We can all be busy sometimes and preparing a healthy lunch for work sometimes just doesn’t happen. When I don’t prepare a healthy lunch at home to take with me I find it difficult to find healthy foods around my work. When I saw Merchant Gourmet ready-to-eat grains and lentils on offer in Sainsbury’s I decided to buy some thinking that they could be a good meal to have on those busy days. I chose to try their Spelt Sunblush Tomatoes meal and Puy Lentils with Porcini and Thyme.
Spelt Sunblush Tomatoes
I decided to eat this cold, directly from the pack but I added a handful of spinach and cherry tomatoes for extra nutrients and flavour together with a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
I’ve never had this combination of ingredients before and I was really interested to see what it tastes like. Apart from spelt and sunblush tomatoes you will find in the meal golden wheatberries, basil and oregano. It contains no artificial colours, preservatives or flavourings.
On its own it felt a bit dry so adding fresh cherry tomatoes was a good thing but not only for this reason – tomatoes went really well with the meal. Adding spinach also wasn’t a bad idea. The way I made it was quite good, but I felt there was a little bit too much salt for my liking. I put very little salt in my meals therefore I am quite sensitive when I come across a meal with more than enough salt. Other individual might find it ok though – it all depends on your taste buds!
Apart from little bit too much salt, I didn’t like that there was sugar added to it, although a minimal amount. Not sure why they do that?
Not everything is bad with this meal though. By eating this you will get a decent amount of protein (13.2g) and fibre (8.6g). You will also get more vitamins and minerals comparing to eating white, processed grains.
Overall, it’s not that bad at all for when your lunch box preparations go out of the window. Much better than pot noodles I would say! But don’t have Merchant Gourmet Spelt & Sunblush meal on its own. It definitely needs some kind of salad to go with it. However, you may find some great sauce to add to it and salad may not be necessary although I do recommended it, especially tomatoes.
Puy Lentils Porcini and Thyme
Packaging looked nice and food on it inviting and delicious. But how did it really taste like?
Before I tried it I looked at the ingredient list and again I found added sugar in it, although minimal amount. I also noticed that the meal contains 1g of salt which is 1/6 of the recommended daily intake. A little bit too much I would say. Anyhow if we forget the ingredients for a second, maybe the taste is amazing and after all I didn’t have to cook it?
It actually really disappointed me. I expected some earthy flavour coming from porcini but all I could taste was salt, thyme and some other flavouring which I couldn’t figure out what it was. Looking at the packaging it says it contains ‘natural spice extracts’ and I think this could be what I didn’t like.
I had it with spinach but I couldn’t even finish it as it just wasn’t the flavour I liked. Somebody else might like it though.
I wouldn’t buy Merchant Gourmet’s ready to eat puy lentils again. I do like puy lentils, but the best are made from scratch, so I will continue using Merchant Gourmet’s uncooked puy lentils which are great and my favourite lentil type, taking only 20 minutes to cook.
If you have time it’s still the best to prepare food from scratch at home as ready to eat meals such as ready to eat grains/lentils from Merchant Gourmet will never taste as good as home made food. Making your own food you also control how much salt or sugar to put it and which oils to use. However, if you are really busy and don’t have time to cook at home, this is still one of the healthiest ready-to-eat options to choose from. I will keep my eyes open for anything else that comes my way and see if I can discover any other healthier and tastier options on the market which would make my life a little bit easier – at least once in a while.
Have you tried any of Merchant Gourmet’s ready to eat meals before? What did you think of them? Do you know any other brands which do healthier meals, ready in minutes?