Mar 7, 2014

Frozen Friday: Lean Cuisine vs. Smart Ones - Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans

I decided to pit Lean Cuisine's and Smart Ones' Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans against one another to see which one came out on top. Lean Cuisine's version comes in a sour cream and mild green chile sauce and is topped with a bit of cheddar cheese. Smart Ones' version also comes with a sour cream and green chile sauce but is topped with mozzarella.

Appearance: Neither meal looked that great coming out of the microwave. The worse-looking part was the sour cream and chile sauce, which had a not so palatable green hue to it in the Lean Cuisine version and the Smart Ones version looked a bit like vanilla pudding thrown on top of the rice.

I wouldn't say one looked better or worse than the other, so let's just say they both looked equally crappy.

Lean Cuisine on the left; Smart Ones on the right.
Texture: There's a nice bit of varied texture to these between the corn, beans, rice, and sauce. The sauce meshed a little better on the Lean Cuisine Santa Fe Rice and Beans but the cheddar cheese kind of disappeared. On the Smart Ones' side, the sour cream and green chili sauce-mozzarella combo was a bit too goopy for me. The rice was a little too grainy with the Smart Ones.

I give a slight nod to Lean Cuisine's Rice and Beans on the texture front.

Lean Cuisine's Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans
Taste: Since both versions of Santa Fe Rice and Beans contained mostly the same components (beans, corn, peppers, rice, etc.), it was the seasoning and sauces that set the two apart.

Lean Cuisine's rice and beans had more of a slightly seasoned, tangy tomato flavor to it and the sour cream and green chili sauce also echoed that and added some creaminess as well.

Smart One's rice and beans lacked the tomato notes and was instead seasoned with more in the way of spices, but still came off as bland. The sour cream and green chili sauce and mozzarella was mostly creamy and not much else beyond that.

Smart Ones' Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans
Price: Both were $2.50 on sale, so price is a wash. They tend to be priced pretty similarity although they don't tend to be on sale at the same time.

Verdict: Overall, I enjoyed Lean Cuisine's Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans more than the Smart Ones version. There was a better balance of flavors and just more flavor to be had. You also get a little more food with the Lean Cuisine, while maintaining the same amount of calories.

Lean Cuisine Tale of the Tape Smart Ones
294g Weight 255g
290 (45) Calories (from Fat) 290 (60)
5g (2g) Fat (Saturated Fat) 6g (2.5g)
500mg Sodium 430mg
51g (8g) Carbs (Sugar) 50g (5g)
10g Protein 9g
7 WeightWatchers PointsPlus 8