In these abysmal and uncertain times of economic calamity, who doesn’t like to save a buck or two on their grocery shopping? That’s why I was really excited to find that Whole Foods is now making a knock-off version of one of the best vegan frozen entrees that is available, Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza. Amy’s pizza is known and loved by many as a truly delicious frozen pizza that’s 100% vegan and available in many super markets, including Whole Foods. Whole Foods has also started carrying their own version of the same thing under their home label, 365 Everyday Value. I assumed this would be the same as Amy’s pizza just boxed as the Whole Foods brand, much like they do at Trader Joe’s.
The great thing about this Whole Foods version is that it’s nearly half the price… Amy’s goes for $8.99 while the Whole Foods pizza is only $4.99. Too bad the low price is the only great thing about it. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
First lets talk a bit about Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza (No Cheese). This is one delicious pizza as far as things that come out of box and into your oven are concerned. I loved this long before I went vegan and I still do today. Amy’s pizza is the one item in the freezer aisle I always have a tough time resisting.
As described, it involves: “No cheese. Topped with marinated organic shiitake mushrooms, roasted red peppers, sweet onions and marinated artichoke hearts. Non-dairy/no cholesterol.”
The sauce is onion based, not tomato. The weird thing is that I am an avid & avowed onion hater, though it’s mostly in their raw form that I despise them. Cooked into food I don’t mind them, and in certain preparations I actually like them. Sweet onion pizza sauce is one of those ways. One of my all time favorite foods on the entire planet is the green onion based Indian pizza at Zante’s in San Francisco. Should I ever have to choose my last meal, Zante’s vegan pizza with everything would be it. Amy’s pizza tastes nothing like Zante’s of course (nothing can ever come close), but it does share that unique sweet onion sauce approach to pizza. If something can make me actually enjoy an onion, you know it’s got to be good.
The crust on Amy’s pizza is excellent for something out of a freezer. It gets nicely crisp on the outside and stays just the right amount of soft & chewy on the inside. There’s always a generous amount of the special sauce and an equally generous and well distributed placement of toppings. The toppings are chopped into small bite sized pieces and both look and taste perfectly fresh and delicious. Amy’s uses 85% organic ingredients in this pizza, is all natural and is 100% vegan. All in all, good stuff that you don’t have to be vegan to appreciate.
Now for the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza, aka, the knock off.
As they describe it: “Pizza without cheese may sound crazy, but it sure is delicious. We start with a perfectly formed crust, sweet onion sauce and layer roasted artichokes, Shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers and tomatoes to create a cheeseless paradise. So pop one in the oven, toss together a fresh salad and forget about the dairy… you’ll never miss it!”
Yum, sure sounds good, right? Even with that whole whole wacky no cheese thing! Wrong. If there was ever proof of “you get what you pay for”, this would be it- a total failure at imitating Amy’s pizza:
It looks downright nasty. Granted these are not the best photos nor did I take them in the best lighting. But seriously, you don’t need better light to see how bad this looks… bright light would have just made it look worse, this thing is better off left in the dark. There’s hardly any sauce, and what there is of it is just sort of lumped about in little puddles. The toppings are sparse and with one whole section of the pizza not even hardly getting any. It’s one of the saddest pizzas I’ve ever seen. My picture sure doesn’t look anything like the one on the box now does it?
Totally unappetizing. It didn’t even smell good while it was heating in the oven… one of the best things about a good pizza being how awesome it smells while it’s cooking. The crust was hard all the way through even though I heated it according to the instructions. It’s appearance was kind of sickly pale and the texture on the top felt moist and spongy. What little sauce that was there was thin and runny, adding to the already wet sensation this thing had going for it. Of the barely there toppings, they were cut into awkward, too big chunks, the size of which only emphasized how much they tasted like cheap, soggy freezer food. The mushrooms were gross, I picked those off after my first bite, but ultimately I didn’t make it much farther into this disgusting pizza- I couldn’t even finish one whole slice.
Hands down, this wannabe is an abomination and should be taken off the market immediately. Whole Foods, you totally dropped the ball on this one, big time. Take it away and come back when you get it right.
Not only is this thing unpalatable, it’s not even vegan. The crust of the Whole Foods pizza contains honey, while my beloved Amy’s pizza uses agave as a sweetener. Now let’s not get into the whole debate about honey, it’s not vegan, deal with it. Beyond that though, there is something far weirder going on here. One of the listed ingredients on the Whole Foods pizza is “2% or less of sponge extract”. Say what now? Yes, you heard me right the first time, sponge extract. I don’t know what the hell sponge is doing in there as a food ingredient, and frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn. It’s not like I will ever in my life be eating this horrid thing ever again.
If I sound pissed off you’re darn tootin’ right I am! There’s nothing quite as rotten feeling as realizing you’ve been taken for a ride while believing you were getting a good deal, especially if you’re really hungry and have nothing else at home to eat other than this turd pretending to be something it’s not. I feel like I’ve been swindled by the used car salesman of frozen pizzas. Saving $4 isn’t at all a value when what you get for the bargain is something so bad that you can’t even bring yourself to eat it. Seriously Whole Foods, what the fuck? This nonsense is giving cheeseless pizza a bad name. I want my $4.99 back so that I can apply it towards wiping away this foul memory with a delicious Amy’s pizza. It might be double the price but there’s no question which one is the tastier and better value. Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations!
Amy’s Roasted Vegetable Pizza, No Cheese
Doesn’t have it’s own page, scroll about half way down.
Whole Foods Roasted Vegetable No Cheese Pizza
Just read the comments on that page, I’m not the only hater.
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