I am a big fan of Trader Joe’s. Have been ever since I discovered them my first semester in college. I will even brave the absurdly long lines at their Union Square location, and carry heavy grocery bags all the way back to my apartment in Astoria, just to stock up on their delicious products.
While waiting in said line (seriously, if you have never shopped at a Trader Joe’s in NYC you really have no idea what I am talking about – just imagine the line for a roller coaster at an amusement park on a crowded day. I’m not exaggerating.) I saw these veggie burgers in the refrigerated section next to the tofu and tempeh. I had never noticed them before, and they looked tasty, so I added them to my shopping basket.
Trader Joe’s has rarely disappointed me in the quality of their food, so I was anticipating that this would be a tasty burger. It looked good on the outside as it sizzled away on the grill, and I had some delicious tomatoes, lettuce, and sprouts (sprouts are so great on veggie burgers!) to top it with.
My first bite was surprising – as my teeth cut through the crispy, grilled outside of the patty, they encountered a soft mushy inside with a texture entirely different than what I had expected. In retrospect, maybe I should have realized that the inclusion of “tofu” in the name “tofu veggie burger” indicated that this was not filled with grains and veggies… but really, I think that is more suggestive of a burger burger with tofu mixed in amongst the veggies, not what turned out to be essentially a breaded slab of tofu. Burgers are not meant to be crispy outsides with soft yellow fillings, in my book.
Doesn’t it look like an egg sandwich? So yellow in the middle!
Don’t get me wrong, I love tofu. I will happily defend it against detractors who label it flavorless and rubbery (clearly they just don’t know how to cook it properly). But tofu is for stir-fries and salads, or marinated and grilled as a steak – it is not meant to be disguised as a burger! Flavor-wise, this patty was actually quite good. Kind of spicy, too. But I was just so thrown off by the texture, and felt deceived by its outside appearance, that I could not enjoy it.
Sorry Trader Joe’s, but this is one product I will not be purchasing again. I assume some people must enjoy it, and I can actually imagine it might make a good vegan breakfast sandwich (can’t help it, it makes me think of eggs) but it’s just not right for a real burger.
Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Trader Joe’s Organic Tofu Veggie Burgers
purchased at the Union Square location in NYC
Price: $2.99 for a pack of 2 burger patties
Tip: for other NYC shoppers, I hear that a new Trader Joe’s location just opened in Chelsea. I haven’t checked it out yet, but I wonder how the lines will compare to the Union Square one…
YumVeggieBurger review #11