Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sweet Earth - Frozen Meals

Sweet Earth Natural Foods recently reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in trying their new line of frozen vegan world entree bowls. Yes, please. Although I will always continue to promote fresh, unprocessed whole foods, I must say that with my crazy traveling schedule this year, I've been seeking more convenience foods, and frozen foods can be a good choice. What's great about this line is that they are even being sold in Target! Talk about reaching the mainstream consumer!

Now, let me be clear -- not all frozen food is okay. Most of it, in fact, is loaded with all kinds of bad stuff. What I love about the new Sweet Earth bowls is that I couldn't find a bad ingredient in any of the five new vegan flavors.

Take the Kyoto Stir Fry for example. It was just so naturally good. The ingredient list includes organic brown rice, spinach, tofu, edamame, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, miso, sesame oil, and pickled ginger -- all good stuff! The calories at 310 were reasonable, but the fat at 17 grams was quite high. There's 5 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein, and 590 grams of sodium so while you are getting 20% of your recommended fiber for the day, you are also getting 25% of the max sodium.

I actually liked all five bowls. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be the Curry Tiger. Imagine lentils and brown rice along with broccoli, sweet potatoes, curry seitan, and a great curry sauce. Yum! 15 grams of protein, but 20 grams of yeah, all in moderation.

The Moroccan Tangine was absolutely delicious. Made with bulgur, garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, raisins, and cinnamon, it had a lot of flavor and a lot of depth. This one was lower in calories and fat than the others, but higher in sodium.

The General Tso's Tofu was probably my least favorite, although I still thought it was good. I would have liked to see more broccoli and less tofu in this bowl, but that's just my preference. Also, the picture showed white rice, but there was brown rice inside. I hope they update their packaging soon.

Lastly, there is the Bean and Mango Cubano, which is a good, hearty, whole foods-type dish. It is just black beans, quinoa, and mango. I added some nutritional yeast and hot sauce for flavor. This is the kind of dish I could eat regularly -- simple, but good.

So, all in all, I'd say they've done an excellent job. The dishes have many organic ingredients and are all-natural, but realize that they can also be high in sodium. I did notice that I had to heat these dishes well beyond the amount of time listed in the directions. I usually had to stir and heat at least another minute. I'd also like to point out that there are 12 meals -- 7 of them are vegetarian and not vegan and 5 of them are vegan, so be sure to look at the front of the box, where either "vegetarian" or "vegan" is clearly stated. Great job, Sweet Earth! I'm so happy to have more convenient options in the freezer section.

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

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