Too tired or too lazy to make your own Baked Mushroom Calamari? There’s now Vegan Calamari from Sophie’s Kitchen. I found it in the frozen food section at the Cupertino Whole Foods (only select locations in Northern California have it).
I thought it was yummy, kinda chewy like calamari but not really seafoodie tasting. The texture though is very similar. Of course it doesn’t compare to the baked king oyster mushrooms. But it’s pretty good for something that’s frozen and took 10 minutes to heat up. It’s best to cook it a little longer than the 6 minutes as directed on the package, it makes it a bit more crispy.
It’s main ingredient is Konjac powder, a plant native to Asia and grown in China, Japan, Korea and India. In Japanese cuisine, it’s made into noodles. It’s also used as a vegan substitute for gelatin. And it’s the same stuff used to make vegan shrimp that you see in Chinese vegetarian restaurants sometimes or at the Asian supermarket.
The Vegan Squid Rings are basically the same as the Vegan Calamari but naked (without the breading). So it’s more of an ingredient than a heat-and-serve kind of thing. I went with an antipasto type of calamari salad – combining the flavors of marinated fresh veggies and salty olives with the chewy texture of the squid.
I liked both products well enough to get them occasionally, both were $3.99 each. Besides the calamari, Sophie’s Kitchen also has Vegan Shrimp, and Vegan Breaded Fish Fillet. I figured the shrimp is probably close to what I’ve already had before but I would like to try the fish fillet sometime.
Vegan Calamari Salad
1 package Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Squid Rings
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful of kalamata olives, pitted and halved lengthwise
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly grounded pepper to taste
Flat leaf parsley to taste
Thaw the vegan squid rings according to package directions, cut into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the squid pieces, onion, tomatoes, olives and parsley and toss well. Chill for 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop.