As much as I enjoy natural, home-cooked foods from scratch, there are times when I simply don’t have the time to make them, and it’s during those times that I peruse the packaged foods section of my supermarket. I’ve recently come across Knorr’s new packaged side dishes, which apparently came about because of a merger with Lipton; hence, what was once Lipton Sides has been renamed Knorr Sides. Since the few times I’ve had Knorr soups I’ve enjoyed them, I decided to try some of their side dish products out. Their Spanish Rice side dish is basically rice and vermicelli with some dehydrated vegetables and a chili-and-tomato sauce powder with some seasonings. The directions are easy enough; all you really need to do is boil and simmer the contents in water. The instructions on the package advise you to simmer the rice for seven minutes, but I found mine was ready after five. You can also make it in the microwave but it will take longer, about twelve minutes according to the package. I really like that the stove top directions are so easy. The side dishes can be cooked with a rice cooker too, use ricecookerworld to browse and find the one most suited to your preferences.

This rice is pretty tasty, a little bit spicy but not too much so. It would be a good side dish to have with tacos or burritos, or even baked or broiled chicken. I like that the company makes their products with no trans fats, but this side dish also contains 830 milligrams of sodium per serving. Lots of salt, however, is to be expected from most packaged foods, so I wasn’t too surprised to see this. If you’re watching your salt intake, however, steer clear! The ingredients do contain a few chemicals like MSG, disodium iosinate and disodium guanylate, but these are near the end of the ingredient list, so that’s less of an issue for me. And for the price I’d say it’s a good buy. I was able to buy a package for less than $1.50 because they were on sale, but at regular price these packages are still under $2.00 each.

Overall, I would give Knorr’s Fiesta Sides Spanish Rice a four out of five rating. It tastes good and it’s easy to make and inexpensive, plus the company is making an effort at making it healthier by eliminating trans fats. What’s not to like about it?

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