A few months back, I signed up for Kroger’s MyMagazine Sharing Network. The MyMagazine Sharing Network is a “customer community from the Kroger family of stores.” The site has forums and other places to share feedback, but the main reason I signed up for was the opportunity to try new products and get free stuff.
Sometimes there are specific tasks to complete, which they call “missions.” One of the current missions is called “Fresh Ideas from the Freezer.” The objective of this mission is to take ready-to-eat frozen meals and spruce them up a bit.
For this mission, Kroger provided me with coupons to get a free Devour, Marie Callender’s Delights, Smart One’s Smartmade and FarmRich entrée. I wasn’t able to find any vegan options, but I did find a vegetarian option in all but the Marie Callender’s.
The Tofurky Italian sausage is a soy-based vegan sausage. I don’t usually cook with a lot of pre-made products, but whenever I spot a vegan product I haven’t tried before, I’ll usually pick it up. It’s nice to have a few easy options on hand for those times when I don’t feel like doing a lot of cooking.
The parmesan is the last bit of a hunk of cheese I bought before I decided to start phasing dairy products out of my diet.
Preparation of the Devour frozen entrée was pretty much as you would expect. You take it out of the box, pull back a corner on the plastic film and then pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Next, you pull back the film, give the ravioli a stir, replace the film and microwave it for another 2 minutes and then let it stand in the microwave for another 1-2 minutes.
While the ravioli was in the microwave, I cooked the Tofurky sausage on the stove top. The package directions provide instructions for grilling, browning in a skillet, boiling or microwaving.
I think grilling tends to produce the best texture in these veggie sausages, but I didn’t want to mess with the grill pan. I have boiled veggie hot dogs and ended up putting them in the skillet to crisp up the outside a bit. I’ve never tried microwaving, but I can’t imagine that would do much to improve the texture, so I opted to go with the skillet method.
Faux meats can be bad about sticking to the pan, so I used to a non-stick skillet, with a bit of olive oil. There was no suggested length of time for cooking on the package, so I just cooked it until it started to look brown on the outside. It took about 2 minutes to get the sausage good and brown on all sides. I used some tongs to turn it, after about 30 seconds on each side.
While my ravioli were resting in the microwave, I sliced the cooked sausage. I kept half of the link to put on the ravioli and put the other half in the freezer for future use.
The ravioli was ready by this time. This is what it looked like fresh out of the microwave.
Not the prettiest thing. I decided to get my fancy eating plate out and see if I could perk up the presentation a bit.
I transferred the ravioli from the plastic tray to the plate, added my sausage slices and then topped it with some grated parmesan. Here’s the finished product:
I was initially concerned that the sauce in the ravioli was a bit thin looking, but by the time I was ready to eat, it had thickened up to a nice consistency. The ravioli were pretty comparable in flavor and texture to the frozen cheese ravioli you can find in the freezer section of your local grocery. I think the sauce could have used a bit more seasoning, but overall it was pretty good. Since my end goal is to fully convert to veganism, I probably wouldn’t purchase this product in the future, but if I were looking for a reasonably tasty, easy, vegetarian option, I would definitely consider purchasing the Devour Cheese Ravioli with Sun-Dried Tomato cream sauce entrée again.
The Tofurky sausage went well with the pasta. The texture was not particularly meat like (which isn’t a priority for me), but it was not unpleasant. I’m not really sure how to describe the flavor. It doesn’t really taste like Italian sausage. I guess the primary flavor is the added seasonings. This isn’t a product I would use to try to convince a meat-eater that they could stop eating meat without missing it, but as a vegan convenience food, it’s a decent option. I will probably keep some on hand for those times when I don’t feel like cooking, but don’t want to just eat a plain bowl of pasta. There are really only two things about the product that I didn’t like. It smells weird and it leaves a bit of an aftertaste. Both of those issues are pretty common with store-bought meat substitutes, but neither would stop me from buying this one again.
This was not gourmet dining, but it was an easy, enjoyable meal. Plating everything on a real plate, instead of leaving it in the microwaveable container did a lot to make it feel more like a real meal, instead of something out of the microwave. The sausage component added a bit of bulk to the meal and made it a bit more filling than plain pasta typically is. If you are looking for an easy vegetarian meal, you could do worse than to buy these products. If you’ve got the time and inclination, a fresh, green salad on the side, would probably make this feel even more like a real home cooked dinner.