Everybody loves Mac & Cheese… well, not my mom…. Mom doesn’t even really like pasta…or Mexican food…. Okay, so I’m not sure where she came from…. But normal people like Mac & Cheese. I LOVE Mac & Cheese. It’s one of the things that I really missed when I went gluten free. Of course, as with many things now there are gluten free versions available. And as with most gluten free foods, there are some really good ones and some really awful ones…..
One of my Yoga students who has been slowly going GF asked if I could recommend a good Mac & Cheese. I named off a few that I had tried and liked, but she got me to thinking…… Time for a Gluten Free Mac & Cheese Taste Test!
I actually followed the directions on the box, so you should get the same results when you make these at home.
Horizon – Boiled for 8 minutes. Added 1/4 cup Milk and 2 TBSP Butter.
Annie’s Organic – Boiled for 10 minutes. Added 3 TBSP Milk & 2 TBSP Butter.
Simply Balanced (Target Brand)- Boiled for 10 minutes. Added 3 TBSP Milk & 2 TBSP Butter.
Wildtree Kid’s Cheeze Blend (directions) & Barilla Pasta – Boiled for 7 minutes. Added 1/4 c. Cheeze Blend & 1/4 c. Milk.
Brian’s friends were over for their weekly game night, so I decided to use them as guinea pigs. (Poor things, huh?) These guys aren’t Gluten Free… (except on Game Night when I try out new recipes on them) so I figured they wouldn’t have the “good enough for Gluten Free” mindset.
I gave them each a plate full of Mac & Cheese and told them to write down their favorites and any comments they thought would be helpful….
There were some mixed reviews, but the consensus was that the Horizon Mac & Cheese was the favorite. It was the creamiest and the noodles were a little softer without being squishy.
Annie’s and Simply Balanced tied in a close second. The noodles were more firm and the cheese had a sharper flavor than the Horizon.
The Wildtree Kid’s Cheeze Blend was the least favorite. No complaints against the Barilla noodles… or even the taste of the Cheeze Blend… just that there wasn’t enough taste/cheese. If I were to make it again, I would probably add a couple of tablespoons of butter and up the amount of the Cheeze Blend… 1/2 a cup? I’d just have to eyeball it a bit. The flavor was good…. there just wasn’t enough. (I followed Wildtree’s recipe on the bottle.)
All of the guys said that they couldn’t tell that these were Gluten Free pastas.
So the results of the test are: Mac & Cheese is good…. pretty much no matter what. If I was going to make a recommendation on one to buy…. I would say that usually the Simply Balanced is the cheapest (at Target). It has a slightly sharper flavor, so if you’re a sharp cheddar fan, go for this one. Annie’s is really very similar, so grab that one if you don’t shop at Target.
I think I liked the Horizon the best… the cheese was a bit creamier and had a more mild flavor.
The Barilla noodles were good (and I realize that I should buy them more!) but the WildTree Kid’s Cheez Blend Sauce just wasn’t ‘cheezie’ enough. The flavor was good, but I’d need to experiment with it a bit more to get the mix right.
Winner: Mac & Cheese!