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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Amy's Kitchen : Gluten Free & Vegan Pizza, Mac and Cheese and Chocolate Cake

I was recently given the opportunity to review some of the newest gluten free, non-dairy, organic products from Amy's Kitchen. While I personally don't adhere to a gluten free diet, I've been interested for some time in going gluten free and was excited to see how these products stood up to their non-gluten free counterparts. I also know that some of my readers out there are gluten free and I'm always more than happy to feature products here that appeal to all those with special diets.

Having been a fan of Amy's Kitchen for a loooong time, I know that their products are always high quality and super tasty. So how did their gluten free pizza, mac and cheeze and chocolate cake stand up against their wheaty counterparts? Read on to find out!

Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza with Rice Crust

This pizza is a great size for an individual meal during lunch or dinner or to split as a snack with one or two others. Since the pizza is cheeseless, it's very light and refreshing- without cheese, you can really appreciate the delicious, robust flavor of the pizza sauce (made from olive oil and organic tomatoes). The sauce is slightly sweet which makes it's flavor similar to a mild barbecue sauce. The red peppers topping the pizza in combination with the sauce is very complementary and absolutely wonderful. Of the toppings, the red peppers and artichoke contribute most to the overall flavor of the pizza, while the button & shiitake mushrooms provide a mild essence and nice texture component. The rice crust itself doesn't have the exact same texture as a standard wheat crust; the rice crust is not as chewy but has a nice crispiness to it, closer to what you would expect from a thin crust pizza. Overall a really spectacular pizza!

Rice Macaroni with Non-Dairy "Cheeze"

Amy's Kitchen Rice Macaroni and Cheeze is made with Daiya brand non-dairy "cheese" which I had been hearing about for ages, but hadn't yet tried. I've heard multiple times that Daiya is the Rolls Royce of non-dairy cheeses: it tastes eerily close to the real thing and has the ability to melt nicely, something which vegan cheeses of the past have totally failed at. Having tried some of the vegan cheeses of the past I was super impressed with how well the Daiya worked out in this Mac and Cheese! The final product was as gooey and melty as dairy cheese and the flavor was wonderful. I gave a heap of Amy's Mac and Cheeze to the pickiest eater I know (one who doesn't like processed mock products) and he LOVED it, comparing it to the flavor to that of Cheetos. While I disagree with the Cheetos comparison, I do agree that this product is very tasty! The flavor is very "cheesy", though it is a little saltier and oilier than some other non-dairy mac and cheeses I've tried... however, the overall flavor is much better than any other non-dairy mac and cheese I've had in the past. The rice macaroni was also really nice, it was slightly less firm than standard wheat pastas, but had the perfect consistency for a mac and cheese dish.

Cakes: Chocolate

The final product I sampled was the chocolate cake made with rice flour. Compared to a standard wheat flour cake, the rice flour seemed to be a little more "sticky" but I absolutely loved that about this cake since it made the cake really moist and gave it almost a slight creaminess. The flavor of the cake was great as well- a nice deep chocolate flavor that wasn't overwhelmingly rich or overwhelmingly sweet. I usually dislike pre-made cakes as they are often way too sweet, but the Amy's cake was perfect! The delicious chocolate flavor combined with the texture and moistness of the cake was great- perfect to enjoy with a cup of coffee, tea or (soy/almond/rice) milk. Everyone in my household loved this cake!

There's also no need to heat up the cake, just defrost for an hour and a half in the fridge and it's ready to eat. Next time I have guests over I'm going to pick up one of these cakes for sure!

**I was sent samples of the Amy's Kitchen products featured in this post for review purposes and allowed to post my thoughts at my discretion. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed here are mine.**


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