’t sure if they would call it ‘fudge’ per se, but that it ‘definitely was a good chocolate brownie, was nice and flaky and surprisingly not crumbly’. (They ‘only made 4 crumbs’ when eating it)

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Another thing I liked about this brownie, and the Kelly’s company in general, is the fact the order came in a paper bag, instead of a plastic one. Granted, the containers that the actual brownies were in were plastic, but I liked that they at least didn’t have unnecessary plastic.

One thing I didn’t like about this order, was the price. Now, I know Kelly’s is a small, family owned bakeshop, and I did make them deliver from Burlington to Toronto (around Victoria Park and Danforth), however, my order total was $48.39, not including the tip. Considering I only got 2 items, this just seemed like a lot to me.

Another thing I didn’t like was the way the website would time out if you were taking too long to complete the order. I understand this is probably for inventory purposes, but it was annoying when I had to keep restarting my order, even though I stayed on the website. (I was trying to find ingredient information)

That said, Kelly’s had amazing customer service, and was overall very pleasant to do business with, aside from those two things. I definitely recommend you check them out and place an order with them, if you’re within the delivery zone (or can go and do a pick-up), and I look forward to placing more orders with them in future!


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Vegan Fast Food: Chipotle Edition

As far as fast food goes, Chipotle is a pretty healthy option. They have lots of recognizable, real food to choose from, including an awesome selection of vegetables, and they let you pick what goes in your meal!

They also have the option to filter based on diet (Vegetarian, Vegan, Soy, Gluten, etc) and, they make their ingredients very easy to find.

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Chipotle Website Dietary Filters

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Ingredients listed (with pictures) right on the website!

As if that wasn’t enough, when you click on an ingredient in the above list, it opens a little description about it, and a list that tells you which of their foods the ingredient is used in!

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Honestly, this was one of not only the easiest, but also the fastest ‘researches’ I did into a company’s ingredients.

I 100% agree with what they say on their ingredient page: why can’t every company be this straight forward?

So, we know that they make it easy to find things for your vegan preferences, but how many things actually come up in that list?

A hell of a lot!

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Starting in the upper left-hand corner, and moving clock-wise:

  • Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice
  • Cilantro-Lime White Rice
  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Yellow Onion
  • Red Onion
  • Tomato
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Bell Peppers
  • Avocado
  • Tomatillo
  • Red Chili
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Serrano Pepper
  • Poblano Pepper
  • Chipotle Chili
  • Sweet Corn
  • Burrito
  • Burrito Bowl
  • Salad
  • Taco
  • Tortilla Chips

I wasn’t able to find pictures of the following, but the below foods are also vegan:

  • Fajita Vegetables
  • Fresh Tomato Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
  • Sofritas
  • Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa
  • Tomatilla Red-Chili Salsa

*I would like to point out that these are ingredients listed, and vegan options available at Chipotle for Canada. If you live in a different country, I always recommend checking the ingredients for where you live, as companies often change the ingredients depending on which country they’re selling in.


Like this article? Check out the rest of the Vegan Fast Food series here!

Just Egg Plant-Based Liquid Egg Review

After my last venture of an egg replacement that was closer to a pancake than a scramble, my hopes of finding another good vegan egg replacement were slim. Don’t get me wrong, I love the VeganEgg, it’s amazing! But with it’s usual $12.99 price tag, I was on the hunt for something that was just as good, with a lower price. (If it existed)

Enter: Just Egg. I saw post after post on Instagram of how amazing this substitute was, and knew I’d have to get my hands on it to see if it really lived up to it’s hype. Unfortunately, at that time, it was only available in the US. So like any other pessimist, I resigned myself to only getting VeganEgg for ‘special occasions’ and temporarily halted my search for another egg scramble replacement, and focused my energy/time on the more urgent upcoming projects.

Then, in early 2021, the news dropped: Just Egg was coming to Canada!

I was re-bombarded with glowing Instagram posts, and decided to add it to my shopping list – for the end of the year.

See, when it gets down to around November, I’ve (usually) got all my other projects for the year (books, website posts, etc.) done, so I have the free time I need to come up with the next year’s posts, project ideas, etc. including, trying products for the upcoming product reviews.

While other people are busy buying Christmas gifts, I swoop in to snag the otherwise-sold-out new foods. It’s a win-win!

That makes me a little later to the game than others, but I don’t mind. If it’s still a good product, everyone will still be talking about it months after it’s launch, right?

Right!

And that was just the case with Just Egg.

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I tried Just Egg for the first time in the last week of November/early December, 2021. (21.11.29 was the first day I tried it, if you want to be more specific)

Very first impression? This bottle seems kinda small.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, the pictures I saw on social media and in online store selections, I thought the bottle would be bigger – closer to a skinny juice carton. It’s actually about as tall as my hand (roughly 6in from the tip of my middle finger to the base of my wrist), and not very wide. It says it’s 340g, but I wasn’t about to scale it.

After getting over the (mild) shock of how small the bottle was, I checked the bottle (as us vegans do), to scope out the ingredients and the instructions. The instructions were hard to find, as they weren’t clearly marked, and were on the bottom of the label, disguising themselves as being part of the copyright information.

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AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - JUST Egg Plant Based Liquid Egg - Just Egg Cooking Instructions - vegan, vegan food, veganism, egg, egg scramble, food, food review, food reviewer, bloggerWhere the cooking instructions are

The ingredients also didn’t list black salt, which made me curious to see if it would taste ‘egg-y’ if I didn’t add any myself.

After that, I broke out my frying pan and got cooking up the very first test batch. I did as directed and shook, then poured out ‘my desired amount’ into an oiled pan and waited.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - JUST Egg Plant Based Liquid Egg - Just Egg Liquid in Pan - vegan, vegan food, veganism, egg, egg scramble, food, food review, food reviewer, bloggerWhat the Just Egg looked like right after pouring into the pan

It didn’t take very long for the mixture to start solidifying. Using a spatula, I did the usual gentle mix and break to get those classic scrambled egg chunks. I also separated the mixture – part I was going to leave plain, to see what it’s flavour was on it’s own, and the other part I was going to add black salt, ground pepper and regular table salt to.

AterImber.com - The Veg Life - Product Reviews - JUST Egg Plant Based Liquid Egg - Just Egg Separated Scrambles Pic - vegan, vegan food, veganism, egg, egg scramble, food, food review, food reviewer, bloggerSeparated scrambles – plain on the left, black-salted/peppered on the right

The plain scramble tasted pretty good, though it didn’t taste like an egg. It mostly just tasted like oil, since I didn’t add any other flavour. Think plain fried tofu. The spiced mixture tasted a lot more like eggs.

Both mixtures had a nice soft-ish texture that I vaguely remember ‘normal’ scrambled eggs having (it’s been 6 years, give me a break), and held their shape pretty well. The chunks were soft enough I could cut the bigger pieces with my fork, but were also firm enough they didn’t fall apart when you tried to stab them.

The only thing I didn’t like about this product, was that it was surprisingly hard to find. I don’t know if it was just sold out of a bunch of places, or if it’s only available in certain stores, but I checked the usual ‘normal’ grocery stores to find vegan goods (Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Metro) and none of them had it. I ended up getting it from Wal-Mart.

It was also only $5.59, which was much cheaper than I was expecting!

Overall, I think this is a great vegan scrambled egg substitute, and if I manage to find it at one of my usual grocery stores – especially for that price – I’m definitely looking forward to adding it to my semi-regular grocery list.


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Main Vegan Deli Smoked Applewood Cheese Wedge Review

Usually, I like sticking to cheese that has a pretty mild/tame flavour. I’ve seen some cheeses that have blueberries, and other odd things in them. While I’m not quite at that stage of trying new things, I did want to try branching out from my usual Daiya (and now Violife) cheese and see if I could be satisfied with a wilder flavour.

Enter: Main Vegan Deli’s Smoked Applewood Cheese Wedge.

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I decided to go with Main Vegan Deli because I remembered liking their cheese sample at one of the Vegandale festivals I went to, so I thought they would be a safer choice. (Instead of picking a completely new company) Also, their cheese is made out of cashews, and I haven’t tried very many cashew based cheeses, so I figured two birds.

Now, this cheese definitely has a… let’s say ‘bold’ flavour. Upon first taste test (done cold, right out of the fridge), it had the texture of soft tofu, and didn’t really have much of a taste, until you got to the red dust that was along one side. Once you got there, that’s when the flavour became apparent. It’s kind of hard to describe the flavour, but one thing I can say for sure, is that it made the back of my throat tingle after swallowing it.

I found out later, that it apparently has whisky in it, so I’m not sure if that would’ve been that flavour (I’m pretty sensitive to alcohol’s), or if it was something else, but it definitely didn’t make it fun to swallow.

That said, I had my (non-vegan) friend try it as well, and they absolutely loved it! They said, and I quote, “It’s as close as you can get without dairy. It melted the same and tasted great on burgers and sandwiches.

I also tried it in a cold sandwich, and it was definitely better when not eating alone, although I couldn’t tell if that was because it was disguised with other flavours or not. And, it still tingled my throat. I didn’t get a chance to try it melted, although I did smell it melted, and similar to a few other things, the flavour just seemed to intensify when it was heated.

I figured since I didn’t really like the flavour, I probably wasn’t gonna like it with an intensified flavour.

While this cheese wasn’t my cup of tea, I would still say it was good, and if you’re someone who looks for bold flavoured cheeses, I’d definitely recommend you try it out!

Another good thing about this wedge, is that it was a lot bigger than I thought it’d be! It’s actually the size I thought the Violife Parm Wedge was going to be. Since I tried the Violife wedge first, I had lowered my expectations on size when I bought this one, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! Especially because it was listed at $15.

If I had ended up liking the flavour, I would’ve been over the moon at how big of a wedge it came with. I ended up giving it to my friend, who was really happy with it’s size. Though they did agree with me that $15 still seemed a bit too steep. We both thought if it was closer to $10-12 it would’ve been better.

Now, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea here, when I say ‘big’, I don’t mean it was ‘big’, I mean it was bigger than the Violife wedge, but was still relatively small. The whole wedge was roughly the size of my hand.

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The wedge went from the tip of my middle finger, to my wrist, making it about 6 inches long. It was also about 2 inches wide (pointer to ring finger).

Definitely not big enough to be $15 in my eyes. But! I want to say thank-you to Main Vegan Deli for not making it ridiculously small.

If their other cheeses are the same size, I definitely can’t wait to try one of their tamer flavours!

Have you tried Main Vegan Deli’s Applewood Smoked Wedge? Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!


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Daiya’s Meatless Pepperoni Style Pizza Review

Pepperoni pizzas are considered to be pretty basic, but just because a product isn’t overly complicated or a mash of six different flavours doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get just as much attention as the more exotic products out there!

Sometimes, you just need a simple meal to fill you, and that’s what this pizza does best.

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I’ve only tried this pizza once – for some reason it’s really hard to find in Canada – and I ended up burning it a bit, so it was a bit more crunchy then I like, but even with that, it was pretty good!

The crust and cheese tasted the same as their other frozen pizzas. The pepperoni was more interesting. Now, the only other vegan pepperoni I’ve tried is Yves and the one that PizzaPizza uses (though they might use Yves, I can’t remember right now), and I don’t really remember what meat pepperoni tastes like, but I liked this one. It was actually pretty spicy, which I wasn’t expecting. It was about the same amount of spicy as the Beyond Meat Spicy Sausages. Which might not be that much for some of you, but for me it’s a lot.

Because they were spicy, they reminded me of what Hot Rods used to taste like. I don’t know how popular those are outside of Canada, but that’s pretty much what they tasted like. They were also pretty big in size, bigger than the pepperoni PizzaPizza uses, (I bought a pizza specifically to compare their sizes). Aside from the spicy aspect, they also had quite a strong smokey flavour.

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I obviously would’ve liked them better if they weren’t spicy, and just smokey, but the smoke flavour did a good job of sort of ‘washing’ your mouth out when you swallowed so it didn’t feel like your throat was on fire.

This pizza is also the same price as the others (usually $10.99), which you could maybe argue for it being less because there’s only one thing on it. Other than that, there’s not really much to tell. It’s pretty basic, but it’s good.


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8 Simple Summer Recipes

Who doesn’t love summer? The long, cold winter is finally over, plants are in full bloom, and you generally just feel better all around now that you can actually go outside and see the sun.

But, there is one downside to summer: it gets hot.

I know, I know, when you’re coming out of a winter that got down to -40, hot weather is something of a salvation. But! When it’s hot out, you won’t want to turn on the oven and make your place even hotter. And, let’s be honest, there’s only so many days in a row you can BBQ before you get sick of it. (Especially the clean up)

So, in a bid to save your electric bill and your BBQ, here is a list of 8 simple, no-cook summer recipes to get you through the days when you just cannot eat a burger.

 

1 Nice-Cream

While technically nice-cream isn’t a ‘meal’, it is no-cook, also, who’s gonna complain about a new way to make ice cream?

This nice-cream is super simple to make. All you really need is some frozen bananas, some Silk (or other non-dairy milk), and a blender. If you don’t want it to taste like bananas, you can throw other stuff in the blender as well. (I’ve tried frozen cherries, and cocoa powder with chocolate Silk, but really pretty much any frozen berry you’d want would probably work)

Once you have all your ingredients, toss them all into the blender at the same time, and blend until its maybe Slushy consistency. Don’t worry if you over-blend it. If it gets too runny, then just call it a smoothies.

And boom! That’s it.

Told you these were simple!

 

2 Chickpea Salad Sandwich

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I know I might be late to the game with this, but I recently discovered that chickpea salad sandwiches are actually pretty good – and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really like chickpeas! (Unless they’re in roasted red pepper hummus form)

I also learned that chickpeas in a can don’t have to be cooked before eating (but you should still rinse them), which is great in the summer because then you won’t even have to turn the stove on!

Another nice thing with not only this recipe, but with a lot of summer recipes, is that since they’re all meant to be eaten cold, you can make a lot on one day, and then just eat them directly out of the fridge for a few days after. No-cook weeks are awesome not only because they won’t heat your house when it’s already hot, but they also save you a lot of time!

Most meal prep takes about an hour, but if you don’t have to cook every single day, that’s an extra hour you’re gaining back to do one of the other millions of things I’m sure you’re ‘getting around to’.

Okay, so to make chickpea salad, you can actually do pretty much whatever you like (again, it’s food, which means it’s based on your tastes), but this is the way I like it:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of Paprika (about)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1 Tbsp vegan mayo (optional)

Once you have all the ingredients, then all you have to do is smash the chickpeas with whatever masher you’d like – you can use an actual potato masher, or a fork, or a hammer, whatever way you like smashing your chickpeas – and smash them up so there are a lot of bits and halves, but also be sure to leave in some whole ones. This gives it a better texture.

Once all the chickpeas are somewhat smashed, add all the other ingredients to the bowl and mix until it’s all pretty much evenly distributed. You can then either eat it right away, or (depending on how long it took you to smash the chickpeas), throw it in the fridge until it gets cold again, then you can put it on a sandwich.

You can also add other things like lettuce or spinach to the sandwich to make it a little more filling. Or you could over-fill the sandwich so there’s a lot of chickpeas in it. When I make them, I use about 2-3 Tbsp of the chickpea mix per sandwich.

Or, you could go even simpler and just eat the chickpea mix right out of a bowl and skip the sandwich making all together.

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  1. Cucumber Noodles

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I know cucumber noodles are pretty big in the raw vegan community, and they have all kinds of inventive dressings, sauces and ways you can dress up these bad boys, but I like mine kept simple, with just a little salt and pepper.

You could try one of the thousands of sauces that are out there, but sometimes you just need something simple to hit the spot. I mostly make cucumber noodles when I want to eat cucumber slices, but want to make them ‘fancy’.

You can achieve the ‘noodle’ like strands with the cucumbers by either running it through a Spiralizer, hand-cutting them thinly, or I believe a mandolin would work, as well.

The first time I tried cucumber noodles, I actually hand-cut them. They didn’t look nearly as appetizing as the above noodles, though they still tasted good! It was still just cucumber after all.

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See? Not the prettiest, but taste was on point! (Minus the pesto)

 

  1. Salad

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You know, for as bad of a wrap salads get (no pun intended), they are actually quite a handy meal. You can basically throw together anything in a bowl and call it a salad. Fruits, vegetables, beans, pasta – there are like a million different ‘salad’ recipes possible.

Which is great, because many of them only require you to chop up a few things and mix them in a bowl. You can’t get much simpler than that! And, what’s more, is once you have the salad done, you can use it in other meals, too. For example, instead of just eating a salad in a bowl, if you throw it in a tortilla, now you’ve got yourself a salad wrap!

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This will of course depend on what kind of salad you’re gonna make. While I’m not trying to limit your salad creations, I just don’t think a fruit salad wrap would work. But you do you.

For a lettuce salad, I always start with the same basics

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Pepper
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Nooch/Cheese Shreds

Then from here, you can dress it up however you want! Sometimes I’ll add black salt to give it an ‘egg-y’ taste, or you can add bacon bits (No Name Bacon Bits are vegan!), dill, vegan mayo, and lemon juice to make a ranch/Caesar style dressing.

Or if it’s not astronomically hot, and you don’t mind turning on a burner, you could cook up some chick’n nuggets/strips and add those to your salad to turn it into a chick’n salad.

Or, you could make pasta salad, instead. For pasta salad, I usually add peas, bell pepper and celery to the noodles (either macaroni or Scoobi-Doo shapes are the best for pasta salad), and then for the dressing, I add: white vinegar, yellow/French’s mustard (optional), salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion (either powder or very small cubes), nooch (optional), and vegan mayo (also optional). Then you mix it together and let it cool in the fridge, or you could be one of those freaks who eat it when it’s still a little bit warm.

I love making pasta salad in the summer, not only because it’s super easy, but because it takes just as much effort to make a little bit of it as it does to make a lot. So I can usually make a big ‘batch’ of it, and then throw it in the fridge and eat it all week!

Also, same as lettuce salad, you could get a little creative and make a pasta salad wrap, or use leftovers in a warm pasta dish (I’ve turned left over pasta salad into mac n cheese) if you make it at the tail-end of summer. And, assuming it would last long enough you need to turn it into something else.

 

  1. Avocado Toast

I’ll be honest, I haven’t actually made avocado toast all that much, since I’m not that big of a fan of how avocados taste. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just not really my bag.

That said, I have been trying to force myself to eat them more often (which isn’t hard when you’re starting at ‘never’), because I know they’re super good for you. So, with that in mind, I’ve only made avocado toast twice, but both times I didn’t feel the need to immediately vomit, so I’m taking that as a good sign.

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This is the first way I tried it. I made some VeganEgg scrambled eggs, and then put some avocado slices on top of toast with a little bit of salt and pepper on top.

This… it tasted good, but as my first time trying avocado toast, with the giant pile of egg, it was too much of a not-that-great-texture in my mouth at once. I didn’t spit it out, but it was waaay too mushy for my liking. I did however finish it.

Some time after this, I had discovered I could eat at this place called Chipotle, so I went on a bit of a Chipotle kick, and decided to always get guac ‘on the side’, so I could continue to test the avocado waters. I wouldn’t eat the whole container of the guac (partly because Chipotle is super filling, and partly because I still wasn’t too into the taste), but my friend was more than happy to help me out. (This was pre-COVID, when sharing was still a thing we were allowed to do)

After that week of basically eating Chipotle straight, I didn’t eat avocado again until this year (2021), when I tried my hand at avocado toast again.

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This time around, I figured since I liked chickpea salad, if I made it ‘taste like summer’, I’d probably enjoy it more. Which, I don’t know if that’s why I liked it, or if my body had just gotten more used to eating avocados, but this time when I ate it, it wasn’t that bad. (Which was good, because I had another avocado in the fridge)

For this avo toast, I put salt, pepper, black salt (for the ‘egg-y’ tasty), a slice of PC Vegan Swiss Slices (side note: PC has come out with a whole line of new vegan products in Canada, which is awesome!), and smushed half an avocado on top, to which I mixed in some lemon juice, garlic powder, a smidge of paprika and dill.

Again, I don’t know if I liked this one more because I’m more used to eating avocados, or if it’s because I used less of it, but the second one I definitely wouldn’t mind eating more often. (… Which I realize isn’t that great of a selling point on a recipe, but hey, you’re here for honest opinions anyway, right? If you want awesome vegan recipes, go check out HotforFood)

 

  1. Cheese and Tomato Sandwich

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This one is probably the easiest recipe in this post. You literally take a slice of cheese, and a slice of tomato (or two) and add them to bread. Boom, done.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add some vegan mayo, and/or salt and pepper.

 

  1. Snack Plates

Like salads, snack plates are awesome, because you can basically make them whatever you want to eat.

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In summer especially, snack plates are great, because you can cut up a bunch of fruit and/or veggies, and then just mix and match them onto 1 plate, whip up a quick dip, and boom lunch is done.

I eat snack plates all the time and love them. Mine usually consist of: cucumber, green pepper, broccoli (or cauliflower), carrots and dip. But you can add whatever you want to them, really. It all depends on what you like to eat, and what you have. Sometimes, I’ll swap out one of the veggies for crackers and cheese, or some frozen nuggets or something. Or you could do a fruit mix with watermelon, strawberries, grapes, golden berries, etc.

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Or, you could do little lunch meat + cheese sliders and cut up veggies. Or meatballs, mozzarella sticks, and crackers, or… pretty much you want to center your snack plate around whatever your dip is. As long as all the foods you choose pair well with the dip, they can go on the same plate.

The possibilities are literally endless!

And there you have it! Hopefully this small list of summer recipes has inspired you to create your own no-cook recipes. It’s really not that hard! Most veggies are great to eat cold, and all it takes is (usually) a little bit of creative thinking, and usually a tortilla to make a kick-ass, cold meal.

Do you have any favourite no-cook summer meals? Are you going to try any from this list? Let me know in the comments!


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