Amy’s Light and Lean Quinoa and Black Beans with Butternut Squash and Chard Review

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I am a big fan of Amy’s frozen meals- they make for a great lunch when you’re almost out of the door and realize you haven’t prepped anything to eat at work (because you aren’t buying lunch out at restaurants, fast food chains, or cafeterias… right? RIGHT?!). Although in an ideal world we would prepare all of our meals from scratch, this isn’t always possible in the hectic, busy constraints of the real world. Enter the healthy frozen meal. I like to keep some frozen meals at work so I know I always have something on hand that I can eat (because even if I wanted to get something on campus, there’s nothing I can eat!) The Amy’s rice, veggie, and tofu bowls (especially the teriyaki) have been staples in my freezer for quite some time, but I stumbled across this gluten free vegan Light and Lean Amy’s meal and was captivated by its promises of nutty quinoa, hearty black beans, earthy swiss chard, and juicy butternut squash.IMG_2425

With hearty ingredients like quinoa, black beans, swiss chard, and butternut squash, this bowl is very filling due to its impressive 11g of fiber and 10g of protein with only 240 calories. I was really looking forward to this meal, but the first bite left me a little disappointed- it was quite insipid and bland! Although it contains many great, healthy, and whole ingredients and veggies, this bowl was seriously lacking in seasoning. Luckily I had some salt and pepper on hand. Granted, some of you may watch your salt intake, but I have incredibly low blood pressure, hypothyroidism, and a predilection for lightheadedness, so my doctor has actually told me to consume more salt! Um, done. I am really quite moderate with salt, but sometimes you just need a little dash! In my opinion, salt and pepper is quite possible the best seasoning. It’s not fancy, but sometimes the basics beat out all the frilly and herbed competitors. After the addition of some seasoning, the salt really brought out the flavor of the butternut squash, black beans, quinoa, and veggies, while cutting some of the bitterness of the swiss chard.

The verdict: unaltered, I would not be a big fan of this bowl. However, some simple salt and pepper really transforms the flavor of this bowl and enriches the taste profile. Will I purchase it again? Perhaps. It’s a pretty unique frozen meal and contains many ingredients I love. However, there are other frozen meals out there that don’t need any alterations to have great flavor!

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