The pros: Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Zig Zags are refrigerated, fresh, delicious, and a great substitute for real fries.
The cons: Doesn't include oven directions, but it can be made in the oven. This is priced a bit at a premium as all the prep work has been done for you.
The verdict: Let's face it. There are some foods we all love, but they don't all love us in return. Items like pasta or french fries jump to mind. While they are delicious on their own, they don't win any awards for being low-calorie items. So I (and I'm kinda sure a few people out there too) are looking to decent tasting substitutes. When I found these in the refrigerated section my mind jumped to things like replacing french fries or more realistically Sweet Potato Fries. Don't get me wrong. I really like sweet potato fries. It's still a good amount of prep work to make those from scratch. Most of us I'm sure feel a bit depleted of time and energy, therefore these seemed like a mid-week time saver.
Now, you can make these in a number of ways. I went a bit off the grid on this one. Boiling, steaming, saunteeing, and microwaving just weren't going to yield a slightly crunchy veggie fry. So, I turned my oven up to 400F. Tossed this container in 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil and put them in for about 20 minutes. They started to get color after 10 minutes, so I turned them and put them in for another 10 minutes. I tested one and it was cooked, but the darker in color they got the more intense the flavor was. So yes, they went back in for another 5 minutes.
What came out were a nice sized fry and yes, they shrunk to about half the size (if not a touch smaller). Yes, they will need to be seasoned as the only ingredient in this package was the butternut squash. Salt, pepper or perhaps Everything but the Bagel Seasoning will work on these (and yes, I know other ones would work, let your mind get creative with these). The texture felt like a sweet potato fry. I would be willing to substitute these for sweet potato fries. However, just be aware if you are going to cook these in the oven, this box will only make 2 "normal" sized servings.
For $3.49 these were quick, easy, and a healthy substitute to regular french fries. They even have the fun crinkle cut shape. Even if you are eating half of the box here, you are still doing better than an order of small McDonald's fries. The only flavor here is butternut squash. This item in about convenience and eating a veggie in a fun shape. It's worth a try if you like butternut squash, need a fun shape to convince a kid (or adult for that matter) to eat their veggies. I liked them. I would never go through the prep work of trying to get any veggie in this shape. I'd buy these again but I would roast the more than the pictures below.
Here is the visual run down of what you get if you buy this product:
The box of Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Zig Zags:
The nutritional information, the ingredient and how to prepare:
After being baked in the oven you get:
Would I buy this again? Yes, I would buy Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Zig Zags again.
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Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!