Thursday, February 18, 2016

Victoria Vegan Pasta Sauces Review & Giveaway!

a most lovely and exciting trio of delights to receive! 

I'd seen Victoria Fine Food pasta sauces in the market for years, and a while ago I tried their Vegan White Bean Marinara sauce and really loved it -- so I was pretty jazzed when they offered to send me a few vegan pasta sauces to try out. Italian flavors are now and always will be my favorite.

When the glorious package arrived, it contained 3 jars of all-vegan sauce:
Vodka Sauce ~ Alfredo Sauce ~ Organic Toasted Garlic Sauce

woohoo! a beautiful box full of bounty to behold! 


Victoria Organic Toasted Garlic Sauce with Kite Hill Ravioli
on my special Italian dish towel

I've been curious about the new ravioli from Kite Hill brand, and I thought they would give us a perfect opportunity to bust open our beautiful jar of Organic Toasted Garlic Sauce. I usually make my own marinara sauce, but I'm not at all opposed to using a jarred sauce -- so long as it's good! We have a system wherein we each taste the sauce before using it, to make sure it's good to go. This sauce got two thumbs up!  I especially really, really love that the sauce didn't have any sugar in it. Sugar in pasta sauce is one of my top pet peeves! 

two thumbs up!



This sauce was super tomatoey, bright and acidic (in all the right ways), with only the natural sweetness of tomatoes. I didn't think the garlic flavor was very pronounced, but I definitely loved it anyway and will plan on buying this flavor again. I also have an exponentially high appreciation for garlic, so other people's idea of "garlicky" probably don't even register on my tastebuds. Ha ha ... 

As for the ravioli... meh. I bought one package of mushroom ravioli and one package of the spinach ravioli. I mean, they were good, but each carton was $8 and the flavor was easily overpowered by the (fortunately delicious) tomato sauce. It shouldn't really be like that. Plus, in one carton there were 10 ravioli, and the other one had 9. That night, we each had 4.5 ravioli for dinner. Sigh! I still really like the brand Rising Moon, and I've found their vegan ravioli to be much more flavorful and plentiful and much less pricey. So, I'm glad I tried the Kite Hill ravs, but I'll still to homemade or Rising Moon in the future. 

Alfredo Veggie Casserole 
For whatever reason, I've never been a huge fan of straight up alfredo sauce on pasta, but I was curious about the Victoria Vegan Alfredo sauce... so I searched the good ol' interwebz for some inspiration ("what to do with alfredo sauce"). Ha ha. I saw a recipe for a veggie casserole, took that idea, and ran with it.

~ Vegan Alfredo Veggie Casserole Recipe ~ 
First I chopped up one onion and slowly sauteed it with 1 tsp oil until the onion bits were pretty caramelized. While they were cooking, I chopped up about 1/2 of a large head of cauliflower, a small head of broccoli, and about 2 cups butternut squash. I put all the chopped veggies and the sauteed onions into a big casserole, along with 1.5 cups of the Victoria Vegan Alfredo Sauce and baked it at 400 for about 30 minutes or so -- until the veggies looked golden and the sauce was simmering.

I think of alfredo sauce as sort of impossibly thick and heavy, which this sauce isn't at all. The Victoria Vegan Alfredo Sauce is cashew-based and isn't actually all that rich or creamy. Using it in a casserole with a mountain of veggies was a great way to use this nutty sauce and still end up with a light dinner full of veggie power. I think that if you were looking for a super creamy sauce, I'd suggest boosting it with another 1/2 cup of homemade cashew cream. The cashew bits in the sauce were still noticeably present, not ground to a creamy oblivion. I think this must be a conscious choice, but made the sauce a little more textured than velvety, which is how I think of alfredo sauce. It was also super bright and almost lemon-y or white wine-y, although neither of those flavors are in the ingredients. Although it wasn't what I first expected, I did enjoy this sauce and this casserole a lot!


Stuffed Shells with Ricotta, Kabocha Squash, and Victoria Vegan Vodka Sauce
holy bonkers this was delicious

Oh em gee!! Bolstered by the success of my "what to do with alfredo sauce?" search, I turned next to the web for help with vodka sauce. ("what to do with vodka sauce?" ha ha)  I'd never even heard of vodka sauce until I met Mr. VE&T (all those years ago!) and he was in love with it. But it wasn't vegan, and it was always served with salmon, so I never had a chance to taste it. Most of the internet suggestions were meaty, but I found one little reference in which someone mentioned that their local restaurant used vodka sauce over butternut squash and ricotta ravioli. Viola! There's an idea I could work with.

So, I concocted some Stuffed Shells with Vegan Vodka Sauce, which were absolutely fantastic! I had four for dinner, and I was looking forward to having some for leftovers the next day, but Mr. VE&T was super hungry and he ate all the rest ~ just like that! We both loved these so much, we were pretty much swooning our way through each bite. I can't wait to get my hands on more sauce and make this again! This sauce is super good and flavorful, and although I'm always a sucker for straight-up red sauce, I think this was my favorite sauce of all the ones we tried. Highly recommended!


Kabocha + Ricotta Stuffed Shells 
20 large shell pasta (plus a few extras to account for ripping or tearing
300 grams cooked kabocha squash (steamed, roasted, or pressure cooked, and then mooshed up)
1 whole carton of Kite Hill almond ricotta (*worth every penny!)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp white miso
1 tsp oil
8-10 button mushrooms
1/8 tsp black pepper
1.5 cups Victoria Vegan Vodka Sauce

Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly oil a small/medium-sized casserole dish.

Get a big pot of water going over high heat. Once it's boiling, cook your pasta shells as directed on the package. Then drain and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, mix together the Kite Hill Ricotta, the cooked Kabocha squash, the white pepper, and the white miso. Stir until integrated, but it doesn't need to be 100% combined (mostly just make sure that there aren't big miso chunks in there). 

In a small pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, and saute until they release their moisture and begin to brown a bit. Once ready, add the black pepper, and transfer to a cutting board. Chop the mushrooms up into smaller bits. Then stir them into the squash-ricotta mix.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of the sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish and spread it around with a spatula or the back of a wooden spoon. Now, carefully smoosh about 2 tablespoons of the filling into each cooked pasta shell, and set them one by one into the prepared baking dish. Once they're all there, pour the remaining sauce evenly over all 20 stuffed shells. Baked uncovered at 400 for 40 minutes. 

Thoughts on the sauces overall:
It turns out that Victoria Fine Foods is an old company (since 1929!), but they are unabashedly embracing the vegan market! I love that such a well-established non-vegan company has evolved and is enthusiastically offering a whole vegan line of products. It turns out that they have six amazing sauces in their Victoria Vegan line, and also many of their Premium sauces and organic sauces are also vegan! 

These are the flavors in their Victoria Vegan line:
Vodka Sauce ~ Alfredo Sauce ~ Alfredo Artichoke Sauce
White Bean Marinara ~ Alfredo Arugula Pesto ~ Alfredo Red Pepper

In the Victoria Premium line, the following flavors are also vegan:
Tomato Basil* ~ Marinara* ~ Fradiavolo* ~ Roasted Garlic
Chianti Wine Marinara ~ Italian Veggie Marinara!
*regular and low-sodium varieties both vegan

I know for sure that the Toasted Garlic Organic sauce they sent me is also vegan, but the other organic sauces still don't have their ingredients listed online... so you'd have to look in the store. That said, they do a really good job with labeling their jars with all the appropriate logos ("vegan" "non-GMO verified" "gluten-free," and so on), so it shouldn't be hard to determine which are vegan and which aren't.  I really appreciate that.



~ Giveaway! ~

Victoria also sent me some coupons, and instead of hoarding them all for myself, I'm going to do a giveaway with THREE WINNERS! The coupons expire in June, so it might be a good idea to make sure you can find their sauces where you live before winning! They have been expanding and are now available in loads of stores across Southern California and Florida too. Anyhow, leave a pasta-related or pasta-sauce-related comment here and I'll pick three winners next week. 
Good luck! 

26 comments:

  1. Thank-you for Victoria Vegan Pasta Sauces coupon giveaway... It does look tasty and I would like to add it to my pasta!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so excited to hear you liked the vodka sauce! That's definitely my favorite pasta topping, and it'd be awesome to get my hands on a jar of a vegan version for when I'm way too lazy to make my own (which is 95% of the time)

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's so awesome that their sauces don't contain sugar. That's my top sauce pet peeve too. I don't want a sweet tasting sauce, but it can be tricky to find brands that don't include sugar.

    Thanks for the honest review of Kite Hill ravioli. I'd heard other not-so-positive reviews about the price versus the amount you get. I would hate to shell out that much and still be hungry. I usually keep a container of Rising Moon ravioli in the freezer for David's lunches. It's a nice quick and filling option.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the review -- those stuffed shells look amazing! I've always wanted to buy these but they're so pricy. :(

    ReplyDelete
  5. As a sort of lazy vegan, I really love pasta, and these sauces would be a great addition to my meals!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Those sauces look really yummy and the dishes you made with them look really good. I use jarred sauce when we make homemade pizza. I bet any of the Victoria sauces would be good that way - hey, maybe I should try a creamy sauce on my pizza. I hadn't thought of that but it might be good instead of vegan cheese although we normally use homemade vegan pesto on top of the tomato sauce.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've tried their sauces and they are delicious! We can buy them at our local Sprouts store. =)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love spaghetti squash pasta dishes!

    - Judith

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've read only glowing reviews for all the Victoria Vegan products, so I'd just love to finally try them for myself. Those stuffed shells look incredible!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What an awesome variety of vegan pasta sauces! I'd really love to try these for my vegan eggplant rollatini (I use silken tofu instead of ricotta cheese, and it comes out awesome!) Thanks for the chance to win!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have not made stuffed shells in a very long time thanks for inspiration. My sister has tried oneof the sauces and has been raving about them so now i can try out.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have not made stuffed shells in a very long time thanks for inspiration. My sister has tried oneof the sauces and has been raving about them so now i can try out.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've tried a few of their sauces and really liked them. I wish they made a vegan pesto!

    ReplyDelete
  14. wow I'm definately having pasta for lunch now!!! would love to try these! they look so yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just saw these at my local supermarket--I've been curious to try them!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've never tried these but I have seen them in my local stores.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I would love to try these!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oooh, I love Victoria Vegan sauces! I've had the alfredo and the vodka. And they're both winners! Also, I had no idea Kite Hill makes ravioli, and now I must try it as I'm obsessed with everything Kite Hill makes. Sucks there are only 9 ravs in a pack, but since I don't have to share with anyone, I can eat them all!!! I hope my Whole Foods carries those. They just started carrying Kite Hill yogurts and cheezecakes!

    ReplyDelete
  19. holy crap i need the vodka sauce! i like making it from scratch but sometimes you just have time enough to open a jar. mmmmmmm.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Victoria Sauces are so yummy and I know they are at our local store.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Those sassy sauces would be super special for my sweeties

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have tried their pasta sauces before and they are really good! Would love to win
    cricketlady29@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. Those ravioli and stuffed shells look amazing! I hope those sauces come to the UK before too long - alfredo sauce doesn't really exist here, oddly!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Sugar is pasta sauce is one of my pet peeves too!! It was impossible to find one without sugar whilst Nick and I were volunteering on Koh Lanta so one night we tried a jar but ugh, it wasn't good at all! These sauces sound delicious, I love a garlicky pasta sauce too and I think I'd be into the alfredo. (Oh and don't enter me into the competition, you can't get these in Europe yet!)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have never saw these sauces but they look amazing. I would love to try them.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yum - these look so fun! I used to love vodka sauce, but never heard of it served with salmon: sounds like an icky waste of delish sauce!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments, they really make my day!