Life on the Veg: Snack Attack at Trader Joe's
Oh. My. God. If you own a toaster oven then you hold the power to transform six vaguely edible pieces of frosty, triangle-shaped browness into a suspiciously delicious snack. When toasted at 350 degrees for about ten minutes, these samosas come out as golden packages of crunchy goodness filled with a piping-hot mixture of diced potatoes, carrots, green peas, and a variety of delectable spices. This hearty snack satisfies that savory spot and leaves you with the conundrum of how something so tasty could possibly be found in the freezer isle for under $5.
2. Tofu Spring Rolls:
This vegan-friendly treat comes in a pair, snugly packed in a plastic tray more commonly used for sushi takeout. Spring rolls are hard to do well and although Trader Joe's is a long way off from replicating an authentic Vietnamese recipe it scores points for convenience and the awesome ginger-infused peanut dipping sauce. These particular spring rolls don't compensate for bulk by over-stuffing with noodles like so many other cheaper variations do. Instead, they are filled with generous amounts of fresh lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and mint leaves so that you get a pleasant and fragrant crunch as you bite into these neat little rice paper packages. When saturated by the wonderfully rich peanut sauce, the spring roll issues a mouth-watering kick to both your sweet and savory receptors that works wonders for curbing that afternoon hunger.
3. Meatless Corn Dogs:
Just when you thought food couldn't get any better, they put it on a stick. There are some people out there who have qualms with vegetarian food trying to pass itself off as the real deal because meatless products are ultimately just that: meatless. A tofu dog may not yet be able to fool you into believing it came from a cow, but sometimes it can get pretty dang close. When I fed this battered, soy-based protein to my carnivorous sister, the only thing she had to say was, "It's not salty enough." Duly noted. Grab some mustard and you're free to remember a time when meat on a stick seemed appealing. Mm.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Orange County dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.