Product: Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Easy Quinoa – $3.99+
This is my fourth flavor of the Nature’s Earthly Choice Easy Quinoa meals. And I think I can easily say that this one is my favorite. I started off with one that didn’t impress me at all. It just was bland. The following two were really good. Each one providing great flavor. But this one…this one in particular had it all working for it.
I am, of course, talking about the Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil variety of the Nature’s Earthly Choice Easy Quinoa product line.
For me, quinoa is never difficult or a hassle to make. I find it one of the easier grains to cook up. In fact, I do cook it up often. It is a staple in my pantry and when I do it myself, I can flavor it however I want. But there is something so compelling about having the seasonings and flavors done up for you. So, that was what initially drew me to the Easy Quinoa line. That and the fact that these were at a grocery store in Minnesota and I had never seen them before. Not in my area. Of course, I can find them in regular grocery stores now…but at the time, it was a new thing…and I had to have it.
Tonight brought about the last of the boxes from the pantry. This week has been insane with recovering from being out of town at a convention last weekend to heading out of town to Upstate New York for a race this coming weekend. So, hectic days, busy nights, and a lot of stress mean that dinners are being kept healthy…but simple. And this is just a matter of boiling some water, letting it simmer, fluffing and serving. Awesome.
So, before I get to the flavor and taste…let’s start with the ingredients and nutrition. Why? Because that should always be the first place you look on any sort of processed and packaged item you purchase.
As far as ingredients go, this list is pretty basic…quinoa is listed first…as it should be…as that is the basis of this entire product line. In addition to quinoa, you find garlic powder, potato starch, onion powder, dry milk, salt, yeast extract, sugar, olive oil, soybean oil, tomato powder, glucose syrup, maltodextrin, celery flakes, dehydrated bell pepper, spices, and natural flavors. So…while I’m not a fan of the maltodextrin and the glucose syrup…it does make me realize that maybe I should just go ahead and make my own from here on out.
As far as nutrition facts go, a serving size is 1/4 cup of the dry quinoa. The actual box contains 3.5 servings. One serving dishes up 160 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. The Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Easy Quinoa is cholesterol free and contains only 220 mg of sodium. That’s awesome for a packaged item. A serving also has 2 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.
But the flavor…the flavor is awesome. Honestly. This was, by far, my favorite of the four flavors of the Easy Quinoa line. The roasted garlic is very prevalent and the olive oil helps provide a healthy fat and this nice hit of flavor as well. But the garlic is what makes it. This could have easily been served up in a bowl, as my roommate and I were making it an entree and each taking half of the box, but instead, I dished it up over fresh Romaine lettuce and touched it up with some fresh organic tomato slices. It made a very nice meal that was just packed with the richness of roasted garlic. Just…fantastic. If I were to purchase any of these again in the future, this would be the one I would get. So look for the pink box, okay?
While I love the simplicity of how to prepare this…boil water, take to simmer, add seasoning packets, let it absorb water, fluff, serve…I think I could make something from scratch that has just as much flavor and probably better and cleaner and healthier ingredients. So, I think next time I’ll just pull the quinoa out of my pantry and season it up myself. After all, there is nothing hard about preparing quinoa. While Nature’s Earthly Choice takes a lot of the seasoning out of the equation, it doesn’t need all the extra bells and whistles. It’s good. In fact, it’s quite tasty…but I think I could do it on my own…and better.
But, for an easy prep meal…this would be a good one to choose.