Vegan Tastings in Monmouth County

Last Friday Stephen took a lunch break and went to the Atlantic Highlands Farmers Market where he found the Veggie Brothers!

Veggie Brothers is a Jersey Shore based company that ships prepared vegetarian and vegan foods nationally. They are the first and only on-line vegan restaurant featuring vegetarian versions of our favorite classic American dishes. They offer well over 100 menu items including breakfast, lunch and dinner, soups, appetizers, sides and even dessert! Products are either 100% vegan or 100% vegetarian and the majority of their ingredients are organic and GMO FREE! Sounds win-win, right?

3HC have known about the Veggie Brothers for a while, but unfortunately we’ve never actually tasted their creations. What a mistake, we should have dug in years ago!! Needless, to say, when Stephen called I was psyched to find out that they’re the AH farmers market and told him to bring one of everything home. He brought home the Hot & Spicy Buffalo Wings, Southern Fried Soy Chicken Nuggets, Blackbean Burger, Lentil Walnut Burger, and the Pioneer Burger.

So, we haven’t made it through all of our purchases yet, but so far here’s the deets:

Southern Fried Soy Nuggets: We had these last Wednesday after my Karma Yoga Class at Fair Haven Yoga. We paired them with a big salad of mixed greens (radicchio, spinach, kale and dandelion), sweet jersey corn, red bell peppers, avocado, shredded carrots and sunflower seeds. When I took them out of the oven, I was surprised at the amount of grease on the pan. Then I realized that “southern fried” anything has grease whether or not it’s soy based! So, before I dished them out I placed them on a paper towel to remove any excess. Both Stephen and I dipped our soy nuggets in a little bit of honey and let me say, they were divine!! Super crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. DELICIOUS! I don’t often eat this sort of food (fried chicken or nuggets – even if they are soy) so it was a great treat….and for once a month – this is a win-win!!!

Lentil Walnut Burger: We cooked these last night. (See above!) Baked in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes (Stephen likes things well done and crispy!). They were served on whole grain buns and topped with spinach, tomato, avocado, sliced cucumbers and sweet pea sprouts. Stephen had cheese and ketchup as well, I used a bit of honey mustard. We paired the burger with some fresh Jersey corn and shared a sweet potato. On a side note, the Jersey corn is amazing this year! In fact it was so sweet and delicious, I tried it and loved it raw (Stephen did insist on cooking though). So, back to the Lentil Walnut Burger.. 4 Words for you OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. It was the best veggie burger that I didn’t make myself from scratch that I’ve had in a LONG time. It was so completely filling and hearty that I could barely finish half! Next time, we’re definitely ordering the 12 pack instead of the individuals!

So, we haven’t gotten to the Spicy Buffalo Wings or the Pioneer Burger yet. They’re next on the list. I have to say, Veggie Brothers have some stiff (family) competition with Kayas Kitchen – I have a serious love for Kaya’s Karma Wings. So much that my mouth just watered while I typed that out. I am also super curious about the Pioneer Burger. Stephen thinks the veggie burger at Kayas is the closest flavor he’s had to a beef burger. Something in my gut tells me the Pioneer Burger and Kayas veggie burger are one in the same. A taste test will have to reveal whether or not my instincts are right.

So long as we’re talking about Vegetarian and Vegan cuisine. I am happy to say that the Good Karma Cafe in Red Bank, NJ is finally open!! It has been a long wait and we’re excited to have a vegan go to in Red Bank. Stephen picked up a TLT sandwich (tempeh version of a S.A.D. BLT) for us to share for lunch and a raw key lime pie for dessert after dinner. I am unhappy to say that those two items cost us $19.00. Rye Bread, shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomato, too much vegan mayo and less than 2 oz of smoked tempeh for $10. If you’re going to charge me $10 for a vegan BLT, at least give me a nutritious green like kale or spinach or arugula instead of regular “l” The raw key lime pie was fabulous, and I suppose I am used to paying $7+ for a raw dessert. I will go back and try more, because I am excited about their raw menu choices and I think it’s important to support local small business especially when it’s a healthy business!!

There has been a lot of hub-ub on the local message boards about the pricing at Good Karma Cafe. (and the people defending them on those boards aren’t doing them any favors). The prices at Good Karma Cafe are extremely high, higher than other vegan restaurants. I blame Red Bank for this, not the Good Karma Cafe. Commercial/Retail space in Red Bank is outrageous and I don’t think Good Karma is price gouging, I think they’re just trying to make their rent. *sigh* wouldn’t it be great if every restaurant in every town had vegetarian and vegan offerings?? Maybe some day….

Until then, try something new and Keep it Fresh!

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