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By and large we've really enjoyed the offerings from evol Foods. Only one of their burritos has gotten a bad review, and all of the bowls we've tasted thus far have been great. I'm looking forward to our panel reviewing their two-serving meals when they become available near Dr. Gourmet headquarters. So it was nice to see new varieties of their bowls appear in the freezer case at my local Whole Foods.
The panel chose to review the Chipotle Chicken Mac & Cheese first. From the start this is disappointing, however. For 420 calories we expected a larger portion - the compostable bowl inside the package is less than half full. After four minutes in the microwave, whatever moisture might have been in the cheese sauce has disappeared entirely, leaving the pasta chewy and almost tough. The few chunks of chicken we could find were also dry and tough.
It's really too bad, because the flavor is good: the chipotle flavor complements the sharp cheddar cheese nicely and the tortilla-chip topping adds a hit of sweet corn to the mix. With this much flavor, they could easily have cut the amount of sodium in this dish (at 630 milligrams) in half and it wouldn't have been missed. Don't bother with this one.
We cooked the Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese for 3:30 rather than the 4 minutes indicated on the box and this yielded a little more moistness to the dish at first. The panko breadcrumb topping soon soaked it up, but this dish was still much creamier than the Chipotle Mac & Cheese. The pasta was just a little over al dente - slightly more chewy than we'd like, but still acceptable. And who doesn't love truffles? This is a classic parmesan and cheddar sauce enhanced with truffle oil, and it's delicious - but you can taste every single milligram of the 630 milligrams of sodium in this dish.
Worse yet, this has 480 calories and a whopping 25 grams of fat (13 grams of saturated fat!). If you've been reading our reviews for a while, you know that we don't generally concern ourselves with the amount of fat in a frozen dish. That's because the sodium levels are usually much more concerning - and it's true that 630 milligrams of sodium is usually an acceptable level for us to review. Given the comparatively high calories, the small portion size, and the fact that the meal tastes salty, the fact that it contains well over 2/3 of your recommended daily intake of saturated fat puts the last nail in the coffin. Avoid this one as well and choose one of their other bowls - or better yet, a burrito.
Reviewed: February 21, 2014