Where’s the beef? Not in Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef

Beefless Trader Joes Dish
Özge Terzioğlu/Staff

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With the rising popularity of alternative diets, I’ve become more comfortable trying different meat alternatives. I tried the Impossible Burger, which lived up to the hype — it tasted almost exactly like regular beef, and it was actually good. When I saw Beef-less Ground Beef at Trader Joe’s, I knew I had to try it to see if it could be a viable meat alternative in my kitchen. Inspired by the picture on the packaging, I decided to try out my mom’s recipe for Turkish stuffed bell peppers (even though I didn’t have all the ingredients).

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup rice (dry)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder 
  • ½ teaspoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 bell peppers (any color works just fine)

Disclaimer: I technically messed up my mom’s recipe here, but it still turned out good, so I’m detailing what I did. I’d recommend using fresh onions and parsley if you plan to try this yourself.

Directions

  1. Cook the dry rice according to package directions, being sure to add salt and 1 ½ teaspoons of olive oil to the boiling water before adding your rice.
  2. Chop up the tomato into small pieces, take out the Beef-less Ground Beef and put them together in a bowl. When your rice is done cooking, add it to the bowl. 
  3. Now it’s time to spice it up. Add all the spices, lemon juice and olive oil to the mixture in the bowl.
  4. Mix everything together with a spoon. Make sure to break up the Beef-less Ground Beef with the spoon so that it is evenly distributed in the mixture.
  5. Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Set the tops aside.
  6. Saute the bell peppers in a pan with olive oil to brown them on all sides. Put a cover over the pan while you do this. My peppers took about 15 minutes to brown.
  7. Once the bell peppers are browned, carefully take them out of the pan and place them on a flat surface. Spoon the Beef-less Ground Beef mixture into the peppers until they’re fully stuffed.
  8. Put the stuffed bell peppers back in the pan with the cover on and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the beef turns dark brown. You may have to lay the peppers on their sides to fit the cover on the pan, which works just fine.
  9. When the peppers are ready, top with Greek yogurt and enjoy!

My Review

Smell

I was nervous while making this recipe because when I opened the package of Beef-less Ground Beef, it initially didn’t smell appealing to me. As I got used to the smell while cooking, I noticed it is comparable to cinnamon, and it wasn’t a turnoff when eating it. 

Taste

I can’t comment on how the Beef-less beef tastes by itself, but then again, who eats real beef without any seasonings? When I tried the final product, though, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t taste too different from the recipe my mom makes with real beef. I definitely recommend preparing it with a lot of seasonings, as it is mostly made out of soy, which might be unappealing for some people; however, you can treat it like normal beef.

Look

The texture of the “beef” was somewhere between moist and dry, but it definitely wasn’t so dry that it crumbled at the touch. It reminded me of the beef at the Bear Fit station in Crossroads. 

Overall

In conclusion, I would recommend trying out Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef. I think it tasted really good in my stuffed bell peppers recipe. Even though my mom visibly gagged and said I was ruining her recipe when I told her I wasn’t using real beef, I could barely tell I was eating fake meat. Personally, I try to avoid eating soy, so for that reason alone, I don’t think I would get this again. Regardless, I still recommend that my fellow Bears try it out and see if alternative meat could be their thing.

Contact Özge Terzioğlu at [email protected].