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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Trader Joe's Gochujang Vegetable Stir Fry


 Yeah, yeah, I know, we review plenty of snacks and treats here - more than plenty, but believe me, we eat our veggies too, at least my lovely bride, our kiddo squad and I. Produce takes up a significant chunk of our grocery bill and food storage, and as long as we don't stick it in the basement refrigerator, almost never our garbage bags. The beer fridge unfortunately where fruits and veggies go to be neglected and die.

We just don't review too many here, except when something new and exciting like Trader Joe's Gochujang Vegetable Stir Fry comes out, we just gotta try it!

Wait...what? This isn't brand new and has been around for months...or maybe even years? I could have sworn I've never seen this before - maybe it's somehow magically new to the Pittsburgh region (we are, after all, pretty much last to get anything), or maybe we do need to pay more attention to the veggies at TJ's after all. 

Anyhoos, what you see here is what you get. It's a nice little medley of everyone's trendyish low crab fave - zoodles! -  carrots, diced bell peppers, edamame, broccoli and green beans, all awash in a soy-based gochujang-tinged sauce. Nothing fancy, and honestly, a touch underwhelming, for a couple reasons. 

First and foremost - where's all the zoodles?!?!?!?! For a supposed four serving bag, which Sandy and I easily split two ways, we each got maybe two bites of zucchini. C'mon now.  If we stuck to a serving each, does that mean one bite - or less - for each? Give up the zoodles! 

Second, this would be much better off as a fresh and not frozen product. There's so much moisture from the freezing process here that everything seems a little soft and limp, aside from the edamame. It also took forever for the sauce to vaguely thicken up which further contributed to the over-steamed sensation. 

And third - well - maybe this is just me and my mixed experiences with gochujang, but I'd expect just a touch more of a kick. The spice level here is pretty mild, more of a touch of warmth than anything. It's pretty tasty and pleasant, don't get me wrong, but seems like maybe a touch less soy and a bit more chili pepper would do the trick. 

It's not an awful mix, but don't get it thinking it can be a meal by itself. We added some grilled chicken and even then it was somewhat lacking, even when doubling up servings. A little rice, or a lot more zoodles, would have been a good touch. 

In all, it's not bad mix for what it is, but I'd much prefer the raw/roasted/fresh veg we're used to than this frozen mix. At least it didnt come from a can. I'd pick it up again, maybe but maybe a couple zukes abd break out our spiral cutter too. And add some of our own gochujang to kick it up. or maybe just makes it mself, can't be that hard...anyways....

Double threes. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Gochujang Vegetable Stir Fry: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

 

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