Rating: 4.1 out of 5 –
Loma Linda is a plant-based food company that stems from the Seventh Day Adventist Church with a University and Hospital by the same name. Seventh Day Adventists are primarily vegetarian and some are vegan so they deleloped their own line of canned proteins and mock meats. These products were originally only available through essentially a catalog mail order system in each church but with the rise and popularlity of the vegan/plant-based movement, Loma Linda food products were acquired by another food company and now many products are more widely available. Take for example the Chipotle Bowl with Black Beans that I will be reviewing today. The Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl is part of their meal solution line that has multiple products including Chorizo, Sloppy Joe, Taco Filling, Chick’n and Mushroom Risotto, Hearty Stew, Italian Bolognese, Pad Thai, Thai Red Curry, Thai Green Curry, Mediterranean Tomato and Olive, and the Chipotle Bowl. These complete meals and starters are in tear pouches that can be heated over the stove or in the microwave for ultra convenience. I first tried these Loma Linda meals while camping and my husband and I needed shelf stable food but I think these meals make a great quick plant-based meal solution for those busy weeks, late nights, or forgotten about meals (anyone else forget to bring their lunch and leave it at home on the counter??! A stash of Loma Linda meals at the office would certainly help resolve that!). So….let’s dive into the flavor of the day so to speak and review the Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl. If you want to check out what other plant-based eaters have to say about this ready to eat meal over on Amazon, hop on over to the Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl HERE.
When I first opened the pouch before placing in the microwave, I was surprised at how much more “tomato-ey” the mixture looked compared to on the package. I was also surprised to see less corn and less black beans than I expected based on the front image. Although, there is a substantial amount of the vital wheat gluten protein pieces and overall the smell is not super intense but definitely smells like a smoked chipotle seasoning! It’s impossible to miss the chipotle flavor – which does make me a bit nervous as I’m not the biggest smoked chipote fan.
So I microwave the package for 90 seconds (yep, that’s it!) and out it comes looking very similarly to how it went in just less of the rice is clumped together. I gave it a few good stirs before diving in. My first reaction with my first bite was …. holy cow that tastes salty and very chipotle. It has great texture and I love the variety with the beans, rice, and seitan chunks. Although, the seitan chunks are rather large and I would have preferred them to be smaller and more bite size like the beans as they are so chewy. I also would have liked more corn for texture but it would be easy to add some frozen corn if you were eating this meal at home and had some on hand. In fact, if you used this as a meal base and added more vegetables in general (frozen or fresh), it would easily become 2 servings and wouldn’t be so salty either. Personally, I plan on doing that with the remaining packets because the chipotle flavor was more intense than I expected. If you like that smoked chipotle flavor, the vegan Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl with Black Beans will be your new quick meal bff! It can be eaten as is on the go or used as a meal starter but I think for me it’s only ok as that smoked flavor is a bit more than I like as I mentioned. However, the interesting thing is that over on Amazon, the Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl is one of the highest rated Loma Linda meals that are ready to go (which is why I tried it) but also goes to show that everyone’s taste buds can be a little bit different and you should still check out the Chipotle Bowl HERE.
The Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl Packet is technically servings but I could see one very hungry person eating all of it or it would make two heartier servings if you added additional frozen vegetables like I mentioned. So in each serving, or in 1/2 packet, there is 130 calories without any fat (great for any fat free vegan followers!) or cholesterol (as it is 100% plant-based vegan).
There are 540mg of sodium in each half packet serving. This is a considerable amount (about a third of the recommendation for an entire day) but if it is indeed your meal, having a third of your sodium intake at one meal may make sense. If you consumed the whole packet, consuming over 1000mg would be a lot and not recommended. For that reason I again recommend adding frozen veggies or no salt added black or pinto beans if you need more volume to fill you up without consuming a significant amount of sodium.
Each Chipotle Bowl packet contains 46 grams of carbohydrate, or only 23 grams in 1/2 pouch which is really not much considering the majority of the vegan Loma Linda Chipotle Bowl is rice and beans. There is a whopping 5 grams of fiber in 1/2 packet without any added sugar. So not only will this Chipotle Bowl fill you up but it will keep you full.
Along with a significant amount of fiber, there is also nine grams of plant-based protein from the textured soy protein mostly but also the brown rice and black beans contribute some protein as well.
Loma Linda foods do not add vitamins and minerals but by using whole plant-based foods for ingredients, you’ll still find important vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. In 1/2 packet, there is a whopping 2mg or 10% RDA for iron (consume with additional bell peppers or tomatoes for vitamin C to help absorb more of the iron), 45mg or 4% calcium, and 362mg or 8% potassium RDA. There are definitely additional B vitamins provided from the beans and brown rice but it’s not mandated that those go on the packaging so we’re not entirely sure how much of other particular nutrients may be in a serving.
So not only do you have a complete meal or a meal starter in your hands in under two minutes, it’s seriously one of the healthiest ready to eat meal options I’ve seen – most are not vegan or have a considerable amount of more salt and fat without as much fiber or protein. If you’re interested in keeping these Loma Linda Chipotle Bowls on hand for emergencies or camping, check them out HERE.
If you are interested in keeping ready to eat meals on hand for those crazy busy weeks, late night meals, or quick camping meals and you’re following a vegan or plant-based lifestyle, Loma Linda Meal Solutions may be a considerable resource. While there are many flavors, the Chipotle Bowl remains one of the most popular flavors. I think partially because the texture is varied but also because it has a smooth latin taste with a strong kick of smoked chipotle on the back end that may be just what you need to kickstart your next meal. Again, because each serving (1/2 packet) as 540mg, I would recommend only eating 1/2 at a time and if you need more food to stay satisfied, add chopped bell peppers, carrots, onion, tomato, lettuce, avocado, or add additional black or pinto beans for a heartier meal. I can’t wait to hear what you think of all the Loma Linda Meal Solutions…starting with the Chipotle Bowl with Black Beans!