Thursday, March 26, 2015

Trader Joe's Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds

This was the final component in our homemade pizza last week. I've got plenty of real cheese on hand, but Nina has been trying to reduce her use of milk and milk products, so I decided to contribute a bit to that effort by trying this product.

I knew that there was something very off in the taste of the pizza (especially in the leftovers on the second day), but I wasn't sure how to assign the blame, between the underdone crust, the fake spicy ground beef sprinkled as a topping, and the fake cheese. As mentioned yesterday, the sauce was excellent.

It all became clear a couple of days later when I made myself two tostadas: tortillas with refried beans and more of the fake beef. On one I put this fake mozzarella. On the other I put some leftover TJ's Mexican cheese blend.

The difference couldn't have been more stark. It became abundantly clear that the off flavor I had noticed in the pizza was coming from this non-cheese. I wasn't sure how to describe it until I went searching for other reviews, and found this direct comparison of the TJ's product against another vegan mozzarella substitute--specifically a brand called "Daiya," which I had not heard of before. In the reviewer's words, "It tastes like Parmesan cheese mixed with mayonnaise mixed with foot. It is atrocious." A commenter on that post added, "I tried it on a pizza. Ugh, what a disappointment! I managed to eat it without vomiting, but I am wondering if the strange churning in my gut two hours later is a bad sign. I am throwing out the rest...."

I, too, ended up throwing away half of the tostada with the TJ's fake cheese. It was that bad. In retrospect, I think the yumminess of the pizza sauce is what made the pizza palatable in spite of having this ickiness on it. Once that was no longer present, and the full taste of the "shreds" was unmasked, it was inedible.

I threw away the rest of the bag, and hereby add this product to my own little hall of shame, the Bottom Ten list.

Will I buy it again? 

Good lord, no. But the review linked above and comments on it make me want to try the Daiya brand.

Nina's View

I am indeed trying to cut down on the amount of condensed cow-pain I eat. I've been trying all sorts of substitutes and have been generally dismayed at how lame (at best) or disgusting (at worst) they mostly seem to be so far.

My only encounter with these shreds were on the pizza Bob made, which was not a rollicking success in general but in which the fake cheese receded so far in flavor as to not register at all one way or the other.

I am prepared to take Bob's word at it that it's pretty awful.

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