This post is sponsored by Noodles & Company.
My daughter and I visited #Noodlesandcompany to try out their new cauliflower-infused noodles, they playfully call #Caulifloodles. These rigatoni contain a full serving of veggies in every regular sized entree. What a way to add in those veggies!
If you are a parent you likely understand the struggle that comes with getting kids to eat their veggies.
The bitterness and lack of sweetness many of the veggies we eat are a turn off to kids.
I have 4 kids so I have been through this and know the frustration of trying to get them to eat a plate of vegetables. It's a battle that some days ends up with a plate of food in the trash.
Sometimes you have to resort to coming up with unique ways to just get them into their mouths. Any and all ideas have been attempted over the years.
When one of our family's favorite places to grab a quick bite to eat - Noodles & Company - rolled out a new type of cauliflower-infused noodle I had to see if my kids would go for it.
Full Serving of Veggies
Noodles & Company has developed a cauliflower-infused rigatoni as a pasta choice for any of their entrees. A full serving of veggies is included in the noodles themselves whenever you eat a regular sized entree. Or a half serving for a small or kid's meal.
As a parent, your interest has got to be piqued now! What a super simple way to sneak some additional veggies into their diets.
But will the kids go for it?
We scheduled a daddy-daughter day with my oldest Hannah to see for ourselves. She said the day would be oodles of fun!
What We Ordered at Noodles & Company
We ordered a total of 4 different regular sized dishes. Two of them were the Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, one with the traditional elbows and the other with the new Cauliflower Rigatoni.
Comparing the Elbows to the Cauliflower Rigatoni
We thought the best way to try out the new pasta was a side by side taste test. The only difference between the two bowls of mac & cheese was the pasta.
My daughter was hungry and super excited to dig in. As a food blogger's daughter she has gotten used to posing with food before taking the first bite, but that was extra challenging today.
After having a taste of what each bowl held, she exclaimed that she liked them both. I breathed a sigh of relief that she liked the cauliflower infused pasta.
Her only comment about how they were different (besides their shape) was that she thought the the rigatoni tasted a little salter, but that isn't a complaint.
Did the Pasta Pass the Test with the Other Kids?
We practiced self control and saved some leftovers to take home to the other kids to try.
My 9 year old daughter and 7 year old son were eager to try both of them as they are lovers of quality mac & cheese - they won't touch the box stuff. We trained them well.
The 9 year daughter actually picked the rigatoni as her favorite. My son picked the elbows. I think it was more of a shape preference than an actual taste preference.
We have a victory. They all ate it and liked it.
The Blogger's Opinion
What did I think of them?
I only felt there was a subtle difference in flavor of the two pastas. Nothing significant.
I couldn't tell anything different in the dishes that had stronger flavored sauces, which we will talk about next.
The only downside I can say is I don't think the cheese sauce adhered to the pasta as well with the cauliflower rigatoni. A minor issue. The kids didn't mind so that's what matters.
Trying the Two Cauliflower Rigatoni Dishes
Along with the Cauliflower Rigatoni now being available as a pasta choice, Noodles & Company launched 2 new dishes tailored just for their new pasta - Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca with Shrimp and Cauliflower Rigatoni in Light Onion Cream Sauce.
Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca
Ingredients for the Cauliflower Rigatoni Fresca - Cauliflower-infused rigatoni sauteed with shrimp, balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil, roasted garlic, red onion, tomato and spinach, then topped with Parmesan.
I am not a huge fan of shrimp in pasta, so I ordered grilled chicken instead. Noodles & Company is great about letting you customize your proteins and pasta.
This dish far exceeded my expectations. I can say that this is one of their most flavorful dishes on the menu. A vibrant, fresh tasting dish that was an assault on my taste buds in all the right ways. It had sweet, salty, savory, nutty, and fruity elements to it.
Hannah tried it too. She was skeptical at first but she ended up really liking it. The other kids weren't going for the leftovers I brought home but I was already satisfied that they liked the mac & cheese.
Cauliflower Rigatoni with Light Onion Cream Sauce
Ingredients for the Cauliflower Rigatoni with Light Onion Cream Sauce - Cauliflower-infused rigatoni in light onion cream sauce with roasted zucchini, mushrooms and spinach, finished with MontAmoré cheese and parsley
I choose to add Parmesan-Crusted Chicken to this dish.
It was a privilege to be able to eat this along aside the Fresca. They are very different dishes, so having them both at the same time was a special treat. What really made this dish for me were the small bites of zucchini.
My wife enjoyed the Light Onion cream sauce. It reminded her of French Onion soup but without an overwhelming onion flavor.
Two Thumbs Up
I am really glad Noodles & Company added this new pasta to their menu (and the new dishes to go along with it). It enabled me to order mac & cheese for my kids and get some veggies in them at the same time.
I also have two new dishes to order whenever I go. I really like and can change up my normal routine.
Hats off to you Noodles & Company for making me happy as a parent and as a food blogger.
Have you eaten at Noodles & Company before? Share your thoughts and your favorite dishes in the comments below.