week 5 whole harvest box
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Review: Greens make the meals!

I am reviewing my third Whole Harvest Box. At this point, I am getting the system down. 

There are multiple ways to enjoy these offerings, allowing you to personalize each box in accordance to your individual tastes, appetite, and lifestyle. 

Some items can be stretched into two meals depending on how you coordinate the main courses and greens. Other items, such as granolas, Harvest Bites, parfaits, and smoothies can be eaten either as breakfast, snacks, or dessert—and many of those can be eaten warm, cold, or at warm temperature. 

Similarly, many of the main course meals can be eaten either warm or cold.

 

Day 1 Dinner: Southwestern Rice Bowl & Oatmeal Raisin Harvest Bites

southwestern rice bowl whole harvest

[Southwestern Rice Bowl]

The Southwestern Rice Bowl was great as is. I did not feel a need to add anything. As always, the rice is cooked to perfection. The finely-diced onions were evenly distributed, adding a flavor punch to each bite.

To provide a complete review, however, I added a dressing. 

I chose the sriracha, which can be purchased on the website. I thought this would be a palate distraction, but to my pleasant surprise, it actually magnified the southwestern essence. 

I then added a modest handful of greens, which brought a complete balance of ingredients, including crunchy sweet red peppers and cherry tomatoes. 

Although this meal could be eaten warm, I prefer it cold. I think I could be a raw foodist if Chef Richard was my personal chef! 

oatmeal raisin harvest bites

[Oatmeal Raisin Harvest Bites]

Before eating my first bite, I observed that the raisins had been torn into tiny pieces. Biting into this sweet treat revealed that these little pieces allowed for an even distribution of raisins throughout. 

I experienced an explosion of tangy goodness in every bite! Chef Richard does not skimp on the raisins!

As with all of the Harvest Bites, these are naturally sweetened with dates (and raisins). The bulky oatmeal enhanced with cinnamon tastes a lot like a breakfast cereal. 

I ate two of them cold. As always, I like to wash them down with unsweetened soy milk, adding calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12 to my body. 

My gosh, these are so good! I want to eat all eight of them right now!!!

 

Day 2 Dinner: Butternut & Garlic-Herb Quinoa & Oatmeal Raisin Harvest Bites

Butternut & Garlic-Herb Quinoa whole harvest

[Butternut & Garlic-Herb Quinoa]

I took a bite of the quinoa by itself. I still don’t know how Chef Richard makes his base grains taste so good. It may be one of the more underappreciated aspects of his culinary skill. 

Grains are not flashy, but the various types of rice and quinoa provide the foundation for the entire meal. It is important that they be flavorful without distracting from the sexier ingredients! 

The butternut squash and the red peppers are sweet—but in different ways—and they provide contrasting textures. Even the purple cabbage, which provides a little punch, also has a subtle sweetness. 

The tangy Harvest Vinaigrette uniquely enhances this sweetness as well as highlighting the garlic and herb quinoa. I think the Harvest Vinaigrette and butternut squash together tastes a little bit like mayonnaise, a delightful flavor that you cannot typically get from a plant-based meal. 

There were a few greens in this meal already, so I took a few bites as offered. It was perfect, really. 

To complete the review, however, I added a handful of the Organic Girl Super Greens provided in the Whole Harvest Box and a little more dressing. It ended up being the perfect blend of ingredients. 

I am beginning to discover that even though so many of Chef Richard’s cold meals seem perfect as packaged, they end up being even better when adding greens. 

I encourage you to add greens to every cold meal, and of course, eat some greens on the side of any meal that you heat up. 

After eating about a third of this meal, I tasted a pepita. It was a nice complimentary flavor. I would not have minded a few more of these; but I must acknowledge Chef Richard’s ability to balance flavors to perfection. 

This meal has a variety of colors, signifying a variety of nutrients, and quinoa has one of the most robust amino acid profiles of any plant food.  

 

Oatmeal Raisin Harvest Bites

For a post-dinner treat, I got creative. I heated two of the cold Oatmeal Raisin Harvest Bites in the microwave for 15 seconds. (Ten seconds may be better if you are heating them from room temperature.) They were a little bit gooey with some slight melting of the plentiful raisin pieces. 

They tasted a lot like fresh-from-the-oven oatmeal raisin cookies, except they were better than any oatmeal raisin cookie I have ever had! 

I don’t know if this would work with all of the Harvest Bites, but I would suggest heating up a couple of the Oatmeal Raisin and Oatmeal Cookie offerings. You may just love it!

 

Day 3 Breakfast: Pepita Crunch Granola

pepita crunch granola whole harvest

[Pepita Crunch Granola]

I sampled a bite straight out of the bag. It was fine like that, but I liked the other Whole Harvest granola offerings better. Then I ate it with soy milk for breakfast and it was perfect! 

It tasted a lot sweeter when eaten as a breakfast cereal as compared to being eaten dry. It was a subtle sweetness, which was all I needed. I thought I would try it with a banana sliced in it. The added fruit, along with the plentiful pepitas, made this a complete breakfast. I ate half of a bag. 

The granola and fruit energized me for my morning workout.

Whole grains in the morning keep you satisfied until lunchtime. 

It is good to eat a high-fiber breakfast without added sugar. This will give you sustained energy instead of the spike-and-crash energy bursts. The Pepita Crunch Granola with a little bit of fresh fruit is perfect for this. 

 

Day 3 Dinner: Cajun Red Beans and Rice & Apple Pie Parfait

Cajun Red Beans and Rice whole harvest

[Cajun Red Beans and Rice]

Even cold, the aroma of the cajun seasoning invited me the instant I opened the lid. I took a couple of cold bites. This was a flavorful cajun dish without being overbearingly spicy. 

I cannot identify what it is that gave this meal a bit of a meaty taste and texture. 

I preferred to eat this meal cold, but it seems like something most people would like to eat warm. I heated it in the microwave for two minutes, stirring it half way. It was actually more flavorful when heated. 

Want a little kick? Add some sriracha, sold on the Whole Harvest website. It really enhances the flavor if you don’t overdo it. 

There is always the option of adding greens. But because I heated it up, I ate the greens on the side, adding my own halved sweet tomatoes, green peppers, and mushrooms, along with a splash of the no-oil Harvest Vinaigrette. Such a filling meal! 

apple pie parfait whole harvest

[Apple Pie Parfait]

For dessert, I heated half of the Apple Pie Parfait for one minute, stirring it halfway through. The smell reminded me of earlier days, cooking cinnamon apples with my oldest daughter for breakfast while the rest of the family was still sleeping. 

The sliced dates were plentiful, but I cut them further to get a little sweetness in every bite. In fact, every spoonful of warm oats had either apples or dates. 

If you eat this entire dish at once, it will be a lot of food. You can get two days of breakfast out of this parfait or breakfast and a dessert!

 

Day 4 Dinner: Sweet Beet and Kale

sweet beet and kale whole harvest

[Sweet Beet and Kale]

As always, I sampled a bite as it was packaged. And as always, it tastes great without adding a thing. I added Harvest Vinaigrette. I am observing that this dressing not only adds a nice, sweet-tangy flavor, but it actually brings out the flavor of the other ingredients. 

This has been the case with nearly every meal in which I added the Harvest Vinaigrette. 

The kale in this meal already provides the flavor, texture, and nutrients of essential greens. But adding a handful of the Organic Girl Super Greens provides additional greens which each have their own unique flavor, including sweet pea leaves and baby spinach, along with Asian-themed baby bok choy and mizuna. 

This meal is more complete with the added greens.

Every bite has a different unique flavor and texture, from the earthy beets, shredded carrots, sweet dates, seasoned cucumbers (also earthy), and the lightly-seasoned forbidden black rice, all enhanced by the sweet and tangy Harvest Vinaigrette. 

This masterfully-prepared meal filled me and satisfied my sweet tooth at the same time.

 

Day 5 Breakfast: Cherry Berry Smoothie

cherry berry smoothie whole harvest

[Cherry Berry Smoothie]

I made the smoothie offering for breakfast this time. As usual, the Whole Harvest smoothie ingredients include an abundance of blueberries and plenty of dates for sweetness. The cherries in this offering are very sweet as well, so Chef Richard added just the right amount to the mix. 

Adding a small handful of greens gives this smoothie an earthy tone. I added six ounces of unsweetened soy milk, my plant milk of choice. 

The meal was satisfying without being too filling. It kept me decently satiated until lunch. The Whole Harvest smoothies are so easy to make. The Cherry Berry Smoothie was a quick morning breakfast that didn’t weigh me down. 

 

Day 5 Snack: Pepita Granola Crunch

I had a mid-afternoon Zoom call. Do you get Zoom fatigue? Consider munching on the Whole Harvest granola or Harvest Bites offerings for a healthy, energizing snack.

 

Day 5 Dinner: Creamy Tomato Basil with Mediterranean Salad

creamy tomato basil with mediterranean salad whole harvest

[Creamy Tomato Basil with Mediterranean Salad]

I appreciate how difficult it is to make a creamy soup without milk. Chef Richard did a nice job. 

I heated this in the microwave in a glass dish for about 2 minutes, stirring it halfway. This was a thick soup. I don’t like soup when it is watery. 

I love Italian seasonings, including basil and oregano. This soup was even a little bit sweet. 

When warm, the aroma reminded me of the pizza sauce I used to make at my local shop when I was in high school. I think the Creamy Tomato Basil soup would be good with a few crackers.

The Mediterranean Salad was a great cold compliment to the Creamy Tomato Basil. I like the white beans that give this salad more substance because the soup does not have many bulky, filling ingredients. 

I added an abundance of greens to this salad mix, more than I add to most meals, to make the entire dinner more filling. As per my personal palate preference, I only ate half of the onions in this salad mix.

 

Final Thoughts

I am getting attached to eating Whole Harvest meals. This experience repeatedly brings me back to simpler times—with tastes and smells bringing back memories of my younger days—while connecting me to our Mother Earth. 

Even this long-time plant-based enthusiast is experiencing some internal changes. 

You are quite literally what you eat, both physically and metaphysically. If I am experiencing this, just imagine what Whole Harvest can do for a dedicated carnivore. 

I am becoming a true believer that this meal program can help change the world!

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