In the Netherlands, there is a brand of processed Vegetarian food by the name "de Vegetarische Slager" (The Vegetarian Butcher) which has some pretty nice marketing... plus, the name allows for some pretty cool photo shots like the one above.
It is a brand that has placed itself a bit more towards the upscale market than the more generic brands, and seeing as it is a bit of a "homegrown" company, it does have some local support as well as having some dedicated store fronts and concept restaurants in Den Haag (Netherlands). However, in 2018, the homegrown startup got bought out by the multinational, Unilever and all the store fronts were closed down and the products started appearing only on supermarket shelves.
It was a bit of a pity, as it was quite nice to go into a Vegetarian "butcher" store and see the products on display and the funny and odd ways that they decorated the shops!
In keeping with the "butcher" part of the company name, most of the products were trying emulate a meat replacement. So, keeping as much as possible the taste and texture of the meat product that they were emulating... and they were doing this long before it was cool!
Unfortunately, in keeping with the "high-end" appeal of the brand... it meant that portion sizes are slightly expensive for the amount that you get. So, it is often a brand that I only get when it is on sale (such as a 2 for 1 deal)... otherwise, I just stick the more generic brands.
Still, every once in a while... it is nice to try out new things (like I did with the new-fangled burgers a while back...).... and this last time, I picked up a couple of trays of "meatballs" (which thankfully weren't individually packed in their own little plastic sack...).
Cooking up these vegetarian meatballs is still the same process as cooking regular old meatballs, pop them on a tray and then straight into the oven to cook through.
The texture and the taste is slightly different from a meat based meatball, but it isn't too far off... although, like I've mentioned before in other "meat replacement reviews", I do sometime wish that they didn't try to replicate the meat alternatives but that they would go with something completely different. That said, I get the fact that many people would prefer to have vegetarian alternatives that were as close as possible to the "real" thing...
What do you eat meatballs with? Spaghetti meatballs of course! After the Veggie-balls were cooked in the oven, they were halved and then thrown into this pot of home-made tomato sauce that we had in the freezer after we made a huge... plus a few green olives thrown in for good measure!
Served up with Spaghetti and topped of with a garnish of Basil from the garden and finished off with a nice glass of chilled white wine. I have to say that the Veggie-balls were really quite a nice touch to the old Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe. The balls remained nice and firm, retaining their texture and taste when mixed into the sauce. I was a little bit afraid that it was going to get a bit soggy but in the end I shouldn't have worried!
Apart from the relatively high cost of the alternative "meat-balls", I would have to say that this is one of my preferred brands from the alternative meat options. The Vegetarian Butcher does a great job of making a viable meat-free alternative that tastes and feels great to eat... but it is still something that I will only buy when it is on sale!
Account banner by jimramones