Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: Van's Ultimate Cheddar Penne Gluten Free Pasta

A while back, Van's sent me a box of some of their new gluten free pastas.  I've reviewed one already, but I've been a little slow in getting around to reviewing the others.  The good news is that dried pastas have a long shelf life, so I was able to delay my review of this box of Van's Ultimate Cheddar Penne Gluten Free Pasta until now.  This box of gluten free pasta comes in at 7.0 ounces and within that are three individual servings.  Each one cup serving is 280 calories (prepared) and has a whopping (or so they say) 28 grams of whole grains in every serving.  So, with that, I was ready to dive into Van's take on the American classic dish, macaroni and cheese.

First things first, this box says that this will be ready in only ten minutes.  Just like last time, that is NOT the case.  I boiled the pasta for at least fifteen minutes and it still wasn't all the way cooked.  I was up against a deadline though, so I couldn't get the job completely done and had to settle for slightly undone pasta.  That did not make me happy.  Anyway, the rest of the recipe called for me to mix in butter and fat free milk and after I did that, you get what you see above.  I added a bit too much milk, but the whole presentation itself lacked that neon orange or bright yellow look that we've come to expect with macaroni and cheese.  There's certainly nothing wrong with that as this appears to be more of a natural look, but just an observation that I made.  There was a mild cheddar cheese smell emanating from this as well, so at least I knew I was going to get something that may taste like cheese.

When I took my first bite of this, the pasta was a little tough, but we've already covered that.  As for the flavor, it was kind of bland.  I was expecting a sharper cheddar taste, but it was very mild.  It was definitely noticeable that it was cheese, but it wasn't sharp cheddar cheese like I would have liked.  Also, the whole grain pasta definitely had a grain-like taste, so a sharper cheese would have stood up better to this.  Also, Van's described this as cheesy goodness...I'm not so sure I agree.  It was more like grain pasta with a side of cheese.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Unless you have a dietary requirement, there's no reason to buy this and I'll give it a FLY BY IT rating.  Even if you are a healthy eater that tends to prefer natural foods and/or foods that are less processed, there are certainly better options out there than this.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad product, but it wasn't good either.  It was just middle of the road.


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