It Tastes Just Like…

Posted: October 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Looking for a dinner idea for tonight? Well, you don’t have to go any further because do I have a good one for you! Just swing by the store to pick up some spaghetti squash and tofu. I promise it will be worth it!

For dinner last night, I had a few things on my mind. I wasn’t quite sure how my hankerings would partner up, but they played nice. I followed my gut and allowed my taste buds to reap the rewards.


A couple weeks ago, Nasoya offered me some free product coupons to review the brand’s new Tofu Plus version. I immediately said yes.


I love tofu for its versatility, and I really love the Nasoya brand. The “plus” version comes fortified with important vitamins that a meat-free diet can commonly lack, such as B vitamins. Cool!

For the tofu, I decided to go with some Parmesan Tofu Nuggets a la Beth’s recipe. When I saw them on her blog last week, I knew I had to make them! 

I pressed the tofu, cut the block into "nuggets” and followed Beth’s recipe. Baked the little guys up and plated them up with some basic marinara for dipping fun.


When deciding on this recipe, I couldn’t figure out what to have as a side. While perusing the produce section, my eyes caught sight of a perfectly sized spaghetti squash. My cravings settled.

As I cooked dinner, I realized I didn’t want to do the same ole same ole with the squash. Besides, dousing it with marinara would take away the nugget dipping fun.

So, I made a game time decision and pulled out a wedge of Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow cheese.  Love those little wedges. They provide such creamy flavor so easily!

Want to know what you get when you mix one of those babies with spaghetti squash?


A surprisingly creamy and rich tasting side that couldn’t possibly include vegetables. Except it does. And it’s fabulous. And you must give it a try!

I scooped mine up forkful after forkful with a pile of zucchini, mushrooms, and onions. I don’t believe I have put together a dinner this good in quite some time! Or at least not since the night before with that quinoa blend. I’m eating well this week, that’s for sure!

“It Tastes Just Like..” Pet Peeve

Now, this dish isn’t meant to compare to some chicken parmesan and pasta alfredo. Besides, I wouldn’t want it to! Actually, when people claim a recipe tastes JUST LIKE something else, I always roll my eyes. Because, no…it usually doesn’t taste JUST LIKE the original.

Banana Soft Serve does not taste just like a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Drinking a pumpkin smoothie is not like eating a slab of pumpkin pie.

A black bean burger does not taste just like a beef burger.

“Cookies” made from ground up nuts and dates do not taste just like a gooey, warm from the oven chocolate chip cookie.   

And spaghetti squash does not taste just like pasta.

What do I have to say to that? It’s OKAY if they don’t! In fact, a lot of the options still taste just as dang good, if not better, in their own right!

I understand wanting to make things sound more appealing by comparing it to a classic favorite. I know I have done it myself. I just wonder when the day will come that making a healthy dinner or dessert doesn’t lend itself to needing some “ohhhh…it’s just like _____” promise. Let those creations speak for themselves! Just my two cents. Winking smile 

  • What’s a food comparison of “It tastes just like ____” that you don’t agree with? Got any good ones? Biggie for me = Tofu Shirataki  noodles. They are not like pasta…and they are just NASTY to me!
  • Any pet peeves you want to get off your chest? I’m all ears!

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68 Comments to “It Tastes Just Like…”
  1. janetha says:

    oh i am SO with you on that! i hate it when healthier food is described as tasting identical as the unhealthy version. no. it doesn’t. but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! you hit the nail on the head!

  2. One of my biggest pet peeves (beside the “It tastes just like …” line) is when people show up 5 minutes late to a Yoga class and the teacher has already started. I am all for people going to group fitness classes and I completely understand traffic. But I find REALLY rude when people show during the opening sequence. It is so distracting when I am trying to connect with my breathing.

    ***This happened to me the other night so I apologize for the rant.***

  3. The zucchini mushrooms and onion…fantastic. And I love crunch tofu bites when they are coated in delicious Parmesan and panko bread crumbs (they make everything more delicious). Kudos on an awesome dinner!

    I was supposed to make spaghetti tonight, but am thinking the crunch tofu bites will go better with my big green salad. Then dip the bites in sweet Thai chili sauce… *hungry now*. 😉

  4. So glad you tried those little tofu nuggets! And I agree – similar to is one thing, but JUST LIKE doesn’t really work if it’s not the real thing.

  5. I’m totally with you! Especially with the cookies. Dates and almonds do not a cookie make.

  6. I am completely with you on that one. things never taste “JUST” like what they’re imitating. maybe they are comparable, but they always have at least a different texture. wassupwiththat?

    …maybe the world’s taste buds are slowly dying off?

  7. Lisa Fine says:

    Haha! So true! and while the healthy versions of things can taste good, they’re never the same as the real thing.

    Homemade, baked fries taste good, but they are not like French fries. That’s one for me. 🙂

  8. Thank you! I am so glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to advertise “it tastes just like …” Things don’t have to taste like a decadent treat to taste good!

    BTW, I so did the spaghetti squash + Laughing Cow the other week. So good! I used chipotle wedge plus mixed in some salsa chicken (ala PB Fingers) and had it for lunch. Corn and sauteed veggies would have been a great addition (had I had them).

  9. I bought carob chips a while back because was told they tasted just like chocolate chips. Um, no, they do not. They’re not bad, but they’re certainly not chocolate flavored (milk, semi, or dark).

  10. MzSlyde says:

    AMEN SISTER to the whole “It taste’s just like” thing. I hate it too because those foods do need their own right. They are fine tasting like their own.
    This meal looks absolutely up my ally. Too bad I had a bad – first time -experience with Tofu. I don’t have a press and tried to make a batch baked with a marinade. Sorry to say I just couldn’t eat it. And I am sure it’s because I didn’t press it enough, didn’t cut it up right and didn’t bake it right. Someday would love to give it another whirl.

  11. I’m loving the tofu idea! Looks yum! I sometimes think the alternatives and healthified recipes actually taste better and it helps that you can eat more of them and not feel bloated after!

  12. Yah, that really bothers me too. Im sorry, but mashed cauliflower does not taste like mashed potatoes. Yes, cauliflower is delcious, but why cant you just say it tastes like cauliflower? What’s so wrong with that?

    Oh, and margarine does NOT taste like butter. My mom always buys margarine that “tastes like butter.” No it doesnt. I would choose butter any day, I dont care if theres more fat in it.

  13. i totally agree! any kind of “fake pasta” be it spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, etc. are NOT real pasta people! it may be good but it ain’t pasta, people! 🙂

  14. Maria says:

    Amen to that! When I have a craving for ice cream, banana soft serve (no matter how tasty) is NOT going to satisfy my craving. Nope.

    The only thing that I would say DOES taste like it’s unhealthy counterpart are Muffins that Taste Like Donuts. I swear by those 🙂

  15. OMG I LOVE THIS IDEA! I love spaghetti squash and I was looking for new ideas about how to eat it 🙂

    I totally agree with the “tastes just like” statements. I get this a lot of time from vegan eats, a lot of the time they are super good, but not *exactly* the same.

    I have too many pet peeves to list… hahaha.

  16. I totally agree with you on the comparison thing. The only thing I make that tastes incredibly similar to its original version is a butternut casserole with marshmallows that tastes a LOT like sweet potato casserole. I always say “it’s similar, but BETTER!” 🙂

    I am cooking spaghetti squash tonight and I can’t wait! I cooked one last week and mixed it with light swiss laughing cow, nooch, crushed red pepper flakes, and italian seasonings. It was SO good!! I may go to the garlic way tonight.

    Biggest pet peeve – SMACKING (or any mouth noises in general). So annoying to me!

    • Tina says:

      Yea. Butternut and sweet potato casseroles I can see tasting basically the same. And both sounds sooo good right now. 😉

  17. Laughing cow wedges are my new obsession. They are just sooo creamy! I’ve been smearing them on everything. As far as sweets go, the “healthy” version more often than not doesn’t even compare and does not satisfy my craving. So I would rather splurge once a week and have a “real” (by real, I mean full sugar and full fat) dessert and skip the healthier versions.

  18. Yes yes yes yes yes. I agree so much! If one more person tells me spaghetti squash tastes just like spaghetti I’ll cry for them. Where have they been getting their spaghetti if that’s the case?! While it’s so good, it does not taste like regular spaghetti!

  19. Ugh– YES!!! Those tofu noodles are NASTY!!! Haha…when I became a vegetarian, there were TONS of substitution “Oh, eat this– it tastes just like _____” foods that I tried– the truth is, nothing tastes like beef but beef. And that’s just fine!

  20. Jess says:

    Wow. NEVER thought to stir in some laughing cow into spaghetti squash. OMG that sounds like an UNREAL combo!! MMM.

  21. Thank you! The spaghetti squash tastes just like pasta one irks me to no end! You might’ve read my little rant on that last week when I posted a spaghetti squash recipe. I’m with ya!

  22. AMEN. i agree with everything you said. also, i tried tofu shiritaki noodles again recently and while they were ok the way i prepared them, i think they are kind of nasty overall. they def do not come close to real pasta. my boyfriend calls them “shitty-taki” noodles. lmao.

    one of my pet peeves is similar to yours- people creating muffin recipes sans butter, oil, flour etc and calling them “muffins”. if it only contains 35 calories, its not a muffin! haha

  23. jobo says:

    Ha, yea, the ‘tastes just like…’ is a funny one. while some things REMIND me of a certain food (like spaghetti squash reminds me of spaghetti but certainly doesn’t taste just like it!), it isn’t JUST like it at all!!

  24. UGH! Yes! I get that all the time, “what does it taste like?” Uh, it tastes like whatever it is i’m making! I don’t make tofu to taste like steak, it’s tofu. It’s still delicious, but it will never be “just like” steak LOL! You totally hit it spot on and now I”m all fired up 🙂

  25. mmmm I had spaghetti squash last night but now I am REALLY sad I didn’t add in laughing cow cheese wedges, that would have made it phenomenal I’m sure. Good things there’s leftovers for tonight!

  26. Hilary says:

    I have been wanting to try that recipe of Beth’s too!!! I’m with you on the whole “tastes like” thing for the most part…although I must admit I like tofu shirataki!

  27. Funfetti frosting/desserts! Nothing in the world will ever taste like overly sweet, artificial and processed goodness…and adding sprinkles to something also convinces me no further 😉

  28. Haha I am so guilty of this! When I was drinking spinach smoothies I would tell my husband that the banana and pb masked it and it tasted just like a regular smoothie 🙂 But I stand firmly by that statement!

  29. i am totally with you! just because it’s a delicious and healthy alternative does NOT mean it’s the same. it might be better! it might be worse . . . but it’s never an exact replica.

    that said, i am guilty of saying my fave pumpkin fro yo tastes EXACTLY like frozen pumpkin pie. but it did have crumbled ginger snaps + whipped cream, so it basically WAS one!

  30. I agree with the tastes just like peeve! Its so true! Hmmm that meal looks fantastic! I definetly want spaghetti squash now 🙂

  31. Lee says:

    Haha, I actually like shirataki noodles but I agree that they don’t taste just like pasta!

  32. I had to make this disclaimer on my “spaghetti” and “meat” balls yesterday. I do love spaghetti squash, but it is no noodle.

    Shirataki noodles are good! 🙂 I think the trick is rinsing them REALLY well and using an awesome sauce.

  33. Jenny says:

    aha! I love this! I cringe every time someone adds cottage cheese to their oatmeal and says it tastes “just like cheesecake”. Yeah, maybe if you add cream cheese.. and sugar.. and graham cracker crust.

    Thanks for keeping it real, triple F 🙂

  34. Diana says:

    ….that is my perfect dinner. Thanks girl! 🙂

    Oh, and protein bars do not taste like brownies. Will. Not. Ever.

  35. Lauren says:

    I think I know exactly what I will be eating for dinner tomorrow.
    Haha, I know what you mean. I hate when people say banana fro yo tastes just like ice cream. I never got it!

  36. Mmm I forgot about making tofu like that! I made tofu “strips” a while back that’s similar to those nuggets…and they tasted just like chicken strips!!!

    kidding 😉

    But I did make “cookies” from ground up nuts and dates last night… they’re certainly delicious, but obviously don’t taste like really fresh from the oven *baked* chocolate chip cookies.

    • Tina says:

      Haha! I saw that post after I wrote this one and was like “Hope Paige doesn’t think I’m calling her out or something”. LOL

      Love ya!

  37. Helen says:

    I am so going to go buy spaghetti squash and laughing cow cheese this weekend, haha!

    That dish looks yum!

  38. Oh I could go on for a long time about pet peeves, but I won’t do it!!

    I have definitely used the “it tastes just like…” before – especially since I can’t have so many things I’ve grown up loving.. like my quinoa bread, it definitely tastes like cornbread. Sorry I’m not sorry. 🙂

  39. I agree. Tofu tastes like nothing except tofu. I’m not a fan of tofu in general, but tofu pasta sounds particularly gross!

  40. haha thats one HUGE pet peeve of mine I acutally tweeted about it recently! Hungrygirl (who I cannot stand by the way) always does that when she introduces foods. “Oh just make this sugar free, chemical laden chocolate sauce and it tastes like full fat chocolate cheesecake” umm no, it doesnt…it tastes like fat free crap! haha

    on another note I LOVE the idae of mixing laughing cow with squash! what a fab idea for a different and unique side dish!

  41. I will never think that nutritional yeast tastes like cheese…never! Maybe I like cheese too much ?

  42. jassy says:

    hello, i don’t know what’s wrong but i can’t really read your post, the font is white just like the background. i have to highlight the whole page to read your post 🙁

    • Tina says:

      Uh-oh! I don’t know why that happened. Let me know if it keeps up on other posts! Strange. I didn’t do anything different. 🙁

  43. Khushboo says:

    Haha this post actually made me LOL- so true yet I am guilty of the ‘it tastes just like’. One of my biggest pet peeves is when the gym is crowded and I’ve been on a machine for a mere 5-10 minutes and someone starts hovering over me…whether you stand next to me or not, I’m not getting of for at least another 20-30 minutes….at least!!

  44. STUFT Mama says:

    Okay- this looks amazing! I just bought tofu yesterday and needed something to do with it. Yippee for the timing of this post Tina! 🙂
    I’m so over my hubby saying “tastes like chicken” to my boys about everything! They don’t even like chicken. Ugh.
    Ha ha about tofu shiratake noodles. I hear you. They aren’t too bad with a couple laughing cow cheese wedges, but yeah, pretty much just weird noodles.
    Lucky for you, I’m too tired to rant. ha ha! 🙂

  45. I love this post!
    I always say why make this food taste like something else when it is it’s own thing! Let it shine! lol

  46. Dinner looks delicious! Haven’t seen that variety of Nasoya in my area yet. I’ll have to keep looking!

  47. Cheryl says:

    Totally agree with you. I’m a vegetarian and I would love to see real vegetarian meals instead of pretend meat dishes.

  48. Coco says:

    I agree! I wonder if the “tastes just like” appraoch is counter-productive. If you are expecting a veggieburger to taste like a juicy hamburger, you will be disappointed, even if you like the taste of the veggieburger in its own right! And, you forgot to mention mashed cauliflower!

    • Tina says:

      Oh, yes. Mashed cauliflower is a biggie. So not like mashed potatoes! Haha!

      And I didn’t even think of the counterproductive point, but you’re so right. I bet that does make it less appealing to some. They expect it to be something and when it’s not, it immediately becomes equated with not good enough.

  49. Couldn’t agree more on the shirataki noodle/pasta comparison. One tastes like fishy gelatin and the other is pure heaven. Hmm…something doesn’t add up.

    Veggie hot dogs also taste nothing like the real thing.

  50. Amy says:

    Amen to that! I get totally urked when someone says a veggie burger tastes like meat. Um, nope it does not.

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