Product: Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto – $3.29+
You know…it was because I was told that the liveGfree Gluten Free Tortillas at Aldi wouldn’t fall apart and crumble on me (which was false…they did…and I was sad) that I ended up back at my Aldi to grab some gluten-free goods. Just the tortillas…that was the plan.
But you know how quickly plans fall apart when gluten free products/food are involved.
While standing in line with one item, I spotted the infamous liveGfree box colors on some discounted sale items. There were three different types of pastas sitting there…discounted…looking for a happy pantry to belong to. I thought about just skipping that. I’m trying to move things out, not bring more in, but they were discounted to $1.99…so I grabbed one of each flavor.
With this being an odd week with half days and holidays…my usual meal planning is thrown a bit off. When I’m not going to be here, batch cooking that much just doesn’t make sense. So, I pick and choose and then fill in. So, when my roommate said to just throw together a pasta or something for a lunch on Monday, that’s exactly what I decided to do.
I knew we had these boxes of Aldi lifeGfree Gluten Free Pasta Meals in my pantry, so I gave her the choice of flavors…(all of which will be reviewed here…so watch this space)…and she decided to start with the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal.
Cooking this up is super easy. Simply throw 1-1/4 cup water into a pan and bring it to a boil. Once there, pour the noodles and seasoning mix into the water. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for about 7-9 minutes. Stir it occasionally, and continue to cook until the water is completely absorbed. That’s it. It’s ready to eat.
Well, here is the downside. A box contains only 1-1/2 servings. Yes…one and a half servings. I don’t know where the logic is with that, but after I had this cooked up and split it between my roommate and I…there was hardly anything in our lunch bowls. So, I reached into my freezer and pulled out the Beyond Meat Gluten Free and Vegan Italian Meatballs, cooking up some of those to add to the dish to bulk it up and make it bigger than just a side dish. So, please be aware…1-1/2 servings per container. If there is more than 1-1/2 of you eating…plan accordingly.
At lunch today, I retrieved the Pyrex containers with the pasta and “meatballs” in it and popped each one in the microwave to heat. Once heated all the way through…lunch was ready to go. I do love a no-hassle, fuss-free, easy lunch to prepare at work when the kitchen can get quite chaotic with everyone fighting for counter space and the microwave.
I settled in at my desk, gave it a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (because I like it hot, LOL!) and dug in.
First of all, I was very impressed with the way the pasta held up, not just in the cooking process, but also in the reheating. It didn’t fall apart or get gummy. So, that’s a huge plus. I loved the seasoning that was cooked down over the noodles. A blend of basil and spinach, mixed with a touch of garlic and Parmesan. So, yeah…not exactly dairy-free, eh? I didn’t notice that when I bought it…but…it was all I had for lunch. I’m not allergic to dairy…just highly intolerant to lactose. So, I just hoped for the best. Very full of flavor…which surprised me. I never expect much from boxed pasta meals, but this one was actually very delicious. I am, however, quite happy that I opted to include the vegan meatballs to bulk it out. It also added to the depth of flavor of the dish. For a pasta meal that I spent under $2 to purchase…this was the happy surprise of the week. Didn’t see that one coming.
Let’s discuss the ingredients that go into Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal, shall we? This boxed meal is made from gluten free pasta (corn flour, rice flour), process cheese food in powder [cheese blend (pasteurized milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes), whey powder, salt, sodium citrate, disodium phosphate], cream powder (cream, milk), natural flavor, potato starch, parmigano reggiano cheese (milk, salt, rennet), dehydrated spinach, dehydrated basil, salt, garlic powder, and turmeric powder. This pasta meal is gluten free and wheat free.
Now that we know what goes into Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal, let’s look at the nutrition ingredients. A serving size of this product is 2/3 cup (or 3/4 cup prepared), and there are 1.5 servings fer container. One serving will provide you with 250 calories, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 42 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 4 grams sugars, and 8 grams protein. If you were to eat the entire box yourself, you would only be consuming 375 calories in total. Which, really isn’t too bad. I just think that Aldi should either round it down to 1 serving or up to 2 servings, because this half serving really annoyed me, if you couldn’t tell.
I wasn’t expecting much from this Aldi meal, but, once again, Aldi surprised me. I should have trusted them a little more. If you can get your hands on the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Pasta Meal’s…it’s a cheap and delicious way to have something on hand for when you don’t really have time or energy to cook something else up.
Check your local Aldi…and pick some up.