21 November 2016

#VeggieFries = The Spuds Gone Wild! #Review

I'm a lacto/ovo vegetarian and have been for a long time, having "gone veg" at a fairly young age and never looked back. I have a lot of hysterically funny stories that stem from trying to explain my being vegetarian or my asking for vegetarian food options in a society (small town Georgia, deep South) which largely believed that everything should be fried and flavored with ham hocks. Never a dull moment where interactions over food were concerned.

I enjoy food. I love to cook. I love to socialize over food and try new things. I also love discovering new ways to prepare old favorites. I'm always on the lookout for interesting and exciting ways to prepare foods that I love. I'm big on convenience and enjoy finding creative "fast foods", too.

One of my absolute favorite fast foods is French fries. I like them baked, I like them deep fried. I like them seasoned, covered in chili and/or cheese; dipped in sauces, dressings and mayo. I am a potato fiend. (My siblings use to tease that I'd never met a potato that I didn't like.) I've actually done tech support jobs for friends and family where I was "paid" in French fries.

Recently, I had the chance to try Veggie Fries [eatveggiefries.com], souped up French fries that use potatoes as a base and adds in other vegetables like chickpeas or kale. There are four varieties currently available (listed in order of my preference): Broccoli & Potatoes; Chickpeas, Red Peppers & Potatoes; Kale, Tuscan Beans & Potatoes; and Carrots & Potatoes. In spite of the fact that the Carrot version is my least favorite -- I have never like cooked carrots, only raw -- it's still decent and I'm certain that people who like (cooked) carrots would love them.

I had to experiment with baking times to reach my desired level of crispness, because I found the amount of time suggested on the bag resulted in too soft fries. Once I achieved a crispy batch of fries, it was all good. I could eat these for breakfast. (I did on at least one occasion.) They make a great addition to my options for French fries and can be used in a variety of ways in various dishes. (There's a growing recipe section on the product website.)

I found Veggie Fries in the frozen food aisles at both Sprouts and Whole Foods in my area, and prices ranged from $3.98 to $4.99 depending on the store and/or variety. For whatever reason, the Chickpea variety was only $3.98 at Sprouts when I purchased them, compared to $4.49 for the others. It might have been a special sale, though I didn't notice any signs to that effect. All varieties were $4.99 at Whole Foods. I originally got one of each variety to try them all. Then went back and purchased my favorites (skipping the Carrot variety) on the next shopping trip.

I liked them well enough that I'll definitely continue to purchase the product in the future. The company that makes them is launching a Veggie Tots version this Fall. Can't wait to try them, also!

DISCLAIMER: I received several free product coupons so that I could try Veggie Fries and experiment with them in recipes as part of the product manufacturer's outreach to bloggers. (A recent Veggie Fries Newsletter --- I had previously subscribed after first hearing about the product some months back --- asked if any bloggers would like to try the product. I responded and was sent a free product coupon. I tried the product and gave the company feedback and was sent a couple more free product coupons as a thank you.) However, I was not required to write a product review publicly. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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