Ready meals have been a contentious subject here on CheapEats. I know they can be loaded with fats, salt and sugar, and Rercy’s right to direct us towards the “nutritional information” label. But they’re not all bad: M&S is getting better and better, and Cully and Sully’s hotpots are lovely.
Last week I was sent some Nature’s Best Meal Pots, a new microwaveable product, for review. I made my way through four ready meals. There’s four varieties and they’re all for one person: Italian Meatballs, Thai Vegetable Curry, Tuscan Bean, and Spanish Vegetable and Chorizo. Each 350g pot costs €2.99.
I was a little put-off by the lack of alternative cooking guidelines, as I’m not really a fan of microwaves and don’t even have one at home. I cooked the curry and the meatballs in a pot, and it didn’t do any harm. Indeed, the Thai Vegetable Curry was particularly good: a creamy coconut sauce packed with identifiable flavours, a good serving of rice, and plenty of crunchy veg including some really tasty whole red chillies. The spice level was just right for a Green curry – a nice fiery heat without being overpowering.
I wasn’t mad about the chorizo option: the mix didn’t really work and the chorizo, which is normally such a delicious meat, was a bit limp. The Italian meatballs were perfect for lunch, and the Tuscan bean dish was as healthy as it was refreshing.
Overall, I was struck by how incredibly fresh the vegetables tasted and felt, and the quality of the ingredients is definitely the product’s best selling point. I’ll definitely go back for the meatballs and the curry, I could take or leave the Tuscan bean meal, and I’d skip the chorizo. If they can improve the recipes they’ll be on to a winner.
- Available in most supermarkets