Sunday Times Food Awards

Where to buy SA's best butternut & creamed spinach side dish

Our taste testers have spoken: here's which supermarket makes the tastiest version of this crowd-pleasing vegetable mix

06 August 2017 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
From left: Butternut and creamed spinach side dishes from Woolworths, Checkers and Pick n Pay.
From left: Butternut and creamed spinach side dishes from Woolworths, Checkers and Pick n Pay.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

It's free and fair!

We put out a call to Sunday Times readers to be part of the panel of tasters. Forty of them came together on a Saturday morning to taste ready-made roasted butternut and creamed spinach dishes from leading supermarkets.

The chefs at HTA Culinary School in Randburg, Joburg, prepared the food as per the package instructions. The panel of tasters were presented with each of the products "naked" without any branding or packaging. They were asked to judge them according to their appearance, taste and texture and to say whether they would buy them or not.

Morne Kok, an internal auditor at Transaction Capital was on hand to monitor the objectivity of the blind-tasting process, from removing the packing to numbering the products, overseeing the preparation and adding up the scores.

THE RESULTS

FIRST PLACE: Woolworths Sweet butternut & creamed spinach

Price: R36.99 for 350g

Judges's comments:

  • Judith: The butternut is not cooked through, and tough. The feta cheese was a nice addition to the spinach.
  • Sarah: It needs salt, otherwise it's good.
  • Thami: Delicious.
  • Sahil: Spinach is well flavoured but butternut is underspiced.
  • Kathy: The butternut is cut into smaller chunks and easier to digest.
  • Sean: Butternut was very bland but the spinach was awesome and tasty.

SECOND PLACE: Checkers Creamy spinach with butternut and feta

Price: R59.99 for 700g

Judges's comments:

  • Bianca: The onion flavour takes over everything and is overpowering. The creaminess is good.
  • Jacques: Wonderful taste. I'd love to have it every day for lunch.
  • Judith: More spinach needed please.
  • Terry: It's too sweet with too much cinnamon.
  • Sarah: Not enough spinach, with large chunks of butternut. Too sweet.
  • Thami: The onions need to be baked for much longer.

THIRD PLACE: Pick n Pay Roasted butternut and creamed spinach

Price: R28.90 for 350g

Judges's comments:

  • Bianca: Butternut is unnaturally sweet and cinnamon is excessive. Spinach tastes like watered down milk. I feel tricked because it looks so good but then is hugely disappointing.
  • Pearl: It is very bland and doesn't taste like creamed spinach at all and texture is wrong.
  • Judith: Good, but could definitely do with more seasoning.
  • Sahil: Good appearance but flavours let it down.

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