Product: Van’s Gluten Free Rotini and Red Sauce – $3.99+
It’s been one of those weeks. Seriously. I’m recovering (slowly) from my awful, awful, painful Boston Marathon. To top it all off, my produce bin didn’t arrive as scheduled on Friday. So, all weekend I was left scrambling with ideas as to what to make for dinner and how little grocery shopping I could get away with in trying to manage exactly that. The answer…I still had to hit up the produce at the grocery store, and my CSA bin was redelivered to me on Monday evening. But for that weekend…I was not in a good spot.
Thankfully, I have a pantry full of things that have been just dying for me to pick them off the shelf and try. And when push comes to shove, Saturday was going to be all about some pasta. I have a few gluten-free pastas (just the noodles and then some dishes like this) in my pantry for just such occasions…because pasta is easy and a very common go-to for me. Because I LOVE pasta.
I listed off some options to the roomie, and ultimately Cathy made the final say. “Let’s try that last Van’s thing.”
And so it came to pass that “the last Van’s thing” was going to make its way from pantry shelf to full-on meal in my kitchen. Moving on up!
You see, awhile back I had picked up three boxes of the Van’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Pasta Sides, which I had discovered at Walmart, of all places, way ahead of anywhere else in the area carrying them. I snagged one of each flavor and happily stocked my pantry with them. I have already had the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta and the Ultimate Cheddar Penne as well. So…this time it was Rotini & Red Sauce’s turn to shine.
Van’s Gluten Free choices have never disappointed me. Not once. Not ever. They are my waffle of choice, above all others, even the new Gluten-Free Eggo’s. That’s a huge thing!! But Van’s puts a lot of love and care into their packaged foods. And Van’s does believe that nutritious is delicious and that’s why they make their gluten-free pastas with whole grain brown rice, delivering more than a full serving of nutrient dense whole grains. You can always add in some vegetables or chicken (if you eat meat…which I don’t…) in order to bulk up the pasta sides and make these more of an entrée. But as my roommate and I take something that serves three and split it between the two of us…it’s the perfect amount in the end.
Cooking up the Van’s Gluten Free Rotini and Red Sauce takes all but 10 minutes. Seriously. Just boil 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add the pasta and allow it to return to a boil. Let it cook for 7-8 minutes. The noodles will become al dente. Do not overcook. Gluten-free noodles are an awful thing overcooked. Drain the noodles and give them a rinse. Then, add the marinara sauce to the saucepan, heating on low. Stir often. Put the pasta back into the pan with the marinara and heat through. Enjoy.
I served this up with a gluten-free dinner roll that I baked up a few weeks ago. It made a perfect, perfect, perfect dinner. The rotini (which is actually red) cooked up really perfectly. It wasn’t mushy and didn’t crumble apart when I stabbed at it with my fork. The pasta sauce was rich and flavorful. I sort of wish there was a little more sauce when all was said and done, but there was the perfect amount to lightly coat the noodles and serve them up. This was a filling entree, and would serve at least 4 people as a side dish to a bigger main dish. I enjoyed this one, but it was my least favorite of the three pasta sides that Van’s created. Not that it wasn’t good. It was. But it was something I easily could have made with things I have at home in the same amount of time. It was nothing special. But it was quite tasty. If more sauce had been present, I would have used my dinner roll to mop it up. But…the sauce was just enough…no extra. Still…a solid, delicious pasta dish.
Van’s is very proud of the ingredients they put into their products. Seriously. They state this on the box. And the ingredients that go into Van’s Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce are simple. These ingredients include gluten free penne pasta (brown rice flour, red lentil flour, beet powder, tomato powder), marinara sauce (tomatoes, water, tomato paste, olive oil, onions, sugar, basil, garlic, salt, citric acid, and black pepper). It is gluten-free, kosher, contains no artificial colors or flavors, has a full serving of whole grains, is egg-free, and is dairy-free.
As far as nutrition goes, a serving of Van’s Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce is about 1 cup prepared. This box contains about 2.5 servings. This will dish up 250 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 160 mg sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, and 12 grams of protein. This side dish is cholesterol free.
So, while this was a simple and basic meal, it was easy to make and served up a fantastic dish for my roommate and I to share. Of the three, however, this would probably be the one I wouldn’t pick up again. Not that it wasn’t good…it just wasn’t as memorable as the others.