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!