“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Other Ready Meals „
I'm on a diet (apologies to those of you sick of hearing this) and I'm trying to eat healthy, so I'm including loads of vegetables and whenever possible I'm cooking from scratch. I'm not looking for a sainthood though, and I have kids and a job, so now and then there are times when I really don't feel like cooking. This scenario led me to scouring the refrigerated shelves in Tesco last week. Ready meals do not have very good press, being generally full of processed food, high in salt and fat, low in nutrition! Recently though, I have noticed several ranges of microwavable meals that are clearly marketed at the more health conscious, with fresh ingredients and even organic produce.
The Healthy Living range at Tesco is one of these ranges, and is promoted as being nutritionally balanced and limiting salt, fat, saturates and sugar. As a Vegetarian, I fancied the look of this Mushroom and Spinach Risotto, described by Tesco as "Creamy brown rice and lentil risotto with roasted mushrooms and spinach", but other options included Paella, Chicken with baby potatoes, and salmon with baby potatoes.
I say that I liked 'the look' of it, because the packaging allows the buyer to see inside. It is a usual microwaveable carton, with a cellophane lid, but instead of tucking the contents behind a cardboard sleeve there is only a sticker in the corner advising the contents (hooray, less paper used too - why didn't they do this years ago?). Rather than the spinach goo that I expected, there were clearly fresh spinach leaves on top of the Risotto.
Further examination revealed absolutely nothing in the ingredients list that I couldn't identify and recognise as an actual food item rather than chemicals or preservative. Wow - it isn't often that that happens! The nutritional information below confirmed that it was a reasonable choice for me.
After microwaving for approximately 5 minutes, it was ready. This meal appears to have been made with brown/green lentils rather than red, the whole dish has a very wholemeal, wholesome appearance and looks exactly how people expect Vegetarian food to look. Unfortunately, it also tasted exactly how most people expect Vegetarian food to taste - that is, not very stimulating or interesting. A risotto should be creamy, I think, and this one isn't really - but then cream isn't healthy, and this is - so I suppose you can't expect miracles!
On the whole I think this is a good attempt by Tesco to tread the line between healthy and convenient. The food could be more interesting but it can't be faulted for the ingredients. I would recommend this is you enjoy eating healthily and don't often have ready meals, as a good substitute in an emergency. If you are a fan of ready meals you're unlikely to be impressed with this one.