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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Tandoor Chef Naan Pizzas

Frozen pizzas just do not have a good track record here at Dr. Gourmet. All you have to do is look at our main Food Reviews page and see all the red "don't eat" icons under our listing of frozen pizzas we've tested to see that. And some of those have been truly bad, which makes me hesitate to test frozen pizzas in general.

But when I saw these Naan Pizzas from Tandoor Chef at my local Whole Foods I was intrigued. Some of the best pizza I've ever had was made from my Pantry Meal recipe for Pita Bread Pepperoni Pizza, and I love naan, the Indian bread made by hand and baked in a big clay oven. So I grabbed a couple and took them for taste testing.

Tandoor Chef Naan Pizza - Roasted EggplantWhat I didn't realize until testing time was that these pizzas are not designed to be microwaved (well, neither is my Pita Bread Pepperoni Pizza). So they're not going to be something you can take to work for lunch unless you have access to an oven.

Okay, so you can't take them for lunch. But I'm going to tell you right now - go out and get some of these pizzas to keep in the freezer for those nights you want pizza - because these are some of the best pizzas I've had in ages.

The first one we tasted was the Roasted Eggplant. The instructions for both pizzas we tested are to place the still-frozen pizza directly on the center rack in a 450° oven for 10-12 minutes. As I stripped the plastic shrinkwrap from the frozen pizza I could see that there was a fair amount of cheese on this pizza, and that there appeared to be actual pieces of basil in addition to the good-sized chunks of breaded eggplant.

Given our previous experience with frozen pizzas, I wouldn't have been surprised to find that appearances were deceiving with this pizza. But they weren't. This pizza is good from top to bottom: the sauce has a good sweetish tomato flavor with a nice hit of oregano. The eggplant is nicely breaded and its flavor is not overpowered by the sauce. The basil does indeed taste like basil (which is near-miraculous in frozen foods) and the cheese not only tastes like cheese but actually extrudes from the pizza to your mouth. This is the real thing!

Tandoor Chef Naan Pizza - Margherita PizzaAfter such a good experience with the Roasted Eggplant pizza, I mentally resigned myself to a bad experience with the Margherita Pizza. Lightning couldn't strike twice, I reasoned.

Boy, was I wrong (and glad to be wrong). The classic Margherita pizza is tomato, cheese and basil, to imitate the colors of the Italian flag. Tandoor Chef's Margherita Pizza lives up to the name with chunks of tomatoes, big strips of basil and a generous amount of cheese. The sauce for this pizza has a little more oregano flavor than the Roasted Eggplant pizza, but the slices of basil come through well. My only complaint (if you can call it one) is that the tomatoes were somewhat overpowered by the basil, cheese and sauce, but the tomatoes themselves retain good tomato flavor, unlike a lot of other tomato-bearing frozen pizzas. This pizza's cheese is really good stuff - creamy, cheesy, stretchy and gooey just as you want your pizza cheese to be. All in all, another winner.

But there is a down side to these pizzas. Each pizza is two servings of about 280 calories apiece, 12 grams of fat and about 500 milligrams of sodium. By contrast, my Pita Bread Pepperoni Pizza has 360 calories (you eat the whole thing) and almost 700 milligrams of sodium with 12 grams of fat. Most of that sodium, however, is from the pepperoni. My point? These pizzas are so good that you'll find it hard to not eat the whole thing. Split them with somebody - or save the other half for lunch the next day. I did.

Reviewed: January 15, 2010