I'm bringing it back to earth this week with some vegetables. Just celebrated a birthday, the opening of a new Trader Joe's, and arguably the opening of a new Trader Joe's for my birthday (try to convince me otherwise, I challenge you). Of course, exciting new things and celebrations involve favorite snacks, desserts, and whatnot. I ain't getting any younger but I would like to live as long as possible. I can see the collective eye roll from everyone old[er] and still think I'm a fetus (there's truth to that). I present to you - alternative pasta part 3 (See part 1 and part 2).
As far as the Trader Joe's opening day story - A dragged me out to TJ's right after work last Thursday despite my pleas to stay home. How sweet and dedicated, but it didn't change the fact that I was sleep deprived and not having it, especially since the store actually opened later than we thought and we waited outside in the drizzling rain for 20 minutes with some pretty impatient, under-caffeinated, possibly
irate hangry grandmas (I'm trying to assume the best of people, okay?). It's one thing to clamor outside with the mob, wonder when you'll go in, and joke about running over people to be the first person in the store. But it's another thing entirely to ACTUALLY do it! Oh my those grandmas were so aggressive with those shopping carts. Plus the trying to one up each other with "I'm special because I get emails from Trader Joe's." "No I'm special because I got a postcard invitation for this opening." "Nooooo I'm special because I can walk here in 5 minutes." This is why I stay away from people. :P
Aside from that opening day was like a pep rally. You walk in through a tunnel of workers clapping and cheering and giving you leis. And at the end, if you've survived almost being run over by those grandmas, the store becomes your oyster. The aroma of pumpkin bread fills the air. The floors are shiny. The shelves are pristinely stocked and brimming with beautiful things begging to be taken home. And then suddenly there are people everywhere. Like Black Friday. And then whatever thought you had of prancing up and down each aisle to scope out new stuff vanishes and the only thought is this, "I gotta get up out of here." And just like that, you forget the list of things you thought you were going to buy, pay, and run out with the truffle chips and whatever else you could grab within arm's distance. Never again. Never again. The free shopping bag is not worth it.
Anyway, I didn't see these frozen zoodles in stock that day or any other day I returned. I've only seen the refrigerator ones, which are $3.99 vs $2.99 for a similar amount. These are what people turn to when they've decided too much of anything is no good, and you need something sensible to regulate your bowels. :P
It's another prototypical thing you get at Trader Joe's - healthy and convenient food that can be whipped up in a pinch.
I prepared these per package directions, which mainly involved cooking off the water. Zucchini has a high water content to begin with, and this also came in a block of ice. Once heated through, I poured over my favorite sauce at the moment. Please note that the picture above held the entire contents of the package, which I ate for breakfast. I'm not sure how you're going to get four servings out of one box to be honest, unless those are side servings for children. Compared to spaghetti squash, the water content in these zucchini spirals (and the carrot spirals for that matter) affects the final product more. The sauce you use either gets watered down or you need a more concentrated sauce to derive the same level of flavor. To me, this was more soup-like than pasta-like. Obviously, it doesn't have the same mouthfeel as pasta but as a veggie it's alright. Personally, I'd rather have pasta or less of it or even mix in real pasta into this to make it more pasta-esque. But it's alright.
Can't deny that it is technically "good for you" and pretty fast to make. Out of all the frozen, healthy carb-free carb replacements that are actually veggies, I still like the cauliflower rice best. It is most versatile for me, doesn't have any issues with excreting too much moisture/water into the final product, and is also cheapest. Therefore, I wouldn't personally repurchase this but it's an okay buy if you do. Just be nice and don't run anyone down with a shopping cart, okay? :)
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Zucchini Spirals. Frozen veg ready to pair with any sauce. Alternative pasta to those with better imaginations. 5.5 out of 10.