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Vegan foods at Trader Joe's - What's good?

Full tummy Apr 19, 2012 09:44 PM

Will be making a shopping trip from Canada soon. Anything a must? Anything to avoid?

  1. p
    PotatoPuff Apr 20, 2012 08:03 AM

    Love their cafe twist cookies and their chickenless nuggets

    13 Replies
    1. re: PotatoPuff
      Full tummy Apr 21, 2012 06:36 PM

      Will definitely give those a try.

      1. re: Full tummy
        c
        cheesecake17 Apr 21, 2012 06:47 PM

        Chickenless nuggets are greAt.

        I also like the potato latkes and soy creamery ice cream.

        This week I bought three layer hummus and falafel chips. Both excellent, but chips got stale pretty quickly.

        Oh and the bake at home rolls are fantastic.

        1. re: cheesecake17
          Full tummy Apr 21, 2012 07:04 PM

          Thanks, cheesecake17!

          1. re: Full tummy
            c
            cheesecake17 Apr 22, 2012 06:09 AM

            Trader joes also has a list of vegan foods.

            Forgot to mention that I love their frozen vegetables

            1. re: cheesecake17
              Full tummy Apr 22, 2012 07:35 AM

              Yes, I've been checking it out but came here for first hand feedback before shopping. Thanks!!

          2. re: cheesecake17
            JoanN Oct 18, 2012 10:14 AM

            Just stumbled across this thread this morning. Only been eating vegan for three weeks and hadn't had any meat cravings until I passed a Popeye's Fried Chicken joint the other day. Been fantasizing about fried chicken ever since. After reading your post, I ran right over to Trader Joe's and bought the Chickenless Crispy Tenders. Craving satisfied. Thank you.

            1. re: JoanN
              LulusMom Oct 18, 2012 01:50 PM

              I haven't tried these, but with all the love, especially from JoanN, I'm heading to TJs this weekend to buy some. What did you do with them Joan? Just by themselves?

              1. re: LulusMom
                JoanN Oct 18, 2012 02:57 PM

                Yes, because I wanted to know what they tasted like on their own. But I did have some leftover dal from 660 Curries as a side. Was thinking, though, that they'd be really good with a spicy tomato sauce.

                1. re: LulusMom
                  NuMystic Oct 18, 2012 03:16 PM

                  Just so you know lots of people in the TJ's Yea/Nay threads found that the Mandarin Orange Chicken was superior to the Crispy Tenders.

                  We found that the breaded chicken pieces in the Mandarin were less oily and had a nicer texture than the tenders and since the sauce is just a dipping condiment on the side we use them even if we want something else like BBQ.

                  1. re: NuMystic
                    JoanN Oct 18, 2012 03:23 PM

                    That's very interesting. I took a quick look at the Mandarin Orange Chicken and didn't realize that the flavoring came as a separate sauce. I'm usually not a fan of orange-flavored dishes, odd since I like oranges well enough. Anyway, I didn't find the tenders particularly oily and I rather liked the texture. I see, though, that I'll be headed back soon to compare. Thanks.

                    1. re: JoanN
                      NuMystic Oct 18, 2012 04:10 PM

                      I'll be curious to hear what your thoughts are when compared.

                      Just to clarify, we didn't find the tenders very oily either, just more oily than the mandarin pieces.

                      When we baked the tenders they slicked the foil with oil a bit and some of the breading separated, whereas the mandarin chicken pieces were bone dry (on the exterior) and held together more completely without bothering to turn them.

                    2. re: NuMystic
                      LulusMom Oct 18, 2012 04:17 PM

                      I think I'll just go ahead and try (you know how TJs can be) to pick up both. Always in the market for at least semi-healthy stuff that Lulu can have on babysitter nights if we don't happen to have leftovers around.

                      1. re: LulusMom
                        NuMystic Oct 18, 2012 04:49 PM

                        Oh I'm sure you'll ultimately enjoy both. We did! The mandarin version just got slight edge… in fact my wife is going to be pulling a batch out in a few minute, no kidding. :)

          3. Glencora Apr 20, 2012 10:20 AM

            I like the meatballs quite a bit -- and I'm not at all vegan.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Glencora
              Full tummy Apr 21, 2012 06:36 PM

              Great recommendation. Thanks.

              1. re: Full tummy
                t
                Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:23 AM

                The meatballs are so good better than Morningstar.

                1. re: Trgirl66
                  b
                  butterchicken2nan Dec 19, 2013 06:47 PM

                  Love those meatballs- but I find they don't hold up too well in sauce so I sautee them separately until they are a bit crispy. If you keep a lid on the skillet they will also puff up a little. They would be great at this point eaten individually with toothpicks - I usually add them to a bowl of pasta with sauce. I can't stop eating them.

                  1. re: butterchicken2nan
                    f
                    Funkalicious Jan 3, 2014 04:52 AM

                    I wonder if Trader Joe meatballs the same as Nate's meatballs? I love Nates meatless meatballs

                    1. re: Funkalicious
                      Ttrockwood Jan 3, 2014 06:01 PM

                      I don't think so.... TJ's meatless balls are on the smaller side. I bake them as is and often add to salads. My picky omni parents even admitted they're pretty darn good!

                      1. re: Ttrockwood
                        b
                        butterchicken2nan Jan 18, 2014 02:58 PM

                        STOP PRESS! Just went to TJs (in Hewlett) this week. They have DISCONTINUED the meatballs and are using a different supplier who is in the process of "re-formulating" them. Sounds ominous. Damn - wish I'd stocked up on them.

                        1. re: butterchicken2nan
                          Ttrockwood Jan 18, 2014 06:17 PM

                          Obmygodohmygodohmygod i can't catch my breath.......
                          I'm totally freaking out!!!!! Noooooooooo!!!!

                          1. re: Ttrockwood
                            Science Chick Jan 19, 2014 06:04 AM

                            No need to freak out…..just make these instead. Easy, and no weird stuff! I sub in 1/2 package soft tofu for 1 cup of the cheese, and use a combo of fontina/romano, plus a little smashed garlic. After the baking step, then either use them in my favorite recipe or let them cool and freeze them. They braise up great in spaghetti sauce (or any other liquid) and hold their shape, unlike those TJs ones that fall apart if cooked.

                            http://www.food.com/recipe/vegetarian...

                            1. re: Science Chick
                              Ttrockwood Jan 19, 2014 08:28 PM

                              Those do sound good but the ones from tj's are vegan....

                              1. re: Ttrockwood
                                Science Chick Jan 20, 2014 08:46 AM

                                Yes, there's that for sure…..but I think you could make these work fine with egg substitute and vegan cheese. It's really the walnuts and onion soup that give the most flavor. The other stuff is more for binding.

                      2. re: Funkalicious
                        b
                        butterchicken2nan Mar 7, 2014 06:31 PM

                        I think they are the same - I just tried Nate's for the first time tonight and they taste exactly the same as those from TJs.

              2. meatn3 Apr 20, 2012 11:12 AM

                The frozen vegetable masala burgers are delicious! Potato based rather than soy and nicely seasoned.

                11 Replies
                1. re: meatn3
                  Glencora Apr 20, 2012 01:22 PM

                  They're good, but too starchy to eat with a bun, imo.

                  1. re: Glencora
                    meatn3 Apr 20, 2012 03:56 PM

                    Totally agree - I don't really consider them "burgers". Nice with chutney.

                  2. re: meatn3
                    Full tummy Apr 21, 2012 06:36 PM

                    Yum!

                    1. re: meatn3
                      s
                      Shanna Apr 28, 2012 03:34 PM

                      meatn3, got the masala burgers yesterday on your recommendation. Absolutely delicious. I look forward to having them again.

                      1. re: meatn3
                        s
                        snippet May 1, 2012 09:27 PM

                        tried those a few days ago and I agree, they were yummy. Like the guts of a samosa, great with some chutney.

                        1. re: snippet
                          t
                          Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:25 AM

                          I bake the masala burgers or roast and then put over the Jasmine rice and throw in some frozen brocolli with one of TJs spicy sauces, makes a great lunch.

                        2. re: meatn3
                          j
                          John Francis Jun 21, 2012 09:01 AM

                          I always have one or two packs in the freezer. They aren't "burgers," they're vegetable patties - serve them on the plate, not in a bun. Always heated them in the toaster oven but yesterday sautéd them in a little olive oil, and that definitely gave the flavor a boost.

                          From the TJ's Vegan list:

                          Fire Roasted Bell Peppers & Onion - well seasoned and dead easy to heat and eat.

                          Authentic Indian Masala Dosa - just tried these yesterday. Delicious potato and onion filling; the crepe (or tortilla or whatever) tastes fine but tends to crumble when flipping the dosas in the pan.

                          Brown Jasmine Rice - a commodity but good, the only kind of rice I keep in the cupboard.

                          Reduced Guilt Wheat Crisps - imitation Nabisco Wheat Thins but healthier and a little cheaper.

                          1. re: John Francis
                            meatn3 Jun 21, 2012 09:34 AM

                            I'm pretty sure the label says "burgers" - I mention this so it is easier for people to find the item if they aren't familiar with it!

                            I always saute them and serve as a bun-less main dish.

                            1. re: meatn3
                              j
                              John Francis Jun 21, 2012 05:47 PM

                              That's what Trader Joe's names them. My point is that it's a misnomer, and from what you say, I guess you agree.

                              1. re: John Francis
                                meatn3 Jun 21, 2012 06:08 PM

                                Total agreement!
                                :-D

                                They are yummy. I love chutney with them.

                            2. re: John Francis
                              choctastic Jul 1, 2012 07:27 PM

                              I like the masala dosas, even though i only have a microwave. I microwave for I think 20-30 seconds, eat up the outside crust and then microwave again for like 20 seconds and eat up the middle potato filling. Or, I thaw it in the fridge before eating. The flavor is pretty good, pretty spot on to the dosas I've had, just much smaller.

                          2. meatn3 Apr 22, 2012 09:45 AM

                            Do look at their dried fruits and nuts. They have nice combinations and the prices are very good.
                            Their maple syrup is a good deal in my area, although that may be a product which is less expensive in Canada!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: meatn3
                              Full tummy Apr 22, 2012 05:26 PM

                              Yes, last trip two years ago, we came home with an assortment. Will definitely check out what they have now. Thanks!

                              1. re: Full tummy
                                LulusMom Apr 23, 2012 02:24 AM

                                Speaking of nuts, the assorted nuts with lime and chilies is fantastic. Very spicy and addictive.

                                1. re: LulusMom
                                  Full tummy Apr 23, 2012 08:30 AM

                                  Those are my favourite. The TOP item on my list!!! I have seriously missed them these last two years since my last trip. Glad to hear they still sell them.

                                  1. re: Full tummy
                                    LulusMom Apr 23, 2012 10:49 AM

                                    Great, aren't they? I went in once and couldn't find them, and started hyperventilating, but found out they were just temporarily out of stock. They're still there.

                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                      Full tummy Apr 23, 2012 05:40 PM

                                      Oh, THANK YOU. I have been worrying about them... Yes, I LOVE them. The lime leaves are amazing, as is the spicing. I will be coming back with several packages all for me!!

                              2. re: meatn3
                                m
                                MarlboroMan Apr 29, 2012 08:19 PM

                                +1 on the fruits and nuts. LOVE their freeze dried fruits. Especially the pineapple! Very crispy. Also love the banana, raspberries, blueberries. Oh, and the freeze dried red seedless grapes are a must.. very strange texture, but delicious! Great prices, too. Really nice selection of nuts as well. (We're not vegan, but love buying this stuff and making our own trail mix).

                                1. re: MarlboroMan
                                  LulusMom Jul 1, 2012 02:28 AM

                                  We recently tried the freeze dried strawberries and mango. The mango was a huge hit, the strawberries had sort of a odd flavor. But we'll be getting the mangos again. Perfect for lunch boxes or snacks.

                                  We also tried (wish I could remember exactly what they call them) the soy dogs. They were giving tasting in the store and we (my daughter and I) both thought they were tasty. But once we got them home and cooked them (roasted, which may have had something to do with the problem but is our favorite way with hot dogs) they had weird skin (casing) that was a turn off. So just a warning that these aren't really great.

                              3. LulusMom Apr 22, 2012 01:52 PM

                                They make a soy chorizo that I absolutely love, I use it pretty often (and because they're known for discontinuing things, I've even got some in the freezer). The frozen samosas are good. They also make boxed Indian dinners (not frozen) that are not bad.

                                26 Replies
                                1. re: LulusMom
                                  Full tummy Apr 22, 2012 05:26 PM

                                  That sounds great. Thanks!

                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                    h
                                    herring Apr 24, 2012 01:43 PM

                                    +1 on the soy chorizo. I was never a big fan of fake meat products, but TJ has some great ones, including the chorizo, their Italian sausage (sold in the refrigerated case w/the chorizo) and the meatless balls (frozen). All are amazing.

                                    1. re: herring
                                      Full tummy Apr 24, 2012 09:46 PM

                                      Great! Our local options are pretty poor, so this is just what I need!

                                      1. re: Full tummy
                                        h
                                        herring Apr 24, 2012 10:42 PM

                                        Oh, I also like their soy ice cream. The mini sandwiches are good, but I especially like the cherry chip (or something like that), which comes in a tub. I think it's made by the So Delicious brand.

                                        1. re: herring
                                          c
                                          cheesecake17 Apr 25, 2012 08:14 AM

                                          Chocolate cherry chunk soy creamery. It's delicious.

                                          The sandwiches are toffuti and they're very good, much cheaper in Trader joes than other stores.

                                          The pizza dough in the fridge is excellent. We like the herb variety. I've used it for pizza as well as calzones.

                                          Triple layer hummus and falafel chips were good too. The chips come in a plastic package within a paper sack. Plastic packaging ripped the minute I cut it open, so I transferred the chips to a ziplock. Left in the paper sack with a chip clip, your whole pantry will smell of falafel.

                                          1. re: cheesecake17
                                            LulusMom Apr 25, 2012 09:00 AM

                                            Pizza dough ... ok, I'm definitely going to look for that - thanks for the tip.

                                            1. re: cheesecake17
                                              h
                                              herring Apr 25, 2012 01:11 PM

                                              Thanks for the clarification, cheesecake17--that's exactly the two types of ice cream I was talking about!

                                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                                t
                                                Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                Yes the choclate cherry chunk is so good, but even better the coconut chocolate way better then Soy Delisous!

                                                I bought the pizza dough last night - will see. Walmart has the best pizza dough straight from NJ>

                                                I got the kalamata humms and not so good, too heavy. My favorite is the jalepeno and cilantro.

                                                The falfal chips were good at first and then they were just too heavy .

                                                1. re: Trgirl66
                                                  LulusMom Oct 10, 2012 08:51 AM

                                                  I really like the garlic hummus. I think I tried the kalamata (and we're big olive fans) and agree with you.

                                            2. re: Full tummy
                                              mtoo Apr 29, 2012 03:33 PM

                                              The Italian sausage isn't vegan. They contain egg white powder. (They are great though.)

                                              1. re: mtoo
                                                choctastic Jul 1, 2012 07:01 PM

                                                There are two versions. One is vegan, one is not, iirc. I just bought the vegan one.

                                            3. re: herring
                                              LulusMom Apr 25, 2012 02:44 AM

                                              Thanks for the tip - going to have to try the italian sausage. Does it grill well?

                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                h
                                                herring Apr 25, 2012 01:09 PM

                                                I've never tried grilling them, LulusMom, sorry. I don't have an outdoor grill and I'm just not in the habit of using my grill pan. I have to admit that I find them particularly delicious when I slice and sautee them, so the maximum surface area gets brown. Let me know how it works out if you try grilling.

                                                1. re: herring
                                                  LulusMom Apr 25, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                  If I try, I'll definitely report back here. I know that it wouldn't really work to grill the chorizo (not even sure if that is something people would do with the real stuff) since it is on the crumbly side. But boy, is it good in things like pasta sauce or chili or paella.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                    h
                                                    herring Apr 25, 2012 02:09 PM

                                                    Oh, yes, I should have mentioned that aspect -- the Italian sausage does hold together very well, so, from a structural integrity point of view, you COULD grill it. You're right in that the chorizo really only useful in recipes that use it crumbled. But it's sooo good!

                                                    1. re: herring
                                                      choctastic Jul 1, 2012 07:01 PM

                                                      I crumble it into mac & cheez and dice some green peppers too.

                                                    2. re: LulusMom
                                                      choctastic Jul 1, 2012 07:46 PM

                                                      Yeah, vegan sausages just don't have the fat that regular sausages do, so they won't turn all juicy like normal ones. I like in mac & cheez or in pasta sauce with peppers and olives, over penne.

                                              2. re: LulusMom
                                                westsidegal Aug 11, 2012 08:30 PM

                                                imho, the trader joe's version of soyrizo is not nearly as good as the regular SOYRIZO brand.
                                                i was disappointed.

                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                  s
                                                  Shanna Aug 11, 2012 08:52 PM

                                                  Is it non-GMO? That's all I've been looking for lately. Not that easy. Where can I find that Soyrizo brand?

                                                  1. re: Shanna
                                                    westsidegal Aug 13, 2012 02:34 PM

                                                    dunno if either of them are non-gmo.
                                                    iirc, neither are organic.
                                                    soyrizo can be found at whole foods and at many other health food stores and markets.

                                                    generally speaking, i've found it practically impossible to find any edible organic versions of any phony meat product.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                      s
                                                      Shanna Aug 14, 2012 08:59 AM

                                                      If the Soyrizo at Trader Joe's is their label (I've had it, but I don't recall).....

                                                      Trader Joe's Products are Sourced from Non-GMO Ingredients

                                                      Our customers can be assured that all products in Trader Joe's private label are sourced from non-genetically modified ingredients. Our efforts began in 2001, when we determined that, given a choice, our customers would prefer to eat foods and beverages made without the use of genetically engineered ingredients. Our process has been to identify any product containing ingredients that could potentially be derived from genetically engineered crops and work with our suppliers to replace offending ingredients with acceptable alternatives.

                                                      1. re: Shanna
                                                        choctastic Sep 3, 2012 07:13 PM

                                                        Interesting. I wish you guys would advertise this, because I definitely want to buy non-GMO products.

                                                2. re: LulusMom
                                                  t
                                                  Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:27 AM

                                                  the soy chorizo is excellent. I take it out of the casing and fry and then add egg whites and vegan cheese put on an english muffin -yummy

                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                    LulusMom Mar 8, 2014 02:48 AM

                                                    They've been out of the soy chorizo for months now. Keep saying they're looking for a new supplier. I ask about every month, but so far nothing. If anyone sees that they've got this back, please let me know. I miss it!

                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                      LulusMom Apr 3, 2014 03:32 PM

                                                      My husband went to TJs for me last week and finally found a new soy chorizo. I haven't tried it yet, so not sure if it is the same, or up to the same standards, but it is back. He brought me 3 so that I could freeze them. So happy to have it back and hope it is up to snuff.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                        fldhkybnva Apr 3, 2014 05:06 PM

                                                        Just FYI the new soy chorizo has milk powder so is not vegan.

                                                  2. t
                                                    tlm0000 Apr 27, 2012 05:14 AM

                                                    I'm a vegetarian and we drive from Ohio to Michigan every two weeks to do our grocery shopping at Trader Joes & Whole Foods. Since I'm not vegan some of these may not be either.

                                                    Peanut Butter Granola bars
                                                    Chocolate Breakfast cookies
                                                    Tempeh - in the cold section. I really like this and it's a great price.
                                                    Teas!
                                                    Sometimes they have in the frozen Potato's that have asparagus & beans with them. Sorry, can't remember exactly what it's called but it's very good.
                                                    Love the frozen bento boxes when they have them.
                                                    Olive Oil & Toasted Sesame Oil - Great price and quality
                                                    DISLIKE the Brown Basmati Rice!
                                                    Mixed seasonings in a grinder - wonderful for spicing up some veggies on the fly
                                                    Mushroom Noodle soup bowl

                                                    1. l
                                                      Lightraes Apr 27, 2012 05:31 PM

                                                      Meatless meatballs, chickless products (especially mandarin orange), This is Not a Tub of Cream Cheese, bruschetta, salsa especial, greens greens greens, firm organc tofu & sprouted togu, their grindable seasonings, sauces like mango chutney, fig butter, tortillas, organic fruits & veg, steel cut oatmeal, coconut milk, tjs organic soy milk, olive oil popcorn & corn dippers...ad infinitum. I shop there daily; it's a half mile walk from our house :)

                                                      14 Replies
                                                      1. re: Lightraes
                                                        n
                                                        noya Apr 30, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                        avoid the fresh produce--it is not worth buying as a rule. aside from that, great suggestions

                                                        1. re: noya
                                                          v
                                                          Val May 5, 2012 04:34 PM

                                                          "avoid the fresh produce"...um, what? Their organic carrots are 89 cents a pound! That's pretty awesome and they are good carrots! Also, their organic broccoli is $2.69 per bunch...cannot TOUCH that anywhere else...Whole Foods wants $4.50 for organic broccoli here in SWFL! Just gently saying....

                                                          1. re: Val
                                                            n
                                                            noya May 6, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                            the quality of TJs produce doesn't compare to that of what most of us can get elsewhere. Perhaps price alone works for some, but the value of fresh produce is more about taste and quality and freshness and proximity to where it was grown for us.

                                                            Unrelatedly, broccoli is probably not worth buying organic according to the dirty dozen/clean fifteen group

                                                            1. re: noya
                                                              Caitlin McGrath May 8, 2012 05:47 PM

                                                              The quality of TJ's produce varies by location and isn't the same across the country, as it is sourced regionally (along with much dairy, "artisan" breads, prepared salads, etc.), so one can't assume that one's local experience is the same as that in other parts of the country. And, of course, the quality and cost of alternatives varies greatly by locale, too.

                                                              And as far as organic produce goes, there are a variety of reasons different people choose it over conventionally grown, and residual pesticide levels (or lack thereof) is only one factor some consider in determining its worth.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                v
                                                                Val May 9, 2012 03:44 PM

                                                                Yes, I realize the broccoli is not on the dirty list, but I choose organic because I eat a LOT of it...anything I eat a LOT of, I try to keep it organic. But I appreciate what noya was saying...all the same...

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                  NuMystic Oct 10, 2012 03:20 PM

                                                                  At the Queens, NY location there are a couple of outstanding produce items.

                                                                  Organic Strawberries vary as much as any source from week to week but the prices are the best I have EVER seen for them, beating out even farmer's markets in rural areas.

                                                                  The Kumato tomatoes are FANTASTIC.

                                                                  Currently in my area they've had 2.25 lb boxes of Heirloom tomatoes which is an amazing price and the quality is as good if not better than what I see at local green markets.

                                                                  Also their white and black figs when available are fantastic and an amazing price as well.

                                                                  As with anyplace, you pick and choose what's good, but dismissing an entire department even if you can get many things better elsewhere is just silly when there are often amazing items worth taking the time to locate.

                                                                2. re: noya
                                                                  LulusMom May 9, 2012 02:31 AM

                                                                  In our area the produce at the local TJs is infinitely better than what we have at the regular grocery stores, and sometimes better than at Whole Foods.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                                    n
                                                                    noya May 9, 2012 05:18 PM

                                                                    you've shocked me! we're in NJ, and other than a few items, our TJ's produce is inferior to pretty much every other store by a longshot.

                                                                  2. re: noya
                                                                    choctastic Jul 1, 2012 07:35 PM

                                                                    Their frozen organic produce is unbeatable, imho. I go to Mothers or farmers market for fresh and TJs for frozen.

                                                                    I love their frozen wild blueberries ($3.99 for organic!) and their "organic foursome" which is carrots green beans, corn and I forget the fourth one. I think it's $1.69 for 12 oz bag?

                                                                    1. re: choctastic
                                                                      n
                                                                      noya Jul 6, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                                      not sure if you have access to Whole Foods--but I did a side by side comparison between TJs frozen organic strawberries and theirs, and the WF version was far, far superior. Haven't tried the other frozen produce items, though

                                                                3. re: noya
                                                                  a
                                                                  azveggieguy May 6, 2012 03:29 PM

                                                                  However, I've found the eggplant in my TJ to be bigger, fresher, & cheaper than what's in the supermarket.

                                                                  1. re: azveggieguy
                                                                    v
                                                                    Val May 6, 2012 04:19 PM

                                                                    And TJ's single avocados are $1.29 for a huge Haas...they are really great! Just saying...Publix' organic carrots are the SAME as TJ's but TJ's cost 30 cents less per pound...and yes, price matters to me, quality too. I know some people who've bought huge carrots at the Farmer's Market here and they say these carrots are too tough and fiber-y to be juiced...the TJ's carrots are juicy and delish, in my opinion.

                                                                  2. re: noya
                                                                    t
                                                                    Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                                    I have to agree, the produce is not great except for the avocados.

                                                                    1. re: Trgirl66
                                                                      LulusMom Oct 10, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                      Gosh, it must really depend on the area. In Chapel Hill, NC they are better by far than the regular grocery store, and often even better than the WFs.

                                                                4. Glencora Apr 28, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                                  One other thing -- my parents get vegan frozen pizzas from TJ's and everything I've tried has been pretty awful. Mostly because of the crusts, So I suggest you avoid those.

                                                                  1. Bob Dobalina May 4, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                    The frozen kimchi fried rice. Woo...good stuff.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                      s
                                                                      Shanna May 4, 2012 02:25 PM

                                                                      Outstanding... My husband even liked it and he leaves the room when I eat Kimchi. :)

                                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                        Full tummy May 4, 2012 08:24 PM

                                                                        Oh darn! I'm back home already, but will look for it next time! I love kimchi.

                                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                          s
                                                                          Shanna Aug 14, 2012 09:02 AM

                                                                          Good stuff!

                                                                        2. b
                                                                          bigfred May 5, 2012 07:19 PM

                                                                          The Marcona almonds....yowza
                                                                          Also, the dried pineapple with chili dusting- who comes up with these combinations? Tastes wonderful!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: bigfred
                                                                            Full tummy May 5, 2012 07:48 PM

                                                                            Next time... Am currently enjoying my Chile Lime Mixed Nuts. Brought back three bags. Have you tried them?

                                                                            1. re: Full tummy
                                                                              kubasd May 9, 2012 08:00 PM

                                                                              I don't know if they still have it, but the chili dusted mango was one of my favorites.... and I don't even really like mango!

                                                                          2. westsidegal May 11, 2012 01:39 AM

                                                                            in the freezer case they sell a container of two enchiadas with toful beans and corn.
                                                                            the product is good and is the EXACT same thing as the AMY'S brand that has fancier packaging and a much higher price.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                              choctastic Jul 1, 2012 07:30 PM

                                                                              OMG I have not seen this one! Thank you!

                                                                              1. re: choctastic
                                                                                t
                                                                                Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:26 AM

                                                                                I looked for these last night but couldn't find....but then again the new store in SRQ is either packed with cusotmers or the staff is ALL out at the same time stocking and I can't find anyting.

                                                                            2. l
                                                                              Lightraes Jun 22, 2012 11:23 AM

                                                                              Meatless meat...heat & serve. Texture is like browned ground beef. I season based on meal (curry, cumin, braggs etc)

                                                                              1. j
                                                                                John Francis Jun 30, 2012 11:14 AM

                                                                                Thai Vegetable Gyoza, dumplings in English. The vegetables: white cabbage, carrot, chive, white radish, green onion, onion, ginger, garlic. No chilis, this is not a hot one. The dough as well as the filling is vegan and contains no dairy. Very satisfying even without a dipping sauce or just plain soy sauce.

                                                                                1. choctastic Jul 1, 2012 07:22 PM

                                                                                  I've made an effort to try every single vegan product at TJ. My current favorites are:

                                                                                  Tom Yum soup in the frozen section. I break off frozen chunks and heat in the microwave. It's some of the best tom yum soup I've had outside of a restaurant. Actually, it's better than some of the versions I've gotten at restaurants. 1 package is only 240 calories and is technically one serving, but I eat a tiny bowl as an amuse bouche of sorts. I've tried all the other vegan Thai products and they just don't do it for me. Actually, the Thai dumplings John Francis mentioned are decent, too.

                                                                                  The bake & serve cinnamon rolls in the refrigerated section. It's the kind you whack the cylinder and it pops open. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that this product was vegan! I haven't had cinnamon rolls for so long. I like to eat one roll at a time, so I just portion them out in plastic baggies. 5 rolls per can. I love being vegan these days.

                                                                                  The soy meatballs are pretty good in spaghetti. They have turkey meatballs too.

                                                                                  The green olive tapenade (not the black, you must get the green) is excellent on a piece of good baguette.

                                                                                  The roasted potatoes with mushrooms in the freezer section are really good, very garlicky. Great with Gardein beef chunks. I feel like I'm eating beef and potatoes again.

                                                                                  The mixed grains rice in the frozen section. I don't know if you can tell, but I don't cook. Heck, I don't even have a kitchen. I like the mixed grains rice best. Love the texture of the rice, kind of chewy and it's so pretty to eat with my chicken tenders and frozen veggies (also from TJs).

                                                                                  I like their unsweetened soy milk. I eat it with cereal and mash it with sweet potatoes. Everyone has their favorite soy/nut milk and this is my overall pick. I like their almond milk too, but I need more protein and heft in my milk.

                                                                                  Their sprouted tofu in the refrigerated section. Separated into two sections, so handy for a single like me. Love, love, love. I like their high protein tofu too, but that would require more cooking skills than I currently have to really reach its potential.

                                                                                  I like the frozen pakoras. They reheat pretty well. Not as much a fan of the falafel balls, which are usually housed right next to them.

                                                                                  Oh and in their meal bars section, at the very bottom, they have these raw bars that are usually expensive at the health food store. I always get the chocolate brownie flavor.

                                                                                  Things I ate so much that I'm now sick of them:
                                                                                  all the frozen "chickn" products, esp mandarin chicken tenders. I loved them when they first came out though and had these every day. Now, I can only stand the breaded chicken tenders.

                                                                                  The soy creamery chocolate ice cream sandwiches. I have eaten so many of these that I can't even look at the package anymore without vomiting a little in my mouth. They were good back when they first came out though. I am not a huge fan of the tofutti cuties for some reason.

                                                                                  All the fruit popsicles I've eaten over and over again. They're all good, but I don't want to even look in that direction.

                                                                                  Joe Joe's peppermint flavor. I hoarded these and ate them at every chance and now I never want to see another package ever again.

                                                                                  That cherry chip ice cream is good, but I've eaten way to much of this too. Now, all I notice is that the chocolate bits are kind of too hard. I wish they were softer and fudgier. Brownie chunks would be nice. I would also like to see more cherries in there.

                                                                                  I'm so sick of the asian rice crackers and the peanut butter filled pretzels. I used to love them though. They have some decent mediterranean hummus and guacamole too.

                                                                                  I think their dark chocolate covered pretzel thins are vegan. I recall that they were pretty good. Also, the chocolate mints (like after 8 mints) are vegan, but after eating a whole package by myself, I never want to buy that ever again.

                                                                                  That's all I can think of for now. I love the fact that I now have the opportunity to be a picky vegan eater.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: choctastic
                                                                                    v
                                                                                    veggiedoc Oct 29, 2012 09:30 AM

                                                                                    choctastic, this made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the breakdown, Im a vegetarian from Texas who finally has a Trader Joe's opening up nearby, I will try all the things that make you sick because I bet they were really good ;)

                                                                                  2. j
                                                                                    John Francis Jul 6, 2012 07:09 AM

                                                                                    The frozen heat-and-eat falafel looks vegan, from the ingredients list. It's delicious.

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: John Francis
                                                                                      v
                                                                                      Val Jul 6, 2012 12:09 PM

                                                                                      Yes, have tried the falafel and they taste pretty good! The directions say to bake them, but they are easily done on stovetop in a skillet with a smear of olive oil (I put a lid on it too) if you don't want to turn the oven on in the summer heat.

                                                                                      1. re: Val
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        John Francis Jul 6, 2012 08:34 PM

                                                                                        The packaging also refers to the microwave, but I don't have one. I do have a toaster oven, however, which doesn't make much of a difference in hot weather, and it does the job well.

                                                                                        1. re: Val
                                                                                          Divamac Apr 5, 2014 08:36 AM

                                                                                          I pan fry the TJ falafel in olive oil and serve with hummus and vegan tzatziki (I make this with Tofutti sour cream mixed with finely chopped cucumber, dried dill, chopped garlic, a little salt and a squeeze of lemon). The pan frying makes all the difference. They are really very good if pan fried.

                                                                                        2. re: John Francis
                                                                                          NuMystic Sep 4, 2012 04:50 AM

                                                                                          Having bought these based on one of the Yea or Nay threads, just wanted to offer a counterpoint.

                                                                                          My wife and I found these entirely unappetizing.

                                                                                          Flavor is adequate if salty, but where it complete falls down is texture. Very very heavy and dense for falafel and we've eaten hundreds of varying qualities living in NYC.

                                                                                          We enjoy falafel enough to tolerate all but the very worst, which unfortunately is the category we have to place TJ's.

                                                                                          1. re: NuMystic
                                                                                            t
                                                                                            Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                                            I think the falafel is awful. Just try and tasteless.

                                                                                            1. re: Trgirl66
                                                                                              NuMystic Oct 10, 2012 03:27 PM

                                                                                              Think we may have identified the source of these leaden pucks as well. We tried the Chickpea location in Penn Station ("baked not fried" falafel chain) and they were indistinguishable from the TJ's version.

                                                                                              Same shape, same size, same dry dense texture AND we watched as the guy behind the counter removed an enormous plastic bag from the freezer and spread a few dozen on a tray bound for their oven.

                                                                                              In a city where you can't throw a rock without hitting a joint making fresh falafel I can't understand why anyone patronizes a franchise spot that is reheating frozen patties. Then again, it was dinner time and the place was empty despite the jammed halls… so it seems many agree.

                                                                                        3. l
                                                                                          Lightraes Jul 6, 2012 12:57 PM

                                                                                          Unsweetened coconut milk -- last night's late, late craving over a bit of O's

                                                                                          And the price is so low compared to any store around here!

                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                            John Francis Jul 19, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                            Steamed Lentils. The box says "ready to eat warm or cold;" the ingredients are brown lentils, salt (not much), and "natural flavor," whatever that is. I heated up the vacuum-sealed package, about 5 minutes in boiling water, and had a taste - pleasantly edible as is. Then doctored up the lentils with Mark Bittman's Moroccan spices, 1 tsp each of cinnamon, ground cumin, and turmeric, plus a little soy sauce. A meal in itself, actually two meals or more depending. The texture, with the lentils softened and easily squashed, should be good for making veggie burgers.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: John Francis
                                                                                              kubasd Aug 2, 2012 03:15 AM

                                                                                              I love these, too! I combine them with some of the beets packaged the same way (diced) with whatever veggies I have handy, marcona almonds, and a tarragon vinaigrette. So good!

                                                                                            2. i
                                                                                              InSearchOfTacos Aug 12, 2012 04:51 PM

                                                                                              one of my faves is the frozen eggplant parm- i bake mine, but if you do so, make sure to heat up the oven to 400 degrees (or more)- at 350, my eggplant was very soggy

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: InSearchOfTacos
                                                                                                NuMystic Sep 4, 2012 04:51 AM

                                                                                                They offer vegan frozen eggplant parm???

                                                                                                1. re: NuMystic
                                                                                                  j
                                                                                                  John Francis Sep 4, 2012 06:20 AM

                                                                                                  The ingredients list includes Parmesan and Romano cheese, so it may not qualify as vegan.

                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis
                                                                                                    NuMystic Oct 10, 2012 03:28 PM

                                                                                                    No may about it then… definitively not vegan. :)

                                                                                                2. re: InSearchOfTacos
                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                  Trgirl66 Oct 10, 2012 08:29 AM

                                                                                                  I had this to try last night but is not dairy free :-(

                                                                                                3. j
                                                                                                  John Francis Aug 13, 2012 03:28 AM

                                                                                                  Three canned vegetarian soups, two of them labeled vegan and the third probably is too, but I don't like any of them: split pea, black bean, and lentil vegetable. Mushy texture and very little flavor, just this side of baby food.

                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                    adventuresinbaking Oct 21, 2012 08:56 PM

                                                                                                    I really like the frozen fried rice with Hiziki, edamame and veggies. It was so good and moist, without being greasy. It was also only about 3 dollars. It is the perfect thing to have in the freezer when you dont feel like cooking.

                                                                                                    1. j
                                                                                                      John Francis Nov 2, 2012 09:51 PM

                                                                                                      Just tried the vegetarian refried beans "salsa style" (canned). Thick puree with a hint of tomato flavor. Makes a good dip.

                                                                                                      1. f
                                                                                                        Funkalicious Dec 19, 2013 06:28 AM

                                                                                                        I'm guessing the Trader Joe's Tempeh is supplied by Lightlife. I like it causes it alot cheaper but gotta steam it first before marinating to get rid of the bitterness.

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Funkalicious
                                                                                                          Ttrockwood Jan 3, 2014 06:21 PM

                                                                                                          I love their tempeh!! Its less than half as expensive as any other brand i've bought. I've never tasted the bitterness- i often just chop it as is and put on salads or stir fry with some veggies and soyvay marinade.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                                                                            fldhkybnva Apr 3, 2014 05:07 PM

                                                                                                            Count me in as a fan of the Tempeh. I had no idea I should have steamed it, I tossed it into a hot skillet with some veggies and really enjoyed it.

                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                              Ttrockwood Apr 4, 2014 06:34 PM

                                                                                                              I don't think i have ever steamed it....! Actually, since its an already cooked food i've been known to chop and toss into my salad as is..... Lately i've been tossing cubes of it in a toasted sesame oil soy sauce combo and baking. A few of the baked chunks (prob 1/2 serving) with bell pepper strips have served as my afternoon snack lately.....
                                                                                                              And tempeh bacon is amazing- im sure its nothing like real bacon, but yummy regardless, be sure to use the liquid smoke:
                                                                                                              http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe...

                                                                                                              1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                                                                                fldhkybnva Apr 5, 2014 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                Thanks for the bacon idea! I love meat but I've learned how much I love tofu as well.

                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                  Science Chick Apr 5, 2014 11:06 AM

                                                                                                                  The "faking' bacon" is tempeh, not tofu, but works really, really well in a BLT. Not sure I would like it on it's own with, say, eggs. Tofurky brand also makes a tempeh bacon which is a little better IMHO.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Science Chick
                                                                                                                    Ttrockwood Apr 5, 2014 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                    Tofurky's smoked maple tempeh bacon is wonderful but can be hard to find and gets expensive quickly. The recipe i linked to is super simple, i'm sure you can swap out different seasonings and such

                                                                                                        2. k
                                                                                                          KA2CSH Jan 23, 2014 02:56 PM

                                                                                                          The Tofurkey Italian Sausages! They're $2.99, Whole Foods sells them for $3.99, & Jewel here in Chicago sells them for $4.99.

                                                                                                          I love to use them to make a vegan bacon/chili/cheese dog. I use them for the dogs, the vegan faux bacon (I use a combination of Upton's, SmartLife, Tofurkey Maple bacon, & a Tempeh Fakin' Bacon whose brand name eludes me), the chili I make is spices from Simply Organic Vegetarian Chili which has a recipe I use on the back of the spices packet. I add 1 package of Smartlife Mexican crumbles to each batch and saute 1 red, green, yellow bell peppers cut into 1/2 inch strips with 2 big Vidalia onions quartered, & 1 finely chopped up habanero pepper separately with a little grapeseed oil and combine the 2 pots after the veggies get sauteed into the chili pot. I top the dog with this homemade chili in a sausage bun and top the chili with cut up green (Mexican) bulb onions a/k/a scallions. On top of this, I slather a liberal amount of Teese Nacho Sauce. It's so decadent!

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