But yeah...I do like a lot of Trader Joe's meatless/fake meat products. I've run through them enough times that I'm not going to do it again. I asked Sandy why we eat so much soy/grain based fake meat, when we both like the real thing just as much. Her answer: "Because we haven't had a bad experience yet." That's true enough, so when we saw a new shiny bag of Chickenless Crispy Tenders in the freezer aisle, we knew it was time again to give it the ol' college try.
It's not a bad product. For $2.99, you get about nine two-or-three bite sized tenders, so it's more than enough for a couple hungry adults for dinner. We baked them up alongside some tasty Trader Tots for a quick and easy meal. The "meat" is a little different from some other of their fake chicken products, where it tastes and feel like the intention is to assimilate an actual chicken chunk a little more closely. In these crispy tenders, it still tastes pretty darn and close to the real thing, but seems in texture and bite to be more like the stuff that goes inside a chicken patty or nugget. Does that make sense? Anyways, no real complaints there. The breading isn't bad either. I kinda like how they tried to do something a little different and put some oats and some crunchy bits of not-sure-what in. I don't like how a lot of it stuck to the baking sheet and by and large seemed to lack a little flavor. That's not awful if you view things like chicken strips as dipping sauce delivery devices (indeed, they went well with the sweet chili sauce and hot sauce we had on hand), but still, a little shake of black pepper or a little more paprika would've made a difference for them.
Regardless, both Sandy and I liked them. If there's anyone on the blog team that'd try to convince you to go vegetarian, it'd be her as she's talked about it once or twice. Whenever she does, I start sizzling up the bacon, and it's amazing how quickly that thought train derails. "Yeah, we'd get these again," she said. I think we would, too. They're not the best fake meat product that Trader Joe's offers, but they're not the worst (not like there's really bad ones we've stumbled across). Based primarily on breading issues, Sandy's going with a 3.5, whereas I see those concerns, quibble slightly about the price, and settle on a 3.5 as well.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Chickenless Crispy Tenders: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons