It is hard not to like a company like Amy's, so strongly committed to their vegetarian, all natural, and organic ways. They even cater to food allergies and intolerances with an expansive vegan line, a nut-free facility, and an expanding line of gluten-free goodies. This is where one of their newest products steps up to the plate … a spinach, rice crust frozen pizza.
In my opinion, pizza is the hardest food to sacrifice when venturing a dairy-free and/or gluten-free diet. Yet, I was still a bit surprised by this leap. Amy's has recognized success with their No Cheese Roasted Vegetable Pizza (which I hope to trial soon), but I expected their next vegan venture to be a fairly standard pizza with dairy-free cheese. Instead, they decided to go for the gusto, adding a vegan cheese AND switching the crust to a gluten-free version, all in the same pizza. A valiant yet risky move to be certain.
Nevertheless, we were ready and eager for trials. With two pizzas patiently awaiting us in the freezer, we opted to test both cooking methods; one for a crisp crust and one for a softer version. Both cooked up easily, though, as with most soft crust cooking methods, we had to pop it back in the oven for a few extra minutes to ensure the center was cooked through.
This was my first experience with Follow Your Heart vegan "cheese," and I was impressed. Atop the Amy's pizza it really did melt. My only disappointment was that their was not more. The picture on the box shows a rather generous cheesy pizza, while both of ours were just sprinkled with the dairy-free mozzarella.
The picture deceived us in one other way as well, it shows a rim of bright red pizza sauce. Both of our pizzas had only small specks of tomato sauce peaking out. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that the sauce was awesome! Every time a bright red bit hit my tongue, my taste buds came alive. My need for more sauce was confirmed, when I asked another taste tester if their slice had more tomato sauce than mine. They replied, “there is tomato in this pizza?” Alas, as with the vegan cheese, I can only make my desperate plea to Amy's, “more please!”
Though we felt it was sparse in some departments, Amy's Rice Crust Pizza was well equipped with was a spinach ricotta topping. Yes, I said ricotta, as in (non-dairy) cheese. A wonderful new company going by the name of Primacotta has offered up their soy ricotta for Amy's latest “free-from” pizza. I must say, the garlicky, cheesy, spinach blend was fantastic! It was thickly spread, easily dominating both the surface area and flavor of this pizza. For this reason, we all felt the pizza needed some chunky vegetables to break up the texture for a more pizza-like experience. However, this flavor and topping was enjoyed by all.
As for the crust, not bad. The crispy crust was very thin, and we agreed that it made the pizza seem like an inexpensive $2.99 pizza. Not feeling our money's worth, we dove into the soft crust. Given the atmosphere and time to rise (atop a baking sheet) the soft crust pumped up a good ½” or so from it's origins. The texture was fluffy, and almost “glutinous,” with just a touch of cornmeal like graininess, but nothing off-putting.
Though the contents of the soft crust were no greater in quantity than the crispy, we somehow felt more satiated from this larger looking crust. Also, the softer texture melded well with the ricotta topping. Realistically, the soft crust pizza just worked better by all opinions, and no one made any specific notes of its gluten-free nature.
In summary, every bit of flavor and texture was excellent and harmonious in Amy's Spinach Rice Crust Pizza. Our only major let down was the light hand used with some of the key ingredients.
My Extra Notes & Tips:
- They note “made with organic rice flour, tomatoes, & spinach on the box,” but Amy's is being modest. There is far more organic going on in this pizza … onions, garlic, soy cheeze … the list goes on.
- We were each a bit surprised by the petite sizing of the pizza. It could feed three, or two hungry individuals. Considering its organic, vegan, and gluten-free nature, the price may be worth a splurge. With the size in consideration, I would likely wait to pick one up when it was on sale. Of course, if they amp up the “cheese” and add some veggies, I could be persuaded at full price.
- The soy-cheez ricotta is made with whole soybeans, rather that protein isolates, a plus in my book.
Where to Purchase: This pizza is quickly appearing in grocery stores throughout the U.S. See their website for a store locator. Amy's products are distributed in Canada, the U.K., and Thailand, though I am not sure when this product will be rolling out internationally.