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Nutritionist Review: Soulara Buddha Bowl

Posted on Jun 15, 2020 By Sarah Appleford Sarah Appleford

Editor's Rating

3.5

Wholefood ingredients
Generous serve
High protein
Not so tasty
Dry tempeh
Plastic packaging

Soulara is a plant-based convenient food subscription service that has a large appeal amongst time-poor vegetarians and vegans. Their ethos is to provide nutritionally-balanced meals that support your health and reduce your environmental footprint.

Soulara has a large range of meals on their menu spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even juices. In this review, I look at the Buddha Bowl which is part of their High Protein Range. This range has been developed by Soulara nutritionists in collaboration with Australian Olympic sprinter Morgan Mitchel.

Was the Buddha Bowl nutritious?

Instantly what I like about the Soulara Buddha Bowl is the list of high-quality ingredients. There is nothing foreign, difficult to pronouns or with numbers beside it which is a good start. It’s also of a generous portion at 400g.

The other great feature of this meal is that the key protein source is tempeh and it’s all the main ingredient. At 39g, this meal is part of Soulara’s High Protein range thanks to the tempeh as well as the addition of millet, chickpeas and hemp seeds.

Tempeh is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans as it contains all the essential amino acids. As the soybeans are fermented, tempeh is often easier to digest than other plant protein sources like tofu, and is a good source of isoflavones.

While soybean products like tempeh and tofu are a great plant-based protein source and are nutrient-dense, I would like to know where Soulara source their ingredients from. Most soybean products, particularly those produced in the USA, are genetically modified organism (GMO). While FDA-approved, there is research to suggest GMO soy products may have a negative influence on our hormones and increase our disease risk. There are also higher incidences of allergies with GMO soy.

As a nutritionist, my advice if you are going to eat soy products particularly on a regular basis is to choose organic and fermented options.

There is also no refined carbohydrates which are often found in plant-based convenient meals. Instead, Soulara has opted for millet which is a gluten-free grain that’s high in fibre and low GI. Not only is millet nutritious, but it also won’t impact your blood sugar levels as refined carbohydrates do. The total carbohydrate content of this meal is 48g, so it’s certainly not a low-carb meal but the carbohydrates this meal does contain come mainly from the tempeh, millet and vegetables.

There isn’t a whole lot of different vegetables in this meal, but lots of lovely aromatics in the addition of herbs, spices. Soulara has also added nutritional yeast, which if fortified, is a source of B vitamins for vegetarians and vegans. And the addition of Tahini and sesame seeds will also add to the calcium content of the meal.

The overall calorie content of this meal is 642 which is a little higher than many others in their range but will typically suit most people’s energy requirements if they are having 3 similar meals plus a snack over the course of the day.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews, while calories and macros are important particularly if you have a body transformation goal or health concern, but the nutrient density of the meals should also be a high priority.

Overall, the Soulara Buddha Bowl looks to be a nutritious and well-balanced dish.

How convenient is the Soulara range?

Soulara is a subscription model based on meal plan ordering. This means you need to subscribe to a weekly delivery service and purchase a chosen number of meals. You can pause or cancel this service at any time.

While this model may turn some people off, I found this really streamlined the online ordering process. You simply need to choose the number of meals you wish to be delivered (either 7, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 or 24 meals), select the individual meals and hit submit.

You know exactly how much you’re going to have to spend, rather than getting a surprise at the end when you look at your cart. The starting cost of the Soulara meal plan is $80.50 ($11.50 per meal). This reduces the more weekly meals you order with the cheapest rate of 24 meals at $8.50. Delivery cost for my location was $10.00

Order cut-off days and delivery days depend on your location, which you’ll know prior to ordering. The night before your order, you receive a text reminding you of your delivery. Soulara’s third party delivery service also sends you an email when the order has been delivered with a photo of it on your doorstep – a great feature if you aren’t home at the time of delivery.

How was the taste of Soulara Buddha Bowl?

As with all the Soulara meals, the Buddha Bowl is fresh not frozen. You’ll find large pieces of vegetables and sundried tomatoes as well as the tempeh. The beetroot hummus provides a vibrate colour and the aromas of harissa are evident.

It’s clearly a substantial size meal and appears appetising. The tempeh is a firm consistency and there is quite a lot of it, but it’s verging on dry. The variety in vegetables was lacking for a plant-based dish and unfortunately, the millet is gluggy in most places.

I was surprised it actually smells much better than it tastes with the flavour lacking. Sure, it’s a good size dish but not an overly memorable one to eat.

Have a product review suggestion?

All of our reviews are independent based on our own experiences. If you have a product you want to see reviewed, let me know in the comments below!

Sarah Appleford
Sarah Appleford
Sarah Appleford is a registered clinical nutritionist who believes achieving optimal health and wellbeing relies on living with intention.
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