Rating: 4.5 out of 5 –
Sure, you can make vegan mac and cheese and there are only a bajillion recipes out there to do just that. But….what if you don’t want to go through the effort and time? You may be wondering how the prepared Daiya Mac and Cheese tastes – and is it worth it? Today we’re going to deep dive into the taste, nutrition, and a bit about what you can expect. If you want to get your hands on Daiya mac and cheese, head over HERE – otherwise continue reading!
Just a bit about Daiya before we dig into the product, Daiya is a vegan plant-based company on a mission to make dairy-free, cruelty-free, and allergen free cheese alternative products. I remember when Daiya shreds first came out in 2009 and since then the company has been a game changer in the vegan cheese alternative space making soy free, gluten free cheese alternatives. With over 30 products in the line up, you can try everything from vegan cheese shreds, slices, cheesecake, frozen pizzas, dressings, sauces, yogurts, and even cheese sticks! One of my favorite product lines is the vegan mac and cheese as I feel like it was a missing dairy free option on the grocery shelves for a very long time. Let’s see what it tastes like…
Before we get to the overall taste, let’s talk about what it’s like cooking the Daiya vegan Deluxe Mac and Cheese. First of all, the noodles are brown rice noodles so you want to avoid cooking them beyond the time and you should also know that they will be a bit firmer and heartier in texture. In general though, I prefer brown rice noodles (even though I’m not gluten-free) because I just enjoy the texture so for me this was an added bonus. I will say, you do pay more for brown rice noodles than if you bought say Annie’s vegan mac and cheese that uses traditional noodles. However, this may be worth it to you if you are gluten-free or if you prefer brown rice noodles as well.
Once the noodles are cooked and drained, you squeeze the vegan cheese sauce over the noodles and mix well. That’s it! That’s all you have to do when it comes to making the Daiya vegan mac and cheese and for the ease and convenience alone I think it rates pretty high in my book! So basically, if you ever made Velveeta mac and cheese back in your non-vegan days, it’s a lot like that.
So how does the Daiya deluxe mac and cheese taste? At first bite, the sauce is a bit sticky. Like it sort of sticks to your teeth the the roof of your mouth for a hot second. The noodles perfectly encase the cheesy sauce and I’m surprised how real the sauce does taste. The cheese sauce is a bit on the salty side for me ….but then again, isn’t mac and cheese supposed to be be salty? Personally, it doesn’t taste anything like homemade vegan mac and cheese varieties and the sauce has a distinctive texture and mouthfeel. I paired the mac and cheese with greens and tempeh and I thought it rounded out the meal perfectly – just as a vegan mac and cheese should! Would I buy Daiya Vegan Mac and Cheese again? You bet! Honestly, the best part for me was how easy and quickly it came together. I love having pantry supplies like this on hand for those busy days or weeks and cooking an actual meal seems like the biggest chore in the world. Ya feel me? If so, stock up on Daiya Deluxe Vegan Mac and Cheese and you’ll see exactly what I mean!
Each package of the Daiya Mac and Cheese in the Cheddar flavor provides 3 1 cup servings. Each serving has 300 calories with 80 of those calories coming fat. Daiya does have more fat than other store bought vegan mac and cheese options which helps to add the creamy mouthfeel that is a bit nostalgic of homemade mac and cheese. This vegan version still has significantly lower fat that traditional dairy mac and cheese and the Daiya version provides 9 grams of total fat with 3.5 grams of saturated fay (coconut oil).
The vegan mac and cheese has 580mg of sodium per serving, which is about a quarter of your sodium needs for the day. This number is not insignificant but if the majority of your diet is compromised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts/seeds, there is a good chance you’re within the recommendation. However, if you consume a lot of mock meats, processed snacks like crackers, cookies, or even packaged products like vegan cheeses, there is a good chance you’re consuming more sodium than you need and I would recommend being mindful of you sodium sources and perhaps even the amount you consume on a regular basis.
Each serving has 48 grams of carbohydrate with 2 grams of fiber from the brown rice noodles. There is no added sugar unlike some vegan mac and cheese brands. Generally speaking, meals should contain 45-60g carbohydrate for many people and this is an appropriate amount of carbohydrates although to help increase the fiber content, I would be sure to consume some vegetables with this vegan mac and cheese.
The vegan Daiya mac and cheese has some protein but isn’t a huge significant source by any means and it still may be helpful to consume a traditional protein option like tempeh, tofu, or other vegan protein source as your meals to provide adequate nutrition and help keep you full.
In terms of he ingredients overall, the gluten-free, soy-free ingredients are also non-GMO and fairly straightforward. The only additives are xanthum gum (a natural binder) and titanium dioxide (a mineral that helps preserve) and rather than use artificial coloring, the little bit of coloring added comes from annatto. Annatto comes from a the seeds of a tree native to tropical regions in Mexico down to Brazil. It is often used to impart a yellow or orange color to foods, which is what we can expect from it here in the Daiya vegan mac and cheese. Overall, it’s a fairly nutritous prepared vegan food product and Daiya Mac and Cheese is a good addition into your vegan pantry supply!
If you’re looking for an easy to prepare vegan mac and cheese that’s shelf stable and tastes good, I would recommend giving Daiya Cheddar Cheese Mac and Cheese a try. After all, you may not have a ton of protein or fiber, but the fat will help keep you full. Have you tried Daiya’s vegan mac and cheese? If so, what did you think?? Comment below – I’d love to hear from you. If you’re ready to give Daiya Mac and Cheese a try, head over here to pick up a variety box!