Product review: Annie’s Organic Vegan Shell Pasta & Creamy Sauce

I was so excited when I saw this hit the shelves of my local Albertson’s. I had been dying to try this mac n’ cheese alternative for years. It was the first brand that I knew made anything relatively close to a vegan mac n’ cheese years ago when I first went vegan.  When I saw it, knew I had to try this one!

First of all, I was very excited to see that the front of the box said that it had pumpkin and sweet potato in it! I have been making a lot of my “cheese” sauces out of orange vegetables like carrots and butternut squash, I figured it would be creamy and delicious just like my sauces. Second, I have always liked the shape of shells better than macaroni for some reason, so that appealed to me. Third, I liked that they didn’t try to market it as something that it isn’t. Obviously this isn’t going to be mac n’ cheese because it doesn’t have cheese, nor do they promise that it is going to taste like cheese. Of course I had the expectation that it would taste moderately cheesy. It didn’t, but I’ll get into that in a bit.

Upon opening the package, nothing seemed too shocking. I really liked that the powdered sauce packet wasn’t some fake ridiculous orange color. I could tell that they didn’t use any artificial coloring. It says so on the box, but you can never be too sure anymore. The powder definitely smelled like dried vegetables too. I cooked the pasta according to the package directions. I somehow managed to run out of non dairy milk so I had to substituted water and I added in a little bit of Earth Balance butter.

My first impression was that the color was definitely not what they advertised on the package. I was slightly disappointed but quickly got over that. The second thing I noticed was that the shape of the shells they used made a suction and I would have multiple pieces of pasta stuck together and was unable to get them apart. I finally got around to tasting the pasta and at first it wasn’t at all what I expected. It tasted a lot more like a creamy vegetable sauce than anything. It almost reminded me of a savory butternut squash soup.

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After getting past all of the initial surprises, I actually really enjoyed it for what it was. I definitely couldn’t tell people it was good a good alternative to mac n’ cheese, but I liked it. Part of the reason I liked it so much was the fact that I love anything with pasta, but it tasted like a slightly more processed version of something that I would actually make.

I was also pleasantly surprised with the ingredients. Of course it had some highly processed things like “organic maltodextrin” and “sunflower lecithin”, but for the most part the advertised front of the box was very similar to the ingredient list on the back of the box. It isn’t too often that you see that, so I have to give Annie’s props for that.

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Overall, I thought the pasta was good, but not great. I think it could have used some extra veggies to add substance because there is no way I would be satisfied eating it on its own. I can’t say I reviewed mac n’ cheese like I was expecting to, but thats alright. I also think my expectations were to high since I had been wanting to try this product for years. I expected something that was going to be life changing and this didn’t really do that for me. It was an average pasta. I hope some of you found this review helpful, and are willing to give this product a chance. Please keep in mind that this isn’t a sponsored post, I am going out on my own and finding these products on my local shelves in Casper!

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