There are some dishes known as “comfort food” that satisfy not only the stomach, but also the soul, bringing warm memories from childhood along with delicious food. Unfortunately, “comfort food” has also become synonymous with dense, fattening, and over-all unhealthy food that can only be enjoyed once in a blue moon, always remaining an indulgence, never again to be consumed care-free as in the good old days before nutrition became relevant. Various polls all reel in greatly contrasting results, some declaring mashed potatoes to top the list of America’s overall comfort food, while arguments in the name of ice cream, pies, macaroni and cheese, and casseroles are still being made. I can’t say for sure how the top vegan comfort food might measure up, but when I was still an omnivorous, ignorant little cherub, my favorite was unquestionably cheese ravioli.
Needless to say, it ended up being a craving that dulled over the years, coming to an abrupt cessation upon my introduction to veganism. If you think that fake meats can be sometimes unappetizing, you have yet to try much of the vegan cheese available for consumption. Great strides are being made in the current selection these days, but in my early years of dumping dairy, the best I could do was keep my day-glow-orange “American” sliced soy cheese from burning under the broiler, because no matter what ingenuitive methods were employed, that unnaturally colored slab simply would not melt. And that says nothing about the taste. Without going further into detail, lets just say I would rather chew on crayons than buy that junk again.
Needless to say, ravioli seemed to be permanently off the menu. There were always a few ice-encrusted containers of pre-made ravioli-type incarnations whiling away the months at the back of health food stores’ freezer section, but I was never brave enough to try them after such a horrible experience with soy cheese. Research as I may, I never found any solid reviews of these products, so I finally decided that even if they did turn out to be more vile than the barnacles thriving under the town dock, I could atleast warn others before it was too late. Clearly, it was my duty as a good Samaritan to take the dive on this one.
Enter Soyboy, an upstanding company dedicated to the use of quality ingredients, obtained from responsible sources. Even the packaging itself is meant to take a lesser toll on the environment, proudly claiming on the back that it uses 45% less plastic than typical packaging of it’s sort, while still providing the required structure to prevent your dinner from ending up a smushed mess. Printed everywhere you look are seals guaranteeing that what they have to offer is completely vegan / organic / non-GMO ingredients. All very good things, indeed. From the health standpoint on comfort foods, they had tackled this obstacle head on, and seemed to have emerged the victor. Selecting the more interesting option in my opinion, I added a 10 oz package of their Ravioli Verde, but they also produce a Ravioli Rosa in addition to the Original. Still, second thoughts prevented me from moving beyond the attractive exterior for countless weeks, fearful of what my taste buds may meet.
Returning from school early after a grueling day of midterms, none of my standard fare would fit the bill to sooth the pain of the eminent failing grades. Recognizing the perfect opportunity to try an old comfort food revisited, I rescued the tofu-stuffed pastas from the depths of the freezer at last. Freeing them of their environment-friendly wrapping, I took note of their unusual appearance. While some people may be turned off by its flamboyant green color, I find this as encouraging evidence of what I hoped would be a complex and well rounded earthy flavor.
After completing their dip in a pot of boiling water for the suggested amount of time, the skins had faded to a more subdued green, but were still more colorful than you standard pale pasta. Cutting one pillow in half, I discovered a slightly off-putting orangey-reddish tinted tofu residing within. I suppose I was expecting a pure white filling, more indicative of the main ingredient in its natural state, so the consumption of this dish seemed to grow more ominous by the minute. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been so unsettling had I been expecting it, but I was simply caught of guard
Nonetheless, I popped this piece into my mouth… and was momentarily afraid I had read the package wrong. Really, this was tofu?! It tasted just like I remembered ravioli from my childhood, and all of the herbs made it seem like all the seasonings of a traditional marinara sauce were already included. I had planned to do a dry run to get the basic flavors of this product, adding on sauce after I had ascertained certain details, but it didn’t end up needing it! The chewy, substantial skin surrounding the creamy yet somewhat coarse filling was pure, unadulterated joy on a plate. The ratio of tofu to pasta was spot-on, leaving nothing to be desired. If a tofu ravioli could be more perfect, it may in fact be the food of the gods.
Initially having scoffed at the serving size of a mere 6 pieces, I was quite humbled to realize how filling this dish was. After polishing off my 6 pockets of soft tofu and herbs (and practically polishing the plate,) I felt content, my hunger completely satiated.
Never having anticipated such a positive result from this type of product, I urge you to try it for yourself. Having put my inner-child at peace once more, Soyboy ravioli will always have a place in my freezer, as well as my heart.