I had high hopes for these lightly-seasoned, “excellent source of protein & iron” strips. We love the TJ’s Chickenless Crispy Tenders (found in the freezer aisle), and assumed these strips would be a nice non-breaded alternative.
I prepared them the recommended way, on the stovetop. Since they’re featured topping a salad on the packaging, I decided we should try them without extra seasoning. Not delicious. I added garlic powder, chili powder, and some paprika at the end in an attempt to boost their flavor profile. Meh. Perhaps if I’d added seasoning at the beginning of the cook time it would have melded better, but it didn’t really do anything in this case. We were able to eat it, but did not super enjoy. So surprising for TJ’s!
Flavor. The taste loudly proclaims “I am a vegan product!” in a non-delicious way. I don’t need my meat substitutes to fool me into thinking I’m eating animal products – in fact I actually prefer them to taste a little different. But I also don’t enjoy when they are so obviously a soy and vital wheat gluten combo with little seasoning to augment their flavor.
Appearance. They quite resemble chicken, especially with my added seasoning, as pictured above. Sadly, appearance of product does little for my tastebuds.
Ingredients. Primarily soy and vital wheat gluten (so obvs not GF), I don’t see any red flags in the ingredients. I like to consider whether, if I had a recipe, I could make something like this on my own. And in this case, yes, with the exception of the ambigioius “natural flavors,” I could gather these ingredients.
Omnivore-Friendliness. On a scale of “Yum for everyone!” and “Do not feed to omnivores,” these receive a solid “Do not feed to omnivores.” We’re not unfamiliar with the taste these had, but they didn’t meet our expectations in terms of deliciousness that we’ve come to expect from TJ’s meatless products. Omnivores and those unfamiliar with vegetarian foodstuffs would likely find the flavor off-putting.