I wish I could say the life of a food review blogger is glamorous, but it really isn't. Still, it does have some benefits and most of those benefits revolve around getting products for free. The source of today's review is one of those instances and adds to my Van's review catalog, which incidentally is one that entirely consists of products that I've gotten for free. So today's free product is a box of Van's Creamy Herb & Garlic Gluten Free Pasta. The box is 7.2 ounces and each box contains three one-cup servings and as it is properly prepared, each serving is 320 calories. The pasta is also whole grain and gluten free, so there's clearly some health benefits (or non-negatives if you choose to look at it that way) associated with this product.
The box proudly displays that this can be made in ten minutes and I must be a knucklehead (actually, I AM a knucklehead), so it took me closer to fifteen minutes to make this. What was bizarre about this is that when I boiled it in water. it didn't just soften like normal pasta does. It secreted something that made the water turn into a milky kind of substance. Not sure if that was cheesy flavoring that was prepared into the pasta or not, but it was odd to watch transpire. Anyway, after I followed all the steps listed, I got what you see above. It's a whole grain lentil pasta mixed with a creamy herb and garlic sauce that smelled strongly of various herbs, including the name garlic. It also had a strong cheesy smell of the salty variety, which after reviewing the ingredients, I learned those various cheeses were Parmesan and Romano. Too sharp cheeses, so it's clear that Van's intended to put a lot of pop into this. One more thing to note is that they certainly weren't lying when they called this a creamy pasta, because it definitely was that.
As I bit into this, it was clear that the cheeses and herbs were battling for control of this and it was a lot of fun. The cheeses were salty, as I would have expected and as the visual presentation showed, they were also quite creamy and thick. That made for a nice mouthfeel. The herbs provided a nice aromatic component to that creamy and salty cheese and actually, it was so aromatic that it made my sinuses kind of tingle with the garlic that was in the herbs. Personally, I love that feeling when I'm eating something. What was also interesting about that spice mixture in this is I somehow detected a hint of cinnamon, or at least what gave the impression of cinnamon with it's heat and taste. As for the pasta itself, it was kind of bland and got lost among the creamy cheeses and the herbs. I did taste it separately prior to mixing everything together and it definitely had whole grain flavor, but it was bland. But, that's what pasta is, so this should come as no surprise.
Buy It or Fly By It? I won't say this was the best thing I've ever eaten, but it was definitely tasty, so it gets a BUY IT rating. Granted, this is not something I'd buy regularly because I don't eat a lot of pasta, but I was glad to eat this. Also, if you are a celiac and/or trying to cut gluten out of your diet, this would be a good option. The only catch is that it may be cost prohibitive to buy this, but since I got it for free, I have no idea if it is or not.