February 19, 2010

Trader Joe's Italian Sausageless Sausage

This week I tested out another Trader Joe's product - the Italian Sausageless Sausage. This was my second fake meat Italian sausage, which is weird because I tend to avoid the Italian sausage experience, due to the usual abundance of fennel and/or anise, and sometimes a level of spiciness I cannot abide. Why someone would want to make a sausage spicy is beyond me.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Trader Joe's has been somewhat disappointing, as far as the fake meat experiences I have had from there. But these were in my fridge and had to be eaten sometime, so this was the week. I had a friend over who is also not a vegetarian, but he sometimes eats fake meat just for fun, so I had him try one of these too.

I cooked all four of the sausages up in my nice nonstick skillet in about a tablespoon of olive oil. I've learned from past sausages that a little bit of oil is pretty much necessary, both to form a nice crispy exterior and to prevent sticking. The pan was a little small for all four sausages, but I still got some nice browning. It only took a few minutes, and it was sausage time! Put them in some buns, and laid out a bunch of condiments.

Okay - time for the actual eating. I found the texture of these to be quite nice, actually. Unlike the other Smart Sausage Italian sausages I tried, I didn't notice the no-skin lack of resistance. It was nice and chewy. The flavor was a little bland. If I'm remembering correctly, the Smart Sausages had a better flavor than these. I'd have to try them side-by-side to know for sure, though. On their own merits, the Trader Joe's Italian sausages were pretty inoffensive, and fairly tasty, although bland. My friend who was eating these with me commented that, "they don't taste like meat, but they don't taste like not-meat either." I'd like to add that they also don't taste like fennel/anise, and they don't taste spicy. It's more about texture and whatever condiments you add to it.

The experience:
Texture - I liked the texture a lot - nice and chewy without that noticeable lack of resistance I've experienced in other fake meat sausages
Flavor - pretty mild… ok, bland. But inoffensive!

Final grade for this attempt: A-


  1. Also: those TJ brand sausages, labeled "made from soy" are actually made from soy and "egg white powder."

  2. It's funny to read reviews of these products from a non-vegetarian. I'm vegan and used to be vegetarian so I've had a lot of them.

    I really hope you're planning on reviewing some of my current favorites if you can buy them in your area:
    Tofurky dogs (Trader Joes carries the Italian one):
    Field Roast anything:
    Gardein beefless tips and crispy tenders:

    You will not be disappointed!

  3. Hey Nick! I have, in my fridge, one of the Tofurky sausages. I won't say which one, but I'm having it for dinner tonight, so keep an eye out next Friday. Also, our local co-op carries a few Field Roast products, but we didn't pick any up this time. I haven't seen any Gardein products anywhere yet, but I'll keep looking.

    Thanks for your suggestions!

  4. I just tried the TJ Sausageless Sausage the other day & loved it. I'm vegetarian, and have tried lots of fake meat products, and this one surprised me in a good way with its semi-spicy flavor & nice firm texture when browned. I had avoided it in the past because of the generally high fat content in other fake bratwurst/sausage products & brands; TJ's only has 7 grams of fat, which is not too bad.

  5. This was my first non-meat experience and it was surprisingly good. Im in love with it actually :)

  6. We've had this twice in the past few weeks. If you cut up the sausage and sautee it in a pan with olive oil and add peppers and mushrooms and then serve over orzo with lemon zest, olive oil and pepper it's a really nice meal.