Starting with the Ingredients list on the back of the pouch, the first two ingredients in each of the five varieties are barley and jungle rice. The remaining ingredients are a variety of different seasonings and spices that give each variety its unique flavor. There is no added sugar, validating the “sugar-free” claim. Instead they are all sweetened with honey powder. Each has added salt. No animal-based products are listed among the ingredients, validating the “vegan-friendly” claim. None of the ingredients are synthetic, validating the “all natural” claim.
Barley and jungle rice (also called samo rice) are both complex carbohydrates and have health benefits. Barley, a chewy cooked whole grain, is a great source of soluble fiber and several other nutrients that keep you regular and help lower your cholesterol, risk of heart disease, and risk of type 2 diabetes. Jungle rice, used in India as a rice substitute, is actually the seed of a grass that is easier to digest and lower on the glycemic index than white rice, making it a better choice than white rice for preventing and managing diabetes. This validates the “low-glycemic”, “complex carbs”, and “soluble fiber” claims.
All five varieties are packaged in a pouch that can be stored at room temperature. They are very quick and simple to prepare, yes, in only 5 minutes, either on the stove-top or in the microwave oven. This validates the “only 5 minutes to make” claim. They are great for keeping in your desk at work for a quick lunch or snack or at home for a quick dinner.
They can be served as a side dish or easily converted into a meal all in one pot by adding any desired combination of vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, or other preferences.
The only issue, in my opinion, is that at 260-280 milligrams (mg) of sodium per serving, about 10-12% of the recommended daily sodium intake, they all seemed too salty for me. Each pouch has two servings, and an entire pouch can easily be consumed as a single meal by one person, which doubles the sodium intake.
While all five varieties were very flavorful, my favorite varieties were Tangy Thai and Mandarin Chinese. My least favorite variety was Mystique Indian, only because I thought the flavor was not intense enough.
All the claims on the front of the pouch are true and overall I think these Barley Pilafs are great because they are healthy, tasty, and convenient. Adding other ingredients creates a fast, full, flavorful, and satisfying meal and reduces the saltiness.