When the pandemic started and lockdown began, we, like pretty much everyone else, went out less and cooked at home more. Even so, we weren’t always, uh, keen, to go grocery shopping and, um, actually cook. So during that time, our go-to solution—like pretty much everyone else’s—was the pile of frozen pizzas we had in stashed the freezer for “emergencies,” i.e., every day.
And we didn’t complain: most of them tasted pretty good. However, we were fairly certain they weren’t, uh, that good for us…no matter how much we topped them with the fancy mushroom mix or the fresh basil.
Most of us want to eat things that taste good, are simple to prepare, and are good for us. Oh yeah, they also need to be affordable. Frozen pizza ticked some of those boxes, but clearly not all, and probably not the “healthy” one.
So we asked ourselves, “What’s out there in the prepared meals world that tastes good, is good for us, is easy to prepare, and won’t break the bank?”
Because we had some “pandemic time” on our hands, we looked around. After a bit of work, we found the small Brooklyn startup Mosaic Foods which seemed to fit the bill.
Mosaic Foods was started by Matt and Sam. Like us, they were looking to eat healthier, but didn’t want to :
- spend the day in the kitchen, or
- hand their paycheck over to Whole Paycheck we mean Foods (we love WF, but $$$).
Anyway, Mosaic Foods’ ads kept popping up on our Facebook feed (kudos to FB’s AI ad algorithms), and we finally clicked on the “Healthy, satisfying food should be accessible to everyone” one.
Intrigued by what we read, we reached out, chatted with them via Zoom, liked what we heard, and decided to give their offerings a solid try.
In this order were:
- 3 breakfast oats
- 3 soups
- 4 entrees
After looking over everything to make sure nothing was damaged during shipping, they went straight from the box to the freezer, as we did not want them to thaw, refreeze, and possibly skew the “FirstTaste.”
In our experience, reheating a frozen entree so it comes out “right” can be tricky. The issue with freezing food is that the water inside the cells form ice crystals when frozen, which puncture the cell walls. When the frozen food product is reheated, the holes made by the ice crystals “allow” everything (i.e., cell contents) to leak out of the cells, and (almost always) leave the food a limpy, watery mess of a version of it’s original self.
OK, so the steps are not exactly “rocket science” (although if you replace “Serve” with “Lift off” they might be).
Note how the items in the package were attractively arranged…we have never seen the likes of this before in a frozen food product. Clearly these ingredients were not “extruded” from some machine; definitely a good sign!
True to the directions, the food was steaming hot and ready 5 minutes later.
We are thrilled to say that Mosaic’s Dan Dan Noodles were excellent.
The purple cabbage pieces were bright, firm, and delicious. Tofu pieces had absorbed the flavors of the spicy peanut sauce and offered an excellent contrast to the Bok Choy and cabbage. The noodles were soft, but not rubbery.
Best of all, NOTHING was watery or mushy, a situation which we have found to be all too common with other frozen vegetarian entrees we have tried (or, to be truthful, most frozen vegetables period).
We plated the meal because we wanted to put together a nice presentation for you, dear reader, but those not looking to do dishes or those wanting to dig in immediately may do so as the heating tray will serve as a pretty decent “bowl.”
Overall, we found the balance of texture, flavor, and taste of Mosaic’s Dan Dan Noodle dish to be excellent. Had we ourselves not taken it from the freezer and cooked it, we would not have believed that this was a frozen entree.
Since our FirstTaste of the Dan Dan Noodles, we have sampled all of the items in the box from Mosaic:
Unexpectedly, while we liked everything we tried, our favorite was our first dish.
All of Mosaic’s offerings were very tasty, definitely filling, and had their own unique flavor. However, there was something special about the combination of ingredients, spices, etc., with the Dan Dan Noodles that stood out for us, which was why we featured it in this write-up.
Next time, we would be just as happy to order a dozen Dan Dan Noodles Bowl just to know that there is something delicious in the freezer, for whenever we want something fast to make, that is good for us, and super tasty!