I found out on Friday that Lean Cuisine is now offering some entrees made with Gardein! For those of you who are not aware, Gardein is a vegan/vegetarian godsend in that it is some of the best tasting meat-replacement products out there. They are also pretty nutritious since they are made with ancient grains and vegetables. I am totally stoked that now Lean Cuisine is using it. So far, there are 4 flavors: Roasted Red Pepper Fettuccini, Enchilada Rojo, Indian Style Masala, and Tuscan Style Vegetable Lasagna. I bought the Masala and the Enchilada.
I had the Enchilada Rojo for dinner at work on Friday, and was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. Honestly, I have always liked Lean Cuisine and thought they were among some of the best tasting frozen entrees out there, so I’m not sure why I was surprised. Maybe I just assumed that since they are geared towards vegetarians (I don’t think any of the entrees offered are vegan) that they would be wimp out a bit on the flavor. Not so, at least not in the case of the enchilada entree. The red sauce was very flavorful and had a bit of a kick, and there was plenty of veggies and big chunks of Gardein. I was also quite impressed with the tortilla in the meal. My experience with corn tortillas in frozen meals is that they are usually bland and mushy. But the tortilla in this meal was not mushy at all, and it still had a nice corn flavor to it. The veggie-rice rounded it out, and really made it feel like a full meal. I know sometimes with ‘diet’ meals they are not always quite filling. I think the addition of the Gardein is what makes this feel like a full meal. One entree provides 13g protein, 8g fat, 4g fiber, and 310 calories. Of course, with frozen meals comes the sodium-and that is one gripe I have. This particular entree has 670mg of sodium–the recommended daily allowance is 2400mg, so you’re looking at almost 35% of your daily sodium intake right there, and that is if you expect to take the full allowance. If you are trying to cut back on sodium, you might want to avoid this meal, since it could easily put you over half your allowence, so take it with a grain of salt (pun intended :)) Overall, I was very happy with this new offering, and I can’t wait to try the rest.
I so far have only seen these new entrees at Walmart, and they were in the section with the Gardein products, not the Lean Cuisines, so keep that in mind if you go looking for them. It is a small step that a big company has chosen to acknowledge vegetarian food alternatives in their products, but it’s nice to see . And who knows? Maybe we aren’t that far away from seeing Daiya as a cheese substitute too!