With the festive season in full swing, you might be popping out for a family meal at a local restaurant over the festive break. If you’re trying to control your calorie intake Pizza Express have a special menu for the season which could mean you enjoy two courses for 378 calories or three whole courses for 590 calories.
For a low cal starter, you could opt for the Leggera Gambaretti Piccante GF without Dough Sticks (210 calories – £5.65). This one is a dish of juicy king prawns in a passata sauce, which is accented with chilli flakes, garlic, santos tomatoes and spinach, and finished with fresh parsley.
Sadly, there’s no ultra-low calorie veggie option, though. So, I opted for not so guilt-free Mozzarella and Tomato Sala (486 calories – £5.20), which was not worth the calories due to the lack of flavour provided by the very watery, flavourless tomato slices and the stingy single basil leaf.
Mark, being far from keen on seafood, opted for Garlic Bread with Mozzerella (304 calories – £4.20), which was, as usual, utterly delicious, with warm bread and a rich, oily and decadent garlic cheese topping. Not exactly low calorie but not horrifically high-calorie either.
So on to the mains we moved, shifting our halos back into place by opting for Leggera pizzas. Famously containing fewer than 500 calories, and starting at only £8.75, PizzaExpress’ Leggera pizzas have been created so that you can have your usual favourite Pizza Express flavours, but with fewer calories and fat as each pizza is made from a ring of dough, and the centre filled with fresh salad, and optionally dressed with PizzaExpress’ light House Dressing.
Mark opted for a Leggera Sloppy Giuseppe (450 calories – £10.95), which is topped with hot spiced beef, green pepper, red onion, light mozzarella and tomato. As someone who has never ordered a low-cal option in a restaurant before, Mark was suitably impressed.
Meanwhile, I opted for the Padana Leggera (415 calories – £10.95), which is topped with goat’s cheese, caramelised onions, spinach, red onions and garlic oil. I found this option really delicious with the ultra thin base and generous salad. I would happily order this again and it didn’t feel like a ‘diet’ option at all.
Other low-cal main options include:
- Pollo ad Astra Leggera (418 calories – £10.95): torn chicken, light mozzarella, sweet Pappadew peppers, Cajun spices, garlic oil and red onions.
- Pomodoro Pesto Leggera (401 calories – £9.40): light mozzarella, marinated Santos tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto and garlic oil.
- Leggera Salmon Salad (444 calories – £12.80): oak-roasted peppered salmon fillet, chargrilled red & yellow peppers, sweet baby onions, cucumber, avocado, red onion, mint, rocket and seasonal mixed leaves with parsley and fresh lemon juice.
- Leggera Superfood Salad (294 calories – £10.95): baby spinach and seasonal mixed leaves, roasted butternut squash, beetroot, light baby mozzarella, avocado, pine kernels, cucumber, lentils and fresh basil finished with balsamic syrup.
For dessert, Mark opted for the new Leggera Chocolate Cheesecake (250 Calories – £5.75), which is a modest portion of smooth and creamy chocolate & mascarpone torte. Not as decadent or rich as some of their other desserts, but very pleasant and certainly a nice way to round off the meal.
Meanwhile, I opted for a Leggera Raspberry Sorbet (170 calories – £4.80), which comes with a chocolate straw and makes for a very tasty and a refreshing palette cleanser after all that garlic, onion and cheese. To minimise calories, I could even have opted for the saintly Raspberry Sorbet Dolcetti (86 calories – £4.75), which is a single scoop of the same sorbet, served with a coffee.
If you’re watching the pennies as well as the calories, Pizza Express currently offer several of the options described above as part of a two course lunch menu for £14.95 or a three course menu including a glass of Prosecco for £19.95
Visit www.pizzaexpress.com to view the entire menu and find out more.
The meal was provided in order to write this review.