Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Review: Kashi Ranchero Beans

I did have something to review today after all!
Strictly, I suppose, a frozen meal is neither green nor frugal. We should all be making our own organic meals, preferably from vegetables that we grew ourselves. But then again, I've never pretended that this blog is about being uber-green. It's more about buying smarter products to make your life greener as you either learn about taking the green life one step further or decide that light green is just far enough, thanks.
So, this is what I'd call a "light green" product. It isn't organic, but I wish it was. It is a frozen meal, yes, but it isn't chock-a-block full of unpronounceable preservatives. Kashi as a whole are a reputable company, I think, who do seem to care about the environment. They've reduced their packaging, as an example. They seem to care about producing healthy food. All in all, I think it's a fair choice for those times when you just don't have the time or energy to make something yourself. And, more to the frugal side of my nature, the Kashi meals are a lot cheaper than Amy's Kitchen or similar products. And they are easily found in most supermarkets, which is not true of many other products. I picked this up at my local Publix for $3.59, when most of the Amy's meals were retailing at $5.69 or so. That difference sure adds up over time.
Kashi has had a small selection of frozen meals for a while, and they've just expanded them, adding two new vegetarian options. Sorry, I don't know how many non-vegetarian ones they've added as I don't pay that much attention to non-vegetarian items. But the first of the new meals that I've tried is the Ranchero Beans, which is vegan. It's a southwest-themed meal, with roast corn, pinto beans, and red peppers in a chipotle sauce. The base is Kashi's usual 7-grain pilaf.
The bean mixture has a nice kick to it, but not so much that it is painful or in any way overbearing. It may not be enough if you're a true spice lover, but for the average Joe or Jane, I think they got the level of spice just about right. This is unlike the Black Bean Mango meal, which I do like but I find a bit too spicy on occasion. I have to admit, there's also something about the Kashi pilaf blend that I don't quite dig - perhaps the texture of the wheat berries - but I am getting more used to it as time goes by. I wouldn't say this is my favorite frozen meal but I liked it, and it's going to go straight into the rotation as something I will buy regularly for quick lunches at work, because it was tasty, seemed healthy and more importantly, fits into the budget.
3 stars.

1 comment:

David Myers said...

I like this dish and I like it a lot. The grain has a pleasing mouth feel and the peppers and beans are also welcome. For those of us who are working professionals and have to cook food on occasion, this makes a really nice side dish to something like a grilled lamb steak with a wine reduction. I've used it that way twice and been pleased with the results.