“ Brand: Innocent / Type: Other Ready Meals „
Bought at half price at Tesco - it was a week before expiry. I have to say, having sampled several such chilled 'ready-meals'
close to their expiry dates; i'd expected soggy vegetables; even more so given the spinach leaves topping this one.
To my surprise, on opening, a wonderful waft of cheesy-roasted-goodness hit my face. Boy did that get my appetite roaring.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Straight-forward, microwaveable tub that gets slightly soft on heating, but which nonetheless
serves its purpose. Took me a total of 4 minutes from start to end (including time to unwrap, etc.)
TASTE: Oh my Goodness - that's all that featured in my head when i took a spoonful of this. Cheese, roasted veg, sweetness.
It wasn't that oily mouthfeel you get from eating pizza or lasagne; there was a delicate balance here between a satisfying meal
and subtle ingredients. The aubergine, spinach leaves, beans - they were all main actors in their own right.
VALUE: Given it only took me 4 minutes to prepare; and at 1.74GBP for 274 kcals, i have to say this might be on the expensive side
One would probably have to eat two for a proper meal. But for taste and flavour, i would GLADLY pay this amount.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT INNOCENT:
Innocent are a company whose USP is that they strive to be ethically aware, using sustainable and natural ingredients, recyclable packaging and sharing 10% of their profits to charities each year.
If you are ever on their website, check out the story of how they started out - selling smoothies from a stall at a music festival out of £500 worth of fruit that they had bought. They put up a big sign saying 'Do you think we should give up our jobs to make these smoothies?' and put out a bin saying 'YES' and a bin saying 'NO' and asked people to put the empty bottle in the right bin. At the end of the weekend the 'YES' bin was full so they resigned the following day!!
12 years on and their range has expanded from just smoothies to also include: Thickies (with yoghurt), Juices, Fruit Tubes all of which are made out of 100% natural ingredients.
I have been eating their veg pots for about a year now, mainly sticking to the Mushroom Risotto one, but I was lucky enough to be chosen by Innocent to receive a free 30 pot drop to my office one lunchtime - result!!
INNOCENT VEG POTS:
There are 8 varieties in this range, all vegetarian (some vegan) and each 400g pot contains 3 out of your 5 a day.
They change the flavours in accordance with the seasons, but currently the flavours are as follows:
* Italian Mushroom Risotto
* Thai Coconut Curry
* Moroccan Giant Cous Cous
* Mexican Sweet Potato Chilli
* Indian Vegetable Masala
* Indian Daal Curry
* Portuguese Red Pepper Piri Piri
And the one I'm reviewing today - Roasted Aubergine Moussaka
MOUSSAKA...BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT:
This is not a moussaka in the traditional Greek sense as in it is not layered, plus it doesn't contain béchamel sauce. So its moussaka-ish with thinly sliced potatoes, carrots and borlotti beans, with some roasted aubergine, fresh spinach, onion and a herby tomato sauce. All topped off with a little bit of cheese.
The plus points of this recipe variation is that it is far less calorific than its traditional cousin with each pot containing 274 kcals, 5.7g fat and 35g carbs. Each pot contains 92% of your GDA of fibre making this one of the healthier meal options out there.
To cook, you take off the cardboard sleeve (the inside sleeve is worth a glance full of quirky little facts), pop the lid off the plastic tub, loosely replace it and cook for 3 mins on high in the microwave. Stir the moussaka then cook for a further minute.
SO, IS IT ANY GOOD?
It's personal taste but I add salt to these, but then again not everyone will feel the need to, I just have a terrible salt habit I'm afraid!
I have to say I really enjoyed this Veg Pot - the aubergines were soft and had no trace of bitterness you can often get with them. The carrots and potatoes still had a good amount of bite to them and the sauce was rich and had a nice minty edge to it. My one criticism is that the garlic is a little overpowering, I can understand why it needs a touch perhaps but it is beyond me why manufacturers seem to use garlic as a substitute for any other taste, especially with vegetarian food. Anyway that aside, an tasty and very filling lunch option. Comfort food without the guilt of calories or additives which is a rare thing indeed.
I enjoyed it so much that I had another one for my dinner, this time with a side salad which was again, filling enough for me.
As mentioned previously I was lucky enough to get a batch free, but usually these pots cost £3.75 at Sainsburys although they tend to have a few price promotions.
Suitable for Vegetarians
Allergy info: contains milk, mustard
Also posted on Ciao as ciaomiaow - thanks for reading
As part of my somewhat half-hearted attempt to eat more healthily, I've decided to make more of an effort to get my five a day on a regular basis. This has involved me buying more fresh vegetables to cook with, as well as buying more items from Innocent. Their smoothies are well known for their amazing taste and for containing 2 of your 5 a day per glass, and now Innocent have brought out these sexy new veg pots which contain 3 vegetable portions per pot. Normally these pots cost between £3 and £3.50 so I've only tried one of these pots before due to the expense, but at the minute they're priced at £2.30 in Tesco, making this the perfect time to give one ago. I liked the look of the Roasted Aubergine Moussaka, so it is that that I am reviewing for you today.
This pot is essentially made up loads of vegetables in a tomato sauce with some cream and cheese thrown in, and the result is a very tasty and healthy meal. The main ingredients are beans, tomato, onion, carrot, potato and aubergine, so as well as providing 3 of your 5 a day this pot gives you the goodness of over 6 different veggies. Very good. I found that the beans and onions seemed to be the ingredients that I found the most of, despite this being named aubergine moussaka, but there is enough aubergine in there to not disappoint. The overall taste was very good, and there was nothing in there that was particularly overpowering or lacking.
Another good point for the health conscious is that this pot only contains 288 calories, which make it similar in energy value to a bar of chocolate, yet much healthier and much more filling. I have a large appetite and feel hungry not long after even fairly large meals, and after eating this pot for breakfast I was quite happy not to eat lunch until around four hours later. I would say that that's pretty good for a small meal containing only vegetables. The reason that it is so filling is undoubtedly due to the fact that it contains 31% of your RDA of protein, which will stop you feeling hungry for longer.
This veg pot can be eaten either hot or cold, though I would recommend heating it for the best taste. The packaging contains information on how to heat it using the microwave, hob or campfire (which I find very cute), though it recommends microwaving it for best results. I found microwaving it to be quick and easy, and unlike with many other vegetable dishes that I have microwaved the vegetables were all soft and cooked when I came to eating it, which is a big plus in my book.
I assume that most of you if not all of you will have seen Innocent Smoothies before, and will know that they have attractive and quirky looking packaging, and if you've ever actually read one you'll know that they contain information in a friendly and entertaining way. The packaging of this veg pot is no exception, with the Innocent angelic logo very prominent on the top of the pot being the most standout feature. The things that I liked on the packaging were the small pictures of all the vegetables you will find contained in this meal, as well as the small section on ways to reuse or recycle the plastic pot (on my pot it suggested using it to keep goldfish in when you're cleaning their tank).
In conclusion, I was very happy with this veg pot due to its great taste, health benefits, low calorie content and the fact that Innocent is an environmentally friendly and ethical company. The only reason why I would hesitate in buying one of these pots again is the price, as I could make my own healthy dishes for a much lower price. Having said that, buying this pot of vegetables is a lot simpler and quicker than making such a meal from scratch, and if I buy it then I am much less likely to eat something bad for me. I would say that these are great if you have enough money to buy them, but if not then they're still something that you could try every once in a while, since they're cheaper than a takeaway yet much better for you. I plan on trying other veg pots in the range to see if they're just as good, so watch this space!