The final product I chose for my “Fresh Ideas from the Freezer” MyMagazine Sharing Network mission was SMARTMADE Black Beans & Cheese Over Cilantro Lime Rice.
I decided to add some Beyond Meat “chicken” strips and wrap everything in a couple of homemade tortillas to make chicken fajitas.
The first thing I did was heat the “chicken” strips in a skillet with some canola oil. The package instructs you to heat over medium heat, while stirring, for about 3 minutes, which is what I did.
While the “chicken” strips were cooking, I heated the SMARTMADE entrée in the microwave.
Finally, I warmed the tortillas, which I had made previously, using this recipe, and then frozen. I opted to warm these in the microwave for 30 seconds. I think I probably should have toasted them a bit in a skillet, so they would have held up better to the wetness of the rice mixture.
Once everything was heated up, it was time to assemble the fajitas. I put half the rice mixture in each tortilla and topped it with 3 of the “chicken” strips and then rolled the tortilla around it.
Here is the finished product:
The rice mixture was a little wetter than I would liked for it to be. If I had this to do over again, I probably would have put it in a skillet for a couple of minutes to cook off some of the liquid, before assembling the fajitas.
The flavor and texture of the rice was decent. Like I said, it was a bit wet, but it wasn’t mushy. The overall flavor was OK. Not something I would go out of my way to eat, but it wasn’t unpleasant. There wasn’t much cheese flavor, which was a bit disappointing, considering the cheese is what kept this from being a vegan entrée, so it would have been nice to actually be able to taste it.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Beyond Meat “chicken” strips. I have tried a few Beyond Meat products and they’ve all been good so far, but I was surprised by how well these strips imitated the flavor and texture of actual chicken. I’m not saying anyone would ever mistake them for the real thing, but I anticipate this is a product I will regularly keep on hand for recipes that need a protein boost or that would normally have some sort of chicken in them.
Overall, this wasn’t a great meal, but it was a decent one. The SMARTMADE entrée was OK for what it is, but probably not something I would purchase in the future, even if I weren’t doing the vegan thing. However, if someone is looking for a low-calorie, vegetarian, frozen entrée, they could do worse than to give this one a shot.