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We have reviewed evol foods products twice now and both of them were home runs. We started with their "bowls" and called them a "game changer" in frozen foods. They were fresh tasting, no wacky ingredients, low in sodium, high in fiber… In short, everything you would want in a frozen meal. Their mini burritos are almost as good.
It's good to see a young company working hard and making a great product.
In the interest of full disclosure, the folks at evol sent us a very nice note when we did these reviews, and the other day they wrote and asked if we wanted them to ship us some of their new product to try. We generally pay for the foods we review, but we are happy to let others pick up the bill, as long as they understand that there's always the chance of a bad review, since we review based on quality, taste and nutritional content.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed before we even opened the packages. These are essentially pizzas (although evol Foods does make pizzas), but they're not the game changer that their bowls are. First off, a check of the Nutrition Facts shows that these are supposedly two servings in what is basically a personal-size pizza. Note to manufacturers: NO ONE is going to split this with someone else or eat half and put the other half away. NO ONE.
Each of those "servings" is only about 270 calories (the Italian Sausage is a whopping 320). That's not so bad, with the whole thing coming in at about 550 calories (640 for the Italian Sausage), but the issue is that there's almost no fiber. Disappointing to be sure, but the real problem is the salt. Each "serving" has over 600 mg of sodium so when you eat the whole thing (which you will) that's about half the salt you need for THE WHOLE DAY. Dang. We really were heartbroken before we even put them in the oven.
That's right. The oven. While we test all of our frozen pizzas in the oven if there's the option, there are no microwave instructions for these (that's a good thing). The directions say to put them directly on the oven rack, although on their web site they do have directions for using pizza stones. We followed the instructions on the box and baked them for about 13 minutes, which resulted in a moderately chewy crust at the center that was crispier around the edges. These flatbreads have good texture and stand up well to the toppings.
The first one we tasted was the BBQ Chicken & Mozzarella. As you'd expect from evol Foods, this is pretty good, with a barbecue sauce that's just a little too sweet. The chopped green onion and cilantro wasn't all that visible, but the chicken doesn't come out overcooked despite essentially being cooked twice (once in the manufacturing and once in the oven). I could wish for either more chicken or for the chicken chunks to be cut in a small dice (rather than thin 1-inch-wide chunks) to better distribute the chicken over the flatbread. Overall, I'd give it a thumbs up for flavor and texture.
The Italian Sausage and Caramelized Onion, however, is fantastic. There's a good bit of sausage here and it's just mildly spicy, with a good caraway note. Paired with a generous amount of caramelized onions that have been diced and well distributed over the mozzarella cheese, this is a pizza for sausage lovers. Once again, NO ONE is going to eat just half of this. NO ONE. It's that good.
While once again evol Foods is making great-tasting food, we here at Dr. Gourmet can't recommend these flatbreads due to the nutrition facts: not enough fiber and way too much sodium. Leave these on the shelf and grab some of their burritos instead.
Reviewed: May 27, 2011