April 9, 2010

Trader Joe's Beef-less Strips

Ever since the major disappointment with Trader Joe's Chicken-less strips, I've been hiding their beef-less strips in the freezer, afraid to try them out. Today, I finally dug them out and decided to give them a shot.

I wanted to give them the best chances of succeeding that I could, so I went with a flavoring that I expected to drown out any flavors inherent in the product - taco seasoning. I decided to whip up a nice taco salad for lunch. I chopped up some lettuce while the strips thawed out, dumped some taco seasoning on the strips, and added the requisite amount of water. Then, since I think the strips absorbed some of the water, I had to add some more, as the seasoning hadn't fully dissolved and was looking a little chunky.

Finally, they were ready to eat. I topped the lettuce with a generous portion of the strips, since I wasn't going to be sharing them. Then, before adding the rest of the ingredients I was planning to add, I decided to taste one of the strips. I'm very glad I did, because I wasn't going to be able to eat that salad. These things were even worse than the chicken-less strips. The texture actually wasn't too bad - it was kind of chewy - not exactly beef-like, but not unpleasant.

However, they actually managed to overpower the flavor of the taco seasoning. All that remained was the spiciness of the seasoning - any taco-like flavors were gone. Where did they go? Who knows? All I could taste was that disgusting beef-less beef strip flavor. I thought about trying to add more seasoning, but at this point, I didn't want to waste it. Time for a new lunch plan.

The experience:
Texture - interestingly chewy
Flavor - terrible and overpowering

Final grade for this attempt: F

16 comments:

  1. If I sauté the beef-less strips over medium head in olive oil and add garlic salt and pepper, the beef-less strips taste pretty good to me. I avoid freezing the beef-less strips. I add the fresh beef-less strips to the frying pan and then sauté them until they are just beginning to turn brown and they have a light crispiness on some of the edges. They are good by themselves or with sweet chili sauce. I don't like the chicken-less strips.

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  2. I do wonder if the freezer did something terrible to these. Maybe I'll give them another shot, and make sure they don't get frozen first...

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  3. Yeah i just tried these for the first time, I didn't have them in the freezer, i kept them in the refrigerator and they were DELICIOUS. I ate it with some rice.

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  4. Okay, okay. Next time I go to Trader Joe's I'll pick these up. And then NOT freeze them. Stupid freezer, potentially ruining a tasty fake meat product!

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    1. Tracy, i think u ruined them with taco seasoning and may or may not cooked or over cooked. When we go we buy a dozen at a time cause tj is a ways away and my meat eating husband loves them. Fry in oil, over salad, or whatever burrito..excellent

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  5. Please don't freeze them...put them in the fridge. I'm seriously addicted to it. I always buy several packages at a time because Trader Joe's ran out once and I had to drive to another location 20 minutes away to buy some. I discovered them while I was transitioning to Veganism and man do I not miss beef.

    Listen to Tracy...just saute them with some garlic or plain with oil and add to your salad, rice or veggies.

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  6. I'm not Vegan myself, but I cook both types of strips for my son. He mentioned the strips taking over the meal and I began squeezing lemon juice on them while preparing them and it took away the problem. More palateable he said. The lemon is a meal savor and works for many foods like Tofu and Tempeh etc. Try it and see the differance.
    PATTI

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  7. We have them once a week - fried with onions and olive oil and served on a roll with deli American cheese. Terrific vegetarian alternative to the Philly Cheesesteak (IMO), and my favorite meal.

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  8. I love these! I won't miss eating beef with these around. The texture reminds me of beef. Just don't freeze them.

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  9. They are actually really good. I def wouldnt recommend over spicing them with taco seasoning though. If you start out expecting something to fail, it probably will. Season slowly and then build on.

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  10. Not calling myself a vegan but I am eating only plant based until "I'm not" and so far, I don't miss a thing. Well, I take that back. Lately I've desired that meaty "chew" and finally was at the point of buying some Gardein products until the price changed my mind. I headed to Trader Joes to see what they had to offer and saw Chicken-less and Beef-less. Not eating either today but when I do (and it will be soon) I'll review here.

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  11. They are delicious! Like Redheaded Golem, we saute them with peppers and onions add red. fat cheddar and make a lite, meatless philly cheesesteak. A great shortcut is using T.J.'s frozen fire roasted peppers and onions. YUM! Sadly, I found out they just discontinued them. I am so disappointed! As for Tracy, it sounds like the strips just didn't work with the taco seasoning. I will say that taco seasoning works wonderfully with TVP. It's best to saute TVP dry in a little oil before reconstituting. That may even protect against too much water absorption. I will miss my weekly meal with the strips - I hope they will be marketed under another label?? (Does TJ's outsource their products?)

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  12. This blog should be called 'AdventuresinfakeINTELLIGENCE' because you are one of the dumbest people who ever learned to type.

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  13. You must be an amateur cook. If you were a good cook, you can make the beefless strips taste really good. I'm very sad to say that TJ no longer carries the beefless strips but yet they kept the chickenless strips which was really dumb. The TJ beefless strips were very diverse. I have made numerous dishes including beefless brocolli, carneless asada burritos, pepper steak, beefless taquitos, beefless szechuan, and so many more. But for your beefless strips to not come out good, it's not the beefless strips. IT's YOU!!! Take some cooking classes.

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  14. I loved these back when they were available. Like others have stated, you have to use them for the right sorts of dishes. I would never use them for tacos. I cooked them in stir-fry with water chestnuts, carrots, and hoisin garlic sauce and they were awesome. I wish TJs still offered them. Anyone know who the actual manufacturer is/was?

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