Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Candle Cafe Vegan Frozen Meals

There sure has been a lot of hype lately about the four new frozen vegan meals by Candle Cafe, a vegan cafe in New York.   They claim to have distribution at every Whole Foods in the United States. So, I decided to try them. I'll start with the one I liked most and work my way down.

My favorite one was the "Tofu Spinach Ravioli in a Classic Tomato Sauce."  These little spinach-stuffed raviolis were quite tasty. The tomato sauce was light and the Daiya cheese went well with it though I did feel like there was a bit too much cheese. The ingredients showed that there was cheese in the sauce and on top of the meal contributing to the high fat content of this meal.  At 320 calories and 10 grams of fat, this isn't the lowest fat frozen meal you can find, but it also isn't the highest.  I give this one a thumbs up.

My second favorite was the "Macaroni and Vegan Cheese." I don't know why they don't just call it Vegan Mac and Cheese, but whatever.  I liked this dish because they used a nice thick spiral pasta with both cheddar and mozzarella Daiya cheese. The texture and cheese was much better than Amy's macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately, I don't consider macaroni and cheese to be a lunch so I won't be buying it that much, but I might enjoy it again as a side dish. It had 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 880 mg of sodium and 5 grams of fiber.

My third favorite was the "Ginger Miso Stir-Fry." I found the miso sauce to be delightfully spicy, which is unusual for a frozen meal. I also liked that it came with brown rice and plenty of tofu. It seemed odd though that they put edamame in there - soy beans and tofu is a bit too much phytoestrogens for me. I didn't like the water chestnuts, but that's just not my preference.  This meal has 200 calories, 6 grams of fat, 840 mg of sodium, and 4 grams of fiber.

Lastly, I tried the "Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce." I did not like this one. It was rice in lemon sauce with tasteless seitan. I found it to be incredibly bland. Thumbs down.  It had 210 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 930 mg of sodium, and 4 grams of fiber.

In sum, I'd buy the ravioli again, but I probably wouldn't buy the others. The only one that was actually better than Amy's frozen meals was the macaroni and cheese. But, if I had a choice, I'd buy Amy's meals hands down. Amy's meals are generally cheaper too -- although not by much.  Unfortunately, none of these meals wow'd me overall.

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