Last week, I brought a box of Kraft Veggie Pasta Macaroni & Cheese Original Flavor Dinner for review. Yes, I’ve eaten more than plenty of the original Kraft mac-and-cheese through the decades with the flour pasta. Thus, I know very well how good mac-and-cheese products like this one should taste. The veggie pasta here does not significantly degrade the taste; this tastes just as good as the initial version of this popular dinner treat, and may be a bit healthier to eat due to the included vegetable parts.
This version of macaroni and cheese is quite satisfying (so long as I eat the whole box). The use of vegetable-based pasta by no means cheapens the filling cheesy flavor, and may actually make this product more filling. The sauce is thick, and deliciously gooey. But this is not a low-calorie food. So eat in moderation.
Benefits, Pros, Advantages, and Features
- At roughly $1.38 per box, this Kraft product is still an economical yet tasty dish. However, the Veggie Pasta version is significantly more expensive than the original product by roughly sixty cents. I guess we must pay extra for extra healthy foods.
- The additional cost notwithstanding, I’d recommend stocking up. In fact, this kit keeps for many months in the pantry, so long as it’s kept cool and dry. So it’s great for storing; especially when you’re lucky enough to find bulk amounts of it on sale.
- This course contains 260 calories per serving out of the box, and 370 calories when prepared according to the box instructions. With the additional two or three slices of fresh American cheese that I add occasionally, the calorie count might top 460. Still, for the excellent flavor, this calorie count seems none-to-excessive.
- Clean-up is simple, so long as you immediately rinse off the water in which the macaroni cooked from all utensils. The fact that vegetable pasta was cooked makes no difference. It cleans up just as easily as whole grain and white semolina pastas do. For dried-on pasta, just let the colander and cooking pot soak for five to ten minutes in hot water to soften any dried-on pasta mess. This makes wiping it off a breeze with a sponge or dish cloth.
- Easy to follow cooking instructions.
- Most any good margarine can be used. Use one that has no trans fats.
Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Concerns
- Indeed, this new version of the classic mac and cheese dinner is still a highly processed food in my estimation, in spite of the vegetable pasta. The list on the box of man-engineered ingredients is rather long. Most of these are contained in the cheese flavoring packet. This pasta is cauliflower-based, though it still contains some enriched grain flour.
- The calorie count for this product is no less than that of the whole-grain version, and not significantly different from the original version, that had no whole-grain flour.
- This Kraft product also contains enriched wheat flour as a prime ingredient. For further health enhancement, they might consider switching to all whole-grain flours to supplement the cauliflower; thus reducing the need to enrich with man-made vitamin chemicals.
- This cheese product comes bundled with significant sodium amounts per serving (690 milligrams prepared). So if you’re watching your blood pressure, definitely go easy on eating this. The included veggie pasta will not protect you from all that sodium.
- Gather together 6 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of margarine, and 1/4 cup of 2% milk.
- Boil the water.
- Stir in the veggie macaroni.
- Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, or until tender. Stir occasionally; once every minute or two.
- Drain the veggie macaroni but do not rinse.
- Put the drained veggie macaroni back into the pan you cooked it in.
- Add the margarine, milk, and included pouch of cheese sauce mix.
- Mix well.
- Serve immediately for best flavor. The sauce is the most gooey and delicious while still hot.
Enriched cauliflower pasta product (enriched wheat flour [wheat flour, durum wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulphate (iron), thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], and dried cauliflower). Cheese sauce mix (whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate. Contains less than 2% of citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, yellow 5, yellow 6, enzymes, cheese culture).
Contains: wheat, milk.
- Serving size: 2.5 Oz. (70 grams, about 1/2 box (makes about 1 cup)).
- Servings per container: about 2.
- Calories as packaged: 260. Calories as prepared: 370.
- Fat calories as packaged: 35. Fat calories as prepared: 140.
- Total fat as packaged: 3.5 grams, 5% DV. Total fat as prepared: 15.5 grams, 23% DV.
- Saturated fat as packaged: 1.5 grams, 8% DV. Saturated fat as prepared: 4 grams, 20% DV.
- Trans fat as packaged: 0 grams. Trans fat as prepared: 3 grams.
- Cholesterol as packaged: 10 milligrams, 3% DV. Cholesterol as prepared: 15 milligrams, 5% DV.
- Sodium as packaged: 550 milligrams, 23% DV. Sodium as prepared: 660 milligrams, 28% DV.
- Total carb as packaged: 47 grams, 16% DV. Total carb as prepared: 49 grams, 16% DV.
- Dietary fiber as packaged: 3 grams, 12% DV. Dietary fiber as prepared: 3 grams, 12% DV.
- Sugars as packaged: 7 grams. Sugars as prepared: 9 grams.
- Protein as packaged: 10 grams. Protein as prepared: 11 grams.
- Vitamin A as packaged: 0% DV. Vitamin A as prepared: 15% DV.
- Vitamin C as packaged: 15% DV. Vitamin C as prepared: 15% DV.
- Calcium as packaged: 10% DV. Calcium as prepared: 15% DV.
- Iron as packaged: 15% DV. Iron as prepared: 15% DV.
I would indeed recommend this dinner course, as it offers good value and excellent flavor. Plus, it’s got a bit of vegetables too, all be they dehydrated. I’d rate this item at 88 out of 100.
Where To Buy Kraft Veggie Pasta Macaroni & Cheese Original Flavor Dinner
Look for it at most any grocery store, large or little, in the blue box with the orange strip on the front bottom that says, “original flavor” inside. I think you’ll like it.
- Kraft Foods Website
- Macaroni on Wikipedia
- Where To Buy Kraft Veggie Pasta Macaroni & Cheese Original Flavor Dinner
- : Adjusted category and tag assignments, fixed typos, and added white space.
- 2012-06-27: Originally published.