Probably the worst thing about this produce is the name, wow, it’s a mouthful: Lean Cuisine Origins Sicilian-Style Pesto With Lentil Pasta. I’ll be the first to confess I don’t really know the difference between the Lean Cuisine product line up. From memory there are selections such as: Marketplace, Comfort, Favorites, Craveables – and now this – Origins. I’m sure we could all swing a guess at what each of those monikers means, but I simply picked this one up as it’s the most expensive Lean Cuisine product I’ve spotted to date (see below). Does that extra price equate to more flavor…I had to find out…
First impressions were positive. As the dish cooked the aroma was pleasingly fresh and bold. The taste was even better. First up, the pesto sauce here is great; a rich, slightly sweet tomato based sauce with big punches of garlic. The dish has no dairy and I believe is vegan friendly (though the box doesn’t state that so proceed with caution).
I was also remarkably impressed by how well the lentil based pasta reheated in the microwave; it wasn’t chewy, tough or rubbery. It was a little more coarse in texture than a regular pasta, but that’s to be expected given the lentil base. At any rate, coupled with the small slivers of carrot and bell peppers, the dish wasn’t a generic reheated mush, but a fun mix of bite and chew.
For me the final tick in the box here is the nutrition. Unlike most frozen meals sodium is relatively in check, fat is low and there’s a healthy 15g or protein. I’m a self confessed greedy little pig, and was happily sated after cooking this dish up for lunch. It’s one of the few times I’ve enjoyed a dish right from the microwave and also felt good about myself afterwards.
This one is a definite Smart Buy for me. I’d love to try more in the Origins range based off of this.
Lean Cuisine Origins Sicilian-Style Pesto With Lentil Pasta – what’s in the box
As with other Lean Cuisine products, inside the cardboard packaging you’ll find the meal in a microwavable tray:
Lean Cuisine Origins Sicilian-Style Pesto With Lentil Pasta
Here’s a couple shots of the final cooked product. This might be one of the most eye catching frozen meals I’ve prepared. And to be clear, this is pretty much out of the tray onto the plate, now extra gussying up on my part:
Lean Cuisine Origins Sicilian-Style Pesto With Lentil Pasta nutrition and info
Lean Cuisine Origins Sicilian-Style Pesto With Lentil Pasta cooking instructions
As you’d expect, this is very easy to prepare. Cook in the microwave for a few minutes, stir, cook a little more. I found the packaging instructions cooked the dish just fine:
Lean Cuisine Origins Sicilian-Style Pesto With Lentil Pasta cooking ingredients
Lean Cuisine Origins Sicilian-Style Pesto With Lentil Pasta – what’s a fair price?
I paid $3.28 for this at a local Walmart, that’s in stark contrast to other items in the Lean Cuisine range that are uniformly priced at $2.50. Am I happy paying this surcharge? Absolutely yes. This is a fine product and I’d probably go as high as $4-$5 all things considered (taste, ease, texture, nutrition) – don’t tell Lean Cuisine 😉
Hi I’m Stuart, amateur home cook and professional food writer. You can find my writing at places like The Salt Lake Tribune and Gastronomic SLC, which I founded more than a decade ago. As well as writing extensively about restaurants, I’m endlessly curious about that product on the shelf. Is it any good I wonder? If you’re like me, wonder no more.