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Apr 19, 2012 09:44 PM

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

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

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  1. Love their cafe twist cookies and their chickenless nuggets

    13 Replies
      1. re: Full tummy

        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: Full tummy

            Trader joes also has a list of vegan foods.

            Forgot to mention that I love their frozen vegetables

            1. re: cheesecake17

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

          2. re: cheesecake17

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                      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

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

            11 Replies
              1. re: Full tummy

                The meatballs are so good better than Morningstar.

                1. re: Trgirl66

                  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

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

                    1. re: Funkalicious

                      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

                        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

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

                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                            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.


                            1. re: Science Chick

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

                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                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

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

                11 Replies
                1. re: meatn3

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

                  1. re: Glencora

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

                    1. re: meatn3

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

                      1. re: meatn3

                        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

                          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

                          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

                            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

                              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

                                Total agreement!

                                They are yummy. I love chutney with them.

                            2. re: John Francis

                              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. 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

                              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

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

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                +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

                                  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. 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

                                    +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

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

                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                        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

                                          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

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

                                            1. re: cheesecake17

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

                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                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

                                                  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

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

                                              1. re: mtoo

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

                                            3. re: herring

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

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                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

                                                  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

                                                    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

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

                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                      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

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

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  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

                                                    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

                                                      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

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

                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                  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

                                                    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

                                                      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

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