Trader Joe’s Chicken-Less Strips

Hi everyone. It's Jane writing tonight. Lane and I realized that he's hogging all the spotlight, so tonight I'm getting the byline. To tell the truth, we often collaborate on these posts. I tend to spend time in the morning researching what we'll write about (time permitting), and put together an outline, and then Lane will flesh it out.

2008 03 - TJs ChickenLess StripsThings were hectic around here today, so I just threw something together for dinner. As I rummaged around the fridge I found the Trader Joe's Chicken-less Strips I'd purchased in the recent past (sorry, the box got trashed, so no image). There are always onions on hand in our house, and I had asparagus spears and orange pepper. Perfect. I could make a dinner out of that. Plus we always have salad with any dinner I make.

I chopped the veggies, added a little olive oil to the pan, and sauteed my onions. When they were translucent I threw in the peppers, and after they'd cooked together for a bit in went the chicken-less strips and the asparagus. For some reason (could it be that I didn't read the package?), I thought the strips were seasoned. Imagine my surprise when I tasted the concoction brewing in my frying pan. It definitely needed something. And I had moments until everything was done. Thankfully, my pantry is fully stocked. I threw in a few pinches of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and about a half teaspoon of ground ginger. It came together quite well.

Lane and I would definitely recommend this product. It has good mouth feel and seems to be very versatile. Best of all, it cooks up in moments. It took me under 15 minutes to throw tonight's dinner together. Next time I think I might try throwing the chicken-less strips in a light broth, or even pasta.

These strips might even compete with the prepared Gardein chicken products we get at Whole Foods, specifically the Vegan Chicken Sonoma Salad and Vegan Chicken Curry Salad. The "chicken" in the salads is cubed, and this "chicken" is sliced, but otherwise, the taste and texture seem to be the same to us. Since Gardein doesn't advertise where their products are sold, I'm wondering if this is a private label version packaged for Trader Joe's? Anyway, we'll be keeping this stuff on hand.


  1. i believe gardein is a whole foods brand, and trader joe’s brand items are made by TJ’s, so they’re not hte same i’m fairly sure. But they might be made similarly on purpose.

  2. Also, I have not seen these strips at my local TJ’s! I’ll have to keep an eye out. Only thing I don’t like about TJ’s is that they phase in/out items so quickly cuz their stores are so small/cheap.

  3. Hi Emily,
    From looking at GPIs website, I don’t believe Gardein is solely a Whole Foods product:
    “• Gardein™ and meal solutions with Gardein™ are available through distributors throughout Canada and the U.S. , including SYSCO, Neptune and others.
    • Consumers can look for our product in many prepared foods at the grocery store or at their favorite restaurants”

    But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not the same product either. I’m not interested enough to find out however, they’re both good.

    As for products coming and going… Yes, I’ve noticed that, often! It’s a little frustrating, but I understand and appreciate that they want to keep costs down.

  4. the gardein web site confirms that this trader joe’s product is something they make, or at least provide the “chicken-less” for. i don’t know why you can’t just buy a box of gardein . . .

  5. Hi Juniper,
    Thanks for the update.
    Agreed… many companies “mask” their products. I guess it’s a way to control more of the marketplace.

  6. I had chicken-less strips, and they are wonderful. Textured like turkey, and I will keep buying them. I hope TJ’s keeps them. TJ’s is famous for having good things vanish. Roasted walnut oil, for example, which would have gone sooo well with my chicken less. I dipped my chicken less strips in mayo, and paprika. They are versatile, and I wish more people would give up meat.

  7. Gardein is not a whole foods brand. It was created by Yves Potvin. He been around for awhile in the vegan food world. He was actually the first person to create the veggie hot dog. I got my info from Tal Ronnen’s new cookbook “The Conscious Cook.”

  8. Please tell me where to find GARDEIN which was creates by Yves Potvin.
    No stores in Modesto, CA carry it. Thanks, Janet Kraemer

  9. Thanks for the tip. I just found a new recipe (from Cooking with Trader’s Joe’s) for Taco Soup. It called for chicken strips or the “chicken-less strips” from TJ’s. I have not seen these at my Trader Joe’s in suburban Detroit. I had to Google them, then found your review here — which I truly appreciate. I am not overly fond of fake meat — I would rather do without than have iffy substitutes. But if you say they are tasty, well, I will try them …

  10. I’m more concerned about what this Gardein fake chicken
    is composed of. Hopefully it’s not more unfermented GMO
    soy. Eating too much processed soy and your’e in for a
    real unpleasant surprise in the future. Google it.

  11. Gardein Chicken products are sold at Ralph’s here in Southern California (Orange County) I try to wait till they go on sale though, 4.99 for a small 9oz bag that I can eat by myself for a snack – but OH so good TJ’s are getting the first run here tonight via fajitas – will post my outcome

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