Sometimes you just can't make it into the kitchen to cook. Dr. Gourmet has reviewed over 800 common convenience foods, ingredients, and restaurant selections so that you know what's worth eating - and what's not. View the Index of all Dr. Gourmet's Food Reviews
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP has counseled thousands of his patients on healthy, sustainable weight loss. Now he's compiled his best tips and recipes into a six-week plan for you to learn how to eat great food that just happens to be great for you - and if losing weight is your goal, you can do that, too.
Get the prescription for better health as well as healthy weight loss, including:
It's been almost five years since we last reviewed a pizza from Amy's, and that one was gluten-free. Looking at the Nutrition Information for their single-serving pizzas, posted on their web site, it's easy to see why: too much salt. Most of the products have at least 680 milligrams of sodium per serving, with the majority being over 700 milligrams. The "Light & Lean" products tend to be better (as is the one we're tasting today), and of course the "Light in Sodium" varieties are as well.
The tasting session got off to a bit of a rocky start today, however. We were ready to put our first pizza in the microwave when we realized that the Light in Sodium Spinach Pizza (440 calories, 390 mg sodium, 3g fiber) has no microwave instructions. Long-time readers of our reviews will know that we try to avoid reviewing things that can't be microwaved: most people are going to be eating these foods at work, and few will have access to a conventional oven (much less the time to use it).
We shook our heads and turned on the oven. The good news is that this pizza cooks for only about ten minutes. The instructions say to place it directly on the oven rack for a crispier crust, or on a cookie sheet for a softer crust. (I'm not sure I'd want to put anything directly on the oven rack in an oven in a workplace, even if there were one available.)
The other good news is that this is a good pizza. The half-inch-thick crust is crispy on the outside and tender and yeasty on the inside. I probably wouldn't recommend trying the cookie sheet option - after ten minutes on the oven rack this is only lightly crispy - a softer crust might be too doughy. Those who like their pizza with a thick crust will enjoy this one.
The tomato sauce has a bright tomato flavor that's not too sweet, and there's enough cheese to keep the kids happy. There could be more diced spinach, but there's enough, along with the feta cheese, to let the spinach flavor come through nicely. In short, one of the better frozen pizzas we've tasted.
The Light & Lean Italian Vegetable Pizza (280 calories, 560 mg sodium, 4g fiber) comes with a little silver microwave stand you place the pizza on while it's cooking. After a couple of minutes in the oven and another 2 minutes of standing, we had... a mess in the microwave and disappointment in our hearts.
This pizza looks nothing like the pizza on the box. There's the thinnest schmear of tomato sauce and it's dotted with a few clumps of diced spinach, tiny brown bits of mushrooms that taste - of all things - canned, a scant few leaves from artichoke hearts, and a bunch of chopped green onions. The reduced-fat cheese is barely noticeable (other than the mess it made melting over the side of the pizza) and flavorless.
Worse yet, the crust is like nothing so much as "an unfilled Pop-Tart that's been left on the counter for several days." This description was provided by one of our panelists (who presumably would know). Another said, "This is not a pizza. This is an old Wasa cracker with somebody's leftover salad on it."
Have the Spinach Pizza instead, or if you don't have access to an oven, have something else. But not the Italian Vegetable Pizza. It's an offense to Italians (and vegetables) everywhere.
First posted: July 10, 2015