trader joe’s mozzarella…maybe just not for pizzas

trader joes mozzarella

I so wanted to love you. I saw you on Instagram and Facebook, and I was all, “Oooh, new stuff to put on pizza. I wonder if it’s a cheaper, slightly inferior Daiya.” You know how Trader Joe’s knock-offs work. Of course I bought it the first chance I got. (Oh, and if you’re looking for it, I found it hanging from a peg alongside the other shredded cheeses.)

Experiment one: pizza. Duh.

cornmeal crust

Since it was an experiment, I threw together a no-hassle pizza using this cornmeal crust from Vicolo. They also make a spelty one, which I believe is gluten-free. [Thanks to Kittee, my eyes have been opened: Spelt is not gluten-free. From what I gather from collected sources, spelt is not “modern wheat” and is lower in gluten, so some with mild gluten insensitivity can handle spelt.]  They’re better than you’d expect from a frozen crust and are the perfect size for a light meal for two.

trader joes mozzarella shred

Right out of the gate, you can tell this isn’t Daiya. The shreds are brittle, like Parmesan. I tasted it—this won’t be sprinkled on a salad anytime soon…but then again, I never sprinkled cheese on my salads before.

trader joes mozzarella pizza

And it browned up really fast—way faster than my crust cooked. I didn’t mind that so much, but you can see how shiny it is, right? There was definitely a pooling of oil on the top, like with Tofutti slices. (Dear Tofutti, I love your cream cheese and Cuties.) It wasn’t inedible, but it was as if there was no cheese on it, just a layer of…i don’t know.

Experiment two: pizzadilla.

trader joes pizzadillas

It’s totally a quesadilla with mozzarella (and whatever your twisted little heart desires: fakey sausage, onion, spinach…), which you obviously dip into sauce. How’d it go? It melted easily, but what it melts into is just a liquidy, tasteless substance. I again noticed how oily it was—and checked the nutrition label on some Daiya and it’s the same, 6 grams of fat for ¼ cup. Weird, how the oil separates out and is so much more noticeable.

After about four bites, the rest went to the compost bin. The fun, junkfood factor was not worth it. The flavor-and-texture: bad-for-you ratio just didn’t cut it for me, and I was not at all compelled to finish it. I was just sort of grossed out.

Do note that some folks seem to like it. A friend yesterday said she used it in a panini and it worked fine, so maybe as a minor ingredient rather than the star it needs to be in a pizza. I checked, and Club Trader Joe’s doesn’t seem to have tried it yet—I’d be curious to hear from a nonvegan. This is one of those things I’d hate to have as an introduction to vegan foods, because it just doesn’t do “vegan” justice. We’ve come too far to be dragged down by the likes of inferior fake cheeses!

Have you tried it? Had any luck with it? How?!?!

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