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Sweet Earth Natural Foods has a truly enviable track record here at the Dr. Gourmet Tasting Panel. Only two out of the ten products we've reviewed thus far got a thumbs down: two of the four veggie burgers we reviewed back in April. Their burritos, on the other hand, have gotten uniformly great reviews - even the breakfast burritos, which tend to be a challenging category.
Frozen breakfasts in general are pretty challenging, although more traditional-style breakfast meals seem to do rather better (such as Amy's Tofu Scramble and Mexican Tofu Scramble, or CedarLane's Fritattas. Only two companies, evol Foods and Sweet Earth Natural Foods, have managed to make good breakfast burritos, but evol Foods' breakfast sandwiches were terrible.
Would the same be true of Sweet Earth Natural Foods and their breakfast sandwiches?
We started our tasting session with the sandwich we were most dubious about: the vegan "Harmless Ham and Chickpea Patty." Vegan ham? As with many omnivores, the panel generally regards meat substitutes with suspicion (wouldn't you, if you'd eaten what they've eaten?). We could only try it and see.
As with the breakfast sandwiches from evol Foods, these come two to a pack and are simply removed from their plastic overwrap, placed on a plate, and microwaved for a little over a minute. Unlike the "flatbread" evol uses, the bread here is a soft whole grain wheat and flaxseed bun garnished with oats and having a sweet, wheaty scent. The bottom half of the bread becomes a bit slimy on the underside (where the sandwich rested on the plate), but that's normal for microwaved breadstuffs, so the panel paid little attention because the bread, surprisingly, did not become tough as it cooled.
The panel noted that the "harmless ham" is actually two thin slices of what looks like well-cooked Canadian bacon, and indeed, it does taste a lot like ham. "It's not stringy like ham," said a panelist, "but it has that smokey ham flavor." The "chickpea patty" is actually a mix of tofu, chickpea flour, and red and green bell peppers, and while it will not fool anyone into thinking it's an egg patty, agreed the panel, it's lightly savory with a nutty, "almost peanut buttery" flavor (note that there are no peanut ingredients, however). This is topped with a smooth sun-dried tomato spread whose sweet tartness complements the savory note of the "ham." Overall, the panel felt that this "wasn't necessarily breakfast-y," but would nevertheless be a good breakfast or lunch, with 320 calories, 530 milligrams of sodium, and 7 grams of fiber.
The second sandwich is far more traditionally "breakfast-y," to use the panel's descriptor. This "Benevolent Bacon, Egg & Cheddar" is presented on the same wheat and flax roll, but in this case the bottom slice of bread does tend to get a little tough as it cools (we're not sure why). A "really quite good," "not watery" egg patty is topped with a slice of savory cheddar cheese and two strips of what looks like very lean "bacon." Once again the panel was surprised and pleased at the "bacon's" flavor: the panelists described it as having a "typically smoked flavor" with "a touch of maple." This sandwich has 370 calories but less sodium than the other sandwich, at 490 milligrams, and 5 grams of fiber. Honestly "one of the best breakfast sandwiches we've ever had" and nearly unanimously voted as "almost as good as McDonald's," but of course, far better for you. Two more winners for Sweet Earth Natural Foods.
Reviewed: October 26, 2016