Vegetarian Croquette-look-alike from Albert Heijn

Calling for “Vegetarian Today” supermarket chain Albert Heijn sells his own vegetarian line, named Ah Fresh. These croquette-look-alikes have the weird name of ‘tree trunks’ and for a while already are drawn to my attention from the vegetarian shelf. They look like nice croquettes and despite knowing that baking croquettes in a regular frying pan never leads to good results, I am attracted by the beautiful orange color and green herbs at the ends.

On the back of the package I learn that Albert Heijn has no intention to offer these ‘trunks’ as vegetarian croquettes, but as a vegetarian “meat bar”. Ah, good to know. The trunks are naturally protein-rich in that they are made of 31% soy protein and 20% wheat protein. By the use of free-range egg eggwhite and vegetarian cheese (13%) the trunks are not vegan. The added vitamins B12 and iron provide each for 15% of the recommended daily amount.

The tempting looking tree trunks
The tempting looking tree trunks

Once you open the packaging, there is this lemony parsley mixed fragrance. Deliciously fresh even though not a drop of lemon seems to be in the product. Cooked in liquid (vegetable!) butter or oil, the trunks are easy to get evenly brown. This is an obvious difference with a croquette that you usually have to fry for the same result. As a real croquette the crust cracks during baking which makes the cheese run out a bit. Therefor it can not be prevented completely that it sticks lightly to the pan. However, this also in no way is the same as with a real croquette.

The crust is crispy and has a slightly salty taste. From inside the trunks have a compact yet also fleshy texture that you often see in soy products. This compactness makes them sturdy enough to fry in a frying pan instead of falling apart like croquettes and not getting evenly brown. The slightly spicy, broth-like taste is also known to soy products. However the cheese seems to be gone.

Compact and fleshy like we are used to see at soy products
Compact and fleshy like we are used to see at soy products

I am actually pleasantly surprised by the ‘tree trunks’. These croquette look-alikes are very easy to prepare in an ordinary frying pan (but stay there!) and therefore also suitable for the conscious frying-free eater. You should not be mistaken by the firmness of the trunks; much more than a croquette they are a valuable side dish to the meal and not really suitable for a sandwich.

 

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