Product: Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Southwest Veggie Stuffed Sandwiches – $2.69
For those of you, who, like me, were diagnosed with Celiac later than life…raise your hand if you remember the simplicity, the ease, and the not-really-so-tasty-but-you-thought-it-was days of yore when you could pull something called a Hot Pocket out of the freezer, slide it into a little heat envelope thingy, and nuke the hell out of it…the filling oozing out of the edges and baking to that microwave safe, dish.
Yeah…those were the days.
There was, honestly, a time when those were my lunch. Every. Single. Day.
Those were the days I lived out of my freezer.
Like…I sort of am now because I hit a low point in my life and went on a buying spree of things I didn’t really need…but at the time, apparently had to have…in my freezer…which I had emptied out of processed foods and is now packed full of them once again. This is what happens when a runner sprains her ankle. She falls off that wagon.
That being said…simplicity and ease shouldn’t be eliminated completely. And while I don’t like dining on processed foods, they do play their part.
As I mentioned, Aldi put out a test line of gluten-free products, branded as liveGfree, and spanning everything from cookies to crackers to snack bars to frozen meals to ready-made frozen pancakes (2 flavors even!) to…things like baking mixes. Yes…Aldi has jumped on the bandwagon and has offered those of us who must eat gluten-free a more affordable option than what we get at all the grocery stores and natural food stores where we have to shop.
I won’t lie…I pretty much snagged one of everything when I went into Aldi. Thankfully, I took a stroll around the store and found more items in the freezer section. YAY!! Jackpot. Because in among them were the liveGfree Gluten Free Southwest Veggie Stuffed Sandwiches. Yeah…happiness can be achieved with stuffed sandwiches…because they really don’t exist in the gluten-free world. Well, Glutenfreeda makes a version of them, but none of theirs are also vegetarian. BOOO! So the fact that Aldi’s liveGfree brand has a vegetarian option…hell yeah…that was coming home with me. This was meeting my freezer.
And, as I was going running with my friend Natalie yesterday…I needed a simple dinner to heat up so I could change, slather on some sunscreen, and head through the mess of Louisville traffic to her apartment. We wanted to do something out-of-the-box instead of our normal Monday run. And it meant some ice cream at the end of it (I had Fudgesicle sorbet!). So, I really had nothing already prepared…so I opened up my freezer and spotted the liveGfree Gluten Free Southwest Veggie Stuffed Sandwiches.
I got out some plates, pulled the stuffed sandwiches out of the box, slid them into the sleeve, put them in the microwave for just over 2 minutes…and gave them their quick nuking.
Dinner was served…conveniently speedily.
But was it any good? Well, I served up Cathy first and she was delicately nipping at the sandwich while mine was heating. I asked her how it was. She did the high-pitched, “It’s…okeedokey.” That means…eh….not so good. So, I asked her to elaborate. She found the crust to be dry and the filling to be spicy. She’s a spice wimp. I can’t remember (because it has literally been ages) if Hot Pocket’s crusts were dry to the taste…so I can’t really compare as far as that is concerned. When mine finished up it’s cookery in the microwave, I dumped it onto my plate, cut it in half, took a picture, and then took a bite.
Yes…the crust was definitely dry. In fact…it was distractingly dry. I felt that the stuffing was lacking. I loved the spice and I loved the brown rice and black bean combination, but it was seriously lacking. I felt it wasn’t truly “stuffed,” if you know what I mean. And while rice and beans are great fillers…and filling…these are Soutwest Veggie sandwiches. And I found the veggies to be really lacking on the inside. It was mostly rice and beans. Bummer. Actually, so far…of all the items I’ve tried from the liveGfree brand, this is the one I am least likely to purchase again.
So, let’s talk ingredients. The crust and filling of the liveGfree Gluten Free Southwest Veggie Stuffed Sandwich is made from gluten-free millet flour, water, gluten substitute (rice flour, corn starch, maltodextrin, pea fiber, guar gum), brown rice, salsa (diced tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, diced jalapeno peppers, diced Anaheim peppers, dehydrated onions, spices, dehydrated garlic and citric acid), water, black beans, roasted corn, green chilies, pepper jack cheese with jalapeno peppers, sugar, honey, soybean oil, xanthan gum, dry yeast, deli seasoning, baking powder, baking soda, salt pasteurized dried egg yolks, low moistere part skim mozzarella cheese, southwest style seasonings (spices, red chili pepper, paprika, salt, garlic powder, citric acid, modified food starch (NOOOO!), and cornmeal. As for the topical ingredients, these include BBQ seasoning, fructose, paprika and paprika extract, tomato powder, natural smoke flavor, and spice. These are gluten-free, nut-free, and wheat-free.
Nutritionally speaking, a serving size is one of the two included stuffed sandwiches. This stuffed sandwich will provide you with 270 calories and 6 grams of fat. You will also be taking in 2 grams of saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 440 mg sodium, and 8 grams of sugar. Not impressed. And, you will also be taking in 5 grams of filling fiber and 7 grams of protein. These, surprisingly, were filling…but they just weren’t all that good. LOVED the spice…but it just lacked…flavor.
While I know some of my gluten-free friends have raved about these, I wasn’t as high on them, nor as impressed. I don’t think I’ll spend my money on these again in the near future. I was underwhlemed and a bit disappointed, since these had really gotten me pretty excited when I saw them in the freezer at my local Aldi. A bit of a letdown…but…I am glad I at least tried it.