I recently received coupons from Sophie’s Kitchen to try three of their vegan seafood products for free. These took me a long time to find, but luckily a couple weeks after receiving the coupons my local Whole Foods started selling three of the selections: prawns, calamari, and breaded shrimp.

I purchased these three, and last night I had a vegan friend over to sample these with me. I have to admit that I spent a lot of time online researching how you eat these foods. Despite having grown up on an island and having a childhood surrounded by seafood, I hated the taste and never tried many of our regional specialties. So, yes, I googled “how to eat prawns” and “what is calamari?”. The breaded shrimp didn’t need any researching, however, since it was the one kind of seafood I would eat growing up. Although, honestly, since I usually drenched them in cocktail sauce I probably couldn’t taste the shrimp.

Anyway, for the calamari and breaded shrimp, I followed the package instructions for baking. You can also deep-fry these, but I’m not a fan of cooking with that much oil, and baking is significantly easier.

The rings are the calamari (which is squid), and the crescent shapes are the breaded shrimp. They were done in just 15 minutes, which means they’d be a great side dish for when you’re busy.

For the prawns, I decided to dice them up and make risotto. Here’s what they look like straight out of the package:

I was actually a little freaked out by how real they look. Luckily though, they aren’t real, and thus require no de-pooping or other gross things. 🙂

I kept the risotto very basic. The only seasonings I used were fresh oregano, salt, and lemon juice. The rich flavor of risotto comes from the wine and fat (in this case extra-virgin olive oil and Earth Balance butter), so I like to keep everything else simple.

So, now for the most important part. How did everything taste? Although I personally wasn’t a big fan of the calamari, my friend said they were her favorite. I never tried calamari in my pre-vegan days, so I can’t attest to what it’s suppose to taste like, but I think the main reason I didn’t care for them was just the texture. My friend that liked them the best has a great palate (and in fact cooks for a living), so I would say just give them a try and see how you feel. I’m probably just really picky.

The prawns were huge, so I chopped them up to have more bites of them in the risotto. I feel like these would be great appetizers with a good dip or sauce. They were a tiny bit bland, but I’m pretty sure that’s how they’re suppose to taste. The pink color was beautiful in the risotto, and I would love to serve it to an omnivore to get their opinion. It took a few bites to get over how real they looked and felt to me, but once I did manage to convince myself of their veganness, I ate away. Next time I buy a package of these (yes, I will totally buy these again!) I plan to make a seafood salad. Their taste actually reminded me a little of the “fake crab” fish that is used to make seafood salad.

The breaded shrimp were my absolute favorite. I loved popcorn shrimp and cocktail sauce when I was a kid, so I felt like I was reliving a little bit of my childhood with these. They’re delicious, and I would serve these to meat-eaters without a second thought.

Now for the giveaway! This is the first ever contest on Ahimsa, and I’m really excited about it. Hopefully it won’t be the last. Sophie’s Kitchen has generously offered to send the winner 2 coupons to try their product for free. You have four chances to win, and leave a separate comment for each. ***Make sure you leave a valid email when you comment so that I can contact you if you win!!***

1. Visit Sophie’s Kitchen’s website and comment with what 2 products you would try.
2. Follow Sophie’s Kitchen on Twitter.
3. Like Sophie’s Kitchen on Facebook.
4.  Like Ahimsa on Facebook.

I’ll randomly choose a winner on Saturday, December 31st at noon. Good luck!!!