Welcome to I Promise, It’s Vegan, Paste Magazine’s completely plant-based column. Here we’ll taste vegan products, discover new ways to cook cruelty-free, and embrace the veggie lifestyle.
Not vegan? That’s totally okay, but it might be something you’d like to consider. Veganism is great for your health. “Research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer,” according to The Vegan Society. It’s also beneficial for the environment! Alluding to an article in Nature, CNN said that eating less animals will lead to the avoidance of greenhouse gases, which is scientifically a detriment to our ozone layer. And lastly, animals shouldn’t have to suffer, whether it’s in the dairy industry or in a slaughterhouse. Just a bit of (vegan) food for thought.
Our first series of I Promise It’s Vegan is dedicated to testing and tasting meal kits. Last time, we explored Green Chef. Today, we look at Veestro.
Veestro is a frozen meal service that is completely plant-based, making it just about as easy and as vegan-friendly as it gets. You don’t have to worry about cooking these suckers. You just pop them in the oven or the microwave (according to the instructions, of course!) and you’re good to go. Veestro calls it “heat-and-love,” I call it “thank you for making this easy on me because I am incredibly busy.”
Because all the meals are frozen, fully cooked and require zero preparation, I was a bit concerned. Was I about to endure meals that were on par with what I could buy at the grocery store? Yes, some of those meals are pretty good, but it’s hard to make a frozen meal worthy of real praise. It’s safe to say I was very skeptical.
After speaking with the company and letting them know what this vegan scallywag was up to, I was mailed the Chef’s Choice box. This included 10 customer favorite meals and seemed to be a good sampler of what the company offers. The ingredients are preservative-free and organic. Included in my Chef’s Choice box were Red Curry with Tofu, Country Fried Chick’n, Enchilada Casserole, Thai Chick’n Stew, Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce, Chick’n Quesadilla, Pasta Bolognese, Pad Thai, Breakfast Burrito and a Baked Mac and Cheese Dinner. Out of these, I tested nine. The Pasta Bolognese didn’t make it to the taste test because sometimes, you bring your lunch to work and then completely forget about it, leaving it out of the freezer overnight. Alas, sometimes that’s life.
Behold, my desk lunch. The Thai Chick’n Stew.
As always, it’s time to break it down.
There were clear winners taste-wise here. The Thai Chick’n Stew, Enchilada Casserole, Chick’n Quesadilla, Country Fried Chick’n and Red Curry with Tofu were out of this world. The Quesadilla was the best by far. It honestly might have been the best quesadilla I’ve had since going vegan! I was absolutely floored at how they could create something that tasted like it was freshly prepared and make it so full of flavor. The Pad Thai, Breakfast Burrito and Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce were tasty, but nothing really to write home about. The only one I was actually disappointed by was the Baked Mac and Cheese. After the incredible, creamy cheesiness of the Quesadilla, I was expecting more, but I was sad when I realized I’d had better frozen vegan mac and cheese from the grocery story for a third of the cost of this one single meal. Overall, I was impressed with how good these were for frozen meals.
Ease of Preparation
Since Veestro is already prepared and frozen, it’s truly as simple as it gets. All you do is pop it in the oven or microwave. I did find it peculiar that you had to move the individual meals to oven-friendly pans, but other than that, there are zero complaints here.
Variety is where Veestro shines. I was (pleasantly) overwhelmed by ten different meals for the week, and there are dozens more to choose from on their website if you order A La Carte. The meals showcased an array of regional cuisine, and no two meals for my box were alike. I never tired of the flavors because I never got a chance to!
Veestro is EXPENSIVE. Keep in mind, while tasty and full of organic ingredients, these are frozen meals. You can buy 10 vegan frozen meals at the grocery store for $40-50. 10 frozen meals from Veestro are $117 before taxes and shipping fees. That’s close to $12 a meal. That’s not exactly economically friendly. If you’re a subscriber to this service, you can order in boxes of 10, 20 or 30 meals either weekly or bi-weekly. The more you buy, the cheaper the meals get, but by the time you select 30 meals you’re at almost $300. Am I a cheapskate, or does that sound like a little much?
I was downright shocked at how full I was after eating these Veestro meals! My biggest gripe with frozen meals is generally the portion size: it’s rare that you eat one and feel satisfied. Veestro meals are not the case. The portions are like Goldilocks’ preference: not too big, not too small. I felt neither starved nor bloated an hour after eating. It was just right.
OVERALL RATING: 8.6/10
If it weren’t for the cost, I would be a Veestro member in a heartbeat. This has been my highest rating so far, but I don’t really know if it’s actually worth it to subscribe when you can prepare fresh meals for much cheaper. I will say, though: after the very first meal my skepticism expressed earlier was withdrawn. Frozen meals CAN be something tasty enough to tell people about! The majority of the meals were delightful and filling, and the ease of preparation was the icing on the (vegan) cake.
Annie Black is Paste Magazine’s social media manager and resident plant person. She likes noodles mostly, but will try anything and everything as long as it’s animal product free. Follow her on Twitter!