mac & cheese mondays – earth balance in a box! (yellow)

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okay, i’m going to kick off mac & cheese mondays with kind of a controversial one: the new earth balance mac & cheese in a box. people have some serious love-it-or-hate-it opinions about this stuff, with a rather impressive third team comprised of eh-what’s-the-big-deal-about-its. personally, i was extremely friggin’ excited when i heard that earth balance was planning to release not one, but two different flavors of boxed mac & cheese.

i’ve been vegan for nearly 10 years now, but in the pregan days, i was seriously into that lovely blue box of kraft macaroni & cheese. i had some in the house at all times, and i really did miss it after i went vegan. because i had been raised on “the stovetop kind” (as opposed to the oven-baked with breadcrumbs kind), it was also sort of hard for me to find satisfying vegan recipes at first; it seemed like everything out there was the creamy beige oven-baked kind. i wanted bright colors! i wanted tangy! eventually, at long last, i found The Greatest Homemade Vegan Mac & Cheese Of Absolutely All Time, but i’ll save that reminder for another monday. aaaanyway, the long and short of it is that i was pretty excited to hear about yellow mac & cheese in a box.

EB cheddar

for awhile i just kept seeing pictures of everyone else’s EB mac & cheese adventures, but i could never find it locally myself. the ppk thread about it grew and grew (and it became clear that teams were forming), and i started to get rather impatient. in the end, i gave up on finding it in town, and i ordered three boxes from rabbit food grocery. (i actually ordered both flavors, but i haven’t tried the white cheddar yet, so i’m going to save that review for next week.)

in the ppk thread there was a lot of advice about tinkering with the ingredients (use less margarine! use unsweetened milk! use neither of these things at all, just add a little water!), and to be honest i was a little panicky when it came time to try it. i was afraid of two things: (1) that i would accidentally ruin my new precious, rendering it inedible, and/or (2) that i would be all excited over nothing, because it would be, sadly, gross.

so, i ended up just following the directions on the box exactly (using the amount of EB they call for, and using the milk i happened to have in the house, which was “light plain” soymilk). it got nice and creamy after stirring for awhile, and i was really excited to try it. as i started dishing it into my bowl, i came to the embarrassing realization that i was about to eat an entire box of mac & cheese. that’s normal, right? one box is one serving? oy.

EB cheddar prepared

(yes, that is the contents of an entire box in that there bowl.)

with great trepidation i tried my first bite. i was nervous about it being weirdly sweet (as some had reported) or just “blah” (as others had reported), but i’m happy to say that i am Super! Easy! To Please! because i thought it was pretty ding-dang good. it reminded me quite a bit of the old blue box, in a warm and fuzzy nostalgic way, and the more i ate it the more i liked it. there is definitely something about that perfect little noodle shape! it’s funny, because it’s definitely different from my new all-time favorite (stay tuned for another monday!), but it still hit the spot, and i would definitely be willing to keep a box or two around for immediate comfort food needs. i have one more box of the yellow in the pantry, but i’m going to make the white cheddar flavor next to see how it compares. i shall report back!

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23 comments

  1. Thanks for this review. I’ve been wondering if that stuff is any good! I too have mastered a delicious home-made vegan mac and cheese, but there are definitely moments in which I lust after the blue box, more for the nostalgia than anything else. During one particularly weak moment, I actually bought the blue box just to use the noodles, then whipped up a sauce with Earth Balance, soy milk, an embarrassing amount of nutritional yeast, and a squeeze of yellow mustard. It was literally as easy as making Kraft and tasted cheesy, if not exactly like the original. I’d be curious to see how similar the Earth Balance version is to my concoction…

    1. seriously, those noodles! it really helps with the nostalgia factor, i swear. anyhow, there definitely are a lot of different opinions out there about the EB stuff, but hopefully you’ll like it. if not, check out the post punk kitchen thread about all the different ways to tinker with it, ha!

  2. Yes! I am excited about this because a) I freaking love mac & cheese b) I’m doing Mac & Cheese Monday during MoFo too and c) I’m in the US right now so I can totally buy it – it looks amazing!!

  3. I’m back in the US visiting and was super excited to try this. I like it too, I keep grabbing it when I see it and making it on busy traveling nights. I had no idea there was such controversy about it, happy I just followed the instructions too. 🙂

  4. I gotta admit, as a Brit I’ve never had boxed mac and cheese, even in my childhood dairy-eating days. My mum used to make it for my little brother as it was the only pasta he would eat, but to be honest I’ve never had it post-vegan! But this looks so delicious.

    1. i’m a little nervous about recommending something that has such a divided opinion “out there” already, but i definitely think it’s worth checking out, even just as a little adventure. 😉

  5. I tried them both, thought they tasted the same as each other, and were oddly sweet. I’ll give them one more try with unsweetened soy instead of plain soy, but it definitely was a “meh” experience for me! I’m looking forward to your post about your new favorite!

    1. i’ve heard many people say the “oddly sweet” thing, which is interesting… to me it was really reminiscent of (how i remember) kraft, but after 10 years it’s possible my mind is wonky anyway.

      also, spoiler alert: you already know my ‘new’ favorite, because it’s been my new favorite for years now and i never shut up about it. ha! but i’ll be blogging about it again, because with mac & cheese mondays, how can i not? #cheezish

      1. I had a feeling it was going to be cheezish! Which I’ve never had, btw, but I still enjoy your passion for it! Lol.

        Oh, and I wanted to say also, these boxes? Of course they are one serving! One box might just be my starter… #bikecommuter

  6. I could smell good old Kraft Dinner cooking while I read this, I swear! That’s how much I miss it.

    I can’t find a place to order this in Canada and fear I will spend an astronomical amount of money getting it up here, but I may have to do just that. Sigh.

    1. oh man, international shipping has got to be a bummer. do any of the US online retailers have “better” rates to canada? i’ve seen it at a lot of different places, like food fight, rabbit food, vegan essentials… keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    1. good question! earth balance is indeed an american company, but i’m not sure about how easy it is to buy their stuff elsewhere… several vegan online retailers are carrying the mac & cheese (vegan essentials, rabbit food grocery, food fight), but the shipping might be kind of steep.

  7. Mac and Cheese Monday!!! I love this! Before I went vegan I was a mac and cheese atarian. I ate almost exclusively mac and cheese… and I was a grown adult holding down a full time job. Not a teenager, or a kid in college. I was completely addicted to the stuff. I can remember the day I ate my last box… anyways! I have been looking everywhere for this EB Mac and Cheese in a box. I can’t find it anywhere where I am! I found a store that sells it finally, but it’s sold out! As a vegan, the thing I miss the most is mac and cheese. I’ve found some great recipes, but nothing quite gets the flavor of the tangy orange cheese. I read that you have a recipe? Will you be sharing it soon?!?! I must try it!!! I’ve subscribed, and will be stalking your blog from now on 😉

    1. my local whole foods finally carries it, so i can grab it when i’m grocery shopping now (whew!) but buying it online was the only thing that kept me sane before i could get it locally. you might just have to break down and order it. 😉

      i do have a favorite recipe! i’ve actually blogged about it before (many times), so i won’t torture you and make you wait until the monday where i eventually talk about it again… if you search my blog for ‘cheezish’ you should see several posts pop up. 🙂

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