A few weeks ago, the folks at Zatarains asked me if I’d like to try some of their gluten-free options. They were in the process of getting certified by FARRP, and thought we might like to try some of their New Orleans-style dishes.

If you’ve read this blog for more than a week, you know that if someone asks me if I want food, the answer is almost always yes. I don’t always write about the food (sometimes it just isn’t worth sharing with you) – but that’s a topic for another time.

Zatarains sent me three boxes: yellow rice, dirty rice and jambalaya. It was more than my roommate and I could eat, so we threw a party.

Many of my friends have been eating Zatarains mixes for years, and no one could tell the difference between what we cooked and what they knew. So if you used to like Zatarains and had to stop eating it post-diagnosis for fear of cross-contamination – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

One thing I will say: the mixes are by and large designed to be doctored up. So it’s possible that your results will be more or less delicious than mine, depending on what you add. We added canned kidney beans, sautéed onions and some diced red pepper to the jambalaya (which made it vegan-friendly). To the dirty rice, we also added quite a bit of ground beef (which made it vegan-proof). The yellow rice just got some extra red pepper and onion.

All of the mixes cooked up nicely and in the time specified – about 20 minutes with the lid on in all cases. The flavors were nice and well-rounded, and didn’t strike me as overly processed or chemical, as can sometimes be the case with foods that are easy to make.

Also worth noting: The Zatarains mixes all made a surprisingly large amount of food given how small the boxes seem – if you wanted to doctor them differently, of course, you’d wind up with more or less. But a box, stretched with a can of beans and a pound ground beef and served with a salad on the side, would feed a family of four relatively happily, I’d think.

Of course it goes without saying that I personally didn’t have any sort of negative response to any of the mixes I tried, and would eat them again without hesitation or concern.

To read more about Zatarains gluten-free options, visit their web page. There are currently 22 gluten-free rice mixes, and a recipe collection created in conjunction with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Have you had Zatarains since their certification? What did you think?