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I stumbled across some gluten free frozen burritos in the market the other day. We've reviewed a number of burritos in the past with mixed results but only recently are there gluten free versions in the freezer case.
When I took the Amy's Gluten Free Cheddar Cheese burrito out of the wrap I noticed that the tortilla looked smooth. Not at all textured like a corn tortilla should but more like a flour tortilla. It seemed odd.
Using the microwave instructions the burrito was ready in about 2 1/2 minutes. It smelled promising. Tastewise, it was OK. There's a pinto bean and brown rice filling spiced just as you would expect and the cheddar cheese makes it creamy and rich. Tasters liked it. Not an amazing burrito, but good.
It was only when I was checking the ingredients to see if they had used brown rice when I noted that the tortilla was made with garbanzo flour. That explained the texture but also the overall lack of a good corny flavor. This was clearly absent and we had just chalked it up to them using finely ground cornmeal but that's not it at all. There's no cornmeal in the burrito. I can understand the challenge of freezing the corn tortillas as they tend to fracture easily but this would have been a lot better using just a bit for flavor.
This isn't a deal breaker but it just doesn't taste authentic.
The Cheddar Cheese version comes in at 260 calories with 5 grams of fiber. As with most Amy's they could have gotten away with a little less salt but this is pretty good for them at 430 mg in the one serving burrito.
The Non Dairy version was almost identical. We noted that it didn't have quite the same rich cheddar flavor and the taste of the somewhat bland tortilla came through more as a result. There are fewer calories in the non-dairy version at 240 but it contains the same 5 grams fiber and 430 mg sodium as the Cheddar Cheese burrito.
The last from a company I haven't seen before called Glutenfreeda (love that name). It was clearly different out of the package with what was clearly a corn tortilla wrap and if the texture wasn't a giveaway the aroma certainly was. The only one in the freezer case was their Chicken and Cheese (they make four different ones). As frozen burritos go, there's everything to like about this. The Amy's folks could take a lesson on how to freeze a corn tortilla from Glutenfreeda. It came out of the microwave only slightly chewy but full of great masa corn flavor. The filling is spicy but not overly so and the chicken flavor cuts through well. There was, however, not quite enough filling and at only 200 calories another 1/3 as much would have helped a lot.
Interestingly, they could get away with that since this burrito contains only 200 calories and 240 mg of sodium. A bit more filling would keep that under 250 calories and 300 mg of sodium and you'd have a great product instead of a very good one.
The place that Glutenfreeda could learn from Amy's is that they used white rice. Tasty but with brown rice there would have been more fiber and getting enough fiber is often a challenge for those on a gluten free diet.
Any of these burritos would be good even if you're not on a gluten free diet. Low in calories with a reasonable amount of fiber and salt, all natural and tasty.
Reviewed: April 22, 2011