Trader Joe’s Garlic Shiitake Green Beans Review

Trader Joe's Garlic Shiitake Green Beans front
Trader Joe’s Garlic Shiitake Green Beans front

Trader Joe’s and I have a long history when it comes to green beans. As you probably know they sell green beans in the vegetable area in a variety of forms. But it can be hit or miss when it comes to fresh vegetables at Trader Joe’s and the green beans are one of the worst offenders. Many times I buy vegetables several days ahead of time and I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to throw fresh green beans in the compost pile because they were slimy or straight up rotten. That’s why I only buy the frozen ones now. When I went to pick up my usual supply of frozen green beans, I saw these new Trader Joe’s Garlic Shiitake Green Beans and I danced a little jig.

Trader Joe's Garlic Shiitake Green Beans back
Trader Joe’s Garlic Shiitake Green Beans back

Ah, Trader Joe’s Garlic Shiitake Green Beans in a Spicy Shiitake Mushroom Sauce – the frozen section’s attempt at gourmet. It’s where green beans, which let’s face it, usually play second fiddle, try to jazz things up with garlic and shiitake mushrooms. The sauce? Spicy, they say, but it’s more of a gentle nudge than a fiery kick. It’s the kind of dish that makes you feel like a chef, despite just tearing open a bag and heating it up. Perfect for those who want to add a dash of ‘exotic’ to their plate without actually doing much. Gourmet? Maybe in a pinch. Convenient? Absolutely. A flavor revolution? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Trader Joe's Garlic Shiitake Green Beans cooking
Trader Joe’s Garlic Shiitake Green Beans cooking

Trader Joe’s is selling prepared green beans in an Asian influenced shiitake, garlic sauce. I swear I have made almost the same exact stir-fried green beans a million times as a side dish when I am making some stir-fried meat for dinner. It’s really simple and it doesn’t take more than about ten minutes to make and serve but you know when you want to do almost zero work for dinner, this is the side dish you didn’t know you needed.

It couldn’t be simpler to prepare. I heated up my nonstick wok (you don’t even need oil). You don’t need a rip roaring hot pan, just a pretty gentle warming since everything is already cooked and you are just warming it up. The microwave might even be a better choice here. I think either method would be acceptable.

After about five minutes of heating the beans up in a wok, they are ready!

Trader Joe's Garlic Shiitake Green Beans cooked
Trader Joe’s Garlic Shiitake Green Beans cooked

My Rating

As I said, this is no flavor revolution but a simple, easy to prepare side dish. If you want to make it a complete meal, you could throw in some Trader Joe’s Beef Bulgogi or grab some frozen shrimp and voila, a complete meal! Or just serve on the side with almost anything, Asian or not, it’s a complete side dish.

I really liked the way it smelled when I was heating it up. The beans are covered in the sauce when you open the bag and everything melts and turns into a gooey sauce that clings to the beans in a good way. The beans are tender but not mushy if you cook them per the instructions. The sauce has a small spicy kick to it which I found weird because there aren’t any hot peppers in the ingredients list. It could be from the black pepper, but I liked it. If it’s not spicy enough for you, just give it a squirt of Sriracha sauce. The mushroom sauce is earthy and not too mushroomy (is that a word?) shiitakes are pretty subtle. In fact, you can’t really see any mushrooms in this. I think they are all cooked down in the sauce. 

I hope Trader Joe’s keeps this around for a long time. I really liked this and I like the convenience of making it. The flavors are subtle but everything is nicely balanced and flavorful. I highly recommend picking up a bag or two and serving it up next time you need an Asian side dish. I am going to give this 8 out of 10 Bells!



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