South Amboy's RaphiVictus bringing vegan meals to Middlesex homes – My Central Jersey

Inflation hasn’t been kind to the carnivorous. Prices for meat, fish and eggs are up more than 14% since last May – the biggest year-over-year increase in 40 years.
Those looking to cut their grocery bills are picking up more vegetables. One South Amboy-based business is helping people do just that, as RaphiVictus is now offering ready-to-eat vegan meals for Middlesex County delivery.
“The cost of meat and the uncertainty of the supply chain has definitely affected our demand,” said founder Raphael Smith. “All of this makes vegetables the next alternative, and summer is also the peak of vegetable season.”
The vegan culinary company accepts online orders with options of two rotating vegan meals from Wednesday mornings through Sunday nights. The single-serving meals cost $15 and are delivered Tuesdays to Middlesex County customers. Pickup isn’t available yet.
About half of RaphiVictus’s customers are vegan, while the other half are people looking to add more vegetables to their diets.
Past meals have included Mexican-style pozole stew with herbed basmati rice, roasted cauliflower, mixed vegetable patties and homemade pico de gallo; as well as vegan taco salad with romaine lettuce, chipotle tofu scramble, Southwest salad with herbs, cilantro lime quinoa, mixed vegetable fritters and avocado aioli. 
All meals are also gluten-free and nut-free.
“Each meal is very complex and composed of four to five different dishes,” said Smith. “It’s like a work of art. I just get the ingredients and I call it something. I don’t have a recipe — I just go with the flow.”
One meal option – called the fresh meal – can be eaten at room temperature. The other – the hot meal – is delivered in a recyclable aluminum container, which should be heated in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
By the end of the summer, Smith plans to add two more meals to the menu, including oil-free meals and raw meals. He also just began offering a curry of the week.
Smith, who created his company in 2019 after studying the slow food movement and working on a small organic farm in Germany, began offering ready-to-eat vegan meals in February after creating them for Edison’s Meet Your Neighbors Monday events.
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Every week at Meet Your Neighbors Monday, performers, artists and food vendors filled the Edison streets. But people with vegan or vegetarian diets quickly found that the gatherings didn’t have anything suitable for them to eat – so organizers asked Smith to become a vendor.
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“The healthiest, most accessible and my favorite food is Mediterranean food,” he said. “There’s so much to the Mediterranean so I’m trying to offer a gateway to these different cuisines while still maintaining this fresh and approachable palate.”
Jenna Intersimone has been a staff member at the USA Today Network New Jersey since 2014, after becoming a blogger-turned-reporter following the creation of her award-winning travel blog. To get unlimited access to her stories about food, drink and fun, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. Contact: or @JIntersimone.