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Calorie Count Blog

Food Review: Organic Bean, Rice and Cheese Burritos


By tanyapt on Nov 30, 2010 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

By Tanya Tailor, PhD

I keep some frozen food products on hand for the days when I cannot seem to juggle everything. I do try to find products with a decent ingredients list as well as good nutritional value. I decided to turn my attention to frozen burritos to see if it was possible to get good taste, good ingredients and a decent nutritional profile.

After looking at a few options in my local supermarket, I selected Amy's Organic Beans & Rice Cheddar Cheese Burrito and Cedarlane Low Fat Beans, Rice & Cheese Style Burrito to try out.

Amy's Beans & Rice Cheddar Cheese Burrito

Amy's describes this burrito as, “organic flour tortilla wrapped around organic pinto beans, rice and vegetables in a mild Mexican sauce, with cheddar cheese added.”

(1) Describe the appearance.

This looked like a typical tortilla encased burrito, and when I bit into it, I could see cheese and mashed beans oozing out. It wasn't too thick with ingredients, which sometimes makes a huge mess, so I was able to enjoy the entire burrito and not leave wasted food on my plate.

(2) Describe the taste.

This made for part of a pretty good lunch. As a meat eater, I thought I would miss the presence of chicken or some other meat, but I didn't. The only thing is that because the predominant texture and taste is of beans, which is pretty bland, I would have loved some more spicy flavor to really kick this up a notch. But, not everyone likes spicy, so for those people who don't, this is perfect.

(3) What did you like about it?

This was a simple lunch with a decent ingredients list (which can be seen at Amy's website). It starts with organic pinto beans, organic wheat and wheat flour, filtered water, organic brown rice – and continues on with easily recognizable ingredients. I was also really pleased that there are 11 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber in a 170 gram burrito.

(4) What did you not like about it?

The texture was so-so and the flavor was a bit bland. The beans and rice melded together, and if there was a sauce, it must have been pretty well integrated with the cheese because it didn't provide anything extra, except maybe give the burrito moistness (a good thing as there is nothing worse than a dry burrito) – neither was it too runny.

(5) How does this food compare to similar and competing products?

Although the protein and fiber content are excellent, a low fat burrito this is not – but that's expected since there is cheese - so there is 2.5 grams of saturated fat which is 13% of the daily value, as well as 9 grams of total fat. There is also 580 mg of sodium. The Old City Café Veggie Burger & Bean Burrito, reviewed at iAteApie.net provides the same 310 calories, but 6 grams of total fat, of which only 0.5 grams are saturated. Of course, there is no cheese in the Old City Cafe Burrito, but this is one flavorful burrito with a slightly spicy kick to it and the ingredients list is just as impressive as Amy's, but not organic.

Cedarlane Low Fat Beans, Rice & Cheese Style Burrito

Cedarlane says, “first we start with an organic tortilla and build a mountain of organic ingredients that are sure to please your palette: organic pinto beans, organic brown rice, soy cheddar cheese, vegetables, and special herbs and spices.”

(1) Describe the appearance.

Again, this looked like a typical tortilla encased burrito on the outside. On the inside, the 'soy cheese' and brown pinto beans are apparent. This burrito is the same size as the Amy's Bean & Rice Burrito described above.

(2) Describe the taste.

Unlike the Amy's Beans & Cheese Cheddar burrito, this one has a little spicy kick to it!  Because of this, the taste of beans is not most predominant – and the spiciness is not overwhelming at all.  It is more of a mild and pleasant flavor. Cedarlane sure knows what they are doing with this vegetarian burrito because they made a 'soy cheese' burrito skeptic eat her words.

(3) What did you like about it?

The taste is delicious, and both the nutrition facts and the organic ingredients profile are very good (which can be seen at CedarlaneFoods.com). Each 170 gram burrito provides 260 calories, 2 grams of total fat, 13 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber.

(4) What did you not like about it?

There wasn't anything I didn't like about this burrito. The size was adequate for lunch, but for dinner I would need more – a salad, a side of vegetables or another burrito.

(5) How does this food compare to similar and competing products?

I haven't come across an organic, vegetarian (or non-vegetarian for that matter) burrito with better nutrition facts. One that does come close is the vegan EVOL Veggie Fajita Burrito reviewed at iAteApie.net, which is 70% organic and provides 290 calories, 3 grams of total fat, 5 grams of fibe.r and 10 grams of protein.

Summary

This isn't even close, I much prefer Cedarlane Low Fat Beans, Rice & Cheese Style Burrito to Amy's Beans & Rice Cheddar Cheese Burrito.  If Cedarlane products are not in your local store, they can be ordered online at Cedarlane To-Go.


Your thoughts....

For those of you who do eat frozen foods, have you tried frozen burritos? What did you think?


Tanya Taylor founded Iateapie.net in 2004 while working on a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition at Auburn University (Alabama). Shortly after graduation (in August 2006), she moved to Ann Arbor, MI and started working as a Food Chemist.  She recently  relocated to New York where she continues to run Iateapie.net, along with IntheGym.net, which features workout playlists.

Calorie Count follows About.com's Ethics Policy when it comes to reviewing products.



Comments


My kids take the Cedarlane burritos to school for lunch a lot.  The middle school has microwaves for student use in the cafeteria, so it's an easy fix.  I take them to work, too!  They are yummy, and easy, and not too shabby nutritionally.  Thanks for your post.



The Cederlane burritos are available at Costco and are a regular purchase in our home.  At Costco you can also get the Jacks special salsa that is delish but watch out it's addicting!  I also use the salsa as a salad dressing. 



What is the calorie count for the Amy's brand burrito?  I do like some spice, Tabasco (the green one), although it is high in sodium is my zero calorie favorite!



Ditto on Cedarlane Low Fat Beans, Rice & Cheese: had it for dinner last night actually :-)



I haven't tried either of the burritos before as I prefer enchiladas in general, but after reading your review I will definitely be looking for it at my local sources!  Thanks. 



Would love it, but when you can't eat soy, there's not much of a contest. I'll take Amy's, and top it with a bit of low-calorie salsa for a kick of flavor...

If these makers would start using something like Daiya instead of soy cheese, a lot more of us with allergy issues could eat their products.



I actually like Amy Burritos, actually I love mexican food in general! I have never tried Cedarlane products or even heard of them, maybe I'll have to try them out. http://fullbodytransformation.wordpress.com/



AMEN! Myself and all my healthful friends love the Cedarlane burritos! I am not a huge fan of soy cheese, but this burrito is so delicious I can't even tell! And the lack of guilt from the absence of dairy cheese, makes the whole thing even better!

And I am so pleased to hear someone else describe Amy's brand as BLAND! I so agree, in regards to the burrito, and every other product of hers I have tried. Healthy eating does not have to taste like cardboard or paper! Lol!

Thanks for this fun post!



I have been known to eat the occasional Amy's burrito when on the run.  I just keep my bottle of Frank's hot sauce handy and put a couple drops on each bite and MAN, does it spice it up good!



I try not to eat frozen foods, but I do occassionally as they are good enough for the days when I really do not have time to cook; or have not had time to plan.

Frozen burritos are ok and they will do in a pinch.  I am fortunate to have a Taco Bell within 3  minutes from my home.  They do have several options for those of us who are watching fat and calories and salt.  You just need to pull up their site and look for the meals or items that best suit your needs for a healthy meal.

Frozen food generally contain high amounts of sodium; but then so do foods commercially prepared in restaurants.  I enjoy eating out occassionally, but it takes a lot of work and planning in advance to decide what I will eat.Laughing



One thing the review fails to mention is the price of these items.  I went to the Cedarlane site, and found that you can buy them there for $3.44 a burrito.  That is pretty expensive for a frozen item for lunch.  I wouldn't be able to fit them into my food budget at that price, but maybe Costco they are cheaper?  I rather have a Stouffer's Lean Cusine Sante Fe Beans and Rice for no more that $2.50 if I were going to heat up a frozen lunch.  The review also doesn't say anything about how easy/hard/long it takes to heat the burritos up - this may not be a big factor, but it is a factor.



I am also a Lean Cuisine fan. The burritos I've tried in the past are always frozen inside by the time the ends are too hot, not worth the trouble. The sodium is always the problem with any commercially frozen food.



They both sound delicious but both have tons of sodium.  Anyone know of anything like this that is lower in sodium content?



As an 8-year vegetarian with a full schedule, I'm always looking for healthy, quick snacks, and Cedarlane usually tops my list. Amy's burrito is quite bland, especially compared to Cedarlane. They're both a little more expensive, but healthy food is the one thing I'm OK splurging on.

Cedarlane's Pizza Veggie Wraps may be my favorite frozen food ever. 170g, 220 cals. It's hard to come across any quick meal with a better ratio (3g fat, 32g carbs, 17g protein), and it tastes amazing! My only complaint with them is the sodium (500mg).

P.S. Thank you for featuring a vegetarian food review!!



I much prefer the trader joes organic bean and rice burritos...i could eat them every day and they are only 260 calories :)



Thanks for the info. I may try these.



I think a homemade burrito kicks the butt of any frozen (processed) burrito any day of the week.

Sunday night:

  1. Mix up a tupperware container of black refried beans, shredded chicken, salsa, and whatever else you love and mix it all up. 
  2. Either the night before or the morning of "your day" whip out a tortilla of your choice.  (I prefer Ezekial tortillas or Trader Joe's Spelt tortillas as they aren't made with any white flour products).
  3. Pack the tortilla with your pre-made fixings, toss in some low-fat shredded cheddar cheese and wrap the whole thing up in aluminum foil.
  4. At work unwrap the tortilla, cover it with a paper towel and nuke it for 2-3 minutes.

Presto, almost as convenient, made-to-order and much better for you!

Cheers!



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MODERATOR OF CC???? PLEASE GET RID OF THESE TWO PEOPLE WHO POST INAPPROPTIATELY TO MANY OF THE TOPICS.



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YellFoot in mouth



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I just had Cederlane Bean's, Rice and Cheese Style Burrito, and I am a HUGE fan. This will be a staple I return to when I am short on time and need to keep away from the nearest fast food restaurant. Thanks for this review.. .I would have never though to try it.Laughing



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