March 17, 2016

My yearly ritual for St. Patrick’s Day usually involves three things: wearing a green shirt or hair accessory to avoid being pinched, scouting the cheapest place to grab a green cocktail, and loading up on green liquid food coloring to add a little emerald-hued panache to my dessert recipes. Sounds like your typical St. Paddy’s Day, right?

This year, however, I wanted to do something different and less cliché than green-tinted beer and traditional Irish fare. So just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, I dared to go full-on green for 48 hours with plant-based and whole-foods meal delivery service, Veestro.

From breakfast and dinner to drinks and desserts, there’s enough variety among their a la carte meals or nine meal packs to satisfy singles and families. Spearheaded by brother-and-sister duo, Mark Fachler and Monica Klausner, every meal is vegan, GMO-free, and dairy-free. What I appreciated most about the service is its mission to provide healthy, affordable, and fresh food no matter where you're located or what your daily schedule entails. Basically, it’s an easy, cruelty-free, and delicious way to make greener choices.

Admittedly, I’m a very picky eater and lazy cook. So I opted for the a la carte, single-serve meals of juices, entrees, and desserts. As you can see from the picture above, the meals arrive completely frozen (thanks, dry ice) and vacuum-sealed. I was definitely in my comfort zone since my eating habits pretty much revolve around frozen meals. What you can’t observe in the picture, though, is how tasty most of the meals were. This wasn’t your average Stouffer’s or Marie Callender’s frozen dinners. The meals tasted like real food, for better or for worse.

Entrees:

The first breakfast entrée I tried was the Oatmeal Breakfast Pie (above). Out of all the meals I ordered, this was my least favorite. It was very bland, but the texture was actually more palatable than standard oatmeal. However, I wanted to taste more of the fruit, sweet potato, and nut ingredients.

My personal favorites were the Country Fried Chick’n Dinner and Chick’n Quesadilla. Here’s where Veestro hits the mark in flavor, texture, and portion size. Both of these had a lot of ingredients. Think: chick'n seitan, organic veggies, and vegan gravy poured over organic potatoes for the fried chicken dinner. Then, there’s this whole-grain tortilla stuffed with vegan cheese, spinach, zucchini, and squash, all served with a black bean dipping sauce. True, there was no pot of gold waiting for me at the end, but I had so much energy throughout the day. Even though every meal was so light, I genuinely felt full after each sitting.

Dessert:

The Rasberry Tofu Cheezcake was a pleasant surprise. Who doesn’t love to indulge without the guilt? Although not as dense and creamy as the dairy-filled cheesecakes we’re used to, I don’t think I missed out on anything here just because it’s tofu-based. I tasted the hint of vanilla and every bit of that swirled raspberry topping. Let’s just say it was very easy sweeping my fork across the plate.

Juice:

I tried the "Spring Into Action" juice made with pineapple, apples, celery, basil, and Sacha Inchi protein powder. It gave me that quick morning boost I needed and provided just the right balance of sweetness and tartness, without the pineapple overpowering the other flavors.

The only complaint I have about the meals is the time of preparation. For most of my items, the thawing and cooking times were different than the instructions on the packaging. For most of the meals, there was a suggested cooking time of 12-15 minutes, but I often had to heat them up in the stove for 20-25 minutes instead or thaw the meals and juice in the refrigerator for a much longer time.

Whether you prefer a healthier alternative delivered right to your front door or to prepare your own vegan dishes, today doesn’t have to be another random Thursday on the calendar. Break free of the rut of green beer, salads, soups, or juices. Who knows? Maybe you’ll bring some of that Luck of the Irish to your kitchen this St. Patrick’s Day by choosing naturally green foods instead.

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