Tesco have become the first supermarket in the UK to produce an own-brand range of chilled free from ready meals, which will be available from selected stores from 21st May.
Chilled ready meals is definitely an under catered for area in freefrom food, and Tesco told me that this is something that customers have been asking for.
Sticking to the classics, Tesco have produced ready meals in individual portions, which can be reheated in the oven or microwave depending on the dish. The gluten free pastas are sourced from Italy and the beef from ‘within the British Isles’.
Tony and I tried the ready meals together. I never buy ready meals, but Tony finds them very useful for a weeknight option, not being a keen cook and needing something quick to have on the table after the gym. Following a gluten free regime does mean he is limited as to what he can buy on the ready meal front, so not having to ready the ingredients list in full when shopping is a big plus from his point of view.
Tesco sent us three dishes to try at home. Here’s what we thought.
First, we tried the spaghetti bolognaise. This meal was microwaveable and was very quick to heat up. The spaghetti was thinner than standard spaghetti, but was absolutely delicious. The pasta was just lightly al dente when reheated. We were very impressed by the bologniase sauce. Rich and flavourful, it tasted homemade, as though it had been slow cooked which we like. We both agreed that this was just an excellent meal in its own, let alone for a ready meal.
Next, we tried the lasagne. This one was an oven bake only, which took about 30 minutes to bake. Easy, but requires a bit of forethought. I have had lasagne ready meals before, which I haven’t particularly enjoyed being a firm believer that homemade is definitely best when it comes to lasagne, but I was keen to try this. We found the pasta and sauce quite sloppy and wet, with the bolognaise not as tasty as the spaghetti bolognaise was. I would put it on a par with a standard lasagne ready meal, which is not a bad thing at all.
Finally, we tried the chicken and bacon pasta bake. This was very tasty, and would be enjoyed by children we reckon. It contained a springing of peas to up the vegetable count, too. The gluten free cheese sauce is pleasant and quite well flavoured. A great option for a quick weekday meal that all the family will enjoy.
All in all, these meals are a very welcome addition to the freefrom offering at Tesco, with the spaghetti bolognaise being by far the standout dish for us.
Here is the full range Tesco are offering:
Tesco Free From Beef Lasagne 420g £2.50 Tesco Free From Three Cheese Fusili 380g £2.50 Tesco Free From Spaghetti Bolognese 400g £2.50 Tesco Free From Chicken & Bacon Pasta Bake 400g £2.50 Tesco Free From Beef Casserole & Dumplings 400g £2.50 * The above lines will be £2 each from 21st May - 5th June