Review: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Panang Curry, Green Curry

Okay, here’s my unsolicited Louisville shout out: We have tons of international restaurants spread out across the city. You name it and we probably have it. Although, sadly, we don’t have a lot of vegan restaurant options (I guess I’ll have to open that vegan diner I keep talking about). But as far as Thai food, we have that in abundance and whenever I pay a visit to one of our Thai restaurants, I almost always get the green curry with tofu.

On a visit to Trader Joe’s, I noticed two microwaveable vegan curries in the soup section: Vegetable Green Curry and Vegetable Panang Curry, which I’m also a big fan of. At around $2 each, I thought I’d give them a try.

My husband had the green curry and I had the panang curry, though we sampled each. I made basmati rice to go along with them, which helped to bulk up the meals.

And the verdict? They were actually pretty good. Both were very soupy, even for a curry, but the rice helped to soak up the coconut milk broth. I wouldn’t recommend eating either without a side of rice.

The green curry had a spicy kick and lots of carrots and other veggies. The panang curry was milder and had lots of carrots and sliced baby corn. You get a lot with each container and I could even see splitting one if we made tofu to go with it. So, if you’re looking for a quick and filling lunch or dinner option, I recommend both.

Yes, It’s Vegan: Trader Joe’s Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls

Now, I love me some homemade cinnamon rolls, but sometimes it’s nice to take a little help in the kitchen. A friend of my husband’s, who happens to work at Trader Joe’s, just informed us that the Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls are, in fact, vegan (they are not labeled as such). Cinnamon rolls aren’t exactly the breakfast of champions, but these little bad boys are perfect for those Sunday mornings when you just want to sleep in, stay in your pajamas and drink coffee.

Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Lemongrass-Orange Reduction

This dish didn’t exactly turn out as the recipe intended, but it was wonderful nonetheless. First off, I didn’t have any lemongrass. I knew I could find some in town, but I didn’t have the time to venture out to get it. So, I just made it without and without any substitution. Second, according to the recipe, the sauce is supposed to thicken after simmering for 5 minutes. That didn’t happen. At all. I simmered for 15 minutes and it remained the same consistency. So, I just added a bit of arrowroot powder and, in no time, it turned into a wonderful, thick glaze.

For the side, I made brown rice and, to make it easy, I just threw frozen, shelled edamame on the top to steam through while I made the tofu and sauce. I also had a few vegetable gyoza from Trader Joe’s and a little bit of sriracha to drizzle on the rice.

All in all, despite a few bumps, it was a wonderful and easy dish that I’ll definitely make again. Also, if you Google it, you can find the whole recipe online; I just didn’t want to post it here since it wasn’t my own.

Stir-fry: Part Deux

I promise we do eat more than stir-fry, but I thought I do another post to hopefully give you more ideas for your own. It’s such a great way to use up extra veggies you have on hand. For the dish you see above, I fried cubes of tofu in my wok, then I added carrots, edamame, a green pepper and some kale that needed to be used. A couple of vegetable gyozas from Trader Joe’s rounded out the meal.

New Pantry Staples

Hello! I’m still here. I’ve been in a cooking rut. Part of it is my husband’s new third-shift schedule — he sleeps during the day, so I can’t really make a lot of noise. And the other part is that I just haven’t been that motivated to cook, which happens every now and then. We’ve been sticking to our basics: stir-fry and pasta, for the most part. So, in an effort to keep this blog up and running, I’m trying to think of new features that I can write about that involve vegan products and news that will be helpful to you. For that reason, I thought I’d write a post about a few new products that have helped us in the kitchen lately.

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Gyoza

We make stir-fry A LOT. It’s easy, it’s healthy and it’s very versatile, so we never tire of it. I like to cook a little brown rice, fry up some tofu and throw in whatever vegetables I have on hand. A little Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, a little Sriracha and a few sesame seeds, and you’re good to go. Lately, though, to round out our stir-fry meal and make it last longer, we’ve been adding these Trader Joe’s Vegetable Gyoza. They’re only $3.29 at our store and you get enough for a few meals.

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

I’m fairly late to the Bragg‘s party. This product is a staple for many vegans, and it’s quickly become a staple for us. I use it for anything that calls for soy sauce, or to add a little salty flavor to veggies, soups and so on.

Sriracha

I know, who hasn’t heard of Sriracha sauce? I thought I’d add it here because we’ve been using it quite a bit lately. Aside from using it with our stir-fry, I like to add it to tofu scrambles for an added kick.

Amy’s No Chicken Noodle Soup

As much as I like to make things from scratch, it’s been nice using a little help in the kitchen, especially when it comes to lunch items. This Amy’s No Chicken Noodle Soup is so comforting. The vegetable broth base is delicious on its own, but the noodles and carrots remind me of the classic kind I had as a kid. The line of soups can be a bit pricey at a little less than $3 a can, but it’s still cheaper than grabbing lunch out while at work.

Amy’s Indian Spinach Tofu Wrap

Another lunch staple for me has been this Amy’s Indian Spinach Tofu Wrap. It’s a simple flour tortilla stuffed with chopped spinach and cubed tofu, but it’s packed full of flavor. Again, at around $3 a wrap, it sounds a bit pricey, but still cheaper than takeout and surprisingly filling.

That’s all I have for now. I’d love to hear what vegan staples you turn to whenever you need help in the kitchen. I hope everyone is well!

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burger

Louisville just got its first Trader Joe’s a little more than a month ago. Prior to that, I had heard so many great things about Trader Joe’s, but had never actually been in one before. We had a chance to stop in about a week after it had opened, but it was so packed that you couldn’t browse for anything. Last night, however, we were bored and decided to swing by again and ended up bringing home a few items, including these Vegetable Masala Burgers, a roasted vegetable pizza, Trader Joe’s own brand of almond milk, as well as a few other items.

We tried the burgers for lunch today and they were really, really good. My husband lightly fried them in a cast iron skillet per the instructions and we served the burgers on a couple of slices of bread with lettuce, onion and a dollop of curry Vegenaise that I threw together. I liked that the burgers weren’t made from a meat substitute; instead, they were a combination of potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, onions and spices. You wouldn’t think that they would hold up that well as a sandwich, but they did and were so delicious.

As for the other items, we haven’t had a chance to try them out yet. I’m especially curious about the almond milk. We currently drink Almond Breeze, but the Trader Joe’s brand is a dollar cheaper, so I hope it’s just as good.

My first real impression of Trader Joe’s is a good one. The true test will be later this week. We normally shop at Whole Foods for most of our items because, contrary to what most people think, it’s actually cheaper (for us) than Kroger. But we’re going to see if we can do all of our shopping at Trader Joe’s and see if it’s cheaper than what we normally spend.

I hope everyone is well!