Sunday, March 22, 2020

Whole & Simple Salsa Verde Breakfast Burrito Bowl (Aldi)

Just...don't.

This story begins the way almost all of mine do: I was at Aldi, and I was in a bind. This time, my grocery trip was almost done and I was about to head to the line when I suddenly remembered that I was going to need some dinner items for the nights my wife was at work. I had made a quick stop and was running low on time, so I took the lazy way out –a trademark of mine--and decided to settle for something in the special buy freezer section. After a couple of passes, I noticed these Whole & Simple bowls, and noticeably perked up a bit: a salsa verde breakfast burrito bowl? Now that sounded promising! And into the cart it went.

I’ve tried a couple Whole & Simple foods before in the past, and remembered liking them quite well, so despite the ultra-clean packaging—which seems to insinuate a food that’s too healthy to taste good—I wasn’t really all that nervous to give it a shot. Especially considering the salsa verde, which singlehandedly could provide enough flavor to carry an entire frozen entrĂ©e.


Well, my casual beliefs went unrewarded, because this somehow manages to be bland as shit. No, scratch that—shit would actually have flavor, as putrid as it might be, so this is even blander than shit. Especially for a bowl packing in a few different ingredients (including chicken sausage), and the aforementioned salsa verde, which is generally pretty strong in everything, but inexplicably is only noticed in small bursts here. And the only reason it's noticed at all is because it imbues everything with a noticeable touch of heat that's fairly welcome, if only for the reason it's the only thing that makes me feel something. In fact, the egg whites themselves just might provide the most identifiable taste, words that should never be uttered, and that tell you all you need to know about what a serious misfire this is.

The texture is also pretty weird, given the addition of actual “whole grains” at the bottom of the bowl, consisting of buckwheat, red quinoa, steel cut oats, and spelt. These seem to function as flavor removers, because any hint of possible tastiness is quelched the moment you get the grain bites, which have almost the exact same consistency of oatmeal, and the same flavor profile as water. This weird mushy consistency could easily be forgiven if it were in a more enjoyable dish; in this tasteless void of sadness, it just takes everything down a further notch.

If this is a valid example of eating healthy, then I'd rather load up on delicious taste, and die twenty years sooner.

Overall: 2/10. Given the addition of salsa verde, there is no excuse for this bowl to be as tasteless as it is; the fact that egg whites just might be the most flavorful thing in here, tells you all you need to know about just how miserable this is. The texture—think oatmeal only with no sweetness whatsoever—only manages to take things down another peg, as does the $2.99 asking price, which is reasonable on paper, but feels like a gyp when you get a dish with a similar flavor profile to water. I've never been more thankful to feel a slight touch of heat before, courtesy of the verde, but that can't come close to saving this bowl, which tastes like a life completely void of happiness.

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