trader joe’s vegan roast, yeah, i tried it.


Trader Joe’s has a vegan roast! Trader Joe’s has a vegan roast! Like a friggin’ ringing in my ears—if my ears were eyes and the ringing was a bunch of posts on Facebook. Evvvverybody‘s excited about it.

Of course I bought one. (The things I do for you!)

I don’t really do a Thanksgiving thing. My family is all in Chicago, and I simply do not travel for the holidays. So I’m not really looking for that roast replacement. But it’s food and I like food, so I decided to give it a whirl. By the by, it’s in the refrigerator section. I stumbled upon it by accident after scouring the freezer cases for it.

Turns out, it’s probably a Gardein co-production, or maybe it just tastes and feels like Gardein. Very fluffy and juicy. A bit much for me; it tastes and feels like what I remember turkey breast to taste and feel like. I’d probably prefer cold leftovers, like I do Tofurky roasts.

The stuffing in the center is very soft but had some decent flavor. I’m a stuffing snob, and this just didn’t do it for me. I like little bits of carrot and celery and chunks of bread, and as you can see in the photo, there’s not really much definition. Not pictured is the gravy. It comes in a little pouch, and Tom ate it up, pleasantly surprised it wasn’t a mushroom gravy.

If this is all sounding kind of “meh,” I guess it is. THAT SAID, if I were going to a family dinner for Thanksgiving and a relative presented this, I would be delighted. It’s totally edible, and if you like big pieces of fake meat, you might super love this.

I have two further reservations about it. The first is that it’s $9.99. I expected it to be less, considering I can usually get a Tofurky for that or cheaper…and Trader Joe’s is almost always about super bargains. Whatever. It’s a bunch of food for ten bucks.

The second is that I’ve only just learned about hexane-processed soy meats. There’s a bit of a question mark as to whether Gardein supports this practice. They said they do not use hexane in their processing, but at least in this article, it’s suggested that they might purchase hexane-extracted soy from a supplier. I don’t know—like I said, I just saw this, so I need to do some more research. I’d just feel bad for not mentioning it. Even if a product is safe for my consumption, I’d rather not support something that is harmful to the people who produce it. I don’t only care about animal welfare! (Again, not sure if this is even Gardein, but if anyone has more info on this subject, please comment away or email me.)

Whatever you do, I hope y’all have a good holiday with family, friends, or yourself. If you’re looking for the perfect turkey alternative and don’t want a grocery-store roast, check out your local vegan bakeries and restaurants. I’ve seen a bunch of them posting about their holiday offerings, and some sound amazing.

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