I went to a food show a few weeks ago and while I wanted to eat everything in sight, I had to pace myself since I have dietary restrictions. Many of my friends do as well, so I tried to hone in on some companies whose products catered to that audience. La Pasta was one of them.
In general, I’m a huge pasta fan and could have it for dinner every night. However, when it comes to cheese-filled pasta, I’m really limited due to my lactose intolerance. I’ve tried a few dairy-free cheese raviolis on the market … and they’re, well, “eh.” Sure, I could try to make ravioli from scratch if and when I have the time, but sometimes it’s nice to have dinner ready with just a tear of a package and twist of a jar. With these thoughts in mind, my eyes perked up when I saw La Pasta’s booth at the show. I noticed that they carried several vegan and gluten-free options in addition to their regular line of fresh pastas and sauces. Unfortunately, there weren’t any samples on site to taste so the company offered to send me a few after the show.
Similar to my issue in finding pasta with a decent dairy-free cheese, my friends have difficulty finding gluten-free pasta that actually tastes good. Fortunately, La Pasta sent me a few samples that touched upon each category: Vegan Cheese Ravioli, Gluten-free Mushroom Ravioli, Garlic & Parsley Linguine (part of their flavored line), and a jar of their Eggplant Tomato Sauce.
I went for the Vegan Cheese Ravioli right away! According to the label, the filling consisted of vegan ricotta cheese, soy milk, vegan mozzarella cheese, corn starch, extra virgin olive oil, bread crumbs, sea salt, and white pepper. That alone felt promising since the other brands I’ve tried had double the amount of ingredients, with a bulk of them being additives.
I used the Eggplant Tomato Sauce to get the full La Pasta meal experience, adding nothing else to the dish. The label listed the ingredients as peeled tomatoes, fresh eggplant, fresh onions, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh basil, sea salt, fresh oregano, and black pepper. The aroma made me want to devour the sauce straight out of the jar, but I forced myself to wait until it was heated.
After the ravioli was cooked and drained, I gently tossed it with some eggplant sauce in a large bowl. I took a bite and was thoroughly impressed. Even my boyfriend liked it … and he’s a bona fide cheese-a-holic that normally bolts out of the room at a whisper of the word “vegan.” The freshness of the pasta accompanied with the flavor of the vegan cheese filling was really unbelievable.
Unlike the ravioli, I wound up having mixed feelings on the sauce. The mixture of eggplant, tomatoes, onions and all of the spices were hearty and delicious. However, I felt that the sauce contained a little bit too much oil to my liking, which weighed heavily in my stomach. It’s also possible that I spooned on a bit more than a normal serving size. It was really difficult not to, especially since it looked so scrumptious.
I’ve yet to taste the other pastas that were sent to me. I’d like to prepare the gluten-free one for some friends with that specific dietary allergy. This way I’ll gain some honest feedback based upon what they’re used to. As for the flavored linguine, I’m looking forward to trying that in a new recipe. All in all, I’m definitely going to check where La Pasta is sold in my area so that I can add a few of their products to my shopping list.