Did you spend your formative years peaking around the kitchen corner in trepidation, faux-praying your ‘rents wouldn’t flash-glimpse the slit of your eye and forthwith beacon you to finish your untouched, congealing bowel of Kraft mac & cheese? Siiiiiigh. Although I consistently detested the radioactive, orange goop, I was forced to eat my dinner’s share until I gradually grew accustomed to its myriad sins against pasta. So while I realize many vegans would diligently test dozens of recipes (Google count: 1, 860,000) on a culinary quest for that elusive cheddary sauce, I am a happier person without it.
On the up side, Road’s End Organics Dairy Free Shells & Chreese in Cheddar Style (brevity ain’t their jang, I gander) is one boxed vegan mac & quote unquote cheese that I can get behind. Or in front of. Or to the side of. Or planked upon. (<False as I roll my eyes at such nonsense).
The long-awaited point being that this stuff doesn’t suck.
The preparation caters as much to the cookphobic as the blue box variety: boil pasta, mix sauce ingredients in pot, dump pasta back in, heat to thicken sauce. Don’t be a fat-fearing pansy and nix the suggested tablespoon of vegan butter; with Earth Balance I adopt the ancient Eastern philosophy of WHY THE HELL NOT.
Taste-wise, the flavor is predictably nooch-based and perhaps erring on uninspired, but that didn’t stop me from consuming a lumberjack’s portion. Except I’d wager all of mi’ gold that lumberjacks are probably too vegetable-averse to add steamed carrots. Th’arr carotene-loss, I declare in pirate-speak, for the combination is sublime. And food-guilt-reducing.
The sauce was a bit gritty (as most nooch-based are cursed to be), but creamy enough to please this taster. Fat-comforting, relatively healthy, and surpisingly addictive: I ate ’till the stomach pains grievously halted my unstoppable eye-petite.
Reheated leftovers were just as appealing as freshly-made, which definitely whoops Monseur Kraft’s fluorescent keister.
I think I handed over 3ish bucks for this box at my local (overpriced) Co-op and the algebra splits nicely when yielding 3-4 servings. Take note: because I’m a committed pasta-hound who welcomes a meal-induced stomachache like an old chum, I emptied the box’s contents in 2 meals . Realistically, 3 adult-eaters could smoothly share a box laden with an add-in of tempeh or steamed vegetable.
I plan to buy all 5 varieties of Road’s End Organic pastas and host a mac & cheese tasting to rule them all. Why? In the venerable words of Ron Swanson: because I am a free American.