Review of Fresh n' Lean's Cilantro Vegetable "Tostada" with Shredded Chicken
Fresh 'n Lean's Cilantro Vegetable Tostada with Shredded chicken is part of their Ion Performance Paleo meal plan - meant to be low carb and high protein. Like all Fresh 'n Lean meals it's also gluten free, soy free, and dairy free.
Meals come fully prepared and cooked, in microwaveable containers, that are ready to just heat up and eat. Two minutes in the microwave you are good to go.
While you can also heat in the oven, i heated the meal up in the microwave and then pated it (you can also eat out of the container). There was a good helping of shredded chicken, piled next too/on top off a medley of vegetables - it looked to be a mix of bell pepper (red mostly), along with squash/zucchini, and probably some onion in there. The dish was colorful.
While it was one of the better (I tried six) Fresh 'n Lean meals I tried, it was only so so. The flavor was actually decent. There was enough seasoning and I could taste some spice mixed into the both the chicken and the vegetables. Although, it still needed some salt.
However, I thought all the veggies were over cooked, and muddled together. Everything was soft and had roughly the same consistency - even the shredded chicken. It looked like there some pumpkin (or other type) of seeds in there, and I assume they were intended to give the dish some texture; but they were soggy too. All together, it reminded me of burrito filling (absent the rice). Tasted ok; but didn't make a lot of sense on it's own.
Like all Fresh 'n Lean meals, it was super easy. No prep or cooking required. Two minutes in the microwave you're done. And, as with all their meals, ingredients are all organic, gluten free, soy free, and in general "junk free".
Overall, compared to the other Fresh n' Lean meals I tried, I would put this one near the top.
However, I think all Fresh n' Lean meals are really for those people who are looking for clean ingredients, and carefully controlled amounts of protein/carbs/gluten, etc....vs those looking for a great tasting meal first and foremost.
The cilantro vegetable tostada with shredded chicken came fully cooked and prepared. So I didn't have any ingredients to unpack and cook. Instead, i was able to simply poke a hole in the plastic cover, and heat it in the microwave for two minutes.
The "purity" of the ingredients is a core element that a lot of people are attracted to. Veggies are all organic. Proteins, free range/line caught or wild. And meals also cater to common dietary restrictions like gluten, soy and dairy free. There are also 100% plant based options. If you have a need or desire to manage your ingredients that way, I see Fresh 'n Lean being a huge benefit.
Interestingly, when plating up the dish, I couldn't find any evidence of cilantro...but I assume it was in there somewhere. I wasn't able to find a full list of ingredients that when into the dish - they were not a label. I'm sure the list was available on the website when I ordered the meal; but they have sense rotated through - I can't find it on their site. From my memory, the meal consisted of:
- Shredded chicken
- Red bell pepper
Making the dish
Because Fresh 'n Lean meals come fully prepared and cooked, there isn't really any step where you make the dish. Before eating, you simple poke a hole in the meal's cover and heat in the microwave for 2 - 3 minutes.
Peel back the plastic and you're ready to go.
While I used the microwave to heat the meal (as I think most people will use that method), Fresh 'n Lean also provides guidance for heating up in the oven, or on the stovetop - which may actually give a better end result.
For the Fresh 'n Lean meals that I tried (6 in all), and I would put this one near the top of the list.
The flavors in both the chicken and the vegetables seemed stronger and more interesting - although I think they could have used a bit more salt/pepper. If I'm a subscriber, I'd be looking for this one again.
However, as a foodie, and compared to one of my normal at home prepared meals, I didn't care for this recipe. While the flavors were ok, everything had the same consistency; there were no contrasts in texture. The vegetables (for my taste) were over cooked, and muddled together.
The cilantro (the first word in the name of the dish) blended in (I guess) and was undetectable.
As I've said before, nothing tasted particularly bad; but nothing tasted all that good either - I never really wanted to go in for the next bite.
Fresh n' Lean's Cilantro Vegetable "Tostada" with Shredded Chicken
You're experience with Fresh 'n Lean is going to come down very clearly to what you are looking for.
Their meals are targeted at people who want to make sure they are eating clean ingredients. People who want/need to meet a dietary need like gluten free, soy free, dairy free or vegan/vegetarian; and who don't really want to do any cooking.
It would be very simple and easy to track and control what you're putting in your body, and to feel good about it. Meals are slightly more expensive than some other providers, but only slightly.
From that perspective there are clear advantages to Fresh 'n Lean.
However, if (like me), you're looking for a tasty meal, packed with complex flavors and textures, you are not going to be happy. I'd take a look elsewhere.