(Photo Credit: J Wynia)
When I was a kid, a can of Chef Boyardee was pretty standard fare. I can remember eating everything from the spaghetti and meatballs to the canned Mac and Cheese. My favorite though was always the Cheese Ravioli. But there are better, less caloric options out there. For several years now, I have noticed that my local health food store has been carrying Annie's Certified Organic Cheesy Ravioli. I've always been tempted to buy a can and give them a try, but the $2,79 they charge for ONE CAN has been keeping me away. As luck would have it, I saw it in Wal-mart for only $1.29 a can so I snatched up a can to try (okay, two cans).
Annie's Cheesy Ravioli is described as "organic pasta pillows filled with yummy organic cheese smothered in traditional organic tomato and cheese sauce". A quick scan of the can showed a surprisingly short list of real food ingredients and not one thing I couldn't pronounce. This product also contains only vegetarian ingredients as no animal rennet (aka calf stomach) is used in the production of the cheeses. I emptied my can into a bowl and was pleased to see that the raviolis were very puffy and full looking and that there were a lot of them - not just a 15 ounce can of sauce with a few bits swimming around.
I was also excited to see that all of my raviolis were intact - there is nothing worse than a can of broken up pieces ravioli. Like any canned pasta, Annie's can be prepared either via microwave or stovetop. I popped my bowl into the microwave for like a minute and half, gave them a good stir and dug in. These things kick Chef Boyardee's butt! The cheese inside the raviolis actually tastes like cheese and the pasta itself isn't near as mushy as your standard pasta from a can. The sauce tastes less salty and more tomato-ey. It's still pasta from a can, so it's obviously not a replacement for ravioli at your favorite Italian restaurant or even the frozen out of the bag kind, but for what it is they were good.
Each 15 ounce can of Annie's Organic Cheesy Ravioli contains two servings, each of which provides 160 calories, 3.5 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of which is saturated (6% and 8% of the daily value), 31% of the DV for sodium (730 mg), 6 grams of protein, and 31 grams of carbohydrates which includes a surprising 3 grams of fiber and 9 grams of sugars mostly from organic evaporated cane juice.
Overall, at an affordable $1.29 can, Annie's Cheesy Ravioli is both a tastier and healthier canned pasta option for kids and adults alike. Still, there is room for improvement on the sodium front.