Yesterday I reviewed Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, a meatless burger with the ambitious goal of looking and tasting just like a hamburger.
Today I am reviewing an unassuming Trader Joe’s deli product that doesn’t promise much of anything. As a matter of fact, this one features kale, one of the most mocked foods out there, and the first ingredient listed is wheat gluten, which many folks have been stubbornly avoiding for the past 15 years. It also prominently features navy beans, which are not quite as fashionable as, say, chickpeas, which are oddly less fashionable when they are called garbanzo beans, which is what I prefer to call them.
Honestly, kale is tastier than a lot of folks make it out to be. Kale chips baked in the oven with nutritional yeast or brewers yeast are pretty good. Roasted kale with lemon is pretty good too. Kale also pairs pretty well with navy beans (which seem to be slightly hipper when called “white beans”), as it does in these slices.
Thanks to the wheat gluten, the texture of these deli slices is nice, similar to something like Budding brand sliced turkey. I made a cold sandwich with these with tomatoes, mayo, Grey Poupon, and Havarti on a Trader Joe’s sourdough most likely baked by Seattle’s Essential Baking Company. The Grey Poupon taste dominated and overwhelmed the sandwich, but the flavor the slices had was pleasant, with the familiar taste of navy beans accented by a pleasant taste of kale and some saltiness. These do not taste like meat, nor do they taste like nitrates or smokiness. The white beans and kale are more pleasant than a low quality smoked deli meat product like, say, baloney. This sandwich also would have been really good with cucumbers. Sprouts too. No one likes sprouts any more, but some sprouts would have really been the ticket. Next time I’ll add that stuff and go a little easier on the Grey Poupon.
Although these do not taste anything like any particular meat product, they are flavorful and tasty in their own way and have a nice texture, and with both navy beans and wheat gluten providing a great deal of protein, these are a perfectly fine deli sandwich ingredient. A