Sunday, 7 September 2014

Kirsty's Moroccan Vegetables with Quinoa

I don't usually buy ready meals. All the scare stories, the high salt, the added sugars, their processed nature and  the weird ingredients that sound like chemicals all put me off. However, I have to say these Kirsty's ready meals break the mould and really pleasantly surprised me.

I think the original concept behind these is that they are suitable for the 5:2 diet. This pack was a mere 276 calories for the whole contents so is great for anyone looking to cut calories. But this isn't one of those low calorie products that is then compensated for by bulking up with artificial ingredients or loads of sugar.

It's actually low in sugar with sweetness coming from apricots and sweet potato. With peppers and pinto and aduki beans in as well, it also counts as 2 of your 5 day. The rice portion of the dish is brown rice and is studded with quinoa and puy lentils for wholegrain and fibre. With bits of courgette, carrot, onion, chickpeas and raisins as well, there's lots of good stuff going on.

So it certainly ticks all the health credentials. It's also wheat, dairy and gluten free so suitable for those with food allergies. But it actually tastes really good too. The Moroccan sauce is delicately flavoured with a lot going on. There's ginger, cumin, harissa paste, chilli powder, paprika, garlic, coriander and cinnamon in it so it's anything but bland. It's sweet, rich and warming. And with all this flavour, it doesn't need as much salt as other ready meals.

My only concern was whether it would be filling. I'm not on a diet - I just picked it up as a convenient lunch for work that was fast, easy and healthy. Because of the high protein in the quinoa, this, along with a side salad, actually left me quite satisfied.

I guess this shows that ready meals need not be nutritional nightmares. I was really impressed by it and will probably try other meals in the Kirsty's range in the future.

Score: 8.5/10

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