Vegan Frozen Meals

February 13, 2018   11 Comments

Vegan frozen meals exist! I found these in the frozen section of Target. Can you believe it?

Vegan Frozen Meals

I certainly couldn’t believe my eyes. I remember when frozen meals were only potpies and something called Hungry Man. These Sweet Earth meals are the exact opposite of Hungry Man. Call them “peckish dude”.

These cost me $3.50 EACH (on sale) so they are much more expensive than other meals that I have looked at including Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones.

I was absolutely fascinated by the Korean Japchae because I had never heard of “japchae”. Turns out Japchae is a sweet and savory dish of stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables. You don’t see much innovation in the frozen section so I got excited.

I was hoping that the vegan crew could come up with a frozen meal that I could deem healthy. As you can see, this meal has 690 mg of sodium! Argh!

There is also 11 grams of sugar but it is hard to know how much of that is added sugar. Some of the ingredients have natural sugar like bell peppers and carrots.

This is a photo of the Korean Japche meal:

For this meal:

290 calories, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 45 g carbohydrates, 11 g sugar, 9 g protein, 4.0 g fiber, 690 mg sodium, 4 Freestyle SmartPts

I took a stab at the SmartPoints number since many (almost all) of the ingredients are zero points. It is hard to know how much of the points food is added but I think I have a pretty good shot at being right.

How did this taste? The noodles were a bit slimy but it tasted pretty good. It was too salty (surprise) but I didn’t mind it. It did seem to have a lot of vegetables when compared to other frozen meals that I have tried.

The bowl is only half full so I think I would be hungry in an hour after eating it.

This is a photo of the Kyoto Stir Fry:

This meal featured tofu, carrots, edamame and BROWN rice (can you believe it?).

Here are the nutrition facts:

270 calories, 12 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 28 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 11 g protein, 6 g fiber, 590 mg sodium, 4 Freestyle SmartPts

I wouldn’t eat this again if it was the last meal on earth. Sorry Sweet Earth! The tofu and Shitake mushrooms were like rubber. Have you ever chewed the rubber on the end of a pencil? Yeah, like that. I had such high hopes for this meal but again it was too salty and I don’t know how much sugar was added. Argh!

Finally, I tried the General Tso’s tofu which is a riff on a deep fried American Chinese chicken dish.

As you can see, this has many ingredients. Sweet Earth lists cane sugar twice as well as a lot of other stuff like tapioca maltodextrin. I am not afraid of weird compounds but I find that they taste like chemicals instead of food.

The nutrition facts are:

330 calories, 11 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 45 g carbohydrates, 15 g sugar, 10 g protein, 4.0 g fiber, 690 mg sodium, 7 Freestyle Smart Pts

This was almost inedible – wahhh. There are three teaspoons of sugar and 690 mg of sodium. This proves that you can ruin vegan food with sugar and salt just like any other cuisine.

The tofu sauce was gelatinous and the broccoli was spongy. I give it a zero.

I did like the Korean Japchae but not for $3.50. For my money, (if I was going to eat a frozen meal), I would stick with the Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones. They are really not that different.

When is a company going to figure out frozen meals? Perhaps they should come and see my freezer!

Other posts you might like:

Lean Cuisine Reviews

Lean Cuisine Reviews

Lean Cuisine reviews are harder to come by than you think. Who wants to sit around tasting “diet” food?....

Smart Ones Meals offer Smart Made: A Real Food Option

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Smart Ones meals are the supposed smarter option in the frozen meals section. The smartness is because they are a lower calorie (and perhaps healthier) option....

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I think Amy's makes vegan or at least vegetarian. They are recommended on the No Meat Athlete site for convenience if needed. They are at Target and are pricey but many people say they are very good.

I agree with the above comment. Amy's does make vegetarian and vegan meals. They are organic and are really good.

I beg to differ - I think some of the Sweet Earth frozen meals are good - I have not had the 3 you

Mention here. The burritos are good too. I like Amy’s, Lean Cuisine, EVOL, Kashi- not everything in any line but several of each type. I think that sodium had been cut back but not eliminated as an issue - so I usually only eat one a week - two at the most. You have to try different flavors - and California Kitchen pizza rocks! I don’t eat meat and love the cheese and margarita pizzas.

Wow, are you saying that $3.50 is a lot for a meal? I will stay away from these based on your taste reviews (thank you), but not because of the price. How inexpensive are these things supposed to be?

The Smartpoints on these vegetarian frozen dinners are 10 For Korean Japche, 8sp for the Kyoto Stir Fry and 11sp for the Generals Stir Fry. When counting Freestyle 0 point foods you cannot do that with a processed dinner since you have no clue what the zero point foods are mixed with. When you are following an original recipe or making this at home, then you don't have to count any of the 0 point foods because you know exactly what it contains. For frozen meals you must go by the nutrition labels so these are way higher than what you have listed!

I agree Amy's makes some tasty vegan food. I usually don't buy it unless it has a V on the packaging. There is an app called Is it vegan,which works pretty well.

Thanks for the reviews.

As a dietitian, I don't think the sodium in these meals is extremely high. One rule of thumb that I teach to patients is to divide the recommended daily limit of 2400 mg of sodium into 3 meals and 3 snacks. Allow up to 600 mg per meal and 200 per snack. So <600 mg would be the goal at meal time, but if you go lower for breakfast, as I do with my sodium-free oatmeal and banana, you can have a little more sodium later in the day.

In comparison, Healthy Choice meals have no more than 600 mg per meal. If the word "healthy" appears on a food package, the FDA defines this as no more than 600 mg per meal A "healthy" food also must be low fat, i.e., </=3 mg total fat per 100 calories of food.

These meals are small, so you may want to add some low/no sodium sides, such as fruits and veggies.

Thanks for the review. None of the TV dinners I have tried are any good. I guess that is why I cook most meals at home.

Sweet Earth tends to be pretty variable in quality especially with their frozen entrees. I like their wraps and breakfast sandwiches though (some are vegan some aren't). I think Nestle bought them last year so I don't know if that will end up affecting the quality. In the meantime it's great to have another vegan product in frozen food. I quess I don't ever really expect frozen or processed food to be overly healthy so I don't buy it often.

I would buy the Korean Japche meal, but add a ton of steamed veggies to make 2 meals out of it. Thus keeping the points and sodium down and still get the flavor.

I also have had several Sweet Earth and Amy’s vegan meals that I do like. The problem I have, and I have never seen anyone discuss it, is that they are pitifully short on protein. I sort of “random average“ adult needs 60 g of protein a day, and these frozen dinners rarely have more than 12 g. If these “dinners“ have so little protein, what in the world we eat the rest of the day to make up for it? Frozen meals for carnivores are typically loaded with protein.

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