The folks at Annie's have two labels: Annie's Homegrown & Annie's Naturals. I don't fully understand why there's two, since both divisions produce natural, flavorful, and mostly organic foods. The key difference seems to be that Bernie the Bunny is on the Annie's Homegrown packages, and I like him, so that's cool.
Overall, I'm happy to tell you that I really, really like Annie's products. They make pure foods with "no icky additives or pesky preservatives," and they're as concerned with flavor as they are with sourcing their ingredients. ( I wish I could say that about all the Natural & Organic companies that make G-Free products, but that would, for sure, be lying.) So, if you see a product from Annie's that looks good to you, it probably will be. Try it out.
Here are some of my favorite Annie's products, and some notes on the products that many of you have trouble finding:
- Macaroni & Cheese: Both of Annie's Gluten Free versions use rice pasta. I prefer the flavor of the sauce in the "Creamy Deluxe" package. In both cases, that's actual cheese they're using to make cheese sauce. Brilliant!
- Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks: If your kiddos are into fruit snacks, these are probably the best around. The snacks are made with real fruit juice & natural flavors, and they actually taste like fruit.
- Cowgirl Ranch & Organic Buttermilk Dressings: I know, I know, everybody's looking for Gluten Free Ranch Dressing. Annie's makes one, "Cowgirl Ranch," that's a little too sweet for me. Easily fixed by adding some sour cream before serving, or hit it with a little chili sauce & black pepper for a Spicy Ranch dressing. Straight out of the bottle, I prefer Annie's Buttermilk dressing, which I use in place of Ranch & as a dipping sauce.
- Roasted Red Pepper & Green Garlic Dressings: These two dressing are go-to staples in my fridge. Both have great flavor & make delicious salad dressing (the kind where G-Free & Gluten-eating guests rave about your dressing) but I'm not stopping at that with either of these. I pour them both over quinoa with roasted vegetables, and I use the Roasted Red Pepper dressing as a sauce for fish, and the Green Garlic goes on chicken, lamb, and anything else that isn't nailed down. Get a bottle of each. Better yet, get two of each so you don't run out.
- Organic Ketchup: Great tomato flavor and not overly sweet, with an ingredient list your 3rd grader can read all by himself. Love it.
- Organic Mustards: Annie's Naturals makes several flavors of Gluten Free mustard, including Dijon & Honey Mustard. The Dijon contains no sweeteners (because it shouldn't, for sobbing out loud) and has a nice, clean flavor. All of the Annie's Mustards have a squeeze-top, so cross-contamination shouldn't be a problem either.
- Flavored Olive Oil: Back when I was a college student (let's be honest, I was never starving) I worked at Williams Sonoma, and developed a Consorzio Roasted Garlic Olive Oil habit. There's a Basil Olive Oil that I like too, but that Roasted Garlic Oil gives a fully-developed garlic flavor to most anything: mashers, polenta, meats, whatever. Now I find out that Consorzio & Annie's are the same company! I knew I liked that Bernie the Bunny.
KC, the G-Free Foodie
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