Nestled in the frozen section of the Aldi Special Buy aisle is a rotation of appetizers, from ethnic fare — Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and even Greek — to old fashioned American finger foods. Most are “semi-regular” Special Buys, usually appearing a few times a year, especially during times when appetizers are in high demand.
This is one of my favorites.
Appetitos Southwestern Rolls come in a box of 16, and claim to be stuffed with chicken, black beans, corn, spinach, cheese, and various seasonings, all in a crispy roll. A look at the ingredients list shows the primary cheese to be mozzarella; the roll itself is wheat flour. The rolls are of modest size; they’re not tiny, but expect to eat a few if you’re looking to make more than a snack out of them.
The packaging lists three preparation methods: microwave, deep fryer, and oven. The microwave instructions are, not surprisingly, the fastest: two pieces cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes, plus 1-2 more minutes to let them stand in order to cool down. The downside to the microwave instructions is that the rolls don’t come out very crispy, although this probably doesn’t surprise anyone.
The deep fryer instructions are in the middle when it comes to time: 375 degrees, cooked in the deep fryer for 5 to 5 1/4 minutes. (No, that’s not a typo: five to five minutes and fifteen seconds.) We don’t have a deep fryer so we didn’t test this method, but we assume they come out plenty crispy.
The longest method is the oven. After preheating the oven to 450 degrees, the rolls are cooked for 16-18 minutes, turning them halfway through. If you don’t have a deep fryer, we recommend this method if you have the time. The rolls are much crispier than if they were in the microwave.
Before we talk taste, a disclaimer: Aldi seems to have tinkered with the recipe on this roll, and for a while we stopped buying them because we didn’t like the direction Aldi went with them. But we’re believers again, at least with regard to the rolls at the time of this post. They have a great, rich taste, with a nice blend of veggies, chicken, and various spices. They’re particularly tasty dipped in the likes of Ranch dressing, although they’re also perfectly good plain.
Appetitos Southwestern Rolls are excellent appetizers that are perfectly suited to any party, gathering, or other excuse for making some. They’re not at all good for you — they’re high in calories, fat, and sodium — but the taste is excellent, especially when paired with Ranch dressing. Definitely recommended.