by Marianne Plunkert
Overall rating: 3.5 of 5
Meal Description and Cooking Instructions
I finished my first week on the eDiets program with a dinner of ham and escarole bean soup, accompanied by a side of cornbread. The meal was packaged in a 2-compartment plastic tray, with a ¾- cup serving of the bean soup on one side and a square of cornbread on the other.
The instructions indicated that the meal should be microwaved on high for 1 ½ to 2 minutes. As usual, I left mine in for an extra 15 seconds to accommodate the lower wattage of my microwave.
The dieter is instructed to supply a side of fruit and a side of non-fat dairy to complete the meal. I plopped some fresh blackberries into 6 ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt to enjoy with my soup.
Ham and Escarole Bean Soup with Cornbread
My General Impressions
The soup looked appetizing enough with the dark green of the escarole providing some nice color. The square of cornbread was irregularly-shaped, however, and had broken, which detracted from its appearance.
The cornbread also had a denser texture than I like. And it was fairly flavorless. When I read the list of ingredients on the container, it appeared that it might have had some jalapeno pepper and some crushed red pepper flakes mixed in, but you couldn’t tell it by me. More of one or both of these ingredients might have added some much-needed zest.
The soup had more cannellini beans than ham, which is typical. It also contained some diced potatoes (with skin), carrot slivers, spinach, kale, and onion, in addition to one of its namesake ingredients—escarole. And it had a little too much of that ingredient to suit me. Although the soup seemed to be seasoned well, I found the bitter taste of this leafy green vegetable to be too overpowering.
Twenty-seven percent of this entrée’s total 220 calories are from fat, which is not low enough to make up for the bitter taste of the soup in my never-to-be-humble opinion. It also contains 29 carb grams, with 4 grams of sugars. Its fiber content is good, though, at 6 grams, and there are 10 grams of protein.
The entrée is rich in Vitamin A, supplying 35% of the recommended average daily dose of that vitamin. It also supplies 6% of the Vitamin C, 15% of the calcium and 10% of the iron we need daily.
All the basic food groups were represented in this meal. The soup contained at least one serving of vegetables; the cornbread supplied the starch; the blackberries were one serving of fruit; and the yogurt was a serving from the dairy food group. The ham and cannellini beans provided the protein. Fats are easy to find in any meal; the canola and olive oils listed in the ingredients constitute at least one serving from this category.
I am giving this meal a score of 3.5 on a scale of 1 to 5.
I personally didn’t care for the soup’s flavor; it was too heavy on the endive to suit me. And I liked neither the taste nor the texture of the cornbread. On the other hand, the soup offered a variety of textures that were pleasing to the tongue, and the diced potatoes were not mushy as they can sometimes be when used as an ingredient in a soup.
I wouldn’t order this entrée again; however, someone with less aversion to the bitter escarole taste might enjoy it.