When I first found out I could no longer eat gluten — 10 years ago now! — I feared I’d never be able to eat my favourite meal again, macaroni and cheese. Of course, back then gluten-free pasta was limited to that sticky brown rice stuff that just…didn’t work with mac & cheese. Plus, how was I ever going to make a decent cheese sauce without wheat flour to thicken it?!
Of course, my fears were eventually alleviated through the brands that have come to the market since then, as well as a good family recipe that just happened to not need flour. Annie’s Rice Pasta and Cheddar satisfy my Kraft Dinner cravings, and for many years I could rely on Udi’s Mac & Cheese frozen meal for a quick dose of cheesy comfort food.
Lately, though, I’ve noticed a newcomer to the gluten-free frozen meal section of my grocery store: Gabriella’s Kitchen skinnypasta. Tonight I picked up the Superfood Teff Macaroni & Cheese meal, and a few minutes after arriving home my cosy dinner was ready to eat.
I’ll be honest, the branding on this product is confusing…is it Gabriella’s Kitchen? Gabbypasta? Skinnypasta? I have no idea, but ultimately that doesn’t matter, because the pasta was delicious!
Founded by Italian sisters looking for delicious and nutritious pasta, they wanted to create products that one could eat regardless of dietary preference or restrictions. This particular meal was gluten-free, wheat free, rice free, corn free, soy free, and peanut free. In an age when more and more are finding they cannot tolerate rice and corn, this teff-based pasta is a nice change!
What is Teff?
According to Gabriella’s Kitchen, teff is an ancient grain that’s naturally gluten-free. It’s traditionally been cultivated in Ethiopia, where it’s used in flatbread called injera. If you’ve ever eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant, you’ve had teff! Over the years, I’ve also found teff used in North American restaurants catering to vegetarians or vegans, where it’s often used to make tortillas for wraps.
When compared with white rice, teff has both more fiber and protein for similar calorie counts.
The Macaroni & Cheese Review
The Teff Macaroni & Cheese frozen meal cooked quickly and evenly in the microwave, and the instructions were simple to follow. The pasta itself is darker than you’d be used to from other gluten-free pastas made with rice or corn – but not too dissimilar from the colour of brown rice pasta. Of course, the texture of the pasta wasn’t grainy or sticky like brown rice pasta; instead, the teff pasta had a more traditional pasta mouth feel.
The sauce has romano cheese made from sheep’s milk, as well as cow’s milk. The romano cheese gave it a subtly cheesy flavour that was perfectly creamy, gooey, and comforting on a cold January evening. And for those who prefer a dairy free option, Gabriella’s Kitchen also makes a vegan version.
Where to Buy It
Gabriella’s Kitchen products are available at Loblaw-owned and Sobey’s grocery stores across Canada, as well as natural food stores. It’s available online through their site for US customers, so hopefully Gabriella’s Kitchen will introduce online orders in Canada soon!