I was so impressed with last week's Whole Harvest box. Chef Richard uses fresh, quality ingredients with a variety of flavor profiles, colors, and textures. I could not wait to dive into my next delivery.
Day 1 Evening Meal: Apricot Wild Rice & Mint Cacao Harvest Bites
[Apricot Wild Rice]
Who would have thought lentils and apricots would go together!? Chef Richard continues to impress me with his clever flavor combinations!
First I tasted it cold. It was good like that, but it seemed like the type of meal that needed to be eaten warm. I heated it up only slightly so that I would not overheat the tomatoes.
Warming this meal enhanced the flavor. Then I mixed in just a few drops of the vinaigrette dressing, which made the meal absolutely perfect!
I ate this meal without the greens mixed into it because it seemed so perfect with the lentils and wild rice together.
I chose to eat the greens on the side to complement the main course and to provide folates and essential antioxidant Vitamins A, C, and K.
This is part of the beauty of the Whole Harvest box, having options in how you put the meals together.
These protein-packed lentils combined with wild rice gave me a rugged culinary experience. The apricots were just sweet enough to complete the flavor profile without taking away the masculine essence. I feel like the Apricot Wild Rice would satisfy the palates of the most dedicated omnivores.
[Mint Cacao Harvest Bites]
I ate two of these for dessert after the Apricot Wild Rice.
I never knew it was possible to have an earthy mint flavor. I have always loved mint, but this is not like the mint extract flavoring in other sweets.
Chef Richard just raised the bar. I will never be able to go back to eating those chemical-tasting extracts! Eating the Mint Cacao Harvest Bites reminded me of eating wild mint from my backyard as a child. It even sent a little bit of a cooling sensation into my nasal passages!
Day 2 Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Smoothie
[Blueberry Coconut Smoothie]
I blended the Coconut Blueberry Smoothie ingredients with 6 ounces of unsweetened soy milk and a handful of greens.
There was no shortage of coconut flakes. Perhaps it was my blender, but I was still crunching some coconut when drinking the smoothie. I liked feeling like I was eating it, too, instead of just drinking it.
The coconut flavor was prominent. The dates provided ample sweetness.
This could be a light breakfast, a light snack, or a dessert item. I think it may be too light for my breakfast, personally, but if you are one that does not have a big appetite in the morning, this may be perfect for you!
Day 2 Evening Meal: Sesame Tofu & Vegetables
[Sesame Tofu & Vegetables]
I began by tasting one bite of tofu by itself. The sesame is a nice touch. I added just a touch of the vinaigrette dressing. I think that this would have been perfect with the Sweet Soy dressing, which is sold separately on their site, but I did not have any with me.
I opted to steam the vegetables and lightly heat up the rice in the microwave. I love the flavor and crisp texture of lightly steamed vegetables. Further, overcooking can cause your vegetables to lose nutrients.
I felt content with this meal and two Mint Cacao Harvest Bites.
Your evening meal should be your lightest meal of the day. This was perfect in that way.
Day 3 Evening Meal: Toasted Eggplant Marinara with Penne & Peach Cobbler Parfait
[Toasted Eggplant Marinara with Penne]
I began by microwaving this meal for two minutes. I could smell the Italian seasoning when I removed the meal from the microwave. Heating for two minutes left the pasta al dente, which is ideal for penne in my opinion, but I wanted the meal to be a little bit warmer overall. Heating it for another 30 seconds made softer pasta but a warmer product.
You can heat this meal according to your personal preference.
There were flavorful roasted cherry tomatoes in almost every bite. The slightly-sweet marinara rivals anything I have eaten in the finest Italian restaurants. I appreciated only a modest amount of added onions to not overpower the meal.
The bite-sized eggplant had the flavor of Italian sausage.
Remember, it is not the flavor of meat that you like; rather, it is how it is prepared. Your palate will lack for nothing.
I ate a healthy bowl of greens on the side, adding my own sweet tomatoes, green peppers, and mushrooms. Remember, this is always your own option to add greens to every meal or to eat them on the side.
For my personal preference, I eat the greens on the side of most of the meals that require heating while adding them to the cold offerings.
[Peach Cobbler Parfait]
I ate half of the Peach Cobbler Parfait straight from the fridge for dessert.
Every bite was complete with crisp, tart peaches with a cinnamon perfection.
The pepitas give it a little bit of a nutty flavor. There was no shortage of dates, offering sweetness in every bite of oats. This could be a healthy quick breakfast, as well.
To compare this dish cold or hot, I heated the other half of this sweet treat. Warming this parfait seemed to make the peaches taste more tangy. Additionally, the cinnamon slightly liquified and melted into the oats. It seems more like a dessert when eaten warm. I think I prefer this.
I would suggest heating half of the dessert for one minute or the whole dessert for two, stirring it half way through.
Day 4 Lunch: Harvest Bowl
First I sampled a sweet potato separately. As usual, it was lightly seasoned to perfection. I am beginning to discover one the keys to Chef Richard’s success, finding quality produce that is so flavorful in the natural form that excessive seasoning is not required.
As I typically do, I try a few bites without greens. These flavorful meals are always just fine like that, but the cold meals are always more complete with added greens.
As always, a flavorful dressing (usually the Harvest Vinaigrette) completes the offering.
The forbidden rice (black rice) has a nutty flavor. I am happy to have discovered forbidden rice in Whole Harvest meals. I like the flavor and texture.
The crunchy cabbage and red peppers, along with the green beans cut into small pieces, provide a nice texture contrast.
I appreciate how Chef Richard seasons and/or marinates ingredients separately before assembling them in the meals. I would happily eat the black rice, chickpeas, or sweet potatoes separately.
Day 4 Evening Meal: Potato and Leek Stew & Italian Salad
[Potato and Leek Stew & Italian Salad]
This soup just looked so hearty coming out of the microwave. (I always use glass bowls instead of the compostable packaging when microwaving. This would heat up nicely in a saucepan as well.) l like seeing both white and sweet potatoes in the same meal.
I never cook with leeks, but I discovered that I actually like them better than onions. They have that onion flavor, but they are less intense and have a little bit of sweetness.
The combination of the sweet leeks and rosemary left a refreshing sensation in my mouth, unlike onions and garlic.
I wish I had a crockpot full of this cozy cold-weather meal!
This meal was perfectly complemented by the simple Italian salad—lots of cucumbers, plenty of tomatoes, and just the right amount of onions.
I added greens and vinaigrette.
Between these two items, I had more than enough food. When eaten together, this could have easily been two meals, especially when eaten in the evening.
Day 4 Evening Meal/ Day 5 Morning Meal: Cinnamon Coconut Granola
[Cinnamon Coconut Granola]
I am not a big coconut fan; however, I loved how there was just a hint of coconut with the cinnamon. This was lightly sweetened with maple syrup.
I first ate about a third of the bag dry for dessert. It was the perfect amount.
If I ate it as a snack, I would have eaten it all! It is that good!!!
I was just too full from eating the Potato and Leek Stew and Italian Salad. I ate the rest of it for breakfast with unsweetened soy milk. It was perfectly sweet.
This is high in fiber with no processed sugar. I did not get hungry or shaky later in the morning like I did when I used to eat processed sugary cereals.
I felt no need to add bananas to this granola as I have with others because it was perfect as it was.
I continue to be impressed with the Whole Harvest box. I am learning various ways of eating these offerings, heating meals, using various items for either dessert, breakfast, or snacks, when to eat an entire meal, and when to eat only half of it.
Even with predetermined meals, you do have some flexibility. This is good food! I can’t wait to review my next box!!!