THE RILEY/LAND COLLECTION
Like all of our products, there's a great backstory to how Chef Kirsten Helle Sandoval created Mesa de Vida. In here mid-twenties, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and pre-diabetes. In an effort to clean up her life, she began studying regions around the world where people were the healthiest and lived the longest. The common thread among them was that they ate real food. Along the way, she lost 100 pounds by eating clean and avoiding processed foods. She became a chef, picked up gigs with several pro athletes, appeared on the cover of Woman's Day magazine, and then realized the recipe starter sauces she had been using for her famous clients should be available for everyone. And hence, Mesa de Vida was born. Full of nutrition, full of flavor, devoid of the bad stuff.
Chef Kristen clarifies: these are cooking sauces, not finishing sauces. They are made with concentrated whole ground spices, vinegar and lemon/lime juices, along with all of the vegetables and herbs, and are only simmered for less than a few minutes prior to jarring up. When you cook with them the flavor mellows and balances out, making your kitchen smell amazing, and makes YOU look like a gourmet chef!
"I always give this disclaimer," she says, "When you try the sauces raw, it’s like biting into an onion, or eating a spoonful of a whole ground spices, raw vs. cooked. The flavor completely changes when you cook them, and they are meant to season an entire meal."
Now, on to the description: Caribbean food is near and dear to my heart, so I quickly opened this jar when she sent samples. It has a distinctive Caribbean flair, with the use of heat, cilantro, sweet hints of tamarind, and a special blend of spices. You could easily do a jerk dish with this sauce, but I already have made stewed chicken with it twice and both times, the dish ended up being delicious!
Non-GMO, low sodium, gluten-free, no added sugar, fat-free, vegan, and Whole30-approved
As a person born and raised in the Caribbean I can say this sauce does bring through the flavors I grew up with. The flavors are bright and come through with every bite of food. I use this sauce as part of marinades mostly or as a component in a Caribbean style beef stew.