“I Tried Trader Joe’s New Vegan Salmon Dip. Here’s What I Thought”
Gone are the days when tofu and one brand of dairy-free cheese were the only vegan options at your grocery store. Now, if you're looking for a crackable vegan egg, there's a French company making exactly that, or if you're seeking whipping cream made from lentil milk, Country Crock has you covered.
With so many vegan milks, cheeses, meat alternatives, and dairy-free butters crowding supermarket shelves, companies are looking to carve out new niches in the plant-based food category. Food giants have their sights set on the demand for vegan seafood. After the release of the documentary Seaspiracy, consumers are seeking substitutes for fish for environmental purposes, as well as for health benefits, especially now that a new study recently linked fish consumption to skin cancer.
Trader Joe's is answering the call for vegan fish, just over a year after announcing on the popular grocer's podcast that fans could expect plant-based seafood on store shelves soon. TJ's most recent drop is giving dinner party hosts something to serve alongside traditional charcuterie boards so that dairy-free guests or vegans at the table don't have to miss out. This latest innovation: Trader Joe's Vegan Salmonesque Spread.
Trader Joe's Launches New Vegan Salmonesque Spread
For lovers of smoked salmon spread, Trader Joe's new offering features a dairy-free cream cheese base with plant-based salmon bits made from konjac root. Freckled with capers and dill, this dip is a totally vegan way to indulge in a favorite bagel with a schmear without the dairy. Sold at Trader Joe's locations for $4.29 per 8-ounce tub, you can find this vegan Salmoneqsue Spread in the aisle where hummus and dips are sold at TJ's nationwide. But as always, we suggest you call ahead to make sure your local store has it in stock.
What is the Vegan Salmonesque Spread made of?
With a lengthy list of hard-to-read ingredients and 20 percent of your daily recommended saturated fat per two teaspoon serving, if you're trying to eat a whole food plant-based diet, this may not be the product for you. But, if you've been searching for a non-dairy spread for brunch celebrations or date night, this Salmonesque Spread may be your new go-to.
The dairy-free cream cheese base is made with coconut oil, potato starch, and chickpea protein. The recipe also features vegan mayonnaise, soy protein concentrate, canola oil, safflower oil, guar gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan, and additives for color.
What Does the Vegan Salmonesque Spread Taste Like?
After testing the spread on both crackers as well as toasted bread, I was surprised at how well konjac replicated the texture of lox. With a chewy bite, the plant – dyed rosy pink with beetroot powder – nearly identically achieved the flakey yet tender, silky texture of real smoked salmon
The dairy-free cream cheese alternative was smooth and rich, although I personally would have appreciated a bit of a thicker, more whipped base. The capers and dill throughout were reminiscent of a lox bagel sandwich with all the traditional toppings.
This is a valiant effort at creating a vegan smoked salmon dip that most seafood eaters would try and like. My one complaint would be that it has an overpowering tangy lemon flavor that is a bit too intense for my liking – and somewhat dominates the spread's other flavors.
If you're searching for a way to delight a vegan at a dinner party, Trader Joe's Vegan Salmonesque Spread would definitely do the trick. And if faux fish isn't their thing? Trader Joe's has a great Vegan Caramelized Onion Dip, Vegan Tzatziki, and Vegan Nacho Dip, all of which are tasty and do a good job at satisfying a before-dinner bite.
For more plant-based recommendations, visit The Beet's Product Reviews.