A healthy lunch in a bag that’s hot and tasty and contains only 149 calories

Shelf Help: Convenience food that doesn’t contain artificial preservatives, just real ingredients, and doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge

What is it? Fiid Sundried Tomato and Lentil Ragu Bowl (€3.19, 275g/€5.59, 550g).

What’s good about it? A plant-based ready meal that’s high in protein and fibre, contains only 146 calories in a generous single serving pack, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. The ingredients list is reassuringly “real”, with no preservatives or artificial flavourings. Once heated and decanted into a bowl, the ragu was flavoursome and had a lovely consistency somewhere between a chunky soup and a stew.

I tried this out as an office lunch, and it was fine, but if I was eating it at home, I would probably top it with a spoonful of yoghurt and some chopped fresh herbs or nuts. There are also Smoky Black Bean Chilli and Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry varieties in the range. This range is made in the Netherlands, in a process whereby fresh ingredients are added to the pouches, which are then sealed and cooked in a water bath. The Dublin-based company also sells veggie pots, a healthier take on instant noodles, made in Ireland.

How do I use it? Shake the pouch, open it a little and microwave at 800W for 90 seconds (mine took a little longer to heat through), or pour it into a pan and heat gently. As well as being a complete light meal, the range can be served with rice for a more substantial dinner, or as a side with a protein. The Smoky Black Bean is great with pulled pork, I was told by a colleague who also gives the range the thumbs up.


Where can I buy it? Widely available from supermarkets including Dunnes Stores, Tesco and SuperValu, and some convenience stores.

Anything else? A donation of 2 per cent of sales goes to Mary’s Meals, which uses the charity contribution to provide a meal every day for every child attending Mazongoza school in Malawi.

Send your Shelf Help product suggestions to marieclaire.digby@irishtimes.com