13 Popular Tasty Bite Ready-To-Eat Meals, Ranked

The ready-to-eat meal market has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. One report shared by Global Newswire estimates these foods, which include everything from frozen pizzas to breakfast sandwiches, are expected to be valued at nearly $188 billion by 2030. This rise is attributed to more folks spending less time preparing food, as well as college students looking to have easy meal options at their disposal.

Although convenience foods are often associated with unhealthy ingredients and bland flavors, brands like Tasty Bite offer veggie-packed products that taste similar to takeout Indian, without the takeout involved. Instead, consumers can open the packet with scissors, pop it into the microwave, and wait for about a minute for their hot, steamy Indian favorites.

Tasty Bite sent us some of their vegetarian and vegan ready-to-eat meal pouches for this review, most of which are available at grocery stores across the country. Among the factors we examined for each one of these pouches were the consistency, overall flavor, and use of aromatic ingredients. We wanted foods that would scratch the itch for takeout without requiring us to leave our kitchens.

13. Kashmir Spinach

Of all the Tasty Bite meals we received, this one was the big one that we were least excited about — specifically because of the smell. Anyone who has ever made spinach in the microwave knows the absolutely foul odor that emulates from the appliance and out into the room afterward.

The color of this meal looked spinach-rich and resembled the carpet of moss on the forest floor. When we smelled the package, we could pick up on a little bit of spinach in the background, but an even greater smell of bullion intertwined with cumin. The spinach had disintegrated from full leaves to tiny separate particles, which is a similar phenomenon we experienced in the past with canned spinach. Unlike other Tasty Bite meals we sampled, we were definitely able to pick out the paneer in this one, but it really tasted more like soft tofu that had spent too much time in the microwave. The overwhelming salty notes, to the tune of 940 milligrams per pouch, overtook any other flavor notes in this package and made it one of our least favorite ones — by far.

12. Jaipur Vegetables

The Jaipur Vegetables, now labeled "Vegetables & Paneer," promises a lot — including delicious pieces of cashews, raisins, and paneer cheese simmered in a spicy sauce with potatoes, carrots, and green peas. We were skeptical the moment we saw raisins listed as an ingredient.

We could definitely smell the tomato in this package, and we noticed it was much thinner in consistency than other Tasty Bite products. This flavor struck us more as a mismatched soup. There were hunks of peas floating around and maybe a carrot or two, but it was suspended in a sauce that was way too thin to support it. The vegetables were all soft and appropriately sized for the nature of the dish, but we couldn't discern which vegetable was which in the end.

We also didn't find any cashews — and if we did, they would have been disintegrated into the rest of the soup. To top it all off, we couldn't detect any of the paneer cheese either, and we would be hard-pressed to classify this soup as a "medium" spice level because we didn't notice any of the Indian spices we really were craving.

11. Channa Masala

Tasty Bite sent us both the old and new designs of its Channa Masala to sample, so we decided to do our due diligence and see if there was any flavor difference between the two. We heated both up for the same period of time. The pink package had a slightly sweeter flavor and brighter color than the older design, but the texture and consistency of the two packages were overall very similar. Both products are certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.

Despite these small differences, we noticed some shared flaws between the two packages. Both had a mealy, gritty texture that was rather unpleasant to eat. The chickpeas were sparsely distributed throughout the sauce,e and the tomato flavor took the helm of the dish and overwhelmed the complex seasonings. Channa masala is supposed to be a classic Indian dish that really comes in heavy with spices, like turmeric, ginger, garam masala, garlic, and cayenne. But, this sauce was overwhelmed with turmeric, which almost turned it bitter, and also lost points for its odd texture.

10. Madras Lentils

Despite being plant-based eaters, we're not that big of a fan of lentils. Sue us. The texture is always so mushy. the flavor is bleak, and we never feel particularly good about eating it. So, we felt melancholy before we even opened a package of these Madras Lentils.

At first sniff, we detected notes of meatloaf. The package itself was almost entirely liquid. We could pull out pieces of kidney beans that were, for the most part, well-cooked. The lentils were floating around, but it was hard to pick them apart from the brick-colored swamp of sauce. The bean flavor took over any of the other spice notes, and we were lost when it came to the dried onion and ginger that were supposedly added to this package. Overall, the meal was filling and tasted like chili that had been left in the slow cooker for a little bit too long. The umami undertone was there, but the texture was way too soft for us to eat out of the package.

9. Mushroom Masala

Mushrooms — in a package? We admit it's not our idea of a fun time. After all, we lived most of our lives avoiding mushrooms altogether, and we were afraid that a single bad run-in with a lousy mushroom could put us off them for good.

This package contains both mushrooms and potatoes swimming in a bath of salt, spices, and cilantro. Although the ingredients list didn't exactly specify which spices were featured, we could taste a clove-forward sauce packed with cinnamon and what we thought might have been nutmeg. Overall, the flavor of the sauce itself isn't bad at all. It was mild, not overtly tomato-forward, and pleasantly balanced with creamy notes.

But the mushrooms? Those were a different story. They tasted as we suspected they would: just like the dehydrated and rehydrated mealy ones in a can of cream of mushroom soup. We would like this meal so much more if it skipped out on the mushrooms, but that would inherently defeat its purpose.

8. Indian Vindaloo

The hot and spicy Indian Vindaloo was the first product we sampled from Tasty Bite. This vegetarian product was one of the hottest products we sampled, so we wanted to set a baseline for what to expect, in terms of heat, from the rest of the lineup.

The base of this product is a medley of potatoes, carrots, and ginger seasoned with ingredients like chili pepper, paprika, cloves, and cinnamon. Upon the first whiff, we smelled the spice immediately, which we were excited about. There were definitely notes of chili, as well as the undertone of cloves. The texture was mushy and unappetizing, even though we did pick up a thoroughly cooked potato. The heat was not as overwhelming as we expected, and it just glided over our tongues and settled in the back of our mouths. We expected that this would send us gasping for water, but we were able to get a couple of spoonfuls in before we needed to cool down.

This product didn't place the highest on our list because it didn't have enough consistency and texture to justify serving on its own. It would be a good option if we were feeling under the weather and needed something to clear out our sinuses, but we wouldn't eat a package of it otherwise. But, the clove notes were wonderful and really unexpected for a convenience food.

7. Sticky Rice

A dish of mango sticky rice wouldn't be possible without this carby side. Although you can make a batch of bamboo steamer sticky rice at home, it's much easier to buy it pre-made from a restaurant or in the form of a meal package like this one. The ingredients on this Tasty Bite side are simple: long-grain white rice, water, and a bit of oil (which we assume was to prevent clumping).

The obvious fault with this Tasty Bite package is that you can't really eat it on its own. But it's so bland and basic that you can add it to your other Tasty Bite meals to make a filling dinner dish on the go. Like the Thai Lime Rice, this package had to cook in the microwave for slightly longer than other meals, at around 90 seconds.

We were impressed that this rice did have a sticky quality to it, and the entire mass came out of the bag like it was a soft, white brick. The flavor was as advertised (plain rice), but it was a bit too soggy for our liking. You couldn't pick out individual grains of rice because they were all coagulated together. If we had the chance to make a side of rice ourselves, we would. But if you're on the go and can't take a trusty rice cooker with you, this product will work in a pinch.

6. Vegetable Tikka Masala

The vegetable tikka masala was the Tasty Bite meal we were most excited to try. Our friends are fans of chicken tikka masala, so it would have been a great opportunity to have a product that was similar to that — as well as one we could make when we felt excluded from Indian takeout nights. We were also excited about a creamy tomato sauce in a world where the other sauces are just so thin and soup-like.

The bag of this product smelled just like an Indian restaurant. But one look inside of this bag didn't make us feel great. Its texture resembled dog food, sans a few pieces of peas floating around. The flavor, though, was on par for tikka masala. The turmeric was subdued and complemented the complex notes of cumin and coriander. If you serve it to us in the restaurant with a bit of extra tofu on top, some more vegetables, and a side of naan, we would be happy as a clam.

But, where this package unfortunately fell short was on the consistency of the vegetables. Understandably, ready-to-eat meals need to be, in fact, ready to eat, so the vegetables need to be cooked enough to eat after only 60 seconds in the microwave. But we would have liked to see a bit more texture in this package.

5. Thai Lime Rice

There's probably a running joke out there somewhere about microwave rice. After all, how can you synthesize the perfectly grainy, fluffy texture of basmati rice in a microwave package? Tasty Bite did it, and the results had us question why we hadn't ever eaten microwave rice in the first place.

This rice is notably brimming with lime and lemongrass flavor, which is more natural-tasting than synthetic. There is coconut milk listed on the label, as well as spinach, but we couldn't detect either of the two in this product. We also saw that this package was supposedly made with long-grain rice, but it all came together into a mushy mess that made it just seem like it was short-grain anyway. After experiencing the same thing with the plain sticky rice, we'll blame it on the microwave.

We definitely didn't think the rice was going to be as subtle and well-flavored as it was, but we genuinely enjoyed eating a package of this rice. However, although the brand markets it as a meal pack, we doubt you could make it a meal. Plus, the rice is so flavorful that it may not mesh well with a pre-made curry or sauce from Tasty Bite. For now, it's kind of in a class of its own.

4. Coconut Squash Dal

We have fond memories of ordering dal at restaurants since it's one of the few foods we knew wasn't made with meat or dairy products. We couldn't predict how this package was going to taste because the coconut milk could potentially take over the dish and subtract from the flavors of the spices and other ingredients, or it could stick in the background and provide a contrast to the spices and split peas.

But, we were happy to report favorable results. The coconut was definitely mild and pleasant and really helped take this dish to a new level in terms of creaminess. The spices were balanced and didn't overwhelm the other flavors, and we would have genuinely enjoyed eating this dish if it wasn't for one glaring problem: the split peas. They were quickly transported to a bean mush when we cooked this dish in the microwave. There were no discernable bits of peas in this dish, but rather a texture like a handful of lentils had been thrown into a blender and pulsed until smooth. It was thick and hearty, but it wasn't the dal we knew and loved.

3. Bombay Potatoes

The Tasty Bite Bombay potatoes promise vegetarian potatoes and chickpeas "slow cooked with spices in a zesty tomato sauce," which gives the impression that the tomato sauce would be anything different than the other packets we received. It's made with vegan, gluten-free ingredients and aromatic seasonings like caramelized onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and mango powder (which we assumed was for color).

There was definitely a noticeable difference in the spice blend of this package compared to others we sampled. Though, we wouldn't say the spice level was "medium" — more so that it was just more complex than the other Tasty Bite products we tried. The smell was warm, inviting, and almost citrusy. We liked that this meal had big chunks of potatoes around it and had a sauce that was a true sauce rather than just a soup. The chickpeas added a healthy protein boost and a bit of texture to the potatoes.

Overall, the spice blend was very balanced, and we enjoyed this meal quite a lot. However, we would have wondered what it would have tasted like if it hadn't included the tomato sauce base, which brought too much acidity to the game.

2. Coconut Vegetables

We were a bit wary to sample another "hot" product from Tasty Bite after the last one really only tickled the back of our throat. This package of coconut vegetables, including sweet potatoes, onions, and green beans, is paired with a yogurt sauce rather than a tomato base. The color resembles baby food interspersed with flecks of green and red — which is far from appetizing.

Color aside, this Tasty Bite meal really impressed us. Although we didn't want to think of the idea of heated-up yogurt at first, we thought that the feeling on our tongue was quite pleasant and mild and almost had a creamy consistency to it. We liked that the yogurt had a subtle tang that helped bring forward the flavor of the veggies, as well as the spicy undertones from the turmeric, mustard, and "curry leaves" (which indeed exist, even if we had to do a brief Google search that questioned what our entire definition of curry was). The Coconut Vegetables meal had a lot more depth than other products we sampled had, and we would certainly enjoy eating this as a meal itself without a helping of rice or naan on the side.

1. Vegetable Korma

The Vegetable Korma was the first packet we found that had an actual medium spice blend that perfectly tingled on the back of our throats but didn't leave us gasping for air or water. We also enjoyed that the spinach appeared in this packet in thin strands rather than ground up into a mush. Overall, we thought that this dish had much more texture overall than the other dishes we sampled. This one had the standard mix of potatoes, onions, and carrots but also added sweet corn to the mix, which provided a refreshing crunchy now and then.

Besides the crunchiness, we also enjoyed the fact that there was a hint of fenugreek peeking out, as well as gingery notes that we could feel in our sinuses. This was our favorite meal that we tried because it could be eaten without needing any rice or naan to accompany it.

Our methodology

Our top flavors were full of the spicy Indian notes we know and love and also had a pleasurable texture for something that was cooked in a microwave. Products with a mushy consistency or lacking aromatic elements linked to Indian cooking were ranked last.

Each of these products was sampled without rice or naan to ensure that we could get the most unadulterated flavor, although we would argue that eating them with an accompaniment would have helped balance out the consistency and pungency. In addition, we followed the microwave directions for each of the packets for the sake of convenience, although the brand also notes that they can be prepared in a saucepan, instead.