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Amy's Light & Lean:
Spinach Lasagna and Pasta & Veggies

This week we have the other two varieties of Amy's Light & Lean line. Both of the other two varieties, the Soft Taco Fiesta and the Black Bean Enchilada, got thumbs' up from us and were way lower in sodium than many of their other meals. And certainly lower in sodium than anything you're going to get at a Mexican fast food joint.

This week, instead of Mexican, we have Italian. Now, Amy's doesn't have a great track record with their lasagnas. Almost a year ago we compared their Tofu Vegetable Lasagna and their Light in Sodium Vegetable Lasagna, with the lower-sodium meal lacking flavor (or vegetables, for that matter). So it was with a jaundiced eye that we approached the Spinach Lasagna.

Amy's Light & Lean Spinach LasagnaSurprise! This lasagna is really good. The lasagna noodles hold up well to microwaving and remain al dente, while the tomato sauce has a bright tomato flavor - not too sweet - enhanced by basil and garlic. The spinach filling doesn't become watery, as the Light in Sodium Vegetable Lasagna did, and there's plenty of it along with chunks of celery and onions.

As with the Tofu Vegetable Lasagna last year, this is still a little higher in sodium than I'd like, at 540mg. But that's still darn good for Amy's. At 250 calories, 5 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber, this would make a great lunch and you'd be plenty satisfied. I've actually had worse lasagnas in restaurants.

Amy's Light & Lean Pasta & VegetablesThe Light & Lean Pasta & Veggies, however, smelled a little odd as it came out of the microwave. It's not the broccoli and asparagus, for they're still crisp and plenty flavorful (although I saw nary an asparagus tip - just chunks of stem). The rotini pasta is also well cooked and the portion size is generous, given that it's only 210 calories.

No, the problem is the sauce. While there are tomato chunks in the sauce which come through nicely, the sauce has a faintly bitter tang, as if they put too much dried basil in the sauce. Now, if you love the licorice flavor of too much dried basil, you'll love this. But the slightly bitter flavors of the broccoli and asparagus demand a sweeter sauce for balance. Although the numbers are respectable, with 470 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber, we have to give this one a thumbs down for flavor alone.

Reviewed: February 18, 2011