Saturday, June 17, 2017

Easy Magic Meals: Mann's Nourish Bowls

Food Review: Nourish Bowls from Mann Packing Co.

I adore brassicas, raw or cooked: kale. cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower. But too much of the same flavor gets old. And I don't really know how to mix them with other vegetables or spices to create a delicious dish.

Fortunately for my increasingly-vegetarian table, Mann Packing has created five delectable blends of steamable brassica vegetables with sauce and balancing roots. 

These have been available for a year already, but I only noticed them recently in the fruit-and-veggie section of our local Safeway. I've now tried three of the blends. The size of the bowl is sufficient for a main vegetarian entree for one, or a side dish for two. Even better, you can combine the cooked contents with other ingredients to create two or more full-size entrees. 

Monterey Risotto

I popped for the Monterey Risotto blend first, which combines three of my favorites, kale, kohlrabi and butternut squash, with a lightly garlic sauce that cooks into the veggies in the microwave. 

This blend works as a stand-alone entree, or as a side dish for grilled meat. It is not "juicy" enough in my opinion to work well as a topping for a rice bowl. I might in future combine the veggies in a skillet a Korean BBQ, and save the sauce packet to add as extra juice to another Nourish Bowl over rice.

  • 😁 The garlic-soybean oil-parmesan sauce perfectly cuts the bitterness of the kale.
  • 😁 When the squash is steamed to tenderness, the shreds of kohlrabi have not lose their crunch. The combination of textures elevates the dish.
  • πŸ˜– Unless you break up the block of rice and bury the chunks under the veggies before steaming, it can be dry and unpleasantly crunchy. 

Sesame Sriracha

The major players in this bowl (in addition to a tangy ketchup-style sauce enhanced with sriracha, sesame oil, and ginger) are Napa cabbage and broccoli, with brown rice, kohlrabi, carrots and snap peas. The kohlrabi here is cubed, so its earthy-root flavor is more pronounced than in the Monterey Risotto.

It's delicious as a stand-alone entree, but you should enjoy cooked cabbage and hot sauce if you take on the entire bowl on your own! 

Mann's chefs suggested grilled shrimp or prawns over a bed of the Sesame Sriracha blend, and it looks tasty. But we paired it as a side dish with grilled ears of corn, and the sweet/spice balance made the addition of meat unnecessary.

  • 😁 Tasty addition to any sandwich in place of coleslaw.
  • πŸ˜– Contains cilantro. The cilantro is one of the last ingredients listed in the contents, and it is stem-shreds rather than leaves. I don't like the flavor of leaves of cilantro, but I didn't notice it here. If you avoid cilantro because of a cashew allergy, be warned. 
  • πŸ˜– Contains red peppers and sesame seeds in minor amounts.

Southwest Chipotle

This bowl pairs black beans and corn in a salsa to provide the steaming sauce for kale, cauliflower, kohlrabi and sweet potato cubes. 

Of the three varieties I've tried, this blend is the most versatile for meal creation. It's superb as an omelet filling. You can build an excellent vegetarian burrito with it. Stirred into pasta, it mates well with Alfredo sauce (just a bit is all you need!) We ate it over rice in a vegetarian rice bowl; the rice needed a bit of the liquid from another salsa, but just a bit.

  • 😁 If you don't use the cheddar cheese, you can remove the only non-vegetarian component. This also removes the two non-food additives (used in the packaged cheese), powdered cellulose and natamycin.
  • 😁 Add queso fresco to pop the protein level of the dish. Substitute it for the cheddar to take its flavor in a slightly different direction.
  • πŸ˜– Salsa contains red peppers and onions in minor amounts.

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