Archive for the ‘Grocery’ category

Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit

September 28th, 2015

Upton's Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit and BBQ Jackfruit - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

 

Anyone who knows me knows my love for barbecue. As a vegan I still love barbecue. You don’t have to use pork, beef or chicken to get the smoky goodness of barbecue. As a matter of fact, for me it is all about the sauce. I just need a form of transport for the sauce and sometimes that’s a simple as a spoon. However, being the barbecue lover as I am I was excited to try Upton’s Naturals Jackfruit. I had tried a barbecue jackfruit sandwich once before at Native Foods and we seriously underwhelmed but I believe it had more to do with the fact I had paid $10 for a sandwich that had 2 small pieces of jackfruit and was nearly flavorless.

Jackfruit has recently elevated itself as the new vegan meat replacement of choice among the vegans who like meat replacements. It has a chewy texture and a stringy form when unripe that much resembles pulled pork or beef. Add that to barbecue sauce and you have what could be a nice sandwich for some.

Upton’s Naturals is a Chicago based natural food producer. Their products consist of seitan and now they have added jackfruit to their line. The jackfruit from Upton’s Naturals is available in Bar-B-Que and Chili Lime Carnitas. I tried both.

I prepared the Bar-B-Que jackfruit on stovetop. I heated it slowly in a pan, covered and served it on a freshly baked bun with sweet pickles. On the first bite I felt something was off. The flavor was very vinegary. There was no smokiness or sweetness to the sauce. The flavor of the jackfruit was there in a fruity way but the sweetness of the barbecue sauce which should always be noticeable in a good barbecue sauce was completely missing. I trudged through the rest of the sandwich but was left very underwhelmed. I think this product could benefit from a reworking of the sauce that it is served with.

 

Upton's Naturals BBQ Jackfruit sandwich - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

Upton’s Naturals BBQ Jackfruit sandwich. Served with sweet pickles on a fresh baked bun.

 

The Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit is similar in form to the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. I prepared it the same as the Bar-B-Que and serve it with black beans and rice. Upon the first bite I noticed the same acidity present in the Bar-B-Que Jackfruit. There was no lime flavor at all. There was no spice or flavoring to the sauce or jackfruit other than the acidic sauce. There was a distinct fruit flavor to the jackfruit that was entirely out of place as though the jackfruit had been overripe. I had beans and rice for dinner this night and the jackfruit went uneaten.

 

Upton's Naturals Chili Lime Jackfruit - Nashveggie - Vegan and Vegetarian in Nashville

Upton’s Naturals Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit served over rice.

 

If you are a jackfruit fan these two products may be for you. I am not certain of whether these are not good products or I’m just not a fan of jackfruit but I honestly think the issue lies in the sauce and spices used with the jackfruit.

If you’re up for trying your own and forming an opinion for yourself both varieties of jackfruit as well as seitan from Upton’s Naturals is available from Vegan Essentials and other locations. At the time of this article, Whole Foods in the Nashville area does not stock the jackfruit.

Share

Trader Joe’s Coconut Creamer

February 12th, 2015

Nashveggie - Nashville Vegan - Trader Joe's Coconut Creamer

 

I love coffee. Anyone who follows my Twitter knows this as I’m always rambling about the bean extract. I don’t typically drink anything in my morning french press but on occasion I’ll try a new creamer if I see one that is interesting.

While at Trader Joe’s a few days ago I saw a new item, coconut creamer. I have tried coconut milks, typically labeled as a beverage so not to get confused with actual coconut milk such as in a can, in the past and have not found one I could stand to drink. They all have an unusual plastic feel which gives me a sense I’m drinking pure fat. The taste is also something I cannot deal with. I thought the creamer would be different so I opted to try it.

To properly cream a 10 ounce cup of coffee required about 3 tablespoons of creamer. When I do use a creamer I don’t like a heavy amount so I felt to attain the light creaminess this was a bit much to have to use. The flavor was exactly as I expected, an acidic aftertaste as I find in all coconut milk products.

I’m sure I can find another use for this little carton so I’m not completely wasting it. Maybe I can use it in our next batch of vegan ice cream. I’m quite certain it is just relabeled  So Delicious coconut creamer. If you have tried So Delicious creamer and like the results then you may save yourself a dollar by buying this version. In the end it’s just not for me. I’ll keep my coffee dark and vibrant.

Share

New Vegan Junk Foods: Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Puffs and Popcorn, Silk Iced Latte

January 17th, 2013

Nashveggie - Nashville Vegan - Silk Iced Latte

Browsing around the grocery stores this week I ran into some new vegan items. In Kroger, I noticed Silk now has iced latte available in half gallon sizes. Being a coffee snob, I’m one to make my own iced coffees at home but for those who need a coffee fix on the go with ultimate pre-made convenience, these may fit the need.

Also, at Whole Foods the much reported Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Puffs and vegan butter popcorn and well as vegan cheddar popcorn is now available. At $3.99 a bag these we’re a bit out of my snack price range. Considering the cheddar popcorn seemed to be no more than popcorn with salt a nutritional yeast, paying more than 99 cents for a big bag is just out of the question for me. I can make that stuff at home by the metric ton. I may try the puffs if I find them cheaper or on sale, however.

Nashveggie - Nashville Vegan - Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Puffs

Share

Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Cheese Shreds

July 21st, 2012

Galaxy Nutrtional Foods Vegan Mozarella Cheese Shreds

Sometimes a vegan likes to eat the things they loved before becoming one who avoids animal products. Many vegans will say cheese is one of the hardest things to give up on the path to veganism. There are many cheese substitutes in the grocery store now, many more than just 5 years ago. As a vegan you have to read your labels even on these veggie-based cheeses as many contain casein. That’s something I’ve never understood. Why put milk in a cheese if your trying to make a veggie cheese? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? I realize the casein is there to give the cheese the proper texture when melted but if you can’t obtain the proper texture without it then why bother making the veggie cheese to begin with? Many vegan cheeses  have found the proper ingredient formula to get all the stretchy goodness of melted cheese without the extra animal squeezings. Galaxy Nutritional Foods is the latest to give this a try.

Galaxy Nutrition Foods has just come out with two varieties of vegan cheese shreds, mozzarella and a Mexican blend. I gave the mozzarella a try on the only proper way to do so: pizza.  Not just any pizza but grilled pizza, my favorite way to bake a pie.

Galaxy Nutrtional Foods Vegan Mozarella Cheese Shreds - Pizza

 

Galaxy Nutrtional Foods Vegan Mozarella Cheese Shreds - Pizza Slice

The cheese has a good flavor and melts very well. As far as stringy stretch it doesn’t quite get there like another very popular vegan cheese but instead has a more “liquid” consistency when melted. As far as flavor, it is very tasty. I would prefer more of the stretch but still a very good vegan cheese.

I’ve only found Galaxy Nutritional Foods Shreds at Kroger and EarthFare but I’m sure it will be making it’s way to other outlets soon.

 

Share

For New Vegans

June 27th, 2012

Questions from new vegans

 

I get emails regularly asking from new vegans asking for advice. I recently received one and was asked for general advice as well as what I would tell a new vegan in regards to grocery shopping. Below is the reply I sent. I thought It would be good to get some input from the community as far as advice others would give. Add your advice to new vegans in the comments or if you’re a new vegan add your questions.

1. Learn to use fresh vegetables. Meat substitutes are fine for a
transitioning vegan/vegetarian but they can’t compare to the energy,
flavor and nutrition fresh vegetables and fruits provide.

2. Ignore those spouting the “protein myth” and trying to bring you
down. They’re just envious of your massive willpower! As vegans, we
pay more attention to our diets and how we eat and what we eat than
the typical meat eater. Guaranteed.

3. It’s about so much more than food. It’s about caring for all
creatures which deserve respect and quality of life.

Now in terms of food shopping:

Other than the fresh fruits and veggies, buy in bulk where feasible.
Buy bulk dry beans and prepare them on Sunday and use them throughout
the week. For example, cook two pounds of black beans on Sunday. Beans
and rice with tofu on Monday. Black bean burgers on Tuesday. Black
bean soup on Thursday. Cook Garbanzo beans on Sunday. Hummus Monday.
African stew on Tuesday. You get the idea.

You’ll be tempted to try the vegan cheeses. I’ll classify them with
the fake meats. They’re processed. While healthier than dairy cheese
(by far!) they’re still unhealthy to consume regularly. Many
non-vegans will snarl their noses at the mention of vegan cheese. Some
really are bad. Some really are good. Daiya, for instance, is a very
good vegan cheese. Still not the healthiest indulgence but great
occasionally on pizza or enchiladas.

Non-dairy milks are very good. You’ll find the one you like by trying
them all. I have tried everything out there from soy to almond and
rice to flax and go back to soy every time. Oh, on the soy subject.
That thing you’ll hear about soy being bad and giving men breasts.
Hogwash. I stand here as proof of that being bunk. Propaganda of the
dairy council.

A few tidbits:

Earth Balance is a great to cook with wherever butter is needed or desired.

You’ll find eggs really are useless in many recipes and where you do
need a binder applesauce, soy yogurt and banana work better than egg
(with zero cholesterol!) and if you need a full-fledged egg replacer
Bob’s Red Mill makes a great one.

Honey is NOT vegan.

Learn to read labels. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, look it up.

Share