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This week we're back to frozen meals with two offerings from Cali'flour Foods. This company is based in Northern California and describes itself as making "Low-carb cauliflower-based comfort foods." It seems that what started with cauliflower "rice" a few years ago has extended not only to pizza crusts made from cauliflower (as we saw earlier this year with three varieties from Caulipower), but now apparently people are making gluten-free pasta out of cauliflower. I've seen packages of pasta made with cauliflower on the shelves, so we'll have to look into these for an upcoming review. After all, people make pasta out of legumes, so why not cauliflower?
The Vegetable Lasagna from Cali'flour Foods has 330 calories, 500 milligrams of sodium, and 3 grams of fiber. While the sodium is pretty reasonable, considering that it's lasagna and thus contains some fairly salty cheeses (romano and parmigiano), I was a little surprised that the fiber count was so low. One cup of raw cauliflower contains 2 grams of fiber, and surely it would take more than a cup of cauliflower to make enough pasta for the three layers on the box?
After 5 minutes in the microwave, we cut into the middle of the "lasagna" and found out why: there isn't anything resembling what you and I know as pasta in this dish. A lasagna has layers of pasta alternated with filling, which this clearly does not. We could find no distinct "cauliflower pasta" layers in this dish.
But you know what? We don't care, because the lasagna flavor is great! I'm impressed.
Sweet zucchini, savory mushrooms, and bitter spinach are set off with creamy ricotta and mozzarella; sharp, umami parmigiano; and a bright but not too tart tomato sauce for a true vegetable lasagna flavor that leans more toward cheesey than vegetable-y.
The edges of this dish get nice and crunchy (for those who like their lasagna from the edges of the pan) and the only down side might be the 21 grams of fat (11 grams of saturated fat). While I wouldn't eat this every day, I'd definitely add this to my regular frozen food rotation (if I had one).
In short: "What this really is," my wife remarked, "is a vegetable-lasagna-flavored casserole." Accurate - on the ingredients list, the first element is
"Cauliflower crust (cauliflower, mozzarella [whole milk, enzymes, cheese cultures, salt], egg whites, basil, garlic, Italian spice [basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and parsley])"
Although the package is labeled "lasagna" and the subtitle is "pasta made with cauliflower", the ingredients list tells the truth - there's no "pasta made with cauliflower" in this dish.
Recommended - just bear in mind that it's not pasta.
The Lasagna with Meat Sauce has 360 calories, 510 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of fiber, and a little more fat at 23 grams of total fat and 12 grams of saturated fat.
It's quite similar to the Vegetable Lasagna: essentially the same extremely cheesy non-pasta casserole of cauliflower, ricotta, and mozzarella with a little parmigiano and a meat sauce whose meat components, beef and ground pork, appear at nearly the end of the ingredients list, right before the "Contains 2% or less of:" declaration.
Those meat components do lend a savory, meaty flavor - but it's more flavoring than substance (you won't find much if any beef crumbles). It also has a saltier overall flavor than the Vegetable Lasagna despite having a slightly lower sodium to calorie ratio. Definitely good, definitely enjoyable, but of the two I like the Vegetable Lasagna better.
Posted: October 16, 2020