Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burgers

Last night, quite accidentally, Sonia and I participated in our first Meatless Monday. Have you heard of Meatless Mondays? The theory is that if we cut meat out of our diet—even just one day a week—that we'll not only be healthier, but we'll help save the planet, too. Supposedly cows, pigs and other tasty, meaty animals use up way more resources to produce a comparable amount of food than a simple vegetarian meal. I guess it cuts out the middle man—or middle beast, as it were. Instead of growing grains and then feeding them to animals and then eating the animals, you just grow vegetables and such and eat those. Much simpler. Also, cow farts deplete the ozone.

So, the less demand for meat there is, the better off we'll be. And each day, Trader Joe whips up some new vegetarian delight to make Meatless Monday that much more enjoyable, affordable, and accessible. These masala burgers are certainly worth a try, especially if you're craving Indian on Meatless Monday.

The patties look rich with exotic plant matter—and they are. They're dense and filling, but not excessively so. Their texture is not unlike that of a traditional veggie burger, but these feel even less like real meat somehow. In some cases, that's bad. But in this case, it's a good thing that these burgers aren't trying to be something that they're not. They are their own unique delicacy.

Flavor-wise, they capture a good bit of those happy East Indian spices that lovers of fine ethnic foods have come to know and cherish, but they can still be covered in mustard and mayo, dressed in lettuce and cheese, and served in the way of a classic American burger. It's Indian-American "fusion" food, although I'm quite certain you could dish them up with naan and chutney and make something a bit more authentically Indian if you wanted to.

I'm a fan. No major complaints. I'll throw out 4 stars for these puppies. Sonia will follow suit.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10 stars.

37 comments:

  1. As a 22 year vegetarian who passed these over for Boca, I'm now going to give them a try. Good review! (BTW it takes 16 lbs of grain to make 1 lb of meat)

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    1. These burgers are great! Also add the Mango Ginger Chutney on top at Trader Joes!

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  2. I think my comment went into a black hole!

    Anyway, I have been eating these for years,they are delicious. They should be paired with mild foods so that the flavor stands out. A coffee shop on West Portal in SF served wraps with spinach, tomato, chopped veggie masala burgers and TJ's goddess dressing...wonderful.

    Since i've never commented before I should say that you for the great blog, I have been inspired to try (read: spend too much on!) lots of foods at TJ's I would have otherwise skipped. If I may make some suggestions of things I haven't seen here yet that I would give 10/10 pts: greek feta dressing (as a salad dressing or even a pasta sauce), raisin rosemary crisps (I have yet to give this to someone who doesn't fall in love with them) and olive bread (spread feta on it).

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    1. Thank you for reading our blog. We're glad you are enjoying it and all the tasty TJs foods. Thank you for your suggestions, we'll keep these items in mind on our future TJs shopping trips. Happy Tuesday!

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  3. These are fantastic on TJ's garlic naan with hummus and avocado. We ALWAYS have some in the freezer.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Jen. Nate and I will try them this way. Sounds delicious! :)

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  4. When I first tried them I was surprised at the amount of potato in the patty, but the spices and the flavors make it quite good. I've paired mine with TJ's tzatziki in the past.

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    1. Sounds like a good pairing E.V.G. we'll have to try it.

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  5. I've always passed them by in TJ's but never tried 'em. I'll have to fix that.

    And this suggestion: "A coffee shop on West Portal in SF served wraps with spinach, tomato, chopped veggie masala burgers and TJ's goddess dressing.." -- might be just the way.

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  6. I love Indian flavors. So far, I have only found one Indian flavored prepared product that is both gluten-free and vegan at Trader Joe's.

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  7. Indian flavored veggie burger? Win win! Trader joe's know how to do it!

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  8. Warm up the masala burger in a convection oven for about 11 minutes. Take one wheat slim available in the bread section in Trader Joe's, put lite mayo on the wheat slim. Put the masala burger in between the wheat slim slices. Wrap the sandwich in an aluminum foil and take it to work for lunch or send it with your child for school lunch. Avoid what they serve in schools for lunch.

    For later, the best ice cream at Trader Joe's

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    1. Sounds like a great lunch for the whole family. :) Thanks for sharing Desi.

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  9. I love these. Crunchy, delicious stuff. First time commenter [and reader]. Great blog! I really appreciate TJs Indian (style) food products - and these are really nice. I make my own raita to go with them [greek yogurt, cucumber, onion, garam masala and a touch of TJs mango chutney].

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    1. Thank you Lynn! We agree TJ's has a nice variety of Indian food products. Your recipe sounds delicious! Another recipe for us to try. :)

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  10. I, too, love these. I heat them in the toaster, then crumble them into some rice and vegetables (carrots, peas, onion, broccoli) and top it with a tahini sauce. Mmmm.

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    1. Another great serving suggestion. Thanks for sharing Margo. :)

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  11. Fantastic blog! Greetings from Los Angeles

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  12. These are so good. I like to mix a tiny bit of TJ's Thai yellow curry sauce with a few spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt, then use that as my "mayo" for this healthy burger.

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  13. Yea these are great! And cheaper than the others too. Been eating them years now. TJ's on Vine used to run out of them all the time which was super annoying. But lately they've always had plenty of stock. the TJ brand burger's OK but it totally crumbles apart when cooked.

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  14. Love them and I am Indian. We put them on burger buns with green chutney, onions, tomatoes and a dash of ketchup. Divine

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  15. I'm going to try these. I'm a new vegetarian so I'm looking for things I might like to eat.

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  16. Have been enjoying these for a while!

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  17. I absolutely love these burger patties. I am a South African who visits California for a month every year, and I cant get enough of these delicious babies. I wish I could find a recipe similar to these patties, as we cant get them in South Africa. Anyone out there know of a good recipe

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    1. http://www.dailygarnish.com/2011/01/homemade-vegetable-masala-burgers.html

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  18. I heated both patties, used one on a sandwich with avocado and kept the other for crumbling onto a spinach salad the next day. Both were tasty and easy!

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  19. I love these! I eat them on sandwich flats for lunch almost every day. Perfect topped with tomatoes and spinach too.

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  20. I agree...these are really good. I eat them with naan and some hummus...makes for a fast, healthy, and inexpensive dinner! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  21. I made these last night with Trader Joe's take and bake ciabatta rolls, my own curried ketchup, and some plain greek yogurt. Yum!

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  22. I always buy at least 4 boxes of these a month. I use them everyday as a base for my lunch at work. Place 1 patty in bottom of glass bowl. Throw in some frozen veggies or brown rice or lentils or whatever else I have. Add whatever leftover sauce I can find in the fridge that is not spoiled. Nuke them all together at lunch. Mmm.

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  23. These are yummy! Best commercial veg burger I know of by far. The mango chutney is a great idea! I'm going to try it right now!

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  24. Whenever I go to TJ's I buy as many boxes of these as I can! We can't get enough of them in my house!

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