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Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews

Lean Cuisine

Butternut Squash Ravioli and Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli

Dr. Gourmet reviews the Butternut Squash Ravioli from Lean Cuisine

After last week's meals from Kidfresh (spoiler: really good), it's almost a letdown to go back to the much more grown up Lean Cuisine.

Today we have two vegetarian ravioli dishes: Butternut Squash Ravioli and Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli. Both are a little higher in sodium than we'd like to see, at 650mg and 660mg respectively, but the amount of fiber is impressive for the Butternut Squash Ravioli, at 7 grams, while the Spinach Ravioli has a respectable 4 grams.

We have a previous review of the Butternut Squash Ravioli from 2008 (Yes, we've been reviewing frozen foods since 2005), when it had 350 calories - now it's been cut to 290 calories with 6 grams of fat versus the previous 9 grams of fat.

the Butternut Squash Ravioli from Lean Cuisine, after cooking

This is still a very good choice. Five good-sized ravioli are filled with a sweetish butternut squash puree seasoned with nutmeg. They could be a little more pillowy, in my opinion, and the pasta is just a touch more chewy than I'd like.

The ravioli are served with quite a bit of veggies: snap peas, peas, and even yellow and orange carrots. The snap peas have some pretty good crunch, as do the carrots. All of the veggies could be more crisp, but they're more than acceptable in a frozen microwave meal.

The sauce - and there's plenty of it - is light and buttery with a hint of garlic. Overall I think the sweetness of the ravioli is well balanced with the bright veggies and the sauce, for a more than acceptable meal.

The package proclaims "1 CUP OF VEGETABLES." I find that unlikely: the entire meal is labeled as "9 7/8 oz (280g)". If there's 8 ounces of vegetables in this dish that means that nearly 2 ounces of weight is both the pasta enclosing the butternut squash filling as well as the sauce. If a serving of pasta is 2 ounces, how does that all add up? It's just possible that the vegetables were weighed before cooking, but it still strains credulity to look at the vegetables in this dish and see a full cup.

Dr. Gourmet reviews the Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli from Lean Cuisine

Next we tasted the Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli, with 250 calories for its 6 somewhat smaller ravioli.

the Ricotta Cheese & Spinach Ravioli from Lean Cuisine, after cooking

The tomato sauce is billed as a tomato garlic sauce, but the overall flavor is of the bright and sweet tomato sauce on the pizzas kids eat in the cafeteria in grade school.

The ravioli aren't much better filled than the Butternut Squash Ravioli - there's perhaps 3-4 millimeters of filling when you cut them in half. While the pasta has some bite, the bad news is that the bitterness of the spinach simply can't cut through the sweetness of the pasta sauce - and there's no garlic flavor to be found. I'd leave this one on the shelf unless you like your pasta sauce on the (very) sweet side.

Posted: May 28, 2021