Thursday, March 31, 2011

I like what others don’t like–or do I?

I know I’ve been writing about eating out lately, but I have been cooking at home. It’s just not as exciting! I’ve made some real flops (keep reading), but I did make one recipe that was unexpectedly delicious.

I’ve been trying to use up things in my pantry and freezer. In this recipe, I used some lentils I’ve had for a while, as well as some frozen artichoke hearts. I found the recipe on the Whole Foods Market recipe app, and you can view it here.


The recipe is Linguine with Spinach, Artichokes, and Red Lentil Sauce. I ate a heaping helping on a salad plate, and I even finished the leftovers for breakfast. This was delicious, and one of my favorite new discoveries. The sauce starts with mustard seeds, onion, garilc, and lentils, and finishes with lightly cooked spinach and artichoke hearts. Add some lemon juice, salt and pepper and whole wheat pasta, and you’re good to go. 

I was surprised to look up the recipe online and see that it only got 2 of 5 stars. I mean, people who wouldn’t like the ingredients wouldn’t choose to make this, right? To state the obvious, I used spaghetti, not linguine. Maybe that’s why I liked it better – no, that’s a stretch.

I really started to question my taste (or, the rating system) when I checked out another recipe I tried, Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms and Peas. That recipe earned 4 of 5 stars.


This was not great, but I took lots of photos, so I’ll share. This is how you know I don’t lie to you: this looks good, so I could rave about this and trick you all! Don’t worry, I would never do that. Plus, even though the star rating is high, most of the comments agree with me. And I didn’t write them all. Actually, I didn’t write any. Maybe 4 of 5 stars is a poor rating, and 2 of 5 is a good rating?

Alex and I both thought it was bland, which is strange because it’s packed with flavorful ingredients, including quinoa, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and red onion. These goodies were bound with a paste of pureed chickpeas and oats, plus some green peas and parsley.


After baking for a long while in a loaf pan, this sliced pretty easily. Alex enjoyed his with ketchup, and I doused mine with sweet onion mustard (not pictured). This looks good, served with a baked potato and brocolette, so trust me when I say it was bland.


In eating this, I was really puzzled about why my preferences were nearly opposite the online ratings. I guess I’m glad I didn’t see them ahead of time! How about you out there – do you like what everyone else does? Do online ratings inform your choices?


  1. Strange about the online ratings thing...I read through the comments on the loaf and it did seem that a lot of people agreed with you. Both recipes sound and look great though, the loaf could probably use another salty element like soy sauce or worchestershire to bring the flavors out.

    I love the idea of the red lentil sauce with the lemon and mustard seed...sounds super yummy to me. If other commenters didn't like it, well, there's no accounting for tastes I guess...or "to each his own".

  2. Both recipes look great. Sorry the loaf was bland. I do read reviews...all the time. Most of the time I ignore what they say. If it sounds good, I'll make it. :o)

  3. Thanks for the heads-up on that quinoa loaf. I've been eyeballing that recipe for a while because it's full of (my) pantry staples. To be honest, I thought it might have been too flavorful, considering all that goes into it!

    The red lentil sauce sounds and looks amazing!

  4. There is nothing worse than a bland loaf! Been there, done that. Such a bummer.

    The Linguini Recipe looks beautiful. Have you considered logging on to give it a higher rating?

  5. In just thinking about the recipes, I have to admit I'm most intrigued by the red lentil sauce! But I've found that tons of people who rate things tend to have bland palates and can't handle too much flavor or prefer bland things in general. It's a toughie. At least both meals were beautiful looking!

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  7. I think I would agree with you, without eating either recipe. A red lentil sauce sounds seductive, for sure, and would lure me in. But, as for the loaf, with all the grains and beany flours, I'm not surprised it was bland. Rose is probably on target with a need for a stronger spice to kick it up a notch.

  8. i want to try the lentil sauce!

    i'm always curious about ratings/reviews. i do listen to them, i guess. but, thinking about it, i can't remember EVER writing one or giving something stars myself.

  9. Wow! You haven't posted in the month of April at all! What's going on? I'm guessing you and Alex are breaking up or else you're pregnant.

  10. I am SO bookmarking this post as an inspiration to play around with making a raw quinoa loaf. I love your honesty about it sucking. I'm gonna keep that in mind and make an effort to fight the "blandness".