Heat-And-Serve, Plant-Based Latin Eats

Casa Verde's ready-to-eat Garbanzos Al Pastor (front) and Red Bean Pozole (back).
Casa Verde’s ready-to-eat Garbanzos Al Pastor (front) and Red Bean Pozole (back).

Indulging in vegan, Latin-flavored dishes just got easier with Casa Verde.

Made by Ilinel Food Co. founded by Guatemalan-born Harry Lewis, these ready-to-eat pouch entrees need only a minute in the microwave to heat before serving.

I had a chance to try samples of the made-in-Mexico products, which are now available at Raley’s, Lucky’s, Lunardi’s, Draeger’s, and Oliver’s Market.

Four varieties to choose from.
Four varieties to choose from.

Casa Verde’s line includes four products fortified with beans: Garbanzos Al Pastor, Red Bean Posole, Lentil Mole, and Coconut Chowder. Except for the chowder, which is a single serving, the rest are designed to serve two.

The Garbanzos Al Pastor is a hearty, chunky mix of chickpeas, carrots, onion, mushrooms, and tofu with a satsifying sweet, smoky taste, thanks to guajillo chiles, chipotle peppers, pineapple, and orange juice. Spoon some atop corn tortillas and you are good to go.

The Red Bean Pozole is soupier, made with chewy hominy, red beans, grilled tofu, corn, and chorizo seasoning without the actual sausage. Enjoy with rice with lime wedges alongside.

The Lentil Mole is a saucy mix of not only lentils, but black beans and chickpeas that take on an earthy, sweet, quite complex taste from the classic additions of raisins, chocolate, tomato paste, and peanuts. Roll some cheese (plant-based or otherwise) into a tortilla, and spoon the mole overtop for a real treat.

Casa Verde's Coconut Chowder.
Casa Verde’s Coconut Chowder.

The Coconut Chowder is inspired by the Brazilian seafood stew known as moqueca. Instead of seafood, though, this version is chock full of chickpeas, pinto beans, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, and barley. It gets a lilt of tangy fruitiness from tomato paste and coconut, and smokiness from paprika and achiote paste.

The chowder has 270 calories per serving with 9g of protein and 670mg of sodium. The mole has the highest sodium level at 930mg, with 18g of protein and 330 calories. The Al Pastor has the lowest sodium level at 360mg, with 6g protein and 130 calories per serving.

When you don’t feel like cooking, but want something nutritious, just reach for one of these pouches.

A six-pack of any variety is $23.97 on the Casa Verde web site or a variety pack of four for $21.99 on Amazon.

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