We recently received some coupons from the lovely people at Vegetarian Plus to try their vegan gourmet meat alternatives for free. Vegetarian Plus products are made with all-natural ingredients and non-GMO soy protein, but do contain wheat and raw cane sugar. You can find their products here. Since we tried their Vegan Orange Chicken a few years back , and were pretty impressed, I was excited to try more of their products. I was especially eager to try them because they are a product of Taiwan! Using our free sample coupons we tried two of the three varieties available in the freezer section at our local Whole Foods (Portland) - Vegan Black Pepper Steaks and Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets.
I am also very pleased to announce that starting today, Vegetarian Plus and I will be hosting a U.S. giveaway on my Instagram. One Instagram follower will receive two VIP coupons and a recipe booklet. So hop over to Instagram here and submit your entries.
Vegetarian Plus is VegeUSA’s all natural product line that offers meat and seafood alternatives in a wide spectrum of today’s most popular and flavorful dishes. Available in the nation’s leading natural and organic marketplaces, Vegetarian Plus offers outstanding variety, great taste, great texture, and important nutritional benefits while still remaining low in calories and cholesterol.
Read more about Vegetarian Plus here.
There are currently 16 products for Vegetarian Plus and all of them are vegan. Check out their current product list here. The average retail price is $6.49 for 10.5-oz (298g) package depending on whether you purchase at Whole Foods or another specialty retailer. The special products such as the Vegan Ham and or Turkey rolls are different prices altogether because of the weight of the product. The ham rolls retail for $24.99 – 2.5 lb. everyday (not on special as it would be over the holidays). The Turkeys are $49.99 – 6lb everyday price.
where to buy
They are available online at healthy-eating.com, in the freezer section at all Whole Foods Markets nationwide (selections vary by location), Mother’s Markets, Lassen’s Natural Market, Co-Ops, Rainbow Markets, and various natural health food stores.
The frozen packs of vegan meat alternatives could not have been easier to prepare. We used the microwave method for both products: punch a few holes in the pouch with a fork and heat at the recommended time on the packaging. Both came with plenty of sauce and the sauces are packed with flavor. Each box is realistically enough for 3 people. At our local market, each box was $6 – that’s around $2 per person for a delicious protein that is easy to prepare and even easier to finish. Vegetarian Plus stands out on the shelves due to the vibrant packaging with sharp photos that accurately depict the product (wow, what a concept, food packaging with real photos of the food!). Both packages have some serving recommendations for Western-style dishes, but these are an authentic Asian product and as such I find them perfect for Asian-style dishes.
Vegan Black Pepper Steaks
Imitation Beef in Black Pepper Sauce
We microwaved at the recommended time but it was still a little bit cold so we heated for an additional 30 seconds and it was ready.
We added the Vegan Black Pepper Steaks to a stir-fry consisting of red bell pepper, sweet onion, snow peas, crushed garlic, one Thai chili pepper (seeded and sliced), green onions and light soy sauce.
Texturally the steak bits were tough enough not to be soggy in the moderately spicy black pepper sauce but soft enough they weren’t difficult to chew. The heat in this dish definitely comes from the sauce, it has a bit of the sweet and spicy balance that is very reminiscent of the Taiwanese black pepper seitan I frequently eat back in Taiwan. The black peppery ‘steak’ was a perfect pairing with grilled dishes or stir-fries. The texture was slightly chewy and easy to pull apart.
Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets
Imitation Pork in Plum Vinegar Sauce
This one microwaved longer than the Vegan Black Pepper Steaks (about 2½ minutes in total). The flavor was wonderful and just amazing – we love it and was by far the best frozen vegan meat alternative we’ve ever tried. The plum vinegar sauce is sweet, tangy, thick and packed with flavors. The thick and sticky sauce will cling to rice, bao, vegetables or whatever you decide to serve it on. We used Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets in two dishes:
1. Homemade Gua Bao (Taiwanese steamed ‘sandwich’ buns) with julienned green onions, toasted white sesame seeds, cilantro and Thai chili for a bit of heat.
2. Grilled Veggies and Rice with toasted sesame seeds
In addition to being the best frozen meat alternative we’ve tried, it’s probably among the best mock meats we’ve ever tried. It’s similar to the ones you find across South East Asia, where they serve up an abundance of tasty mock meats and where the mock meats tend to be tougher and stringy. I often find soft and soggy mock meats to be insipid and off putting so we really love that the Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets have that tougher, firm and stringy texture.
I would recommend VegetarianPlus products to anyone who likes saucy gourmet meat alternatives, anyone who plans to go meatless or just anyone who loves Asian cuisine vegan or otherwise. As a side note, their products do not contain MSG and only use non-GMO soy protein. They also have one gluten-free product available: Vegan Shrimp.
While the $6 price can seem a bit expensive, consider that this is the protein and sauce, or the heart and soul of the meal, for 3 people while also factoring in the convenience of the quick and easy preparation and it’s a real value especially for a weeknight meal. Not all of the products on their website are available – I’ve only seen 3 or 4 of them at various stores in my area. They are sold in the freezer section at all Whole Foods Market locations nationwide as well as Mother’s Markets, Lassen’s Natural Market, Co-Ops, Rainbow Markets and various natural health food stores.
1. Follow both accounts @VegetarianPlus and @veganmiam to qualify. (Mandatory)
2. Repost the image above on Instagram with hashtags: #VMVegPlus and tag three friends.
Rules: Ends Wednesday, June 25, 2014 @ 12:00 am PST. Open to US Residents only. You must follow both Instagram accounts to qualify. The lucky winner will be chosen with random.org and announced on Thursday, June 26th via Instagram on the same post and DM. You can enter once per day.
To repost on Instagram, there are two ways:
1. Take a screenshot of the post and crop it whatever you like. If using iPhone/iPad, press Power button and Home button simultaneously. If using Android device, follow the guide here.
2. Download and install “PhotoRepost” App here, it’s free for iOS and Android.
Have you tried Vegetarian Plus products before? What is your favorite Asian dish?
Disclosure: Samples were kindly provided to me for review. All reviews are my own personal opinions, I have not been compensated to provide any feedback positive or otherwise. If I receive a product complimentary of the company, it will be stated so in the post, otherwise, all products are purchased myself for my own personal use.