Three of the latest products from Amy’s read like a who’ who of almost every child’s food wish list, and after getting a taste of them, this adult may be indulging her wish list a bit too. As noted, these products are dairy-free and gluten-free, but I couldn’t fit all of the wonderful attributes into the title line of this review. Each of the new GF/CF products from Amy’s is also vegan / vegetarian (egg-free and meat-free too), non-GMO, and made with organic ingredients. Plus, the Rice Macaroni is even soy-free! How do they do it? No idea … but, I’m happy to honestly tell you what my husband and I thought of each new product …
Amy’s Rice Macaroni with Non-Dairy Cheeze – This was hands down our favorite of the bunch. The noodles were so very soft and tender, but didn’t break as so many gluten-free noodles do. The “cheese” was my first Daiya experience, and I have to admit, I was thoroughly impressed. The texture was amazingly smooth and creamy and the taste offered a wonderfully rich but mild cheddar flavor. In fact, my husband (who does have a bit of cheese on the rare occasion – so he still knows what it tastes like!), looked at me with a bit of concern and asked, “Are you sure there isn’t any dairy in this?”
The only thing that seemed a bit off to me was that the cheese seemed a little “gluey” for lack of a better descriptive word, but my husband said he didn’t detect this a bit. Like any good quality prepared food, this Rice Macaroni isn’t cheap (we aren’t talking a monster portion here), but for a splurge or a serious craving it is definitely worth it in our opinions.
Now a quick note, as the Macaroni line from Amy’s creates a great deal of confusion among dairy-free consumers. The “Rice Macaroni with Non-Dairy Cheeze,” which I am reviewing here is made without dairy ingredients, is kosher pareve and vegan. This is a new product for 2010. However, the regular Macaroni & Cheese, Rice Mac & Cheese (note the spelling!), and Macaroni & Soy Cheeze all contain dairy! The Macaroni & Soy Cheeze uses a lactose-free cheese, but it does contain milk protein, while the other two use regular dairy cheese.
Amy’s No Cheese Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Rice Crust – I have heard rave reviews about the “regular” Roasted Vegetable pizza from Amy’s, and thus was expecting a stellar experience. Unfortunately, though it was good in general in terms of taste and texture, it wasn’t great (read: not worth a convenience price), and the pizza I had was severely (I mean severely) lacking in toppings.
To start, it did taste much better than it looked. The bake time said 8 to 12 minutes. I did 10 and the pizza came out burned around the edges and overdone on both the bottom and top.
Though we weren’t off to a good start, I could taste the quality of the ingredients, and was very pleased with that. However, the sauce seemed very sweet to me, and since the toppings were so sparse, that was about all I was eating … crust and sauce. My two pieces (half of the pizza) had not a single mushroom on them, just a few pieces of red bell pepper, and some shavings of artichoke (those are leaves in the photo – not full hearts). The crust was unique – tasty, but more like a thin dense cornbread than what you would think of as a pizza crust. I liked it, but it is best not to expect a true wheat crust experience.
Overall, I was disappointed by the false advertising on the front of the box (the toppings look pretty generous there!). As is, it was more like a flatbread that you would have as a side with a dinner salad than an actual pizza. My husband agreed – the mac ‘n cheese was the preferred entrée for both of us. Up the toppings and tone down the sweet sauce in this pizza and I think they will have a serious winner!
Amy’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake – My review on this one is a bit unfair, since I have had the “regular” wheat-based chocolate cake from Amy’s, which is unreal. Seriously, you would never guess it was frozen. This cake is obviously a bit different in terms of texture and just a hint unique in taste, but once I allowed myself to forget what the “regular” Amy’s cake tasted like I really enjoyed the gluten-free version.
Seriously, for a gluten-free goodie, it is impressive, and could probably fool most. Like most gluten-free baked goods, the texture improves when heated, but since I am more of a dense fudgy chocolate brownie fan than a cake lover. I preferred it fresh from the fridge … chilled, moist, and dense. For a more genuine cake-like experience, I recommend just a few seconds in the microwave or a warm-up in the toaster oven.
Also, you can’t beat these cakes for ease of preparation. You do need to plan just a bit in advance, as they need to defrost in the fridge for a couple of hours, but that is it! Just defrost and serve. I am guessing this cake will be on the Amy’s gluten-free menu for years to come.
Amy’s products are wonderfully well distributed throughout the U.S., with many offerings in Canada too. Look for them in the freezer section of both natural food stores and mainstream grocers. For a store locator, and more information on these products, see www.amys.com.