It’s probably pretty obvious that I am not a vegan or vegetarian. I think that would be very hard to do if I wanted to review everything that Trader Joe’s sells, but I know what are my most popular reviews and vegan products get a lot of hits so I take one for the team and try anything and everything that Trader Joe’s sells! My son came home from school the other day and for his biology class, they had to pick something that they needed to change about themselves for 2 weeks. He picked being vegan. I said, oh boy, this is gonna be tough considering how much he likes McDonalds. But I said, Game On!
We walked through Trader Joe’s picking out some vegan things he might want to try and this one caught his eye. He loves the Orange Chicken with real meat and he said if it tastes anything like the real thing, he is good for the whole two weeks. So, we picked one up and made it for lunch the following day.
First off, the bag is really small compared to the real Orange Chicken. The whole bag is about 500 calories which eaten by itself is barely a meal. I opened the bag in preparation for putting it in the oven and felt how oily everything was. It was a sign that this would almost be deep fried in oil. There was also a sauce packet like the meat version and I bet myself that it was probably almost the same sauce as the meat version.
This one is a little tricky to make if you are baking it in the oven. Bake it and then flip all the little pieces of soy flakes, yes this meatless product is soy based. But it’s not as easy as it seems since many of the pieces stuck to the baking pan, but not all of them did. The ones that didn’t actually took on a nice brown color. After 9 more minutes, I took the pieces of fake chicken out of the oven and put them in a bowl, and tossed them with the sauce. Hmmm… maybe this sauce isn’t the same, it was very runny but it did taste almost the same.
The fake nuggets smell vaguely like cooked vegetables for me. I couldn’t quite pin it down but not at all like meat. They actually look pretty appetizing but putting them in my mouth was a weird experience. Slightly rubbery and at the same time with a nice crunchy exterior, which was the only positive thing about these. The faux chicken nuggets had a weird rubber texture and off flavors that tasted like cardboard. The overly sweet orange sauce didn’t help matters much. Eaten on their own, it really sucked. I don’t wish these on any of my vegan friends. I would rather take tofu and deep fry it. I have done this with great success for stirfry recipes.
My son agreed with me and couldn’t even eat one tiny nugget. He said it was going to be tough being a vegan if this is what he had to eat. Skip this and figure out something with real tofu.
I am going to give these the dreaded 1 Bell review. Do not buy them!
SOY FLAKES, ORANGE SAUCE (SUGAR, WATER, SOY SAUCE [WATER, SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT, ALCOHOL], ORANGE JUICE CONCENTRATE, DISTILLED VINEGAR, CARAMELIZED SUGAR, SAKE [WATER, RICE, SALT], CORNSTARCH, GARLIC PUREE [GARLIC, CITRIC ACID], GINGER PUREE [GINGER, CITRIC ACID], SOYBEAN OIL, RED PEPPER), WATER, EXPELLER PRESSED CANOLA OIL, BREADING (WHEAT FLOUR, RICE FLOUR, CORNSTARCH, SUGAR, GARLIC POWDER, SALT, SPICE, LEAVENING [SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SODIUM BICARBONATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE]), NATURAL FLAVORS, METHYL CELLULOSE, POTATO STARCH.
CONTAINS SOY, WHEAT.
about 2 servings per container | Serving size 1/2 bag with sauce (131g) | Amount per serving: Calories 250
Total Fat 8g (10% DV), Saturated Fat 0.5g (3% DV), Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg (0% DV), Sodium 670mg (29% DV), Total Carbohydrate 35g (13% DV), Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV), Total Sugars 16g—Includes 15g Added Sugars (30% DV), Protein 16g, Vitamin D (0% DV), Calcium (8% DV), Iron (15% DV), Potassium (15% DV).
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.