An ALDI naan review: How does the special buy L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan compare to the regularly-stocked Specially Selected Naan Flatbread?
It’s always confusing when ALDI carries L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan as an ALDI Find, since they also carry Specially Selected Naan Flatbread as an everyday item. I’ve been wondering myself about the differences between the two products, so thought it might be useful to do a little compare-and-contrast review.
- L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan, a special buy at $2.89 a pack (now up to $3.29 in $2022)
- Specially Selected Naan Flatbread, a regular buy at $3.99 a pack (now up to $4.29 in 2022)
Let’s see what you get for that price differential of a little over a dollar! I picked up the plain version of each, and gave them a try today.
An ALDI Naan Review: Specially Selected vs. L’Oven Fresh
At first glance these two products appear fairly similar. Both packages clock in at 17.6 oz, and both proclaim that they are “cooked in a patented tandoor tunnel oven.” While Specially Selected Naan Flatbread contains four pieces and L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan comes in a five pack, this is just because the L’Oven Fresh contains slightly smaller pieces of naan bread.
You can see in the above photo that the top L’Oven Fresh piece of naan is smaller and rounder than the bottom Specially Selected naan. Unfortunately, though, the differences don’t stop there. You might also note that the bottom piece of naan looks a little more like what you might expect from naan bread… And there’s a reason for that!
(I will note, though, that the L’Oven Fresh package is resealable where the Specially Selected package is not, so that’s a nice touch.)
Specially Selected vs L’Oven Fresh Naan: Ingredients
When I flipped over the two packages to check their ingredients, some major differences were immediately apparent.
Specially Selected Naan Flatbread contains
Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, ascorbic acid added as dough conditioner, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, enzyme, folic acid), cultured buttermilk (skim milk, dry buttermilk), water, soybean and/or canola oil, cultured wheat flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), sea salt, ghee (clarified butter), wheat gluten, dextrose, dextrin, vegetable fiber, yeast
L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan contains
Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, ascorbic acid added as a dough conditioner, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, enzyme, folic acid), water, soybean oil, salt, sugar, baking powder (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), yeast, wheat gluten, calcium propionate (preservative), fumaric acid, potassium sorbate (preservative), lactic acid, calcium lactate
You’ll note that L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan lacks buttermilk and ghee. The cheaper version instead substitutes water, plus food additives such as fumaric acid and lactic acid to try to simulate that same tang. L’Oven Fresh also contains a couple of preservatives not found in the Specially Selected naan.
Note: L’Oven Fresh may be a good alternative if you have a milk intolerance or are avoiding dairy. Note, though, that the packaging does have a “may contain milk” cross-contamination warning, although there is no milk in the actual ingredients.
Specially Selected vs. L’Oven Fresh Naan: Taste
OK, but how do these two varieties of ALDI naan compare in taste? I enlisted the help of my high school taste tester here: We lightly brushed both pieces of naan with butter & garlic, then heated them up for a couple of minutes on the same baking sheet in the toaster oven. Specially Selected Naan Flatbread is pictured on the top left above, and L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan on the top right. (To my eye, the visual differences between the two became even more apparent once the naan was heated!)
Unsurprisingly, given their differing ingredient lists, both of us found the Specially Selected Naan to be superior in every way. It had a better mouthfeel and more authentic tang, and we noticed that we could bite into more distinct, bubbly layers. It was lovely to split as an afternoon snack.
The L’Oven Fresh Naan, on the other hand, seemed more like an approximation of what naan is supposed to be. Less flavorful, duller, and more chewy, this resembled flatbread rather than authentic naan, and the slight tang you want from naan just wasn’t quite right in this cheaper version.
If you’re choosing which to buy this week, L’Oven Fresh Tandoori Naan would work out well for something like naan pizza. (It even looks like a little pizza crust, doesn’t it?)
However: If you’re purchasing naan to enjoy with Indian food (or anywhere where the naan will stand more on its own), you’ll want to spend the extra buck on Specially Selected Naan Flatbread.
Hope that helps answer the question of how the special buy naan differs from the regularly stocked naan at ALDI! Have you tried them both? I’d love to hear what you think, as well.
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