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According to History.com, the origin of canned food dates back to 1795, when the French government decided it was time to rethink the military’s food supply, especially for soldiers and sailors deployed to far-flung locations. A competition followed, and the winner was Nicolas Appert, a young chef who developed “the strongest airtight containers he had access to: champagne bottles, sealed with an oddly effective mixture of cheese and lime.” Canning has certainly come a long way, and many of today’s options are now BPA-free, recyclable, and developed without any trace of cheese or lime. That’s good news for busy home cooks with limited time but an interest in putting together a nutritious meal. Canned foods are pantry workhorses that step in when we need a little extra help, making dinner that much easier to whip together. Keep reading to learn more about one of our top member-loved brands, Westbrae Natural.
The History of Westbrae Natural
In 1970, Bob Gerner and Kirsten Brun opened a small grocery store to sell homemade granola, organic veggies from Gerner’s garden, and Brun’s baked goods. This was the very first iteration of Westbrae Foods, which was eventually sold to a group of investors in the late 1980s. Westbrae’s line was expanded to include ingredients such as beans, soups, Japanese ramen, rice cakes, and began getting placement in mainstream supermarkets. In 1997, Westbrae changed hands again—this time to the Hain Celestial Group, which makes “better-for-you foods and snacks.”
Westbrae Natural Company Mission
Westbrae Natural has been in the natural foods business for almost 50 years. Back when the brand was first starting out, founder Kirsten Brun once remarked, “Let’s do something for the planet, and let's do something good for the people on both sides of the counter!" Even as Westbrae Natural has evolved and aligned with various partners over the years, this simple philosophy has remained the core of the brand.
Benefits of Westbrae Natural
If you’re looking for convenience in the kitchen (without sacrificing nutrition), stock up on Westbrae Natural. The cans are BPA-free, lead-free, and recyclable, and its product line is:
- USDA Certified Organic
- Non-GMO Project Verified
In addition, many options are cholesterol-free, high in fiber, high in protein, low-fat, and safe for those on a low FODMAP diet. Thrive Market member Sheena from Okla. uses the Sweet Peas to make a salad. Nancy from Conn. sends the Organic Black Lentils to her son at college, where he can easily heat them up or add a scoop to other vegetarian dishes.
Top Westbrae Natural Products
Stock your vegetarian and vegan pantry with these top Westbrae Natural products.
Vegetarian Organic Black Lentils
Versatile and nutritious, organic black lentils can be tossed into salads, mashed into burgers, or stirred into soups. This 15-ounce can is convenient for quick cooking, and offers 8g of protein per serving, plus 9g of dietary fiber.
Organic Chili Beans
This can is made with organic pinto, kidney, and black beans—an ideal trio for chili, side dishes, or taco salad. Each serving is cholesterol-free, and delivers 5g of dietary fiber per serving, plus some iron and calcium.
Frozen peas take time to defrost, but these canned veggies are ready when you are. They’re packed with water, dehydrated cane juice, and a pinch of sea salt to enhance the farm-fresh flavor. Just drain, rinse, and add to rice pilaf, stews, or pastas.
Healthy Vegetarian Recipes
If focusing on veggies is a top priority in your kitchen, look no further than our lineup of nutritious vegetarian recipes. They’ll satisfy everyone around the table.
Vegetarian Meal Planning Tips
Need a vegetarian meal plan? This post has dozens of recipes to add to your weekly round up, such as Cheesy Mushroom Toast (a Thrive Market member favorite), Buckwheat Crepes With Goat Cheese, and Pasta With Kale-Hemp Pesto.
The Difference Between Vegans and Vegetarians
Vegans and vegetarians share many similarities, but where are the lines drawn? This post reviews the basics of these two plant-based diets.
Vegetarian Recipes for Every Meal
This post features 50 recipes for vegetarian meal ideas to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Start your day with a Green Smoothie Bowl, refuel with White Bean and Herb Zucchini Noodles, and finish the day with Mushroom and Poached Egg Spaghetti.