Just ask Kraft Foods: the manufacturer made headlines when it began rolling out boxes of new Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Veggie Pasta alongside its traditional blue-box mac and cheese last month.
The two products, according to Kraft, taste the same — but eat the former, and you'll wind up getting half a serving of vegetables (the company freeze-dries cauliflower, pulverizes it, then mixes it along with flour to make the macaroni pasta).
Curious to know if the veggie version really tasted the same, I pitted the new blue box against its classic counterpart in a blind tasting. Read on to find out if there was a difference in flavor.
The Veggie Pasta comes in two varieties, Original and Three Cheese, but I was only able to get my hands on the latter. A few differences between the two that I noted during preparation: Despite the same-sized box, the Veggie Pasta was 1.75 ounces smaller (sneaky!), called for half the amount of margarine, and took one minute less to cook when compared to the classic blue box. It also listed 10 more ingredients — one of them being dried cauliflower.
Although early reviews have claimed that there's no discernible difference between the veggie pasta and the classic, our tasters disagreed, and most were able to identify the classic, which they generally preferred. Eaters said the traditional Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner was "tastier" and "had more of that cheesy zest," compared to the "grainy" and "kind of bland" vegetable version, which was "paler in color — and taste-wise."
Surprisingly, despite the complaints, about half the tasters actually preferred the Veggie Pasta for its nuttier flavor and light cheese taste. Nutrition-wise, it also contains fewer calories, fat, and sodium per serving — but if you're eating this kind of stuff, really, who's counting? To those of you who've tried both: which did you prefer?