UNO’s mindful choices–review (+giveaway!)

Last night I was invited by the marketing coordinator of UNO’s, Nami, to try their mindful choices menu items. Have you been to UNO’s in a while? This is a relatively new change to the menu. I personally haven’t been to the restaurant since the night they served me a microwaved pizza (that made me sick the next day!) but I was eager to taste some of their healthier offerings. I always appreciated that UNO’s provided nutritional info for all of their items (even though the numbers were often scary!) and last night I was happy to find out that it’s easy to make healthier choices at UNO’s… and they are actually delicious!!

The mindful choices symbolized by a little tomato on the menu imply that the item may be reduced calorie, lower in fat, lower in sodium, etc. There is no set standard for what qualifies as a “mindful choice.” I did find that all the items appeared to be lower in calories, were more veggie centric and were prepared in a healthier manner (baked vs. fried; brown rice vs. white, etc.). Sounds more mindful of health guidelines, no?

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Bloggers Melissa and Natalie were also in attendance (check out their new website dedicated to fun events in Boston!), as well as my friend Judith – between the 5 of us (including Nami) we sampled every single mindful choice. Yes, there was a lot of food. And yes, it was a lot of fun!

APPETIZERS

Farro salad with chipsa whole grain barley with diced tomatoes, cucumber and balsamic vinaigrette

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[160 calories, 8 g fat – without chips]

Farro is a grain I rarely eat so I was really happy to see it on the menu of a chain restaurant. The balsamic vinaigrette added really nice acidity and the tomatoes and cucs added nice freshness. I say skip the chips (order this as a side!) and dig in with your fork. Yum!

House Made Guacamole with chipsred onion, cilantro, lime juice

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[230 calories, 11g fat; without chips]

I did not try this since it contained onions, but everyone LOVED this guac. We don’t need to talk about the fact that avocados are good for you, despite the higher fat content, right? Ok, I didn’t think so. Winking smile

Stuffed mushroomsportabella, shiitake, goat cheese, bread crumbs and romano cheese

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[140 calories, 9 g fat]

These were “meaty” and cheesy. Delicious!

SALADS

Walnut crusted warm goat cheesebaked goat cheese atop field greens, with fresh blueberries and low-fat blueberry pomegranate dressing

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[250 calories, 17g fat/srg – whole dish = TWO servings!]

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My love for all-things goat cheese is not a secret and this walnut crusted ball of heaven was my idea of a perfect salad. I think it would be really amazing to spread the goat cheese over some toast. Mmmm. Beware – this dish contains 2 servings!

Power salad with fat free raspberry vinaigrette dressingchicken breast, spinach, plum tomatoes, carrots, feta, red grapes, goji berries, raisins, soy nuts, almonds, pepitas, and craisins

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[270 calories, 7 g fat; 2 servings/dish]

Wow, there is a lot going on here, doesn’t it? I had a few bites and saw the potential of all the sweet/ savory/ crunchy/creamy toppings being fun but I didn’t actually get to taste them all in one forkful. Entrees and pizza were coming up next so I was a bit distracted, but I think this definitely could be a delicious power meal!

ENTREES

Chicken Milanese salad with balsamic vinaigrettebread and baked chicken breasts, topped with a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, parmesan and balsamic vinaigrette

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[430 calories, 29g fat, including dressing; 2 servings per dish]

I normally would not eat meat at UNO’s (until they start serving organic chicken!) but I tasted a piece for the sake of a review. Man, this was good. It was perfectly crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and very well seasoned. It is possible to have delicious “fried” chicken without frying (again note that 1/2 dish is meant to be a serving, if you eat the whole thing it becomes less of a “mindful choice.”]

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Lemon Basil Salmon

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[240 calories, 17g fat; without sides; 2 servings/dish]

This was nicely cooked – I loved the lemon/garlic/basil seasoning on top. A bit of butter also added a nice richness without making it greasy. Delicious!

PIZZAS

Harvest vegetable pizza on a 5-grain flatbreadhouse made salsa, garlic roasted cherry tomatoes, basil, peppers, spinach, broccoli, caramelized onions finished with cheddar and mozzarella

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[410 calories, 22 g fat; THREE servings/dish]

UNO’s is obviously known for their pizza and despite not being the ultra buttery deep dish, this pizza delivered! I loved everything up until this point, but this pizza was hands down my favorite. I loved the abundance of veggies, especially the roasted tomatoes and broccoli. This is also made to order, so I was able to request it without the caramelized onions. Note that each pizza is 3 servings, which makes it the most caloric dish if you eat the whole thing (my advice: don’t Winking smile ).

Roasted Eggplant, Spinach and Feta on 5 Grain Flatbread

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[290 calories, 11g fat; 3 servings/dish]

I’m surprised this pizza is lower in calories than the one above given that pesto is higher in calories than salsa. Perhaps there is less cheese on it? This was good if you love pesto as your pizza sauce but I personally preferred the harvest vegetable above.

DESSERT

Mini granny smith all American

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[320 calories, 14g fat]

Mini macadamia nut white chocolate cookie sundae

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[660 calories, 35g fat Disappointed smile]

Mini bananas foster

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[350 calories, 17g fat]

Mini hot chocolate brownie sundae

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[370 calories, 16g fat]

Obviously, dessert is no health food. I appreciate that UNO’s offers mini-versions of many of their top desserts but of course they should still be treated as treats (they’re small but pack a caloric punch – see mini macadamia white chocolate cookie above]. I did not love these. They were super sweet and a little fake tasting in my opinion. I’d stick to savory offerings at UNO’s and have dessert at home.

All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised by UNO’s mindful choice menu items. Everything tasted fresh and flavorful and I would not hesitate to go back there again!

Has it been a while since you’ve been to UNO’s? One lucky Healthy and Sane reader will win $25 UNO dough so you can try any of the above items (or their deep dish pizza… hey I won’t tell Winking smile ) yourself!

Here are the rules: there are 7 ways to enter.

1) Leave a comment on this post – Tell me whatever you want, like what your favorite pizza topping is or what you’d order if you won! :)

2+3) Follow me on Twitter (please tell me in the comments what your twitter name is so I can confirm). For an additional entry, you can also tweet about this giveaway (my twitter handle @elinacooks and a link to this post must be included to qualify)

4) Subscribe to Healthy and Sane by email

5) Like Healthy and Sane on Facebook.

6) Add Healthy and Sane to your blogroll.

7) Link to this post on your blog, if you have one. If you don’t, let someone else know about this giveaway and tell me so in the comments section after they’ve entered the giveaway.

Please leave a separate comment on this post for each entry. The giveaway will end on February 22. I will randomly choose 1 winner using random.org on the following Wednesday. Good luck! Open-mouthed smile

Edited to add: Nami just sent me a $10 off $25 coupon. If you live near the Boston or Newton restaurant and stop by, be sure to present it. Ok, I’m really done now. lol

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