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Firepot Mac'n'Greens

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
photo: Firepot Mac'n'Greens vegetarian entrée

A really tasty vegan entree, with just a few minor drawbacks.

Pros

  • vegan
  • low sodium
  • good flavor

Cons

  • bulky
  • dehydrated, not freeze-dried
  • low (nearly non-existent) fat
  • GAS

All right. First things first. I know the packaging says *nothing* about cheese. Anywhere. Not once. Not on the front. Not in the ingredient list. I read the package, front to back, multiple times. And yet when I picked it out of the test-box yesterday, my hindbrain still said, "Ooh! Mac 'n' cheese! That will hit the spot!"

Of course, there is no cheese. Explicitly, no cheese. Oh, the wonders of the human brain.

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Nutrition:

Nicely low-sodium (13% per serving), high in potassium (30% per serving) and fiber (32% per serving). Lots of calories (420 per serving) and plenty of protein (46% per serving). With two servings per package, this is a hearty, healthy meal by the numbers.

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Preparation:

I followed the instructions to pour 2.5 cups of boiling water into the bag. This was pushing the limits of the bag's capacity—closing the bag up during rehydration left little room at the top, little room for errors in judgement. I did open the bag half way though the recommended 15-minute wait to stir, just to be sure that the beans weren't all floating at the top and crowding each other out of the hot water. I dug in after the recommended 15 minutes only to find that the beans were not yet fully rehydrated. I waited a further 5 minutes, but the beans were still a bit tough, a bit crunchy. I put this down to the meal being dehydrated rather than freeze-dried.

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Experience:

This was delicious. A full-flavored, savory, toothsome treat. Just short of a gutbomb, filling and satisfying. The paprika lent just a hint of spicy heat. It really was properly delicious. In terms of absolute volume of food, I would say this is likely more suited to an end-of-day meal rather than a middle-of-hike meal.

Every ingredient apart from the beans fully rehydrated and remained visually individually identifiable, while their flavors blended together wonderfully. The slightly crunchy beans were a little bit of a letdown, but hardly what I would call bad. I was quite happy to finish the entire bag.

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Cons:

There were just a few niggles, though, and these are almost entirely subjective.  Flageolet beans are a staple of French cuisine which when properly, fully cooked are rich and creamy in texture. Again, because this meal is dehydrated rather than freeze-dried, the beans never managed to fully rehydrate and therefore never achieved the proper texture.

This meal is vegan, and my omnivorous body was by the end craving animal fat. I kept thinking how much more delicious and satisfying this would have been with a nice fatty sausage mixed in—or if I may be allowed to go a little more French, chunks of fatty duck thighs. I'm drooling just thinking about it, even now.  And definitely as I hiked the seven miles back to the trailhead, I wished more than once for greater fat content, as it provides a different kind of energy to that deriving from carbohydrates and protein.

The bag was a marvel of just right sizing—not a wasted gram of packaging.  However, it was just a wee bit too much food for a midday, mid-hike meal.  This is not so much a problem as a fact to be noted for the next trip—insure the correct gear for the circumstances.

And then the biggest niggle. Oh boy, the intestinal consequences of what amount to undercooked beans. If you eat this meal, be sure you are among friends. Really good friends. As you might be testing the tolerance of said friendship by the end of the day...and into the night.

Leave out the gassiness, and this would have been an easy 4.5 stars. Add in some sausage, and this would quite possibly been a 5-star meal—4.9 definitely.

Recommendation:

This easily receives a "Yes" recommendation from me. Assuming, of course, that one is prepared to accept a few minor and largely subjective failings to balance out excellent flavor and nutrition.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $14

About the Author

Joshua has been hiking, backpacking, and car-camping for more than four decades. He is based primarily in the Pacific Northwest, but has hiked throughout the US, with forays into Hawaii and New Zealand.

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Specs

regular extra large
Price Historic Range: $10.59
Reviewers Paid: $14.00
Dietary Vegan, Lactose Free
Weight 135g 200g
Calories 575kcal 850kcal
Water usage 400ml 600ml
Product Details from Firepot »

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