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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Garden Lites

Zucchini Bake and Spinach Bake

Dr. Gourmet reviews the Zucchini Bake and the Spinach Bake from Garden Lites

A couple of years ago we discovered Garden Lites and their vegetable souffles, first reviewing their Spinach and Zucchini souffles and then their Butternut Squash and Roasted Vegetable souffles. None of them did well in our taste tests, but we promised to keep our eyes out for other products.

I spotted today's review items and thought this might be our opportunity for a couple of positive reviews: these are labeled "Bake," not "Souffle," so they must be a different product.

Both of today's products come in a cute little plastic dish that somewhat resembles an iron skillet. Like the souffles, these cook for about 3 minutes, rest for a minute, and then cook for another minute at 50% power.

First up was the Zucchini Bake, which has 180 calories, 550 milligrams of sodium, and 5 grams of fiber. At first the scent seems promising - the smell of cooking onions is the start of so many good meals, after all. Unfortunately, what you end up with is a mushy, slightly watery egg dish with the texture of an extremely old sponge. The edges don't crisp up but have the texture of rubber bands, and the overall flavor is "like chewing on a piece of green onion."

The Spinach Bake is only slightly better (170 calories, 550mg sodium, 5g fiber) in terms of flavor: you can taste the spinach as a faint afterthought behind the flavor of onion. The texture of the dish is much the same as the Zucchini, however, which puzzled the panelists until we compared the ingredients lists on both packages. Both items have zucchini or spinach listed as the first ingredient, but after that the list is nearly identical, from the egg whites, onion, cauliflower, and potato immediately after the main ingredient to the onion powder and black pepper at the end of the list.

It would appear that the "New Look Same Taste!" on the packages means that these are the same souffles we tasted two years ago, but with a name and package change. This time, however, we give both a thumbs down. On the back of the boxes is the statement, "We're headed back to the garden for more inspiration." We wish they would.

Reviewed: May 26, 2017