Saturday, March 7, 2015

Trader Joe's "Just Sauce" Turkey Bolognese

This is frozen pasta sauce, with turkey. Just in case that's not obvious from the package. (To tell you the truth, I wasn't entirely sure what I was buying when I tossed it into my basket.)

There's not much of it. The package says it contains three servings, but that's laughable. I poured it on some leftover quinoa, and ate the whole mess in one sitting. I am not a big guy, do not have an outsized appetite, and did not feel stuffed to the gills after the meal. So three servings? Please.

I'm afraid the Trader Joe's Blandification Committe took a whack at this product before it was released. Maybe two or three whacks, to be absolutely sure they had banished every last bit of flavor from it. It's the most boring, generic pasta sauce I've had in years.

It also commits the sin of misusing the turkey. Adding a protein source to pasta is one of the easiest places I've found to replace meat with a plant-derived substitute and not feel any meaningful loss. As I've said before, I'm not committing myself to vegetarianism, but where I can make such a substitute and not miss the meat, I'm eager to do so, for a variety of health, environmental, and ethical reasons.

The flip side of that is that when I do eat some meat in that context, I want it to have purpose--that is, to be clearly present, flavorful. To be meaty. Here, however, the bits of turkey have been so thoroughly blenderized into the sauce that they are not even identifiable. If you're going to have turkey in your pasta sauce, dammit, have it be in big, flavorful chunks. Let me know it's there. Let me savor it, since I don't do it often. This product is a complete fail on that count.

Will I buy it again? 

No way.


  1. HAHAHAHA! Oh man! This just shows how varied opinions can be. This is one of our favorite TJ's products! We always have one in the freezer for nights we do not feel like cooking dinner. In fact, we like it so much, that it is the product I STARTED my year long blog with! :) Oh man. We will not invite you over for dinner the night we serve this, but here is a link to my (opposite of yours) 5 star review of this one!

  2. It would be interesting to go through all the things we've both reviewed and see what percentage of the time we agree and disagree. (I've wanted to do that with the posts for which there is a Nina's View, but never gotten around to it.)

  3. STG I agree with you. I have this sauce in my freezer at all times. I love putting in on zucchini noodles topped with a bit of parmesan cheese. low calorie and yummy!

  4. This is by far the WORST product I have ever purchased at TJ's after being a customer for over 40 years! It doesn't look anything like the photo on the packaging. It looks like pink sand and tastes like it too. No amount of doctoring (with wine and seasoning and chopped vegetables) rescued it. I make my own sauce with ground turkey and TJ's Tuscano or Basil Marinara sauce all the time. I wanted to compare this and expected it to at least be palatable. It wasn't. Never again!

  5. agreed with L Moon! nobody should buy this! watery, oily, turkey is hardly visible, and smells aweful.