You might have heard that this holiday season, Whole Foods teamed up with Philadelphia restaurant Vedge to create an entirely vegan holiday meal. As a vegetarian, I'm used to meatless holiday menus. But no dairy or eggs either? I was immediately curious about how good this meal could be.

Ordering basics

I ordered the Vegan Meal for 2 off Whole Foods' website to pick up at my local Whole Foods store. On their website, Whole Foods offers a plethora of different pre-made holiday meals, entrees, sides, and desserts for basically any palate. This vegan meal came with a main dish, three sides, and a dessert-- all for $40. Considering Vedge is a pretty pricy, high-end restaurant, I was impressed by the affordability of this feast.

What's on the menu

You won't find any vegan meat substitutes like tempeh or tofu here. This meal puts vegetables in the spotlight and really focuses on enhancing the natural flavors and beauty of these veggies. 

The centerpiece is a whole roasted cauliflower with sage mustard glaze. I've had cauliflower in almost every form imaginable, so I had high expectations for this dish. The three side dishes included are mushroom and lentil stuffing, rutabaga mashed potatoes, and roasted rainbow carrots with sauerkraut vinaigrette and caraway. These sides are reminiscent of typical holiday sides, so I was excited to see how they stacked up against their traditional counterparts. Finally, the meal also ends on a sweet note with a chocolate toffee mini cake. I am a major dessert fanatic, so I was definitely looking forward to this cake.

First impressions

When I picked up my meal from Whole Foods, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of food included – especially the dessert. I was initially concerned that the portions would be small and insufficient for a full holiday meal. However, there was plenty to feed two people; my mom and I were able to enjoy this meal twice, still with leftovers remaining. 

Time to eat

Preparing the food to eat was a breeze. Just a quick zap in the microwave, and each item was table-ready. The cauliflower was well-roasted, with a tasty mustard glaze. The glaze gave the typically bland cauliflower a delicious, savory flavor, but I would have wanted just a bit more seasoning.

The mushroom and lentil stuffing was great. Earthy notes from the mushrooms paired well with the hearty lentils, creating a healthy twist on my favorite holiday side. The rutabaga mashed potatoes was probably my favorite dish (excluding dessert). I was astounded and baffled by the rich, cheesy flavor that actually comes from a touch of miso. The roasted carrots were also a hit. I'd never had sauerkraut as a topping on veggies, and I loved the savory, acidic kick it added.

Finally, time for dessert. The chocolate toffee cake was a spiced cake studded with chocolate chips, filled with a butternut squash-sweetened filling and topped with a delicious toffee drizzle. I loved every part of this cake. It was the perfect level of sweetness, and the spiced cake added a holiday, festive feel. Oh also, this cake was not so mini – it was probably around 7-8 inches in diameter, and definitely enough for multiple servings for multiple people.

Shelby Yuan

Would I Recommend it?

Overall, I was very pleased with this vegan holiday meal. Every dish was delicious and unique-- items I wouldn't get in a typical holiday menu. It was also nutritious and packed with quality ingredients. The dishes were festive and similar to traditional holiday food, but with a modern vegan twist. Whether you're vegan or not, I'd say give this Whole Foods veggie feast a try, and prepare to be amazed by some plant-based goodness.