I’ve been eating packaged gluten-free products from the frozen food section for years. Amy’s, Udi’s, etc. — you name the brand, I can guarantee you I’ve tried several of their products at least. But the more I eat them, the more I realize that they’re not actually all that healthy. They may be gluten free, but they’re not packed with nutrition.
Amy’s gluten-free options — while not all bad — are commonly filled with corn (yes, a lot of their microwavable dinners are Mexican options like tamale and burritos, so that’s not surprising), and other not-so-healthy, grainy gluten replacers. If you’re trying to find something fast that’s not just rice or corn in the form of bread, you’re often out of luck.
That is until you find out about Caulipower pizzas. They’re not entirely innocent and perfectly-packed with nutrition (no frozen meal is, as far as I’ve been able to tell), but they’re one of the few products I’ve found in the frozen section at a standard supermarket that can fill your cravings for junk food (it is pizza, after all), offer a quick 10 minute preparation, and also be primarily a vegetable.
The first ingredient in Caulipower pizzas is cauliflower. That alone makes this a standout product in my eyes, because most quick frozen meals list “bleached enriched white flour” as their first ingredient. But as I mentioned, this is still a pizza. And well, crumbly cauliflower probably isn’t going to just magically turn into a delicious pizza dough — so the company understandably has to make some compromises.
Here’s the full ingredients list of the standard crust from Caulipower:
- Flour from brown rice
- Corn starch
- Sunflower oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Xanthan gum
- Baking powder
There are a few ingredients to be concerned about here — notably added white sugar, corn starch, tapioca, and xanthin gum. But I’m less concerned with the raw ingredients on the package and more concerned with comparing them to other standard gluten-free pizzas on the market. The two main crust ingredients in these pizzas are cauliflower and brown rice, whereas competitors list tapioca starch and rice as their main ingredients.
And we all know cauliflower has significant health benefits.
The other big comparison to be made — and the one that Caulipower rightfully brags about on the product’s packaging — is the sugar content. That competitor I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that pizza has sugar throughout — 9 grams of sugar total for just 1/4 of the small pizza. The cauliflower pizzas ditch almost all of that added sugar and lands with just 1 gram of sugar for the same amount of pizza. You can check out the Caulipower website for yourself — 2 grams of sugar is listed for 1/2 the pizza.
Caulipower pizzas have a tried-and-true preparation process for anyone that has grown up in the unfortunate age of frozen pizzas. Just like any other, you slip the pizza out of the packaging, preheat the ovenn, and pop it in. in 15-20 minutes, you have a steamy hot pizza. Does it get any simpler than that? If you’re in a pinch and need to feed your kids frozen food, this is a great option.
While I wouldn’t want to lie to you and tell you this pizza tastes like a traditional New York slice, it’s definitely not bad at all. If anything, it just has a bit of a cauliflower-y aftertaste. But I see that as a good thing, and proof that this pizza is actually mostly a vegetable. Some confusing and certainly dodgy discretion that landed 1/8 cup of tomato paste defined as a vegetable in the eyes of congress may be a bit much, but calling a slice of Caulipower pizza a vegetable wouldn’t be that much of a stretch in my eyes.
But back to taste… yes, it tastes healthy. But it also doesn’t taste bad. I’m sure that the 1 gram of added sugar per 1/4 pie lends to help this a bit, but in general I think Caulipower did a great job of putting together these ingredients. I wouldn’t doubt that this pizza would be kid-approved in just about any household. It’s certainly approved by the inner kid within me.
As I’ve said, Caulipower isn’t innocent. But it’s one of the closest things I’ve found to a healthier replacement for a commonplace American junk food. Also, it seems to be a significant and obvious win in the nutrition department compared to other gluten-free frozen pizzas. For both of these accomplishments, I don’t have much but praise for Caulipower. I hope to see more products like it.
You can find Caulipower pizzas on Amazon for about $10 a pie.