Have you heard?
Saffron Road Foods has come out with four all new entrees that are completely vegetarian! I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve spent in grocery stores reading the labels of “meat-free” products only to discover they do in fact contain ingredients derived from meat. That meat tends to be pork and so sadly we can’t eat it. I’ve been so happy with Saffron Road products for a few reasons. First, they are all halal – that means I don’t have to worry about the entrees that do contain meat. The products they use are also sustainably farmed, antibiotic free and any animal products are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. Many of their entrees are also gluten-free which has become a big priority for us.
Back to the new vegetarian line. I’ve been fortunate to try out everyone of Saffron Road’s products and have not been let down by any of them. When these new entrees showed up to try out I wanted to give them the family test. MarocBaba has eaten most of the other entrees (the Chicken Biryani is his favorite) but the kids have not. So I cooked all of the new entrees and thought we’d do a family taste test. MarocBaba won’t be commenting on the Mac and Cheese or Lasagna because they do have gluten. Here’s a description of each and then our taste-testing results!
Manchurian Dumplings with Basmati Rice – An Indo-Chinese masterpiece, this exotic vegetable dumplings dish is made with cabbage, carrots, green beans and onions simmered in a spicy red chili and ginger sauce. Gluten free, vegan, all natural and an authentic recipe.
Macaroni & Cheese – Saffron Road replaced ordinary pasta with delicious, flavorful pasta made with exotic Jerusalem Artichokes and durum semolina. This classic dish makes the perfect side dish with soup or a salad and each package is big enough for two to share. Premium quality, authentic recipe, all natural and vegetarian.
Thai Basil Chili Tofu with Basmati Rice – Thai basil is no ordinary basil – it has subtle undertones of anise or licorice, and is a perfect addition to zest up our protein-rich firm organic tofu. Thai cuisine is based on balance, and each spice works in harmony with this medley of fresh crunchy vegetables to make an extraordinary entrée. Gluten free, authentic recipe, all natural, and vegan.
Three Cheese Lasagna – From sunny Italy and the south of France, two great cuisines meet in one magnificent dish. Imagine layers of the finest durum semolina pasta topped with Italian Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The dish is covered with layers of a Ratatouille recipe worthy of Provence, with zucchini and diced eggplant in a wonderfully seasoned and perfectly savory tomato sauce. Premium quality, authentic recipe, all natural and vegetarian.
This review has been a long time in the making. I first got a package of entrees to review several weeks ago and was waiting for a night when everyone was home and had time to taste and give feedback. When that day came I went to our chest freezer in the garage to find that someone had stolen a lot of food from us (over $200!) including the Saffron Road entrees. The company was kind enough to send me replacements so that I could give you my thoughts. I baked all four of the entrees for dinner and gave everyone a little bit.
Meet the contenders: There’s me and MarocBaba of course – as mentioned he’ll be eating only the Manchurian Dumplings and Thai Basil Chili Tofu (the other two entrees have gluten). Me I’ll be trying everything. M is 8 and my least picky eater. He tried everything. K is 5 and has recently turned into a carnivore. He also goes by “the cheese man” for his love of all things cheesy and his “cheesy” smiles.
Macaroni and Cheese: We’re a Wisconsin family and this macaroni and cheese is made with Wisconsin cheese – what’s not to like? The kids gave this a resounding yes. I was impressed that the noodles were not mush. Frozen macaroni entrees have a bad reputation with me. This was flavorful, had a good texture and the cheese was stringy – that’s a great sign! We give this a big thumbs up.
Manchurian Dumplings: This was a bit of a toss up. MarocBaba loved them but they were a little too hot for me and the kids. M likes chili peppers sprinkled on pizza or in a quesadilla (frankly he’s into hot food much more than me) but these were just a little too hot. I can’t tell you my thoughts because I only got one bite in. If you’re someone who can handle and enjoys hot then my all means this is for you!
Thai Basil Chili Tofu: I tried really hard to get K and M to take some of this but they were not interested. I really thought I would be the only one to eat it but was shocked when MarocBaba ate up half the entree. I remarked that it had tofu and he said he knew and he liked it. I really really liked this one too. I managed to get M to eat a bite of the tofu (he wouldn’t go for the vegetables) and he thought it was alright – hey not bad for his first try! The tofu is very firm and flavorful. This was my favorite entree.
Three Cheese Lasagna – I grew up eating real Italian food. I have vivid memories of standing on a chair in my grandma’s kitchen and rolling pasta and gnocchi, so my standards are high in the Italian food department. That being said the kids and I ate all of our portions. I think I should have cooked it a bit longer and might have added more cheese to the top. The three other entrees bake in the oven for 22 minutes and this one should cook for 3o minutes. I may have been a little under. Like the macaroni the noodles are firm and not mush. The flavor of the sauce is really good. I’m not a huge eggplant fan so I kind of picked around that but it was the best frozen lasagna I’ve eaten.
Overall we were impressed with the flavor and variety and liked everything. I’m sure the kids will be asking for the macaroni and cheese soon! You can get these and other Saffron Road entrees in select retailers (like Whole Foods!) Check their store locator to find the retailer closest to you. Also make sure to “Like” them on Facebook for coupons and new products as they launch.
**Disclaimer – I was not compensated for this post however I did receive free products. All opinions (MarocBaba, the kids and mine) are our own.