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Friday, May 4, 2018

Trader Joe's Hi-Protein Veggie Burger

Maybe it's because of my 9th grade biology teacher, but whenever I hear the word "protein," I can't help but think of science. "Protein" was so frequently the answer to her on-the-spot quiz questions, that if you'd answer one incorrectly with "protein," she'd politely say, "No, but thanks for playing." And just about 50% of the time, "protein" was indeed the correct answer. Any other incorrect answer would be met with a gruff "NO!" along with a personalized insult of some sort, generally along the lines of, "You're out to lunch, Mr. Rodgers!" 

And heaven help those poor students who answered something other than "protein" when it was the correct response. Louise Grove's biology class was more than 20 years ago, but I'm still traumatized. To this day, "protein" just doesn't sound appetizing to me in any context.

But hey, at least the packaging doesn't read "Now infused with delicious structural components of body tissues!" I'm not sure if it would be accurate at all, but you'll never see them even attempt to advertise the presence of any other macromolecules. "Trader Joe's Hi-Lipid Veggie Burgers!" "Trader Joe's Hi-Carbohydrate Veggie Burgers!" "Trader Joe's Hi-Nucleic Acid Veggie Burgers!" None of those work even a little.

So protein it is.

I've gotten pretty good at putting personal bias on the shelf when trying new things from Trader Joe's over the years. I'm not 100% sure my aversion to the word "protein" isn't affecting me here, but there's a good chance it's minimal, at least. These just aren't the best veggie burgers we've seen from TJ's. The Vegetable Masala Burgers and Quinoa Cowboy Burgers would be at the top of my recommendations list.

There are two big, heavy veggie patties, individually wrapped in cellophane. They only give you microwave and conventional oven heating instructions. No stove-top method is listed. We heated ours in the oven. After baking, the exterior of the burgers was slightly crisp and dry, while the inside was a bit soft and mushy.

The main ingredient here is peas—or rather "pea protein blend," (YUM!) but the flavor isn't entirely pea-esque. There's something nutty about the taste, but you can also taste the black beans and a hint of garlic. The overall effect isn't particularly taste-tacular. It's a subtle flavor—some might even say "bland."

On the other hand, it's versatile enough, going well with cheese, lettuce, ketchup, and mustard—pretty much all the usual burger condiments and toppings, but in the end, I think this tastes too much like the veggie burger that red meat eaters are desperately trying to avoid. It tastes a bit like "health food" to me, and for that reason, I'll never buy it again. I do want to reiterate, though, that there are countless meatless options at TJ's that I'd happily consume on a regular basis.

Although she agrees this isn't the best veggie burger option at Trader Joe's, Sonia liked this product significantly more than I did. She liked that they were very filling and easy to prepare. Three and a half stars from her. Two and a half from me.

Bottom line: 6 out of 10.


  1. These are actually perfect to have as a regular burger with alllll the condiments and toppings! The patty as is isn’t as tasty as some of the other TJs options but those don’t really work as a regular burger with toppings for me, i’ll eat those on a salad or just as is. I also really liked that it was a substantial meal, and really filling.
    Nice that TJs went with pea protein instead of the controversial soy protein isolate (ie morningstar)

  2. I really like these! For someone who has to avoid wheat and soy, it can be hard to find vegan foods, so I tried them merely based on the “I can eat this” factor. Definitely not like a beef burger to me, but I did enjoy these over rice and, well, more veggies, haha! Just throwing that out there in case other food allergy folks come along. They’re at least worth a shot to see if you like ‘em for how easy they are to prepare.

    1. BTW, thank you for this blog. I don’t comment often but I really enjoy reading! 👍

  3. You're welcome for the blog! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are welcome any time :)

  4. Its the best non meat burger with the most amt of protein and also calories!! For the price the protein and calorie content can’t be beat.
    Take tjs simply chicken which is $6.99 for 15 oz of chicken breast strips which yields 120 cal and 24 g protein per serving with 5 servings per package. Thats 120 g and 650 calories eating the whole package in 1 meal. Just not enough calories not even for maintenance.
    This hi protein pea burger is a hidden gem imo especially for the cost conscious consumer looking to maximize protein and calories per dollar!! Keeps selling I will be first in line every time!!

  5. wow what an eye-opener in the 'to each his own' department! i am the most un-fussy eater i know, and like cara above am always delighted to find a wheat-free version of something on the market. but these are dry, crumbly, flavorless...reminded me of a mouth full of pea-flavored dust. pretty sure i'll stick to having a minor 'wheat cheat' occasionally and enjoy one of their masala veggie burgers which are moist and delicious, full of good umame flavor.

  6. ps--what a great blog! thanks, i'll look for it again!

  7. I wish for the great of success in all of our destiny endeavors

  8. These are absolutely delicious. This was my first time trying them and as I was eating it, I thought to myself, "why does this taste so familiar? So delicious?" Then it dawned on me... before I became Vegan a few years ago, as a kid growing up on the East Coast, my family would eat Scrapple. And THIS tastes exactly like it. The one item I've always missed as a Vegan was Scrapple. This is it! Curious to know if anyone else has had Scrapple and came to this same conclusion! I love it!


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