October 22, 2010

Amy's Light in Sodium Veggie Loaf Whole Meal

This week, I'm testing out another frozen entree. This one is Amy's Light in Sodium Veggie Loaf Whole Meal. I kind of wish the store I'd bought this in had the regular Veggie Loaf meal, for reasons I'll explain later, but this was the one they had, so this was the one I bought.

Before I start reviewing the meal, I'd like to make a comment about Amy's website. They have some crazy-detailed info about their foods, which is great. It was also a little confusing for me, since, even after reading the list of (mostly organic) ingredients, I couldn't figure out why this meal didn't get the vegan badge. I dug a little deeper, and discovered that the fact that it contains honey was the reason it didn't get labeled vegan. This led me to a bit of a problem. On this site, I've been labeling things as vegan if they have no dairy and no eggs, but I haven't been checking for honey. Is this a big problem for anybody? I could go back and check, but I don't know how many vegans are really serious about honey. Please advise. In the meantime, I will go ahead and mark this as vegan.

In the meantime, let's test out this Veggie Loaf meal. It came with mashed potatoes and some peas and corn. I popped it in the microwave for a few minutes, and got ready to enjoy a mostly-organic veggie loaf experience. First thing I noticed was that the potatoes and the veggie loaf tasted completely bland. I mean, no flavor whatsoever. This is a direct result of the low-sodium claim. Sorry Mom, most food needs at least some salt. I will say, though, that the peas and corn tasted pretty good without extra salt. I don't even really like peas, but these were a very good example of the species. Once I salted the mashed potatoes, I could safely say that these mashed potatoes were probably the best frozen mashed potatoes I've ever tried. I don't know what they do differently from most other frozen meal companies, but these had a great texture. Well done!

The loaf, on the other hand… pretty disappointing. There was a strange creamy texture (lima beans?) mixed with a weird chunky texture and a not-delicious flavor that I couldn't identify (lima beans again? it's been a while…) I tried to like it - the gravy that it came doused in was pretty tasty, but not enough to cover up the weird flavor of the loaf itself. I ended up just eating the potatoes, corn, and peas, leaving half the veggie loaf uneaten. I found it kind of funny that the veggies trying to be meat-like were totally eclipsed by the veggies just being themselves. Maybe that's a lesson most vegetarians already know - fake meat just isn't as good as real vegetables.

The experience:
Texture - Potatoes: awesome; Corn and peas: awesome; Veggie loaf: creamy and chunky at the same time… sounds good, but it made my mouth unhappy
Flavor - Potatoes: awesome with salt; Corn and peas: awesome; Veggie loaf: blech. Anyone out there a big lima bean fan who can confirm my theory about the lima bean flavor?

Final grade for this attempt: C

7 comments:

  1. I've had the regular salt version of this more than a few times and I kind of like it. It's not my favorite Amy's but it's pretty good. I really like the sauce for the loaf. A big problem I have with this one is that I can never get a good level of heating for all the elements; if I cook it enough for the potatoes to defrost, the loaf dries up like a brick.

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  2. Also, you probably know this already but another hidden ingredient for vegans is gelatin. I can hardly speak for vegans, but my guess is that if you're serious enough to cut out all dairy and eggs, you're probably serious enough to avoid honey.

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  3. I'm vegan and I eat honey. I would say about half of us do. I also eat gelatin if it's in something like a vitamin capsule. Most vegans aren't super strict.

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  4. I'm a regular Amy's consumer and I love the veggie loaf meal, both low-sodium and regular versions. Low-salt is so much better for you, so I've trained my palate to enjoy low-salt stuff...after a few weeks of no-salt cooking, you'd be amazed how salty "regular" food is - I can hardly deal w/restaurant food anymore! I microwave it at work according to the box, and everything comes out fine re temperature and texture(but maybe I'm forgiving when it comes to microwave meals). As for the loaf - I know what you mean about texture and taste -- it's a little on the "not for everyone" side. But I love my loaf! :)

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