One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trader Joe's New Beef-less Strips aka "the meal I want on my death bed"

I'm leaving town tomorrow for the Windy City (more restaurant reviews to come!) and I really didn't have the time to cook anything elaborate. Last time I was at Trader Joe's I saw they had these new Beef-Less Strips. They have about 20 grams of protein a serving, 120 calories and 30% of the RDA for iron, I couldn't really turn them down. They had been sitting in my refrigerator for over a week waiting for a moment just like this. Coincidentally, I also had a bag of Harvest Hodgepodge frozen vegetables in my freezer that were 2 seconds away from freezer burn. They have all the makings for a perfect stir-fry: Broccoli florets, julienned carrots, baby corn, water chestnuts, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, red peppers and onions. The trouble is I like my stir fry with brown rice but who was an hour to wait for that stuff to cook?! I ran to my pantry, hoping and praying that there was some quinoa left, thankfully I had enough quinoa left to make my late-lunch/early dinner complete.

I'm really not a fan of faux-beef. Outside of boca burgers I tend to steer clear from things with a "beefy" flavor. But I have to say that Trader Joe's Beef less strips were perfect! I sautéed 1/2 the box of beef-less strips in a little canola oil until they were a little crispy. The back of the box says 2-3 minutes but I cooked them for about 5. I added the steamed harvest hodgepodge and cooked for an additional 2-3 minutes. Then I added some homemade teriyaki sauce i had around from earlier in the week and a little arrowroot to thicken it up. I cooked my quinoa in vegetable stock and voilà! Dinner in 15 minutes.

I didn't intend for this meal to be a Trader Joe's love-fest but it just so happens that all the stuff lying around my house was from there. And all the ingredients I used can be kept in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry for an extended period of time so they are great when you just don't have any time (which is always) and want a great meal. I still have 1/2 a box of the beef-less strips left. On the back of the box they recommend making Mediterranean wraps or fajita pizza and I can't wait to try both options (I have some mozzarella cheezly that is screaming, "Make me a pizza!"). If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you this meal alone is cause for you to call your senator, governor, alderman, whoever and demand one be built near you ASAP!


  1. I grabbed the package when I saw them and put it back. now I'll have to try them, thanks for being a great little guinea pig!

  2. I cannot find a cheese substitute that my husband will eat. He says they all taste terrible and have no relation to real cheese. Any suggestions... besides getting a different husband?

  3. Daiya brand is really the closest there is to cheese out there. In fact, it's so close to cheese that I'm not particularly in love with the flavor on it's own because I no longer like the taste or smell of cow's milk cheese. I also highly recommend tinkering around with your own homemade recipes for cheese. The nacho cheeze sauce from Quick and Easy Vegan Celebrations is a good place to start. Good Luck!

  4. I had a fantastic vegetarian philly cheesesteak at a restaurant and have been looking for veggie beef strips to recreate it. I will get these, I am always in trader joes.

  5. I tried these last night one a whim - I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, but I like to eat like one often - these strips are really good, amazing actually! I made soft tacos with them and some sauteed peppers and trader joes authentic salsa!

  6. I'm a newbie vegetarian, so I still get those annoying meat cravings once in awhile. TJ's Beef-Less and Chicken-Less products hit the spot every time! I've made all kinds of stuff with these: Buorguignon, Stroganoff, burritos, fajitas, stir fry, tomato "beef" chow mein - everything I used to have beef strips in, really! so good! :p


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