I Tried Trader Joe’s Wacky New Seasoning and Here’s How It Went

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Elisabeth Sherman)

Trader Joe’s is the king of dreaming up new and unusual ingredients that suddenly everyone has to have in their kitchens. The prime example is, of course, their Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning that obtained an almost-instant cult-like status. Have you tried it? You really need to try it.

The grocery giant recently added another, super-unique kind of seasoning that I imagine you’re about to see everywhere: Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend. The mixture of kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper, mushroom powder, and mustard seed promises to give all your dishes an extra savory kick, but can Trader Joe’s make lightning strike twice? To find out, I tried out the blend on three different proteins I typically eat for dinner on weeknights: chicken tenders, ground turkey, and a salmon filet. Here’s how it went.

Battle #1: Chicken

First up, the chicken tenders. To complement the Trader Joe’s seasoning, I quickly pulled together a marinade made with House of Tsang stir-fry sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and topped it with a generous dusting of the mushroom seasoning. After giving the tenders a quick grill on the stove, it was time to eat. The juicy tenders were already delicious, but the chicken — which has potential to be bland — seriously benefited from the added seasoning. It seemed to bring out all the saltiness and, true to the label, umami from the marinade, giving the tenders an extra layer of flavor.

Result: Success!

Battle #2: Turkey

Next up, the ground turkey. For comparison’s sake, I split the ground turkey into two portions and seasoned the first half with Everything But The Bagel, alongside the same mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, that I used for the chicken. I have to admit that I didn’t love this combination until my boyfriend suggested adding a drizzle of Sriracha, so I wasn’t exactly optimistic when I cooked the second half of the turkey with Mushroom & Company. However, just like with the chicken, the seasoning amplified the turkey’s savory flavors. This seasoning worked so well with the turkey because it seemed to draw out flavors that tend to remain hidden even if you add a sprinkling of salt and pepper to the mix.

Result: Success, again!

Battle #3: Salmon

Lastly, I baked the salmon filet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, adding the Mushroom & Company on top. I prefer simple seasonings on salmon (lemon juice, salt and olive oil usually do the trick), so I didn’t know what to expect from a more complex seasoning blend. Unfortunately, it didn’t add much more flavor to the salmon than simple kosher salt would add on its own.

Result: Meh.

Overall Impressions of the Umami Seasoning

Overall, I think Mushroom & Company is a keeper. It worked best with the chicken, but this seasoning will work well with any dish that you think might be lacking in exciting flavors (especially those healthier, leaner meats that don’t contain much fat). Mushroom & Company is like a magic spell for your food, adding not many new flavors, but creating more depth from the flavors that are already there.