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Taste test: new frozen vegetables

Each January, our tasters look for foods that inspire them to shake off their holiday eating habits and get back into shape. This week, we found four new frozen vegetable options that should make it easier to make more nutritious choices. A couple are new twists on classic veggies.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductGreen Giant Broccoli & Cheese Veggie Tots Birds Eye Riced Cauliflower With Italian Cheese Path of Life All Natural Garbanzos and Lentils Birds Eye Steamfresh Asparagus Spears

Judges enjoyed the size and flavor of these little veggie bites. "The broccoli and cheese flavor is a perfect blend," said one taster. "I would add grated cheese and this would make a delicious and attractive side dish." Another judge said this is the perfect way to get vegetables into the stomachs of her children. "I will definitely try these on my kids," she said. Another said they would work on an appetizer tray. "They are a cross between a tater tot and a jalapeno popper," he said. "These rock as a snack." Another said, "Move over, taters — there's a new tot in town."Cauliflower that looks like rice was a big hit among our judges. All four were surprised by how much they enjoyed this mixture. "I like the interesting, al dente texture," said one panelist. "I would add salt, pepper and butter but, overall, I think this would be a great vehicle to spotlight chicken or fish with a light, lemon butter sauce." Several judges had suggestions for doctoring the basic dish with various spices and sauces. "I would add maybe a little bit of cheese or butter and this would make a great side dish," said one taster.Panelists who regularly enjoy beans especially appreciated this dish. "I'm a fan of the garbanzo because they are so versatile," said one judge. "The hint of garlic in this dish really works." Another said she thought the dish looked too healthy to get her family members on board. She said she would add cheese or sauces when she puts the dish on her dinner table. "It's a really nice combination of garbanzo, edamame, carrots and lentils," she said. "It also would be a great base for a chicken or vegetable soup."What seemed like it was going to be a great alternative to fresh asparagus turned out to be a disappointment for our panelists. Unlike other steam-in-the-bag vegetable options, the asparagus we tried did not cook to fresh-looking stalks. "The steam rises from this like evaporation from a wet street," said one judge. "It smells and tastes about the same." Another said, "It looks like asparagus, smells like asparagus and tastes like canned asparagus." She said she craved more bite in the spears. One judge said he could eat the asparagus if it were smothered in sauce, seasonings or bread crumbs. "It's definitely in need of something," he said.

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the judges said yes.Two of the judges said yes. None of the judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.99 for a 16-ounce bag from Winn-Dixie.$2.48 for a 10-ounce bag from Walmart.$3.99 for a 20-ounce bag from Publix. $3.89 for an 8-ounce package from Publix.

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Julie Overton, cook and bartender; and Kay Hodnett, personal chef.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeSix piecesThree-fourths cup5 ouncesSix spears
Fat/Fiber6g / 5g2.5g / 2g8g / 9g0g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium1g / 440mg2g / 360mg3g / 360mg2g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein14g / 4g4g / 2g27g / 10g3g / 2g

Taste test: new frozen vegetables 01/09/17 [Last modified: Monday, January 9, 2017 4:55pm]
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