I picked up this little box on a lark at my local run-of-the-mill grocer partly because I was curious and also because I knew it’d come in handy when I was:

  1. in pain with lower back issues
  2. tired from a long day of worrying about nothing
  3. and/or starving after sitting in rush hour traffic after both of the above

When I was a meat-eater, I did like a good mess of beef bourguignon—a.k.a., burgundy for us unsophisticated folks. So of course, my standards had been set and perhaps that’s part of the problem.

Let’s break down what comes in the single serving box:

Veggie Sauce: Notice that the product description includes the word ‘trio’. IMHO, it should be renamed duo because there aren’t enough veggies in the sauce to amount to a full serving. A few carrot chunks, a couple mushrooms and I didn’t see any of the mentioned onions in the sauce packet. They also list garlic as a veggie when really it’s used as a flavoring. No big cloves or even chunks of garlic here.

Rice: More than enough for a single serving. And good quality basmati rice too, none of that gummy minute crap.

Beefless tips: Seitan of course with lots of spices according to the ingredient list. The interesting thing is there really isn’t much flavor in these beefless tips for the amount of spices and ingredients listed in the back.

Adding a green onion garnish and a side of peas helps make this a meal.

A note about sodium.

700 MG of sodium in a single serving is respectably low when you consider that an entire can of store-bought chili may contain as much as 2400 mg . Incidentally, 2400 mg is also the daily amount recommended by that bastion of public health, the FDA.

But I found myself wanting to salt this dish heavily. Perhaps it was the lack of spices and herb flavoring? I don’t know. I almost wish that it had no sodium included at all so I could have salted it to my liking. Perhaps the processing makes the sodium less evident?

Overall thoughts:

  • Looks damn fine on a plate. Especially if garnished with chopped green onion as I did and with a side of peas or another veggie added so you actually DO get some vegetables.
  • Great to keep on hand for a quick lunch but be prepared to add vegetable sides for more nutrition.
  • Rice is well-cooked, not gummy, and has flavor.
  • No cholesterol or trans fats. Really good amount of iron (45% of daily value) and vitamin C (25%). Calcium at 15%. 230 calories total so a side of simple veggies or salad won’t tilt the scale.
  • Don’t try to pass this off to a loved one as home made. It won’t fly. But it’s better than most of the frozen dinners available and is bona fide cruelty free.
  • If I’m going on a road trip, this might be one of my travel cooler selections now that most hotels have microwaves. And it IS handy when you’re home after a long day and no desire or time to cook a one off for yourself.

Good in a pinch, for a single serving like at lunch or dinner, won’t fly for guests, and good amounts of some nutrients.

UPDATE: Christina over at Vegan vanguard just posted her review of this same product. Interesting that we’re both on the same page with this product.