Best of Trader Joe’s: The Fab 15
A quick (and healthy!) list of my favorite Trader Joe’s staples. While I feel like I could make this list longer or do a second installment, today you get my top 15 favorite Trader Joe’s staples. Sorry, Speculoos Cookie Butter, but you don’t make the list.
Good ol’ Trader Joe’s. You gotta love a company that does ZERO marketing and yet has such a cult following. For the longest time we didn’t have a Trader Joe’s in Utah so my shopping consisted mostly of non-perishable items that could make the road trip home from our annual California vacation. But now that we’ve had a Trader Joe’s for a few years and I find myself shopping there more frequent, I thought I’d share some of my favorite healthier, real food finds.
1. Israeli Couscous. I tend to reserve this for those busy nights when I need a quick dinner. I’ll buy an already roast chicken at Whole Foods, steam this couscous and toss it simply with melted butter, salt and pepper and a little parmesan cheese. A side of steamed broccoli or cut up carrots sticks and dinner is served. We also love this couscous mixed into some homemade chicken stock for a simple soup when anyone is battling a cold. It’s pure comfort and easy to keep down!
2. Cruciferous Crunch Collection. This blend of brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and cabbage is definitely one of my favorites as it’s a time saving dream! Seriously, in the time it would take me to cut the veggies, I can open this bag and either sauté it in a little olive or coconut oil or make a super green salad to serve with steamed fish or chicken. It’s a hearty mix and does well when it’s dressed a bit before you intend to serve it. This is my favorite dressing to use and I literally don’t add anything else. It’s great as is!
3. Sourdough Sandwich Bread. While I don’t love this bread as is, it’s AWESOME toasted and makes a mean grilled cheese. I happen to love sourdough and am psyched that my kids do too. This is a great base for avocado toast (my fave) or with butter and homemade jam (my other fave) and I wasn’t kidding when I say it makes a great grilled cheese. We usually keep it simple with good ‘ol cheddar and it’s pretty good dunked into homemade tomato soup.
4. Burrata. I blame my friend, Heidi, for this one as she is the burrata queen. Fresh mozzarella stuffed with cream? Umm yeah…what’s not to like? It’s kind of the bomb. I like to serve it over arugula tossed with lemon and olive oil. I sprinkle the burrata with coarse salt and pepper and drizzle with reduced balsamic. A glass of red wine and I tell you this is all I need for dinner. It’s just so good.
*Can we please pretend that I don’t have a nasty scab on the palm of my hand? Cool, thanks.
5. Prepared Horseradish. I’m a horseradish snob. And can honestly say this is my favorite bottled horseradish on the market. (Aside from Bubbies) but you just can’t beat the price. I love it as a condiment. I mix it with mayonnaise as a spread for my sandwich, I like to put it on baked potatoes or a dip for my fries and it’s my secret ingredient for steamed artichokes. I know it’s not for everyone but if you dig horseradish, give this one a try!
6. Jazz Apples. Ok, here’s the truth. Apples are one of a few fruits or vegetables that I buy year round. My kids go through them like candy and we never don’t have them in our house. I don’t know what it is about these particular apples but they’re gold. Crispy, not too sweet, but sweet enough and the best part is their size. Their smallish and perfect for lunch boxes and little hands as a snack. What can I say other than I buy 2-3 bags at a times. We love these apples.
7. Plain 0% Greek Yogurt. I tend to go for full fat dairy- it fills me up so I eat less and I honestly think fat is good for you…however, my husband disagrees. He’s a 0% fat yogurt kind of guy and swears by this. We use it in smoothies, I like to mix in fruit and/or granola and my husband likes to chew up (yes, he chews and spits out) a dark chocolate bar into his yogurt. Don’t let his disgusting kitchen habits or rather lack of turn you off from this yogurt. It’s pretty darn good. And SO much cheaper than other leading Greek yogurt brands.
8. Roasted Seaweed. I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole. Because, eww. But my littlest one loves it. Like loves it. He mows a package like no ones business and aside from him having total fish breath afterwards it’s a pretty healthful snack- being a sea veggie and all. I just can’t bring myself to do it. But they’re an awesome price, who am I to deny my kiddo when he wants a something healthy so I roll with it and buy them by the 10.
9. Salsa Verde. This salsa is my jam. It’s my favorite jarred green salsa to date. No sugar added, tangy, and it’s just so freaking versatile. Slow cooker tacos, dip for nachos, poured over scrambled eggs…I love this stuff. I don’t even know how the other salsas at Trader Joe’s are because I don’t ever buy them. I’m loyal to the green stuff.
10. Lavender Salt Scrub. So not an edible but an addition you want in your shower arsenal. Especially if you deal with dry skin like we do in the mountains. This scrub is the bomb. And CHEAP! The smell is fabulous, it leaves your skin silky soft and I love a good scrub down. *Beware it can leave an oily residue in the bottom of the shower/bath which can be slippery if you don’t wipe it down. So take the extra minute to wipe the tub down so your husband doesn’t almost slip and knock himself out. Trust me.
11. Peanut Butter with Chia and Flax. I’m pretty much in love with the entire nut butter section at Trader Joe’s. Almond butter, cashew butter…and this peanut butter. THIS PEANUT BUTTER. It’s like peanut butter on steroids. And because I love toast, try this with a sliced banana and then sprinkled with coconut and cinnamon. It’s also pretty good (re: the best last night snack ever) when you dip a hefty hunk of dark chocolate into it. Just saying.
12. Dried Pineapple. A fairly new find for me and I have my brother’s girlfriend to thank for this one. I’ve always bought the dried mango but I recently had this at a basketball game when she brought it for a snack. Hello, game changer. It’s straight up pineapple- no sugar, no nada. Just sweet, chewy (but not too chewy) dried goodness. I’ve been keeping it in the car with some roasted nuts for a quick grab-and-go when I’m hungry and on the road! Pretty good ruffage if you know what I mean.
13. Gluten Free Oats. I’m not gluten free but do have plenty of friends and family that avoid it so it’s nice to have these for baking. We also do oatmeal at least once a week for breakfast, so these have become my go to. You can’t beat the price, I love the resealable packaging and what else can I say? They’re oats.
14. Olive Oil. Trader Joe’s has a pretty extensive oil oil section and I have to say, I used to just grab whatever one got my attention that shopping trip. However, after trying a handful of them, this is by far my favorite and it’s pretty much the one I get every time. It’s earthy, not too pungent and has a nice clean finish. I use it for sautéing and salad dressings. Plus the bottle is pretty and at $9 a bottle, a pretty good buy.
15. Cooked Beets. Disclaimer: I can’t stand beets. I don’t like how they turn my fingers (or my urine- sorry) pink and I think they taste like dirty feet. Which is precisely why I love these already cooked beets from TJ’s so much. My beet loving husband can have his cooked and prepped beets and I don’t have to do a darn thing. Boom.
And there is that nasty scab again.
16. Flowers. You get a bonus favorite! Because I can’t seem to leave Trader Joe’s without buying flowers for the house. Seriously, they have the BEST and cheapest assortment of fresh flowers. I’m all about treating myself and you should too!
Do you have a favorite Trader Joe’s product that I missed? Do share in the comments below…as I’m sure everyone will want to know. As always, thanks for reading and have a great day! xo, Kelley
*By the way, I always try a new cookie or treat from Trader Joe’s as you can see the Kona Coffee Cookies in the basket in a few of the shots….the verdict is meh. They we’re only ok and not something I’ll get again!
I’m so excited about this list! You have a few of my favorites (love the cruciferous crunch and that PB), but there are a couple on here I’ve never seen before. I love finding new treasures at TJ’s, so thanks for the tips.
I totally agree with you regarding TJs Horseradish…Sadly, they no longer carry it. I’ll try Bubbies but can’t imagine it could remotely compare. Any others you’ve discovered? — Cyndi 5/29/20
So happy you posted this. I’m hitting my nearest Trader Joe’s this weekend. We go through apples fast as well, definitely will pick up some Jazzy ones 🙂
Yes, thanks for your list of favorites. Trader Joe’s is new to our area and I have had a lot of fun getting acquainted with their goodies. I will definitely check out some of your favs!
You have to try the Hatch Valley Salsa! I think it’s better than the Salsa Verde and I always get a few when I go. So good and no weird ingredients. I also love their salt and pepper pistacios.
I actually saw that the other day and almost bought it but this one won out. I’ll pick it up next time!!
Thank you for this list. Lots of goodies.
Thanks for your list. I’ll check some of these out this weekend when I go!
We are not fortunate enough to have one close by, there is one in Va. Beach,Va but we have to pay an $18 toll to go there.
Our favorite item is the frozen Asparagus Risotto. Everything we have bought there is good.
Thanks so much for posting this Trader Joe’s list. I never been to the store, but it looks like I need to go and see what I have been missing!
I cannot imagine life without TJs Kalamata olive oil. I always have their Sicilian on hand also. The one in the green bottle with the pouring spout is my everyday EVOO. I also love the green salsa, baby beets and burratta. When I lived in Key West without a TJs I always traveled with an empty suitcase to fill with TJ stuff. Once I had to buy an extra suitcase from Ross because I had more than one suitcase full. Trader Joe’s and World Market are on my short list of places a city must have in order for me to live there. Will not compromise on this.
Two of our favorites are the Triple Ginger Snaps – SO good & the bran muffin 4-pk. with mango and blueberries – high fiber & low cal – delicious!
I LOVE the dried mandarin oranges, but they are seasonal. One of the clerks told me that customers from Hawaii come in and buy them by the case! I always buy a bunch of them when I spot them (but not a case). Thanks for the list…now I have more things to try!
I’ve never seen them. I’ll keep my eye out for them!!
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAAAAND?!!! Just kidding. (Sorry, I have a similar mark and it’s from an aloe plant and is now inflamed…oh the irony!!!) There are some things on the list I have either bypassed or have never seen! Guess I am going to TJ’s today- yay! Thanks!!
I love this list! I have always loved TJ’s and shop there for everything they do have but it’s always nice to find other cool products. I’ll have to try the crunchy salad mix as well as that PB! My favorites include their olive crackers for cheese platters as well as their rolled oats, truffle marcona almonds, and a whole bunch of other things!
It would be great to see more prices posted. I’m always interested in what things cost elsewhere. I’m in NS Canada.
P.S. Love your comments about your husband, esp. the tub/shower one. 😀
Thanks for the list. I buy bananas LOTS of them for 19C each, cheapest in town. I love apples too! Recently we tried the hybrid golden delicious crossed, very good too. Other stuff I like:
1. Saricha Bacon (always hanging out with the jerky)
2. Black Forest Bacon
3. Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Seeds Granola
4. Canned Domas (best)
This is great info! We love their K-cups! I can’t wait to try the peanut butter on this list!
I love their horseradish. Ooeee it is potent! I also live their Ghost Pepper potato chips, their Way more chocolate chip cookies. I am vegan and only eat them once or twice a year. They have butter and eggs in them. Shhhh… Don’t tell my hardcore vegan friends LOL
i love taking salsa verde and skinless boneless chicken thighs- in crockpot
serve over cauliflower rice:)
I totally agree with you regarding TJs Horseradish…Sadly, they no longer carry it. I’ll try Bubbies but can’t imagine it could remotely compare. Any others you’ve discovered? — 5/29/20