A little while back I was asked if I would like to sample some of the Ilumi Vegetarian Meals that they offer. If you haven’t heard of Ilumi before (I confess I never had before their email landed in my inbox) they are a food company based in County Durham who specialise in producing nut, gluten- and milk-free foods. Their foods are cooked and sealed so pretty much just need a blast in the microwave and you are done.
I was sent four different vegetarian dishes to try. Now I’m not a big user of ready meals in this house, we love to cook fresh using fresh ingredients where possible so I was sceptical about how good pre-prepared and packed food could really be.
How we got on:
I found this to be the tastiest meal of the selection I received. I particularly like that this is a whole meal in one and so it made a lovely lunch whilst at my desk. It tasted perfectly nice and better than other ready meals I remember from my past but I did find it hard to distinguish the individual flavours in it but I’m used to cooking Indian food from scratch nowadays and so it’s pretty hard to adjust your tastebuds back. Compared to the fact that if I cooked this myself I’d probably take over an hour and this took a few minutes in a microwave then I can’t really complain. It was tasty, satisfying and extremely convenient.
At £2.75 a pouch it would be quite costly to feed it to my whole family but as a quick lunch when I’m working at home then it is good value. Would I buy it again? Yes I think I would as I enjoyed being able to eat a nice lunch with minimum hassle.
I have to admit this didn’t look the most appetising meal once I emptied the pouch onto my plate, it looked well brown is the only way to really describe the appearance. It did however smell delicious.
This was classed as a medium strength heat, I actually found it to be quite mild but as I’ve said I’m used to using 4-6 whole chillies when I cook curries so maybe people without a tolerance like mine would find it to be medium heat. The curry did taste nice, I’d say the main downfall of this dish was the appearance (not that it stopped me clearing my plate at all). Again this sells for £2.75 a pouch, ok for a lunch for one, expensive if you were going to feed the whole family.
This was probably my least favourite of the selection, again it had a rather brown appearance and as I’m not a huge fan of butternut squash I think it just wasn’t for me. I thought it too mild and a bit bland to be honest (I’m not particularly keen on thai style dishes). I think that’s just my personal preference for strong tasting dishes though which biased my view on this one, I bet my kids would have enjoyed it!
This was my second favourite dish (after the biryani), it is classed as hot which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. It went down very well with some fresh bread for lunch. Very flavoursome and it did have a fair kick to it. At £1.75 it’s also makes for a cheap lunch option and I’d buy this one again.
Overall, I love how when you read the ingredients list on Ilumi meals that they read just like a cook book, no strange unidentified ingredients just proper food. I love the idea and they did taste good. The appearance is probably what let them down for me but nothing will ever look as nice as a meal freshly prepared at home. If you are looking for tasty meals that cater to restricted diets then I’d highly recommend you check out their website as they do have lots of lovely sounding dishes on there and it really does seem to strike a good medium between home cooked and pre-prepared.