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Three From Gluten Free Café

Those of you who follow these reviews know that while I am not a fan of convenience food, I am realistic enough to know that some people are going to use them as part of their day to day lives. One reason I don't care for them is that there are so many unusual ingredients in Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and the like that it worries me.

The one good thing about most gluten free offerings is that they are more natural than the mainstream frozen meals. There have been an increasing amount of gluten free offerings and it's good to find a company that has offerings that are OK choices. We reviewed a few previously from Gluten Free Café and they were good choices. Here's our report on a few more.

Fettuccine AlfredoIt's interesting that of all the frozen Fettucine Alfredo meals we have reviewed the only ones that could be recommended was a gluten free product (and it wasn't great). I am, however, always concerned about choosing frozen gluten free noodle dishes because they use rice noodles that can turn out a bit gummy. That said, the Gluten Free Café version is pretty darn good. The noodles are not as gummy as you might expect (they are not al dente but that's really not possible). For rice noodles these hold up well. The sauce is really pretty good. It's rich and creamy with good cheese flavor. Amazingly, there's only 390 mg of sodium per 400 calorie serving. As frozen meals go, this one is a big hit.

Asian NoodlesTheir Asian Noodles are good and we'll recommend them but they're not great. There's simply too much curry flavor and that leaves an astringent aftertaste. The dish is certainly spicy and may be too much for many folks. Likewise, there's a lot of sodium here at 720 mg. The veggies and tofu are OK but that's really what we have to say about the whole dish. It's OK (faint praise to be sure).

Homestyle Chicken and VegetablesThe Homestyle Chicken and Vegetables is pretty OK (more faint praise). It has fresh tasting chicken with some (but not enough) fresh tasting veggies. The sauce is a bit generic. One main drawback is that this is made with white rice where it would have been more flavorful with brown rice (not to mention having more fiber). It's really inexcusable to not use brown rice these days. The dish is only 240 calories and does have more sodium than it needs at 670 mg. All in all it gets another OK but not as resounding a vote as the Alfredo.

The interesting thing about these is that it proves eating gluten free is not that big a deal. The price of these is on par with Amy's or Michael Angelo's and you really wouldn't know one way or the other that these didn't contain gluten.

Reviewed: March 19, 2010