Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl Review

Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl

We’re always on the hunt for a good orange chicken, so when we spotted the Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl, we were curious about how it might hold up. Now, we’re not expecting this to eclipse Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken, which is the absolute king of frozen orange chicken, but we have high hopes that this will satisfy our OC craving. (OC is orange chicken, in case you hadn’t figured that out by now.)

We should point out that this isn’t Lean Cuisine’s only orange chicken dish. We sampled their basic orange chicken a while back, and we can’t say we were all that impressed. We’re hoping that this slightly bulkier version will be an improvement over that.

Anyway, this isn’t difficult to heat up. Throw it into the microwave for two and a half minutes, give it a little stir-stir, then pop it back in for another two minutes. It’s pretty standard stuff for anyone who’s been around the Lean Cuisine scene. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions straight off the box, go ahead! We’ve scanned the box and posted the instructions at the bottom of this review.)

Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl

When we took this out of the package, our first thought was “Boy howdy, this has a lot of peppers in it!” And it’s true. This thing is absolutely loaded with bell peppers, both yellow and green. In fact, this should have almost been called “peppers with orange chicken” because the pepper content is such a big part of this meal.

Then again, the peppers are just kind of average. They have a nice crunch and a pretty decent flavor, but they contrast with the orange sauce in a way that makes us wonder if there weren’t a better veggie to use here.

The chicken is super mushy — it’s so bad that we’re almost convinced we could drink it with a straw. It just dissolves into goop as soon as it enters your mouth. It doesn’t taste bad, and the flavor of the chicken actually works with that of the orange sauce, but the consistency is really off-putting.

All of this rests upon a bed of rice. While the rice comes as no surprise in a dish like this, we don’t think it’s the right choice here. It emphasizes the worst parts of the orange sauce’s flavor, giving this whole meal an almost acidic aftertaste. It’s not that the rice tastes acidic; it’s that the sauce tastes acidic, and this part of the flavor comes out the strongest when you’re eating the rice portion.

This contains 360 calories, which isn’t terrible, but it seems that with the High Protein line, Lean Cuisine is erring on the side of protein rather than “Lean.” How about sodium? This has just a touch more sodium than the average frozen meal, at 740 mg. But really, if you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake, you might have to take a break from frozen food in general.

The Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl is a mess. The only ingredient here that we think works with the orange sauce is the chicken, and that’s mushy to the point of being absurd. We know that frozen orange chicken is a tough prospect, but this meal fails on just about every level. If you’re really craving a tasty orange chicken bowl, we recommend the Trader Joe’s Mandarin Style Orange Chicken Bowl. It has more calories than this Lean Cuisine meal, but it also avoids all of the flaws we’ve mentioned in this review. Lean Cuisine’s Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl is a hard pass for us.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this Lean Cuisine bowl, check out our package scans below.

Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl
Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl
Lean Cuisine Orange Chicken High Protein Bowl
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