Sometimes, convenience really does come first. Usually, I love cooking at home all of the time, and making things from scratch. Of course, I’m prone to taking some short cuts, but typically I’m trying to get creative while emptying my pantry. Sometimes, I just CANNOT get into cooking. Yeah, seriously, I just can’t. Usually, this happens after I’ve been out of the kitchen for a while, whether it be for work or vacations. (Lol, what are those?) That’s when I turn to shelf-stable, or freezer meals, to get some food in me (that’s not chips and salsa) with little-to-no fuss. Luckily, the timing was perfect for my review of Sweet Earth’s newest frozen entrees, Korean Japchae and Pad Thai! So new, they’re not even on the site yet; but, can be found in Super Targets.
I’ve been away, most of April, as I mentioned in my last post, working Coachella/Stagecoach. If you’ve been a long-time reader, you may know that I do this almost every year. What am I doing out there? Well, when I first stopped working full-time, I had to supplement my income, since my blog was a lil’ baby back then. I would work festivals and shows, selling band merchandise with Corey, since he was a touring merch dude. Now, when I go back to Indio, it’s to work with a team doing inventory on mass numbers of shirts. This year, I was a bit of a floater, running errands, counting in, and doing a number of other things. All of this happens in 80-100 degree weather, where it’s dusty and windy. Pretty gnarly.
So, after nearly a month of that, I came home to an empty fridge and no motivation to cook. I was exhausted and switching gears was HARD. It still is, if I’m being honest; I guess I’ve only been home a week. Knowing that these freezer meals were waiting for me, I was excited for the help in my transition back, while also reviewing them for you! This isn’t my first time trying out Sweet Earth Foods products, and I’ve had pleasant experiences with many of their other options. So, I felt pretty good going into this, though I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I would like to mention that I was pleasantly surprised to hear that SEF was putting out a Korean Japchae entree! I feel like I never see it in vegan restaurants, outside of the Korean BBQ & Tofu House in Long Beach, that I go to. (which is vegan-friendly) I love ordering the Japchae entree there, and am stoked to now find it in the freezer section. And, I mean, who doesn’t love Pad Thai? (Don’t answer that, Corey) I’ve had some other vegan, frozen Pad Thai entrees, and wanted to see how this matched up. I would like to mention that neither of these entrees are Gluten-free or Soy-free (in case you have allergies!).
Now, onto the review!
- First impressions: Packing is super clear in that it states the product is vegan, has a nice photo of the entree, and highlights some nutrition info. Looking at the ingredients and nutritional info on the back was enlightening! A lot of organic foods are used (yay!), but the sodium content was pretty high. Otherwise, 9g protein for the 300 calories, is pretty good; and also has high levels of Vitamin A, C, and fiber.
- Preparation: Now, you can cook this either in the oven or in the microwave. To be completely honest with you, I’m far too impatient to heat something like this in the oven. Especially, something that is a single serving. So, I heated it in the microwave per the instructions. Once out, I peeled the film back and was a little surprised by how good it looked! Usually, meals like this are sad looking. I stirred it up a little and topped it with more sesame seeds, since I hid the rest of them.
- Taste test: The entree was cooked all the way through and I dug right in. Strong flavors of toasted sesame, veggies that still had some crunch, and a little freshness. The sweet potato noodles were perfect! Sweet Earth used seitan as the protein in this entree, which reheating nicely and wasn’t chewy or too soft. The only downsides to this Korean Japchae, was that being a freezer meal means some excess liquid if you microwave it. But also, even with the high sodium content, I still wanted to drizzle some sriracha or gochujang over the top. Though, that’s not unusual for me.
- Overall, I was very happy with the entree, and the convenience of it. Next time, I would even try reheating it in a covered pan over medium-low heat, to thaw it, then turn up to get some searing back on the veggies.
- First Impressions: Same as the Korean Japchae package, in terms of its vegan labeling, clear photo, notes of organic produce and its incorporation of super foods. In the nutritional info, I found that there are a few more calories/calories from fat than the Japchae. But, the pad thai has nearly half the sodium, and still, high levels of Vitamin A, C, and even a little B1. The ingredients list for this one is far longer, mostly due to veggie broth and concentrate, plus more sauces.
- Preparation: Once again, I microwaved this entree, according to the directions. Even with the 1 minute of rest time, it was still a bit frozen in the center. I’m sure this will change between microwaves, and possibly how high the noodles are piled. Another 30 seconds in, and it was done! A quick stir revealed the perfect amount of sauciness, and lots of veggies.
- Taste test: The rice noodles, didn’t hold up as well as the sweet potato noodles through freezing and reheating, but were still delicious. All of the peas, carrots, cabbage, and peppers were bright and slightly crunchy. Sweet Earth used tofu as the protein in this entree and it may have been my favorite part, aside from the sauce. The tofu was chewy, and the perfect size for getting a mixed bite, every time. Sweet, with a little tang, the sauce was delicious and had a good consistency. Overall, I enjoyed this pad thai entree more than ones that I’ve tried before!
Trying the Korean Japchae and Pad Thai makes me want to check out the other frozen options, Sweet Earth has. A great thing about these products is they are sold in MANY stores, across the US. If you need help finding them, use Sweet Earth Foods’ store locator and/or sign up for their newsletter to get coupons on product!