I don't typically buy prepared convenience foods. It's not like I'm some health guru who shuns packaged foods. I'm just really, really cheap. And vegan convenience foods tend to be pricey for the quantity of servings. I can make a big ole batch of soup or chili and freeze portions for quick lunches and dinners to save some dough. That being said, I'll never turn down free convenience foods to review!
Tasty Bite, maker of 10-ounce shelf-stable microwavable Indian meals, offered me samples of three entrees, some basmati rice, and an Indian simmer sauce. I'm breaking the reviews into three posts (peppered over a few weeks) so I can try items at my convenience. Last night, I tried the Tasty Bite Bombay Potatoes and Basmati Rice:
The Bombay Potatoes are slow-cooked with chickpeas and spices in a tomato-based sauce:
They were so, so yummy served over the pre-cooked rice, and dinner was on the table in less than three minutes! The cubed potatoes reminded me a little of the taters in military MREs (meals-ready-to-eat), which I ate during an ROTC Hiking and Backpacking class trip in college. I know it sounds weird, but I LOVED the texture of those potatoes.
The texture of rice was no different than if the rice had been cooked on my stovetop, yet I only had to microwave the package for 90 seconds! Although Tasty Bite makes packaged foods, the ingredients are really simple with no preservatives. The Bombay Potatoes ingredient list reads: Water, potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, sunflower oil, salt, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, coriander, chilies, cumin, and spices. All ingredients that I can pronounce!
Today for lunch, I tried the Punjab Eggplant:
I only used half my basmati rice last night, so I ate the rest with this braised eggplant dish simmered with aromatic Indian spices:
I hate eggplant skin, and I'm often not a fan of packaged foods with eggplant because the skin is sometimes left on. But this eggplant dish is pureed into a stew perfect for serving over rice. No skin involved.
The boxes of Tasty Bite say they serve two, but I'm a hungry girl. I only got one serving from each package. But they're fairly low in calories and fat even if you eat the whole thing.
My one complaint? Not enough heat. One thing I love about Indian food is the spicy-spice, and the Tasty Bite meals seem to be seasoned for less hardcore palettes. But that's no biggie. I can always add hot sauce!
I doubt an unsuspecting eater would even know these dinners were pre-packaged, especially with the eggplant dish and rice. But I'll probably only buy Tasty Bite for quick travel meals since they're a little on the pricey side at Whole Foods. Or maybe I'll buy some when I get a serious craving for Indian food and I'm too cheap to go to a restaurant.
Question: Are there any vegan convenience foods that you can't live without? What packaged items are you willing to splurge on?