Traditional recipes

Trader Joe's Fans Are Going Wild for These New Vegan Chicken Tenders

Trader Joe's Fans Are Going Wild for These New Vegan Chicken Tenders

The latest vegan item from Trader Joe's is causing quite the frenzy.

Any die-hard Trader Joe's fan will tell you that TJ’s frozen meals and snacks are the best, but that doesn't always mean they're healthy (eye-popping sodium counts are often an issue for frozen meals.) The latest item to hit the ready-to-eat aisle, however, is relatively low in sodium and calories. Plus, it’s jam-packed with protein—and it's vegan, too! Surprisingly, it's not made by Trader Joe's, which is famous for its private label brands.

Frozen vegan "chick'n" tenders made by Lightlife, a food brand known for its convenience vegan and vegetarian meals, are now being sold in Trader Joe's stores, according to the social media posts of adoring fans who have fallen in love with this new offering.

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Many home cooks who have already tried the new product shared their thoughts online—"I just love how accessible it is to eat vegan food now!” one user wrote.

Lightlife's vegan chicken tender product is certified GMO-free and is made with soy protein concentrate, tapioca starch, onion, garlic, and paprika to give it a believable chicken flavor. A serving (three tenders) will set you back just 100 calories and 360mg of sodium—but you'll gain more than 18g of protein per serving.

Best part? A whole pack only costs $2.99.

Photo courtesy of Lightlife.

More to be excited about at Trader Joe's:

These chicken tenders are just one of many new plant-based products Trader Joe's has introduced to stores over the last few months. Products like a vegan rainbow wrap and a frozen jackfruit curry meal are now ready-to-eat items that meat-free dieters can look forward to enjoying at home. In fact, Trader Joe's is keeping a running list of all these special diet-friendly items online for you to check periodically.


The Most Popular Trader Joe’s Product Is a Popular Frozen Food Staple

If you are a Trader Joe’s fan us, then you know about their Annual Customer Choice Awards where shoppers can select their favorite products in different categories and, of course, vote for their overall favorite. Unlike last year’s surprise winner for Favorite Overall, fans seem to have stayed in their comfort zones this year. Orange Chicken is back as the ultimate winner of the 12th Annual Customer Choice Awards at TJ’s and we can’t help but wonder if anything will be able to overthrow it.

Orange Chicken will obviously be sticking around, as it has been the favorite overall for numerous years. This year it also won as Favorite Entrée. Anyone out there looking for an easy weeknight dinner should check it out because it is seriously delicious and super easy to make (by the way, it’s amazing when cooked in the air fryer).

As for the other items on the list, the power of Everything But the Bagel Seasoning didn’t hold onto the number one spot this year, but it still placed as runner-up so we have a feeling it isn’t going anywhere.

This year’s Favorite Vegetarian/Vegan Item is Soy Chorizo and it’s great for a plant-based dinner. Taco Tuesday, anyone?

Want something fresh? Check out this year’s most popular produce, Teeny Tiny Avocados. They are delicious on toast topped with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. Craving some cheese for your charcuterie board wine nights? The Favorite Cheese, Unexpected Cheddar, is oh so good.

The winner for favorite snack, Salted Peanut Butter Pretzel Nuggets, make for a perfect after-school snack, dessert or lunch side.

Needing a sugar fix? Pick up the sweet treat winner, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, they surely will not disappoint.

We all probably go to Trader Joe’s for food, but let’s be honest they have some amazing bath and body products that are too tempting to resist. The favorite in this category, Trader Joe’s scented candles. They’re perfect last-minute gifts and come in adorable (and reusable) tin cans.

So what are you waiting for? Head to Trader Joe’s and restock all of these fan favorites to see what the hype is all about.

Before you go, check out all of the Trader Joe’s products you can shop right at Walmart:


Trader Joe’s Breaded Chicken Tenderloin Breasts Reviews

Wes &ndash May 12, 2016

These chicken tenders are so good! Way better than I would expect any type of frozen chicken tenders or nuggets to be. The meat was very tender and juicy – not at all tough or jerky or gristley like a lot of frozen chicken.

The breading was flaky and soft as well.

The chicken tenders really did taste like they could have come from a restaurant – great with TJ’s ketchup and buttermilk ranch!

Rachel &ndash May 12, 2016

I really enjoyed these chicken tenderloins, especially the inside. The meat tasted really good quality.

I also liked the breading, though I would have liked it even better if it were a little more thick (like crunchy KFC-style breading).

A Smith &ndash March 28, 2018

Its delicious, but I wish you made them with out Soybean oil. As studies have show Soybean oil good for you and there are many Soy allergies., yet its in everything. So I have stopped eating this product.

Tyson brand chicken strips does not contain this product. sad that trader Joes does.

), breading set in soybean oil.

Dolly &ndash February 19, 2019

Been buying for years…..much better than that Tyson or Purdue crap…..my only complaint is that 1 out of every 3 or 4 pieces comes with tough, rubbery skin in there, it’s so gross….’c’mon Trader Joe’s, why can’t you clean up the chicken better?

Lori &ndash March 10, 2019

I used to love these and eat them several times a week (so good). But the last three bags I’ve purchased have a strange flavor (burnt or Smokey) i’m Hopeful this is a bad batch and not intensional, because the new flavor makes them un-eatable for me.

Keith Klein &ndash December 3, 2019

I love these and just found out they don’t have them anymore due to a pricing issue! All the stores in my area are out of them and have no idea when they will get them back in!! Totally disappointed.

Heather &ndash August 5, 2020

I love them! I’m not a big fan of chicken but I need the protein from chicken. The breading is light so I don’t feel like I’m cheating too bad on my paleo diet.

Vince &ndash February 21, 2021

Five stars for the old version. They have a new recipe that is drenched with salt. it also comes with more calories and fat.

Catherine &ndash March 2, 2021

I completely agree with Vince’s Feb ccx 21st rating! 5 stars for the old version. The new version tastes horrible. I couldn’t swallow my first bite. Please bring back the old recipe!

Bill &ndash March 12, 2021

I agree with Vince and Catherine. 5 stars for the old version. I usually buy 4-5 bags per shopping trip. The new version is so bad, I won’t eat them. I will either take them back or throw them away!

Bill &ndash March 12, 2021

I agree with Vince and Catherine. The old version was great! I usually buy 4-5 bags per shopping trip. The new version is so bad, I won’t eat them. I will either take them back or throw them away!

Bill &ndash March 12, 2021

The new recipe is really bad!

Bill &ndash March 12, 2021

Leigh &ndash March 19, 2021

PLEASE bring back the old recipe! If it’s a price issue, we’d rather pay more than have this trash new recipe. The old recipe was 5 stars.

Ike &ndash March 21, 2021

I used to love this chicken. The last bag I bought has a terrible taste. If they did change the recipe, change it back. The new version is inedible!

J. E. &ndash March 24, 2021

These are so inferior to the old recipe you can’t even bring yourself to eat them. They are that bad.

Brenda Hutcheson &ndash March 26, 2021

Bring back old version. I buy 6 to 8 bags at a time & eat everyday but that will stop bc I had new version last night & it’s gross

MPP &ndash March 28, 2021

The new ones are gross – taste like they have gone bad. TJs – this is a terrible mistake. Are you going to go back to the original?

Anonymous &ndash April 8, 2021

The new ones are horrible! We loved the old ones! Please TJ bring the old ones back!

Bill &ndash April 17, 2021

They were no longer in stock this week. I asked the manager and he confirmed they had a quality issue and were working on fixing it. That gives me hope so I will give 2 stars and cross my fingers.


20 New Vegan Finds at Target You May Not Know About

In recent years, Target has upped its vegan game, and now, the retail giant is doing it again. Among other new goodies, Target has added several vegan products under its flagship food brand, Good & Gather, and they&rsquore as tasty as they are affordable. So what should you look for during your next Target shopping excursion? We&rsquove rounded up 20 finds that deserve a spot in your shopping cart.

1. Miyoko&rsquos Creamery Pepper Jack and Farmhouse Cheddar Shreds
Miyoko&rsquos continues to innovate the vegan cheese world with these new shreds made from cultured legumes and oats. They&rsquore the first in a new line of everyday cheeses from the company, and they&rsquove just landed at Target.

2. Good & Gather Plant-Based Meatless Chick&rsquon Tenders
For every vegan who&rsquos been hoping more companies would offer plant-based chicken, put this new Good & Gather frozen product on your shopping list. Target&rsquos flagship grocery brand also added vegan Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce, Spicy Black Bean Burger, Meatless Crumble, and Plant-Based Meatless Beef-style Patties to its lineup.

3. Justin&rsquos Almond Butter Protein Bars
Looking for a healthy snack option? This new protein bar&mdashwhich is best kept refrigerated&mdashfeatures the company&rsquos famous almond butter. The plain almond butter flavor is vegan and packed with 10 grams of protein, so it&rsquos guaranteed to satisfy.

4. Project 7 Sour Fruit Gummies
If you&rsquore looking for less sugar in your (or your kids&rsquo) candy, these plant-based treats should make you smile. They contain only three grams of sugar in the 100-calorie bags and provide spot-on sour taste.

5. Hodo Organic Vegan Moroccan Tofu Cubes
If you haven&rsquot yet tried the trendiest tofu in town, you&rsquore missing out. These chermoula-spiced cubes made from organic tofu can be tossed into a stir-fry, soup, or salad. They&rsquore so good you could even eat them straight out of the package.

6. Banza Plain Pizza Crust
Move over, cauliflower crust. Banza&rsquos new crust made from chickpeas is here to give those pizza nights a serious upgrade. According to the company, this crust contains more fiber and protein and less sodium than leading cauliflower- and wheat-based crust brands.

7. GT&rsquos Synergy Organic Kombucha Tantric Turmeric
Give your gut some healthy nourishment with GT&rsquos new flavor, part of its Rooted series. It is made from 100-percent organic ingredients and contains nine billion living probiotics along with the superfood turmeric to boost your wellbeing.

8. Beyond Meat Breakfast Sausage
Elevate your breakfast&mdashor any meal, for that matter&mdashwith Beyond Meat&rsquos newest product. The company notes that it&rsquos a slightly different recipe than the one it introduced at national restaurant chains, but it&rsquos still loaded with tasty goodness from herbs and spices and a blend of pea and brown rice protein.

9. Impossible Foods Burger Ground
Impossible Foods, the alternative meat the country&rsquos gone nuts over (though no nuts are harmed in its making!), has finally landed at Target locations nationwide. Pick up a 12-ounce pack and make all your meatless dreams come true.

10. Simple Mills Brownie Mix
Life wouldn&rsquot be the same without some brownies to brighten the day, and this mix makes some of the best fudgy brownies. To make it vegan, use a flaxseed egg instead of the recommended chicken egg.

11. Kite Hill Plant-Based Butter Alternative
What do you get when you combine cultured almond milk and a mix of oils like coconut and sunflower? A rich yet lightly flavored butter that will knock the socks off any non-dairy butter naysayers.

12. Upton&rsquos Naturals Updog
Hot dog lovers, rejoice. Upton&rsquos just launched its seitan-based hot dogs. They&rsquore flavored with yellow mustard seed and onion powder and feature an innovative algae-based coating and unique curing process, making them perfect for grilling.

13. Daiya Foods Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bars
The vegan cheese giant is bringing yet another cravable product to vegan fans across the country. These frozen dessert bars feature a coconut-milk base wrapped in fair-trade dark chocolate. Choose from Chocolate Fudge Crunch, Classic Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel Swirl, and Espresso Coffee flavors&mdashor splurge on all four.

14. Amy&rsquos Vegan Broccoli & Cheeze Bake
This vegan mac and cheese rocks, and even more so with the addition of organic broccoli so you can indulge in comfort food and feel good about it, too. The cheese melts beautifully, and the taste is pure heaven.

15. Tofurky Plant-Based Burgers
If you&rsquore a Tofurky fan, you will want to add these burgers to your freezer. Each patty contains 19 grams of protein and maintains the tempting taste Tofurky has become famous for.

16. Real Food from the Ground Up&rsquos Cauliflower Cheddar Crackers
Crackers made from cauliflower? You read that right. Former Cheez-It fans will dig the flavor and texture of these crackers. Be sure to pop a box in your cart if you spot them in the cracker aisle.

17. Milkadamia Unsweetened Milk
Tired of soy, almond, or oat milk? If you&rsquove never given Milkadamia a shake, do so. This company uses raw macadamia nuts to make their milks, which are rich in healthy omegas and antioxidants. Bonus: The company is committed to sustainable farming techniques to help reverse climate change and has taken a strong stance against the use of destructive palm oil.

18. CLIF Spiced Pumpkin Pie Bar
Pumpkin lovers, make sure you get your hands on this warming protein bar flavor while they&rsquore in season. Plus, part of the proceeds from seasonal bars like this one go to American Forests, helping the company move closer to its mission to plant one million trees by 2025.

19. Hippeas Nacho Vibes Organic Chickpea Puffs
When you&rsquove got a craving for chips, pull out these delightfully airy puffs. The chickpeas give them a notch up in the health department and their cheesiness will make you extra happy.

20. Sweet Earth Foods Veggie Lover&rsquos Pizza
You&rsquove no doubt seen this pizza in the frozen section already, but the recipe was recently reformulated, making it an almost brand new item. It&rsquos not just any veggie pizza this one goes to the gourmet level with broccoli, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts on a cauliflower-based crust.

Karen Asp is the author of Anti-Aging Hacks and award-winning journalist, as well as a fitness pro certified in plant-based nutrition, world record-holding athlete (in Nordic walking), vegan mentor with PETA, and board member with Uplands PEAK Sanctuary, Indiana&rsquos first farmed animal sanctuary.

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Everything but the Bagel seasoning

If you’ve ever had an everything bagel, you know what to expect with this seasoning mix. It’s a combination of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt flakes, dried garlic, and dried onion.

I use it several mornings a week on my vegan avocado toast, along with a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes (also on this list.)

You can also add it to non-dairy cream cheese or as a topping on hummus. A lot of people like to add it to their popcorn or an air fryer baked potato.


Trader Joe's Chickenless Crispy Tenders

The pros: Trader Joe's Chickenless Crispy Tenders are a meatless vegan option in the freezer aisle.

The cons: This breading turned out to be a complete disappointment on this. The finished product did not look much like the picture on the box.

The verdict:

A while back I had picked up Trader Joe's Chickenless Mandarin Orange Chicken Morsels. I've been longing for them ever since they disappeared from shelves. While I had no explanation as to why a perfectly good product would disappear, I wanted to write a review about something that was just as good. Sadly, these don't live up to those.

The bag would have you believe that you are getting some deeply breaded crispy vegan chicken tenders. By the time I got to the finished product, I had decent vegan chicken, but the breading was this items downfall. While there are two sets of directions, I opted to make mine in the oven. I'm not always crazy about refrying a fried item.

My breading struggled to stay on the chicken. I had more of a greasy mess, than crispy chicken tenders. My breading was sliding off of these. There was even quite a bit of oil left behind on the baking sheet too. The vegan chicken itself tasted like, well, chicken. Good, but much harder to enjoy when only half of the product is really enjoyable.

For $3.29, I'll stick with the very awesome Soy Chorizo if I want to go completely meatless. With enough flavoring, even the Beefless Ground Beef was a better option. I won't buy this again, but I keep wishing for those vegan mandarin morsels back.

Here is the visual run down of what you get if you buy this product:

The bag of Trader Joe's Chickenless Crispy Tenders:

The nutritional information:

After being cooked you get:

Would I buy this again? No, I would not buy Trader Joe's Chickenless Crispy Tenders again.

Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.


Trader Joe’s Chickenless Crispy Tenders

I wanted to include more of the tenders in this pic, but I accidentally ate a bunch of them.

I’ve got to hand it to Trader Joe’s Chickenless Crispy Tenders – they’re some of the best fake meat I’ve had to date. I’ve commented before on the common pitfalls of vegetarian cuisine attempting to ape meat instead of just doing its own thing. Usually this ends in a painfully tortured product name that attempts to acknowledge that it’s totally vegetarian but tastes just like meat, wink wink. (cf. Tofurkey). Generally this is an outrageous lie, or, more generously, extremely wishful thinking by a meat-starved demographic.

I’ve already expounded on my metaphysical sympathy for vegetarians. I can support the cause – I advocate the idea of abstaining from meat, and would do so myself if only my intensely bon vivant lifestyle would allow for it. Nevertheless, like the soy creamy ice cream substitute before it, I bought some crispy chickenless teneder because I needed a non-meat alternative for my (one) vegan friend. As fate would have it, I accidentally forgot to cook them in time for the meal, she ended up having nothing, and I was left with these chickenless tenders until tonight, when continued poor planning left me with nothing else in the house to eat.

Fortunately, Trader Joe’s Chickenless Tenders are not just edible, but downright tasty. They actually taste more or less like chicken tenders. How close? Close enough you could probably fool an unwary guest if you served them up without fanfare. There is still that tell-tale aftertaste of “soy-ness” that hangs around, but it’s pretty mild and is more or less totally cloaked by whatever dipping sauces or dressings you’re going to be ingesting the chicken tenders with. The only strange part is that the strips have been “breaded” in a variety of oats and flours that result in a crumbly, quasi breading that’s generally inferior to ordinary breading. The reason for this substitution, I cannot quite fathom.

TJ’s has managed to capture not just the taste, but also the texture of breaded chicken strips. The tenders are precisely that, coming out of the oven tender, moist, and just toothsome enough to give you a nice balance between chewy and yielding. They even pull apart more or less like real chicken, which is a difficult feat to accomplish when your medium is soy protein isolate.

How did TJ’s manage such a thing? I have no idea, but apparently it involves a large number of strange sounding, if allegedly natural, ingredients.

Water, soy protein isolate, and canola oil make up the first three ingredients, naturally enough. It might seem unusual that oil is ingredient #3, but remember that these are oven-baked “chicken” fingers we’re talking about. Like fish and or shrimp nuggets, when you take them out of the oven you’re going to be picking them up out of a little pool of their own oil.

After these three ingredients things get a little crazy. Pea protein pops up in a prominent position. Are peas known for their protein? Is it possible to tell someone, out loud, that your food has a lot of pea protein in it and not make it sound like an unspeakable form of bio-waste recycling? Not as far as I’m concerned.

After that we get into the ancient grain flours – including quinoa (natch), millet, and everyone’s favorite, amaranth. Rounding all that out is a good helping of Kamut®. “What the hell is Kamut®, and why is it trademarked?” is the very reasonable question you might be asking yourself right now. We’ll have to save that can of worms for another day, but the short answer is it’s a proprietary form of ancient wheat known as Khorasan wheat, originally from round about Afghanistan and nowadays lorded over by two Montana farmers. Also there’s beet root fiber in the tenders.

Somehow, in the end, all of this comes together to make strangely delicious vegan chicken tenders, with only thrice the fat of regular chicken tenders. For me it’s less important how it all works out, then the fact that it does. They might not replace regular, flesh and blood chicken in my life, but it’s good to know there’s a good back up option should it ever come to it.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: I would, if you’re a vegan/vegetarian.

Would I Buy It Again: This seems like a good fit for Meatless Monday.


Trader Joe’s Is Secretly Turning Its Baked Goods Vegan

American grocery store chain Trader Joe’s is not ignoring the ever-growing vegan movement. As more consumers ditch animal products, the supermarket chain has been busy launching new products to keep up, as well as veganizing some old favorites on the down-low.

A member of the Facebook group Vegans of the Bay shared an image of some store shelves at Trader Joe’s, showing several bags of vegan-friendly cookies. “Vegan PSA: did you know Trader Joe’s has quietly been veganizing tons of baked goods?” the user captioned the image.

Bags of Chewy Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chewy Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies With Walnuts, Chewy Chunky Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Chewy Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Trail Mix Cookies can all be seen boasting a vegan label, going without the eggs, butter, and milk typically used in non-vegan baking.

Trader Joe’s also sells vegan banana bread with walnuts. In the frozen section, customers can find vegan mini cinnamon sugar churros and big soft pretzels that contain no animal products.

A post in Vegans of the Bay shows the vegan cookie range at Trader Joe’s | image: Jenny Stojkovic/Facebook


Trader Joe’s Is Launching Two Delicious Vegan Dips In 2021

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, then you know that Trader Joe’s is the place to go to get all kinds of ingredients for tasty, easy meals. Their meatless orange chicken is the ultimate vegan take-out replica, their meatless meatballs make spaghetti night the tastiest day of the week, and the sheer variety of plant-based milks they sell makes us feel like we can be our own barista. But it turns out they’re not done yet. The Inside Trader Joe’s podcast just revealed that there are more vegan foods to come to store shelves in 2021, including two delicious sounding dips.

The latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast features Amy, who works as the meatless category manager for the store. She confirmed what any vegetarian and vegan Trader Joe’s shopper already knows: “There’s been a huge growth in the meatless set.” But it’s not just vegans and vegetarians who are enjoying products like Turkeyless Protein Patties and meatless sausage links. “These new iterations of products are really going after the flexitarian customer,” she says.

Well, flexitarian customers who are avoiding dairy and vegans alike will jump with joy over this news. Apparently, in 2021 Trader Joe’s plans on introducing two new vegan dips. One will be a dairy-free tzatziki, perfect for veggie wraps, falafel plates, and pita chip dunking, and the other is a vegan caramelized onion dip that sounds like a game day snack tray dream. (Game day snack tray &ndash say that 10 times fast!)

“I want to say everybody agreed that they actually tasted better or the same as the full dairy version,” Amy told the podcast hosts, and they agreed. “You’d be hard pressed to differentiate them in a blind tasting,” host Matt says.

We can’t wait for these two new Trader Joe’s vegan dips to be available. In the meantime, we’ll stock up on our favorite Trader Joe’s crackers and chips, so we’re ready to get snacking when the time comes.

Before you go, check out all of the Trader Joe’s products you can shop right at Walmart:


These Are The 25 Best Vegan Foods At Trader Joe&rsquos

You already know that TJ&rsquos is the place to stock up on everything from go-to staples to fun impulse buys (rosé gummies, anyone?). What you may not know, though, is that Trader Joe&rsquos is also a vegan paradise.

Not only are many of the famously fun and creative eats Trader Joe&rsquos churns out actually vegan-friendly (sup, cauliflower gnocchi), but they've also mastered the art of creating vegan copycats of your faves. Trust me, you'd never know the difference.

From pre-packaged fresh and frozen veggie-packed meals, to every kind of non-dairy milk you can imagine, to delish plant-based dips, and so much more, TJ&rsquos makes being vegan a tasty walk in the park.

Of course, treating yourself to some vegan desserts from Trader Joe&rsquos is a must from time to time, but the chain also makes it easy to keep your meals clean.

&ldquoLook for whole ingredients and a minimal ingredient list, and keep an eye out for signs of ultra-processing, like soybean oil, caramel color or soy protein isolates,&rdquo says nutritionist Dr. Michelle Davenport, PhD, RD, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Ritual. Otherwise, try to opt for vegan eats that are higher in fiber, protein, and monounsaturated fats.

As if it wasn&rsquot already easy enough to get everything on your vegan grocery list at TJ&rsquos, the brand is always launching fun new plant-based products.

Not sure where to start? Here are the 25 most interesting (and generally cool) Trader Joe&rsquos vegan foods.