Product Review: Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal

Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal

Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal

Product: Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal – $4.99+

It was the heat of the summer – July 2014.  Yes…think back with me.  I was in my third month of Cuisine Cube and was sent a box full of goodies, most of which I have already used up.  Only two remained.  One is the Citrus Herb breadcrumbs, which is meant for chicken, but as a vegetarian, I’ll repurpose them (like on broccoli or tofu or something)…and the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentils.

If you’re veterans of my blog, you know all about the amazing delivery service that is Cuisine Cube.  If you are new, then let me give you a quick run-down.  Cuisine Cube is a gluten-free subscription box that specializes in pantry/meal items, delivered to your door once a month.  Included are 5-6 products, not samples, but full-size products, that cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, a snack…and then an added bonus once and awhile.  It’s fantastic.  I’ve been introduced to products and small artisan companies that specialize in gluten-free products that I otherwise never would have known about.

One of these is definitely Lentilicious.  Lentilicious originated in a small town near Byron Bay, Australia.  It was a startup company for two women who wanted to share their love of quick, easy and nutritious food – mainly lentils.  Lentils are a nutrient dense “superfood” that cooks up quickly without having to soak them.  Lentils are bursting with planty protein and dietary fiber, and red lentils, such as those found in Lentilicious meals, are low on the glycemic index and also low in fat.  Lentilicious offers a package that is nutrient rich, quick to make, portable, and a surefire way to keep you full and provide sustained energy.  Oh…it’s also good for you.

So…now almost a year had gone by and these were still in my pantry.  Definitely no good.  I’m working my way through my pantry and freezer and finally getting to the stuff that I’ve put aside for way too long.  I am so sorry that I waited so long to try the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentils.  Why?  Well…you’re about to find out.

First of all, Lentilicious meals are super easy to make.  It takes 20 minutes of your day.  That’s it.  You can cook them in the microwave or on the stove.  I opted for the stovetop…which was just more convenient for me.  Either way…20 minutes.  So, to prepare by stovetop, I simply poured the entire packet of lentils and spices into the pot and covered with 3 cups of cold water.  I simply brought that to a boil, lowered the heat, and allowed it to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, just stirring every now and again.  That’s it.  EASY!  I cooked this up while I was cooking dinner.  It required no extra supervision.  Because, this was going to be lunch for my roommate and I for half of this week.  Monday and Tuesday…this was what we were having.  And, as it cooked up, I could already tell I was going to love it.

In fact, I reheated these at work both days, and each day I was complimented on how delicious my lunch smelled.  But, food is all about the scent and the flavor.  So…it was time to give it a taste.  Let me say this…AMAZING!!  This tastes like a lentil chili.  The texture and the flavors are phenomenal.  I thought it was spiced up to perfection, with a mild hit of Mediterranean spices and this creamy, yet “meaty” dish.  I was in love at first bite and would savor each spoonful.  Total win!  It was also filling and just tasty.  Beyond impressed.  Already making some plans to seek it out or at least order it online.

With all that being said, let’s take a look at what goes into the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal.  This meal is made up of red split lentils, sundried tomatoes, onion flakes, sea salt, and contains less than 2% spices.  That’s it.  Clean eating, indeed!! This product is gluten-free, vegan, kosher, low GI, non-GMO, 97% fat free, high in protein and high in fiber.  LOVE IT!

As for nutrition, a pouch of the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal contains 4 servings.  Each serving will provide you with 180 calories, 1 gram of fat, 240 mg sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.  AMAZING!  Lentils and I are BFFs forever.

Once again, Cuisine Cube delivered an amazing product!  Totally loving, and now on the hunt for, Lentilicious.  If you are looking for an amazing plant-based source of protein…lentils are a fantastic choice.  Even better…you simply have to add water to and cook up!  Lentilicious for the big win!

Product Review: Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel with Quinoa

Nature's Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel with Quinoa

Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel with Quinoa

Product: Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel with Quinoa – $2.99+

One of the healthiest and best diets out there these days is the Mediterranean diet.  There is little question as to why.  Largely plant-based and focused on seafood and lean proteins, the Mediterranean diet offers a whole lot of health benefits without giving up delicious tasting foods.

But I am no Greek and the Mediterranean diet seems almost Greek to me when it comes to figuring out foods to prepare and the best way to do it.  That being said…thankfully there are shortcuts out there.  One such shortcut is to pick up a box of Nature’s Earthly Choice falafel varieties.  I have previously tried some quinoa products from Nature’s Eartlhy Choice, so trying out falafel (which I love and ate a whole hell of a lot of before going gluten-free) seemed like the next step.  I purchased a box of Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel from The Raisin Rack in Columbus, Ohio…quite a bit ago.  This once again fell prey to my use of my fresh produce rather than processed and packaged goods…which is not a bad thing.  But this past week and this week ahead, I have no CSA bin for my fresh produce, and trying to keep the budget in check, I am using up foods that I have in my fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Out with the old…and hopefully not replacing the highly processed foods with more in the future.

That being said, Nature’s Earthly Choice is not a bad option when it comes to foods that come packaged.  In fact, Nature’s Earthly Choice was created in 2005 and founded on the principles of creating healthy products.  Originally, this company launched products that were made of quinoa (for the gluten-free), farro and wheat berries, with the expectation of living up to their mission to provide healthy and wholesome products to the public and consumers.  Since then, they have added wild rice, chia, hemp, basmati rice, a continent grain blend, and other grains to their list of products, continuing to maintain the healthy aspect of their foods and expand their line to allow for new and delicious items.  Their products are easy to prepare and hassle free as far as cooking.  No matter the dietary needs (they offer products that are gluten-free, rich in omega 3’s, high in protein, offering alternative grains), Nature’s Earthly Choice is passionate about the products they create and are committed to delivering the best tasting and highest quality products to support everyone’s unique healthy lifestyle.

So with my past love of falafel, I decided finding a mix for a gluten-free falafel, a flavered one at that, would be something worth checking out.  It takes time for me to get around to these things at times…but I do get there.  And tonight, after yesterday’s long ride home from Birmingham, Alabama, and my upcoming trip on Thursday to New York City…I needed something easy and something delicious to cook up for dinner.  This week was going to be a short, but busy one.  My meals needed to fit into my time…I didn’t have time to linger in the kitchen over a hot stove, babysitting something that needed constant stirring and such.

Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel was so easy for me to make after a long day of physical therapy appointments and work.  Seriously.  I came home, poured the mix into a bowl, mixed it with 3/4 cup water and let it sit for 10 minutes.  After it has sit (make sure not to let it sit too long), I formed it into 10 patties and set it in a skillet with 1/3 cup vegetable oil.  Giving each patty a chance to cook for about 4 minutes on each side, letting it brown up evenly and beautifully and get crispy on the outside.  I served mine with lemon hummus…because I had it in my fridge, believe it or not.

As for how it tasted…well…I’m ambivalent.  On its own, I wasn’t impressed.  It was bland and a little…dry(?), I suppose.  There was a small hint of garlic flavor, but nothing that really stood out.  Now, when I paired the Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel with the lemon hummus…magic.  It worked.  The hummus brought it out.  True falafel…nope.  Nowhere near it.  A passing acquaintance…definitely.  Would I purchase it again…eh…probably not.  It wasn’t bad…it just didn’t blow me away.  It didn’t make me reminisce about the days of falafel from the nearby Mediterranean restaurant.  It just made me long for those days all over again.  It just wasn’t everything I hoped it would be.

Let’s talk ingredients, shall we?  The Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel is made from fava beans, chickpeas, quinoa, potato starch, garlic powder, spices, onion powder, and salt.  This mix is gluten-free, cholesterol free, and dairy-free.  There is also an option for baking the falafel, but I always find a pan fry seems to work best on such products.

A serving of Nature’s Earthly Choice Roasted Garlic Falafel is 1/4 cup dry mix, or about 2.5 small falafel patties.  As I was making a dinner out of this, my roommate and I split the entire box, making 5 falafel patties for each of us.  One serving, however, would give you 150 calories and 1 gram of fat.  A serving will also provide you with 150 mg sodium and only 1 gram of sugar.  Loving that.  One serving will give you 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein, making this a very filling and long-lasting meal choice.  You won’t be hungry immediately following your meal.  Trust me.

While this ended up being quite a filling meal, the lack of taste and proper texture just sort of left me half empty.  When paired with a dipping sauce or spread…this was amazing.  But on it’s own, there was nothing that stood out or made me wish I had more boxes of this in my pantry.  Decent…but not a favorite.

Restaurant Review: The Grape Leaf, Louisville, Kentucky

The Grape Leaf, Louisville, Kentucky

The Grape Leaf, Louisville, Kentucky

Restaurant: The Grape Leaf, Louisville, Kentucky

It’s not my birthday…but my roommate and I have a tradition to treat each other to a birthday meal someplace new, interesting, or a personal favorite for each others special day.  Mine was pushed back to this weekend as my birthday fell on the start of the weekend and I already had Indian food on the mind at my favorite place in Louisville!

So, I had said that what I really wanted was…finally…some Chinese food.  We had read a review a couple years ago about a place called the Tea Station in Louisville that had gluten-free options.  However, after e-mailing them and not hearing anything back…then the roomie calling and basically being told they can give me rice and vegetables and tofu…and after seeing reviews about how the place has sort of been on a downward spiral…it was time for a second option.

The problem was…I really wanted Chinese food.  So, now, nothing sounded like something I wanted.

Perfect.

I tried to get some feedback from Cathy, but she kept saying it was my choice.  Which only stressed me out.  I narrowed it down to a couple of places…and after scanning the menu pages a few times, I settled…on The Grape Leaf.

Yep.  Mediterranean food!  I love everything about Mediterranean food…so I figured…why not try out somewhere new and different and interesting?  So…after work, we drove out to Frankfort Avenue…and attempted to find parking.  We finally managed to find a spot well up the road and made a bit of a hike to the restaurant itself.  The Grape Leaf prides itself on being a friendly, locally owned, pan-mediterranean neighborhood restaurant.  I loved everything about that statement, so I was pretty excited about it.  Not to mention, their chef, Nabil Al-Saba, is the real deal – serving up authentic cuisine since 1992.

Impressive, yes?

We stepped into the restaurant and were greeted by the hostess.  We were taken to our table and seated.  One of the chairs had a balled up cloth napkin on it, but it was near the window and I was sitting in the seat nearest the aisle.  So, I set my purse down in the chair, away from the napkin, and settled in to look at the menu.  The hostess/waitress asked if we wanted any appetizers like hummus or grape leaves, but Cathy said this was our first time there so we were going to familiarize ourselves with the menu first.  So, she went to retrieve glasses of water while we perused the menu.

When she returned, she asked if we had any questions or if we were ready to order.  We had done a bit of discussion while sitting there…but finally settled on what we were going to eat.  Cathy went first, as she had the easier order.  She went with the Lamb Schwarma with her two sides being the Lentil Soup with Pita and the Cauliflower Rice ($13.25).

I was going with a couple of items on the Appetizer list.  I settled on a cup of the Organic Vegan Red Lentil Soup ($4.00) and the Vegetarian Grape Leaves ($7.50).  Order was in.

A cup of The Grape Leaf's Vegan Red Lentil Soup

A cup of The Grape Leaf’s Vegan Red Lentil Soup

And just moments later, our appetizer soups arrived.  I had to take a picture for the blog, but Cathy dove in and said…”It tastes citrus-y.”  That made me giggle and once my photo was taken, I spooned up a bit myself and tasted it.  I didn’t get citrus at all, but I did get this smokey-sweet flavor from the paprika that was sprinkled on top.  The menu lists the ingredients of this sup as being organic red lentils, extra virgin olive oil, onion, and spices.  What it was was this thick and rich soup that had a gentle, tame flavor that was elevated by the dashes of paprika over the top.  It was warm and soothing and smooth.  And it was a good way to start the meal, for sure.

In fact, we had just polished off our cups of soup when the entrées arrived at the table.  Wow.  Fast.

The grape leaves looked like…grape leaves.  I mean, you can’t really dress those up, can you?  Except with spices…like that same sprinkling of paprika…everywhere.  I mean…everywhere.  I had six stuffed grape leaves on the plate with a dollop of tzatziki and lettuce in the middle.  The grape leaves themselves were wrapped around a blend of tomato, parsley, onion, Egyptian rice, and herbs.  I cut into one of them.  They looked really great.  I dipped my fork in the tzatziki and added it to the bite…and gave it a try.

It was…pretty good.  It was okay.  The textures were great.  The grape leaves were cooked perfectly, kept soft.  The stuffing was creamy and had a bit of flavor.  Not a lot though.  In fact, the star of the entire dish was the tzatziki.  So, thank goodness for that.  I had Cathy try a bite and she liked the creamy inside…but just didn’t look like she was a fan at all.  And, sadly, being a schwarma lover…she was most impressed with her side of Cauliflower Rice.  I was also…really…really…concerned with how quickly the food came to the table.  I watch Kitchen Nightmares…I know how this works…

The food was just…okay.  Not meh.  Not gross.  But not something I would actively make a point to go back and try again.  Which…is so sad.  This was my birthday meal and it didn’t live up to expectations.  I feel cheated.  I feel like my going out on a limb…trying something different…was a letdown.  Do I get a do-over?  We left after paying the bill and decided we couldn’t end the night with food that we weren’t happy with…so we hiked just up the street to The Comfy Cow for kiddie scoops of their Strawberry Fields Forever ice cream.

So…The Grape Leaf…has an amazing reputation…but it wasn’t busy when we were there…nor was the food anything to scream from the rooftops about.  It was just…eh…good.

And I was hoping for great.  I was expecting great.

I don’t think I’ll be back.

The Grape Leaf's Vegetarian Grape Leaves

The Grape Leaf’s Vegetarian Grape Leaves

Recipe: Grilled Eggplant with Gluten Free Couscous and Greek Yogurt Dressing

Sometimes…it’s fun to ignore those magical CSA bin vegetables and go off the beaten path.  Besides, while I love having fresh and local produce delivered to my door, I also love the fun and buzz of the local’s farmer’s market.  And that’s exactly what my roommate and I did this week.  While we have some great bin ingredients, there was an amazing recipe in the October 2014 issue of Vegetarian Times…and the only ingredient I currently had in the home was the couscous.

Don’t panic.  This is gluten-free couscous that came in my Cuisine Cube this month.  I was pretty stoked about that and really wanted to use it right away.  So, that same day as I was flipping through the Vegetarian Times magazine (that had also just arrived)…one dish stood out, as it utilized couscous.  When Cathy read the magazine after me, she also spotted it.  So, that Saturday morning, we went out to a large farmer’s market in Louisville and picked up the necessary ingredients to make this dish.

I prepped most of it last night, so today, the only thing I needed to do to complete the dish was slice and grill the eggplant.  Simple…

Recipe: Grilled Eggplant with Gluten Free Couscous and Greek Yogurt Dressing

Grilled Eggplant with Gluten Free Couscous and Greek Yogurt Dressing

Grilled Eggplant with Gluten Free Couscous and Greek Yogurt Dressing

Servings: 4
Time: Prep 30 minutes; Cook 10 minutes

Ingredients for salad:

  • 2/3 cup couscous (I used a gluten-free brand)
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds, divided
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, diced (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 7 ounces low-fat plain Greek yogurt (or dairy-free yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Persian cucumber
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic

Ingredients for eggplant:

  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 small Italian eggplants, each but on the bias into 6 slices

Directions:

To make the salad: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Stir in couscous.  Cover pan, remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes.  Transfer to bowl and cool for 10 minutes.

Stir 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds and remaining ingredients into couscous, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Chill for 1 hour, or overnight.

To make the dressing: Purée all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

To make eggplant: Preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.  Whisk together oil and mint in a small bowl.  Brush eggplant slices with mint oil and season with salt and pepper, if desired.  Grill slices 4 minutes per side, or until tender and nicely grill-marked.

Divide salad among plates.  Top each serving with 3 eggplant slices, 1 tablespoon of remaining pomegranate seeds, and 2 tablespoons of the dressing.

Serve any remaining dressing on the side.

~*~*~

I made only one minor change.  Instead of making the mint oil, I instead added a hit of cayenne pepper, cumin, and garlic powder to the olive oil instead, then brushed that over each slice of eggplant and grilled it.  It worked out perfectly.  And the mint dressing is so light and fresh that it really just brings everything together on the plate.  I highly recommend this hot and cold salad.  It’s simple and easy and beyond delicious for sure!  I can’t wait to make it again.

Product Review: Molina di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous

Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous

Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous

Product: Molina di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous – $3.00+

There was a time…back before I was diagnosed as a Celiac…when I used to make numerous dishes with a grain known as couscous.  But, as couscous is made from the semolina of hard wheat…so any couscous dish I started to ignore or substitute quinoa.  It worked…but it wasn’t the same.

You cannot imagine my excitement when I opened up this month’s Cuisine Cube and found a box of Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous.  I was beyond thrilled.  Seriously, I might have done a happy dance in my office.  Okay…I did do a happy dance.  And with that being said, I was already making plans in my head to recreate some of my favorite couscous dishes with this little box.  My roommate immediately said, “BREAKFAST COUSCOUS!”  Which, is definitely going to happen.  But…it just so happened that I ended up making a salad first with this product.

It was this month’s issue of Vegetarian Times, highlighting hot and cold salads.  And the one that really, really caught her attention was one of Grilled Eggplant with Couscous and Greek Yogurt Dressing.  We looked over the ingredients and they all seemed within reason to pick up at the local farmer’s market (as none of the ingredients were in the CSA bin this week), so I made a pact…if we could find the ingredients, I would cook up the dish.  Because now…I could absolutely use couscous in a dish that asked for it.

The shopping was a success and last night, I found myself prepping most of the ingredients for our dinner tonight.  I cooked up the couscous, seeded the pomegranate, diced the cucumbers, chopped the green onion, and chopped the mint leaves.  I blended together the yogurt dressing ingredients, after a quick run to the store for the actual yogurt itself.  It was the one ingredient we forgot about.  HA!  Not bad.

Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous (cooked)

Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous (cooked)

I have to say…the couscous is easy enough to cook.  I actually didn’t follow the ingredients on the box.  I went off the instructions in Vegetarian Times for the cooking of the whole-wheat couscous they used in the original recipe.  So, instead of 2/3 cup of couscous with 2/3 cup of boiling water, I used the 2/3 cup of couscous and 1 cup of boiling water, letting it cook for 5 minutes.  Usually the said amount of boiling water and the same ratio of couscous would sit for 2 minutes, then the box says to add oil or butter and cook for 3 more minutes over a slow flame.  The way I did it worked just as well, and when the 5 minutes was up, I emptied the pan of couscous into a bowl to cool for 10 minutes.  Then I added the pomegranate seeds and the remaining ingredients, seasoning with olive oil and white wine vinegar.  I let it chill overnight in the fridge.

After work today, my roomie and I returned home and I set out to grill the eggplant and piece the dish together.  That’s what I did.  I plated the couscous salad, then topped it with the grilled eggplant, gave a drizzle of the Greek yogurt dressing and topped it off with a few more pomegranate seeds.  It looked amazing.  And it tasted just as good!

Now, my roommate said her least favorite part of the dish was the couscous, but to me, it was one of the highlights.  Maybe it was because I haven’t had it in a long time.  But I did nothing special to season this couscous, as I used to hit up the regular couscous with cayenne while it steamed.  I left this one plain, as I was adding enough flavors via the fresh ingredients and the oil and vinegar…and a touch of salt to season.  I thought the texture was clearly different.  This was a lighter, smoother, not as gritty couscous, but it was the perfect ingredient for this dish.  In fact, I can’t wait to try it in my “Breakfast Couscous” later on this week.

The grains of the Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous were finer and smoother than regular couscous.  However, this is not to say that it was mush.  Anything but that.  In fact, the grains were still very noticeable on the palate and tongue.  I found that it really blended well with all the fresh vegetables and ingredients that were placed on top of it.  It was perfection…quinoa wouldn’t have been the same.  The couscous was perfect.  And it tasted brilliant.

I was beyond impressed!

So, I bet you’re wondering what a gluten-free couscous is made from.  Simple.  One ingredient is all that is listed on Molino di Nicoli’s Web site – corn flour.  Yes, the Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous is simply corn flour.  That explains the different texture from regular couscous…but ultimately still delicious.  It felt more like grits than couscous…but…it will do.  Different…but close enough in my eyes.

As far as nutrition goes…well…let me see if I can figure this out.  A serving size of Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous is 50 grams, which is about 1/4 of a cup.  This serving will provide you with 177 calories and 0.5 grams of fat.  You will be consuming 0.002 mg sodium (yes…that is the actual measurement) and 0.3 grams of sugar.  A serving provides you with 1.3 grams of fiber and 3.8 grams of protein.  It’s not too filling, but you won’t fell starved an hour later either.  Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous is gluten-free and cholesterol free.

I will be savoring this couscous for as long as I can, as I have a few more dishes I want to make with it.  But tonight’s meal was a success.  It was the perfect base for the grilled eggplant and the light and lively dressing that brought everything together.  Beyond happy.  It’s not exactly couscous, but when you’re gluten-free…this is close enough.  Close enough…and really, really good!

Thank you, once again, Cuisine Cube.  Because of you…I’m one happy couscous eating girl again!

Grilled Eggplant with Greek Yogurt Dressing over a Gluten Free Couscous Salad using Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous

Grilled Eggplant with Greek Yogurt Dressing over a Gluten Free Couscous Salad using Molino di Nicoli Gluten Free Couscous

 

Product Review: Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread

Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread

Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread

Product: Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread – $3.99+

It has been a sad, sad time for me.  A long while back, my local Whole Foods stopped carrying the LivWell brand products.  These products not only had amazing English Muffins…but also…the only gluten-free pita bread I have ever seen in my gluten-free life.  So, with that gone, I literally had to make sandwiches.  Like with gluten-free bread…or gluten-free hamburger buns…or well…that’s about all.

And…I learned to live with that.  Sure, there were times I convinced myself that I was going to make some sort of flatbread on my own.  But nothing ever came of that.  Lately, my gluten-free bread baking has been more disastrous than successful, so I honestly think I’m just scared to screw something up again.

But then I took a trip out to Colorado.  And on that journey, my roommate and I drove up to Boulder, Colorado for a day.  It’s tradition.  We always do it.  And while in Boulder, we stopped into a natural food store and just planned on perusing the aisles to kill off some time.  It was Sunday, so we were waiting on some stores to open.  And, with no intention of purchasing anything…we of course spotted something that we had never seen in our area before.

Sandwich Petals.

Thank those Flat-Out Sandwich Wraps out on the market…and make them gluten-free.  That’s basically what these are.  And that was something I had never heard of or seen before.  So…I grabbed one of each type that were on the shelf and purchased them…without hesitation.  Because…it might be the only way I ever get to try these.

Well, after a long journey to Detroit and back, it was World Cup Finals time and I had a few options out for dinner.  My roommate chose the previously blogged about gluten-free and vegan SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel.  I asked her what she wanted those on…either Amy’s Organic Gluten-Free Sandwich Thins or the Sandwich Petals in the pantry.

She chose the Sandwich Petals.  And I asked her which flavor…she went to the pantry and pulled out the Spinach Garlic Sandwich Petals…because they were on top.  HA!  Good way to make a decision, yes?

Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread

Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread

So…there it was.  I cooked up the Organic Falafel on the stovetop, and as it was finishing up the falafel, I pulled out the Sandwich Petals and looked at how to prepare them.  Easy enough…either stove top or microwave.  I went microwave for ease and simplicity.  My top few petals were a bit torn, but they rode back to Louisville, Kentucky, in my carry-on.  So…the fact that they were still in tact for the most part was a miracle.  I wrapped up one of the Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbreads in damp paper towels and gave them a little warming in the microwave for 30 seconds.  I unwrapped each one and topped with some Organic Tahini Sauce from SoL Cuisine and then some greens and finally…the SoL Cuisine Falafel.  I then folded over the Sandwich Petal and dinner was served.

The Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread was the perfect way to serve these up…when gluten-free pita bread is no longer available.  Seriously. While it did get a little messy because stuff would fall out of the edges…they were packed with flavor and really sturdy.  Unfortunately, since my petals were slightly torn to begin with, the mess factor was a little elevated.  But, it didn’t take away from the fact that these flatbreads are made to stand up to fillings of all sorts.  The Spinach Garlic flavor was not overpowering, so it didn’t detract at all from the falafel…but it added a nice bit of flavor to the entirety of the dish.  I hope I can find these around here because I will be sad when I use up all three varieties that are in my pantry.

For the record, the Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Flatbreads come in Spinach Garlic, Red Chili, and Original.

As far as ingredients go, the Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread is made from a gluten-free blend of whole and milled grains (corn, flax, sesame, buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum, millet, quinoa, teff, and amaranth), water, tapioca starch, a flavor base (consisting of spinach, garlic, basil, parsley purees and extracts, salt, canola oil, and spices), raisin juice, organic agave nectar, molasses, short chain frutooligosaccharides, xanthan gum, dicalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, fumaric acid, sodium propionate, and sorbic acid.  Sandwich Petals are gluten-free, carbohydrate nutritionally deliberate (with less than 24 grams per petal), virtually allergen free (contains no dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, soy, or wheat), are low glycemic (diabetic and diet friendly), contain heart healthy omega 3s, are prebiotic (and helps aid in digestive system health), do not need to be refrigerated and…are really convenient.

As for the nutritional aspect of the Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread, a serving is one petal.  This one petal will serve you up 100 calories and 1 gram of fat.  One petal will also provide you with 120 mg sodium and only 3 grams of sugar.  That is really fantastic.  And finally, you will be taking in 3 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein, so it’s enough to fill you up without making you feel overstuffed.  Love it.

I really hope that my local stores start carrying these Sandwich Petals.  So far, I like what I have tried and I can’t wait to see how else I can use these in recipes and with other foods.  For now, they were just the bread I needed to really enjoy a tasty Mediterranean sandwich without the use of pita bread.  It was the perfect substitute, allowing the filling to shine, but still being quite tasty on its own.  The Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread wins in my book.

Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread with SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce

Sandwich Petals Gluten Free Spinach Garlic Flatbread with SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce

Product Review: SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce

SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce

SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce

Product: SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce – $4.99+

SoL Cuisine has been a surprise to me as far as the products they put out onto the market.  For one thing, they are the only brand that offers gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian items that I can’t get otherwise.  For that, I am forever in my debt to this company.  Because of SoL Cuisine, I can have vegetarian breakfast sausages again.  Because of SoL Cuisine, I have another option for veggie burgers.  Because of SoL Cuisine, I can have vegetarian BBQ Ribs again.  Because of SoL Cuisine…I can indulge in Falafel!

YES!

Falafel.  That little Mediterranean cake made from chickpeas that is so awesomely yummy?  Ever tried it?  If not…you should.  I love falafel.  Always have.  Because I am a huge fan of Mediterranean food as well.  So, when I was grocery shopping and spotted SoL Cuisine’s Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce on closeout at my local natural food store…it was time to finally give it a try.  I couldn’t argue with the price.

Unfortunately, I never really had anything in the house to use the SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with.  Normally, it would be served on pita bread…but my local Whole Foods stopped carrying the LivWell brand that had the gluten-free pita bread.  So, that was sad.  But, thanks to my trip to Boulder, Colorado and a stop in at one of their local natural food stores, I picked up these gluten-free sandwich petals (think Flat-Out Wraps).  I picked up one of each kind of petal and brought them home with me.

And after a weekend in Detroit…where I saw Queen in concert…which was awesome.  And…coming home in time to watch the World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina…I needed dinner.  My breakfast was small and my lunch consisted of applesauce and a protein bar.  Yeah…it was only 3:45 but I was ready for dinner for sure.  I had so many options for easy meals to choose from in my pantry and freezer…so I pulled out some options and called in Cathy to help make a decision.  She settled on Falafel (because we had it the longest).  So I asked if I should put it on Amy’s Gluten-Free Sandwich Thins or the Sandwich Petals…and she decided on the Spinach Garlic Pesto Sandwich Petals.  Hey…it was the closest thing we had to a flatbread.  No pita…no problem.

SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel (cooked stove top)

SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel (cooked stove top)

So, I got a pan out and placed a touch of coconut oil in it.  Then, into the pan went six (3 for each of us) of the Sol Cuisine Organic Falafel.  I let them work in the pan while I put the frozen tahini sauce package into hot water to (hopefully) let it thaw before the rest of the meal was ready.  Note to those of you out there about to try this product or thinking about it…thaw the sauce!  Aside from that everything went very well.  I cooked the Organic Falafel in the pan for about 5 minutes on one side…then flipped them over and did the same for the other side.  They turned a gorgeous golden brown on the one side, so it was starting to come together.  I got out the Sandwich Petals and heated up (one at a time) each flatbread, put some of the (thankfully) thawed sauce on each one, topped it with greens, then moved the now golden brown falafel over to the waiting flatbread.  I topped it off with a bit more sauce, folded it over…and dinner…was served.

So, I settled in to finally really start paying attention to the second half of the World Cup final match.  I carefully lifted up my Mediterranean sandwich of sorts and took a bite.  I think I expected a little more of a crunch to the falafel from the stove top cooking, but, it was still quite soft.  In fact, two of them started to meld together when I took another bite.  But, falafel is not crunchy, but a chickpea cake of soft goodness, so this was actually what it should be like.  And, honestly, I liked it.  I liked it a lot.  And the Organic Tahini Sauce that is included in the box is quite tasty as well.  I was impressed.  I found these easy to eat, and really quite delicious.  I never know what it means when my roommate describes a product as “quite tasty” because she never really says anything else, so I can’t really say what her thoughts are truly on it…but she ate her Falafel Flatbread Sammie and that was enough to say that it was at least palatable to her.  As for me…I devoured mine.  The sandwich was a bit awkward, not really having a pocket to tuck everything into, but I made it work and in the end…it was a delicious, and quite healthy dinner.

SoL Cuisine does it again!

Let’s talk ingredients, yes?  The SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel is made from organic chickpeas, organic okra, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder, wheat free tamari sauce, organic tahini, organic expeller pressed sunflower oil, organic tapioca starch, organic sesame seeds, and xanthan gum.  The Organic Tahini Sauce is made from organic tahini, filtered water, organic lemon juice concentrate, sea salt, and organic garlic.  This product is gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan, vegetarian, kosher, and organic.

Nutrition-wise…these aren’t a bad option at all.  The serving size of SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel is three of the patties.  These three patties will serve you up 110 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.  You will be taking in 210 mg sodium and 1 gram of sugar.  These are cholesterol free.  Finally, you will be taking in 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  Filling and delicious.

So far, I have yet to really not enjoy something from SoL Cuisine.  The Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce is a great and easy meal to prepare.  Serve it up on flatbread or crackers…drizzle with the sauce, and enjoy every bite.  This was a fantastic and unique meal to have while watching the World Cup…but it was a delicious stunner of a meal regardless.

Love!

SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce on a Gluten-Free Spinach Garlic Pesto Sandwich Petal

SoL Cuisine Organic Falafel with Organic Tahini Sauce on a Gluten-Free Spinach Garlic Pesto Sandwich Petal

Chickpeas*, Okara*, Onion* & Garlic* Powder, Spice*, Wheat Free Tamari Sauce*(Water, Soybeans*, Salt), Tahini*, Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil*, Tapioca Starch*, Sesame Seeds*, Xanthan Gum. – See more at: http://solcuisine.com/american-retail/sol-cuisine-falafel-sauce#sthash.k8FUfHIs.dpuf
Chickpeas*, Okara*, Onion* & Garlic* Powder, Spice*, Wheat Free Tamari Sauce*(Water, Soybeans*, Salt), Tahini*, Expeller Pressed Sunflower Oil*, Tapioca Starch*, Sesame Seeds*, Xanthan Gum. – See more at: http://solcuisine.com/american-retail/sol-cuisine-falafel-sauce#sthash.k8FUfHIs.dpuf