Reviewer’s Note: Samples of the products discussed here were provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
Foods that achieve expressive flavors while remaining observant of eaters’ dietary and health restrictions are always a welcome find for me, as well as a pleasure to write about. My most recent exploration in this area came courtesy of VedaFoods, a packaged food line specializing in easy-to-prepare diabetic-conscious meals. For the purpose of this review, I received samples of five varieties of VedaFoods barley pilaf. Having tasted flavors Tangy Thai, Toscano Italiano, Zesty Mexican, Mandarin Chinese, and Mystique Indian, I came away impressed and desiring to know more about this product line. I had some definite favorites, and while I felt that some embodied their flavors and aromas better than others, there was not an unpleasant experience among them.
The Tangy Thai flavor appealed to my appreciation for essences of lemongrass and Kaffir lime, these being the strongest notes carried in the smell of this dish when served steaming. Hints of galangal declared themselves as well, adding an exciting spicy note to the dish. Toscano Italiano brought the expected blend of garlic and basil to the table, and while the list of possible stir-in vegetables and meats is as long here as with other varieties, I found this one the least exciting of the five. The Zesty Mexican variety, its flavor emboldened by a touch of smoke and heat, is as lively on the palate as its name implies, while the Mandarin Chinese pilaf’s strength was in how well it integrated elements of soy and ginger underlaid by faint garlicky suggestions. This one seems perhaps the most versatile in terms of incorporating other ingredients to building a more complex meal. The Mystique Indian was the last one I tried, and I found it to be the most expressive in terms of aromatics. The presences of cumin, coriander, chili, and ginger were as strong in its smell as on the tongue, and here again is another that impressed me with the piquant fullness of its taste. Ready in about five minutes, these barley pilaf blends are quite a find, one that I am happy to have had the opportunity to review.
The VedaFoods product line is among the tastier offerings one might technically consider to be “health food” that I have experienced. Enjoyed as they are, or mixed with the likes of julienne carrots, green beans, cooked shrimp or diced chicken, they are a quick, one-pot solution to mealtime. I would recommend them without reservation to anyone seeking to enjoy a fiber-rich meal that observes their dietary sugar concerns without sacrificing great taste.
Learn more about VedaFoods at http://www.vedafoods.com/