Sometimes Trader Joe’s likes to take things up to the edge with avant-garde foods, like Beef-less Bulgogi and it works sometimes Trader Joe’s should hire better food testers because they’ve taken a concept too far and it just isn’t all that great. Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry is one such product. It’s vegan and gluten free. What could be better?
I reviewed the Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry years ago and gave it 9 Bells as a rating because I really enjoyed it. I was actually shocked at how good it was. So, when I saw this new Chicken-less Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry at my local TJ’s I jumped on it to try it. I was a little skeptical when I saw that Pineapple was one of the key ingredients on the front of the package because I think there are a few food items that pineapple works well in. It’s too sweet for me most of the time but I know other people love it so I wanted to give Trader Joe’s the benefit of the doubt.
The list of ingredients looks like a dream come true for vegans wanting a quick and easy option for a meal. The first ingredient is Cauliflower. Who doesn’t like cauliflower? The second is the “chickenless” nuggets which seem to be mostly made out of “textured pea protein” which I am finding more and more in these vegan dishes.
This is a really simple to make dish, although I am not sure you should microwave as per the instructions. What ended up happening is that I had a soupy mess. The cauliflower released a lot of water and there was a bunch of liquid at the bottom of the bowl which made it unappetizing.
The chickenless nuggets were flavorless and the pineapple added a sweetness that I didn’t care for. I added a bunch of soy sauce and hot sauce to punch it up a bit but it was a pretty sad affair.
If I had it to do differently, I would bake or stir fry it in a nonstick pan to dry it out before serving. Maybe if I had done this it might make it better but it still wouldn’t push it into the excellent range.
It’s a shame because this dish pushes all the right buttons. Cauliflower. Check. Vegan, check. Gluten Free, check. But it was not meant to be.
The cauliflower florets were soggy and didn’t have the satisfying crunch that I was hoping for. The sauce was also disappointing, with a bland flavor that didn’t have enough depth or complexity. I was hoping for a tasty and flavorful vegan stir fry, but this product didn’t deliver on that promise.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Trader Joe’s Chickenless Cauliflower Stir Fry to others. While it may be a quick and easy meal option, the lack of flavor and unappealing texture make it an underwhelming choice. I am going to give Trader Joe’s Chickenless Cauliflower Stir Fry only 2 Bells!
COOK FROM FROZEN
Microwave (1200 watt): Microwave cook times may vary depending on oven wattage. Remove the desired amount from the bag and place it in a microwave-safe dish. Cook for 3.5 minutes, depending on quantity, to an internal temperature of 165°F.
Stovetop: Place desired amount in a saucepan on the stove and cook to an internal temperature of 165°, stirring occasionally.
Yields about 2.5 cups prepared.
cauliflower, chickenless plant-based morsels (water, textured pea protein, sunflower oil, base [methyl cellulose, fiber, modified potato starch, pea protein], contains 2% or less of natural flavors [coconut], salt, citric acid [acidulant]). .carrots, peas, red bell peppers, pineapple, water, tamari soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt, distilled vinegar), green onions, sesame oil, sugar, ginger powder, white wine vinegar, salt, garlic powder, white pepper.