Round Up Trader Joe's

12 Things I Never Leave Trader Joe’s Without!




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Trader Joe's marcona almonds

12 Things I Never Leave Trader Joe’s Without ~ TJs sparks foodie passions like no other store, and our favorites list is as unique as our fingerprints.  How does my list match up with yours?

trader joes bag

I love Trader Joe’s, but honestly I don’t get there super often because the parking can be hellish, at least where I live.  But there are so many unique things you can only get at TJs, so I brave it every once in a while, and try to stock up.  Shopping Trader Joe’s is a little bit like a treasure hunt, they’re always adding new innovative products, hidden gems, and unusual finds, but no matter what I discover on any given trip, I always come home with these staples in my bag…

 


 

Living Basil Plant

~I pick this up right as I enter the store so I won’t forget, and I put it right up front in my cart so it doesn’t get squished.  I’ve talked before about what a great deal living herbs are.  Prepackaged herbs last only a few days, but a plant can go on for a month or more!  (And Trader Joe’s basil plant is bigger than those in grocery stores.)  It brightens up my kitchen counter and I love being able to snip off perfect basil leaves whenever I need them. My Basil Marinated Mozzarella with Summer Tomatoes and Easy Whitefish with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Basil wouldn’t be the same without it.

Trader Joe's Fresh basil plant


 

Frozen Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons

~ these little wontons have fabulous texture and flavor.  You can fry them up like potstickers and serve with an easy dip of Tamari sauce and rice wine vinegar, or you can make a super quick soup like I did with my Miso Wonton Soup.  They’re a secret weapon in your freezer for quick meals.

Trader Joe's Chicken Cilantro Wontons

 


 

Marcona Almonds with Rosemary

~ one of the best things ever invented…if you’ve never tried them, get yourself to a TJs asap.  No cheese plate, big or small, is complete without them, and they make the best snack!  Marcona almonds are a Spanish variety that have a buttery taste and a softer crunch than regular almonds.  Trader Joe’s sells Truffle Marcona Almonds, too, which sound great but I haven’t tried them, I’m too addicted to the rosemary ones ;)

Trader Joe's Marcona Almonds

 


 

Frozen Edamame Beans (in the shell)

~ there’s something about popping open hot salted pods of edamame beans that is so satisfying, I get a rhythm going and pretty much don’t stop till they’re gone.  (I can create a mound of empty pods in record time.)  But edamame beans are healthy, so I don’t feel too bad.  I actually prefer the un-cooked version of these pods, but they were out the day I shopped.  TJs also sells these beans shelled, too, ready to use in salads like my  Tortellini Salad with Artichokes and Edamame.

 

Trader Joe's Frozen Edamame Beans in the shell

 


 

Tart d’Alsace

~ Trader Joes sells a few versions of these French inspired ultra thin tarts and they’re all good.  They take just minutes to cook, so there’s never a dinner emergency when I have one of these in the freezer.  Add a salad and it’s a feast.  (These tarts inspired my Goat Cheese and Summer Squash Tart.)

Trader Joe's Tart d'Alsace

 


 

Slab Apricots

~  oh how I love these!  Apricots are my favorite dried fruit and slabs are the ultimate.  They may not look as pretty but they more than make up for it in flavor and texture.  Slab apricots are the sweetest and most intensely flavored of all dried apricots, and also the moistest.  What exactly is a slab apricot?  These are apricots that are picked fully ripe (i.e. at the peak of flavor) and so soft that they don’t hold their shape when cut and dried.  Nirvana!!

I bake them up in my Paleo Fruit and Nut Bread, or stir them into granolas and breakfast bowls.  But one of the prettiest ways to show them off is in a jeweled rice or tabbouleh.

Trader Joe's Slab Apricots

 


 

Almond Meal

~ Trader Joe’s carries almond and hazelnut meals, which are so useful in so many recipes.  I grab a few bags and pop them right in the freezer so they’ll stay fresh.  They also sell Almond Flour, and I’ll use them pretty much interchangeably.  It’s what makes my Flourless Warm Lemon Pudding Cakes, Flourless Belgian Chocolate Cake, and Flourless Tangerine Cake so deliciously gluten free.

Trader Joe's Almond Meal

 


 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

~ possibly the best sweet treat ever made.  Everything about them is perfect.  I stash them in the freezer and eat them cold.  The plastic seal on these tubs never makes it home intact ;)   Full disclosure: I don’t actually buy these every time I go to Trader Joe’s or I’d be a thousand pounds.  But they’re so good I had to include them :)

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

 


 

Pine Nuts

~ Trader Joes has the best deal on pine nuts, which can be expensive and hard to find.  When I do find them in other stores they come in ridiculously tiny bags.  I always buy multiples at TJs and keep in the freezer.  Whenever I’ve got a Mediterranean recipe that needs a little something, I just toss in some pine nuts, toasted of course.  Pine nuts add a special touch to Roasted Asparagus with Crispy Breadcrumbs, Pine Nuts, and Runny Eggs, for instance, and I can’t make on of my favorite pasta dishes, Spaghetti con Pignoli Arrosti (with Roasted Pine Nuts) without a nice big bag like this.

Trader Joe's Pine Nuts

 


 

Heavy Cream (not ultra-pastuerized)

~this is one of the few ingredients I’ll make a special trip to TJs for…it’s hard to source heavy cream that has not been heat treated (ultra-pasteurized) and it’s essential for my Homemade Clotted Cream.

Trader Joe's Heavy Cream

 


 

Clarified Butter

~ Where else are you going to find clarified butter?  Because clarified butter has the milk solids removed, it can be used to cook at higher heats, when regular butter would burn.  It’s great to have on hand for authentic Indian recipes like my Lemon Chicken Biryani.

Trader Joe's Clarified Butter

 


 

Green Dragon Hot Sauce

~ When I’m not making my own green hot sauce, I make sure to have this one around.  It’s hot but not too hot, with lots of jalapeños, tomatillo, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, habaneros, and lime.  I love it on eggs.

 

Trader Joe's Green Dragon Hot Sauce

 


 

Thanks for pinning!

 

Trader Joe's Pin

So that’s my list, but of course there’s so much more, like those peanut butter pretzels ~ fresh tubs of pesto ~ frozen (unbaked) croissants ~ chocolate chip dunkers ~ Hatch chile mac and cheese ~ spanakopita ~ Parmesan pastry pups ~ mini Brie bites ~ sliced rosemary ham ~ I could go on and on…

So now it’s your turn ~ what awesome Trader Joe items have I been missing out on??

 

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129 Comments

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  • Reply
    Dena
    October 14, 2019 at 9:03 am

    So many things I lean on Trader Joe’s for! My kids first of all must have the baby bananas in the freezed-dried fruit area, and the freeze-dried mandarins. These are so wonderful to have during soccer and baseball games to snack on kids and adults?! Ok then here is my short list I could go on and on. 1. Frozen garlic Naan, sought sauce ( soooo great on plain hummus everyone asks what is in this?), pita crackers (the best cracker ever), raisin rosemary crisps ( holiday cracker to put your cheese board to another level) any seasonal crisp crackers as well, unexpected cheddar on every cheese board I make, frozen artichokes, arugula, pancetta cubes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin biscottis the best every any time of year, my kids love the yogurt covered pumpkin cookies, rolled corn chili lime tortilla chips, ginger paste, Asian soup dumplings,cinnamon bun spread , and finally for now alllll if their great wine and beer! I will need to stop there just too many unique well priced awesome food for foodies there! #iloveyoutraderjoes

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 14, 2019 at 7:42 pm

      ok, I’ve got to get back to TJs asap!

  • Reply
    Lori Ann
    October 8, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    I never leave without the Almond Butter Granola in a bag and they have the best Sourdough sandwich bread. The 3-layer hummus, and pita chips are Devine. Oh the coconut body butter is awesome too.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 8, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      I’m doing a write up about the personal care products, so I’ll check out the body butter!

  • Reply
    Cecile Fleetwood
    October 7, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I love Trader Joe’s Goat Cheese Crumbles! I put them on salads & sandwiches. Yum!!! I am lactose intolerant so this is my go-to cheese. I also buy the soy based mixed schreded “cheese”. It melts pretty well on quesadillas & pastas. It lives in my freezer til I need it.

  • Reply
    Judy at My Well Seasoned Life
    October 2, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Great list.

  • Reply
    Ali
    June 1, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Their broccoli and cheese mini quiches are THE best. I stock up every time I go. I’m also a fan of their organic banana chips, plantain chips, blueberry goat cheese, Columbian roast K-Cups, macaroni and cheese, almond butter, macarons, chicken Caesar salads, olive oil, vitamin E oil, and spicy buffalo jerky.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 1, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      Love the mac & cheese, olive oil, and almond butter. I need to check out the rest :)

  • Reply
    Auntiepatch
    June 1, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    I do a lot of baking so I have to hit the nut aisle for raw almonds, walnuts, and pecans.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 1, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      I bought a big bag of walnut halves for a zucchini bread coming up this week, such a good buy!

      • Reply
        Sharon Hartstein
        September 14, 2019 at 7:12 am

        I try to keep one of TJs frozen cheesecakes in the freezer for a perfect dessert. As is is my favorite but you can dress it up with fruit and/or chocolate.
        I also love their freeze dried fruit. I mix the raspberries into my brownie batter for the most intense chocolate raspberry combo ever.

        • Reply
          Sue
          September 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

          I’ve just stocked up on all the freeze dried fruit for some bloggy experimentation, I’m so excited to work with them, they’re so interesting :)

  • Reply
    Cary
    February 1, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Trader Joe’s mashed cauliflower! ? Not watery like other brands and a whole bag is just 200 calories. My spouse is frequently away on consultation trips and on cold don’t feel like cooking for one nights, micrwaved mashed cauliflower with shredded parmesan and sauted mushrooms added makes a quick and sooo delicious hot meal.

  • Reply
    Kristin
    February 1, 2019 at 9:41 am

    I’m a ginger fanatic, and TJ’s has two ginger items I can’t pass up: ginger turmeric tea and dark chocolate covered candied ginger pieces. We just got our Trader Joe store here two years ago; it was a long time to wait! I’m going to try a few of the items you suggested as well as some listed in the comments. Yum!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 1, 2019 at 10:31 am

      I haven’t tried either of those and I love ginger too, thanks!

  • Reply
    Kat
    January 30, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Frozen almond turnovers
    Frozen rice (brown, basmati, jasmine) – perfect rice in 3 minutes in the microwave
    1/2 salt dry roasted almonds
    Triple ginger cookies
    Lattemiel cookies
    Mini milk chocolate peanut butter cups (amazing when frozen)
    TJ’s shampoo and conditioner
    Mango shaving cream

  • Reply
    Karen w
    January 29, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Everything but the bagel seasoning
    Yellow cake mix ( really really tastes homemade!!)
    Unexpected cheddar- like cheddar with Parmesan added
    Artichoke and jalapeño dip
    PB filled pretzels
    Beer bread mix

    This all from the bestly located Trader Joe’s, at Patriot Place next to Gillette Stadium! Go Pats!

  • Reply
    Carol
    January 29, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Just back in before we crash to 5 degrees and -20 wind chills here in Western Pa.
    At TJ and got the wontons, almonds, tart and edamame. So that means for the tart I will have to empty out my oven of all the pans I store in there and fire it up! They look so yum. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 29, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      lol, I think the tart will be worth it!

  • Reply
    D.Seymour
    January 28, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    I wish Tyler Texas had a trader Joe’s..

  • Reply
    Donna Grubbs
    January 28, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Many thanks for the recommended Top 12 Trader Joe Items, plus your wonderful recipes. We never leave T.J’s w/out 3 bags of Plantain Chips!

  • Reply
    Cathy
    January 28, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    I always pick up their Greek Feta cheese in the large tub. My husband loves the Thai chile Almonds. Other must haves are Cambazola (sp?) Cheese, their gold label balsamic vinegar, and vine tomatoes. Love their European style plain yogurt too!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      I’m obsessed with imported feta so I’ll check that one out. Cambazola is another one of my faves from the cheese section :)

  • Reply
    Zimmer-gurlz
    January 28, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    My regular go 2’s are the: ciabatta bread, banana applesauce, mini beef tacos & thier marinara sauce.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      Ok, why haven’t I heard about this banana applesauce???

  • Reply
    Judith
    January 28, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Be certain to mention the frozen garlic cubes!!
    Wonderful aroma

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      I’m such a garlic wimp I haven’t tried those :)

  • Reply
    Susan
    January 28, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Frozen sliced leeks. What a time-saver!

    I used them in stir fry, eggs, and as a side dish with butter.

    p.s. I live in Portsmouth.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 8:31 am

      First of all, I’m so jealous that you live in Portsmouth, I miss it so much. What an amazing city. Second, I adore leeks, and I’ve never used the frozen, so thanks.

      • Reply
        Sue
        January 28, 2019 at 9:03 am

        …and wouldn’t those frozen leeks be great for a quick potato leek soup?

  • Reply
    Roxane Rosalinda Marek
    January 28, 2019 at 7:35 am

    My mom and I are so glad we don’t have to go to TJ anymore. Hahahahahahahahah

  • Reply
    Donna
    January 28, 2019 at 6:08 am

    I want to head to Trader Joe’S today for some of that Heavy cream and make clotted cream. It’s only about 15 minutes from me, but parking is a problem. We’re having some chilly weather in our usually hot south Florida today. Seems like a good day to do some cooking!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 7:04 am

      Remember your oven temp is critical with that recipe, so make sure it’s at 180F and good luck!

  • Reply
    Andrea Stoeckel
    January 28, 2019 at 5:30 am

    TJ isn’t so hard to park at but, without a car and poor bus routes it’s a pain. However, we were given some Winter Tea that proves that TJs is worth the trip

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 7:25 am

      Grocery shopping is a huge pain without a car, and in bad weather to boot. I think all the new delivery services are amazing, I wonder if TJs will ever get on board with that.

  • Reply
    MDE
    January 28, 2019 at 4:37 am

    I can’t believe nobody has suggested TJ’s cilantro-jalapeno hummus. It’s amazing, not too spicy and not an overwhelming cilantro flavor. Paired with their mini pita’s, my hubby and I could finish a whole tub in one sitting. We always buy 3 or 4 and share with hummus loving friends!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 7:06 am

      I’m not sure I’ve ever tried that one, I used to buy their hummus but ever since I started making my own, there was no need ;) I make a pretty good cilantro hummus, it’s on the blog, but I don’t add jalapeño ~ that sounds good!

  • Reply
    Jo Tourtelotte
    January 28, 2019 at 4:28 am

    I live 2 miles from a Trader Joe’s which has an underground parking ramp, so parking is seldom an issue (except 5-7 p.m. on Fridays!)
    We live their Kung Pai chicken and the tarts you mentioned. And the Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips are wonderful! (slightly sweet as well as salty)
    Now I need to go to TJ’s!

  • Reply
    Caroline G Dorey
    January 28, 2019 at 3:58 am

    My family loves the green casserole from the box of TJ’s mushroom soup and frozen green beans. We also love TJs frozen roasted corn off the cob and family dinners like beefl bourgignon.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 7:17 am

      I haven’t tried any of those, but you just reminded me of their individual frozen French onion soups which I love! I wonder if they still sell those?

  • Reply
    Lori J
    January 27, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    Chipotle Toscana Cheese. Sparkling coconut water with Yuzu. Cold pressed juices green and red.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 7:18 am

      All of which I need to check out :)

  • Reply
    Glynn Powell
    January 27, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Years ago the special food samples they were giving out was a soup made from a box of the Tomato and roasted red pepper soup (also a low sodium version) combined with a package of Chimichurri rice. It’s not really cooking, it’s combining, but DAMN if isn’t the best soup Ever!
    I eat it all winter at least once a week combined with a grilled cheese sandwich.
    I serve this occasionally to friend’s without a word about what I’m doing…essentially nothing…and everyone wants the recipe.
    Just sayin!…..

    So, this is one of the things I never leave TJ’s without!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 7:23 am

      I love recipes that are that simple and delish.

  • Reply
    Ky
    January 27, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    I love that we women are here to do as the article suggests– Share our favorite finds from Trader Joe’s and like the one man to comment has to be rude. J eeze, if you knew anything about TJ’s it’s about getting those little extra specialty items. Dude, let us enjoy our salted dark chocolate almonds!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 7:22 am

      Down the road I think I will do a post on healthy picks from TJs, he had a point ;)

  • Reply
    Cold girl
    January 27, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Umm, the picture of the heavy cream clearly says pasteurized and that’s the only kind my TJs carries.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      Right, it’s the ‘ultra-pasteurized’ cream that you usually find in supermarkets, that’s been heated to an extra high temp for longer storage. Pasteurized is the old fashioned kind, and it’s useful for me because I make clotted cream with it.

      • Reply
        Rita
        January 28, 2019 at 4:47 am

        Can you post your recipe for clotted crem? Im’m the Queen of Scones and now I know why my “clotted cream” was off!

      • Reply
        Barbara
        January 28, 2019 at 5:55 am

        Never leave Trader Joe’s without
        Pineapple juice.
        Riced cauliflower
        Cauliflower gnocchi
        Frozen raspberry danish
        Broccoli slaw
        Water
        Seasonings
        Mini coins mint cookies
        Ohh the miniature ice cream cones

  • Reply
    Kimberly Gilmer
    January 27, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Wine!! Wine…and more wine. Lol my husband likes their beer too. But seriously they have some of the best selections and even their 12.99 boxed wine is amazing. And not to be called an alcoholic by Edward….they have great dried fruit and froze cauliflower rice too

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      I used to buy the famous 2 buck chuck, but finally out grew that!

  • Reply
    Christina Ringo
    January 27, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    dark chocolate salted almonds, so delicious

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      Those are up there with the peanut butter cups :)

  • Reply
    Becky
    January 27, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    I drive 40 minutes to the only TJ’s in West Michigan. We make a trip once a month. We have a whole host of favorites, but there are a few items they have that I cannot get anywhere else. I can’t have cow dairy, but goat dairy works well for me, and so I always stock up on the following:
    Goat cream cheese
    Goat cheese slices
    Shredded goat cheese
    Crumbled goat cheese
    Various other goat & sheep cheeses.
    ALSO stock up on:
    Orange chicken for husband & son
    Frozen mini tacos
    Asian snack mix
    Jicama sticks
    Baby bok choy
    Organic Persian cucumbers
    Super 8 chopped veggies
    Brussel sprouts saute
    English crumpets
    Roasted macadamias
    Frozen cauliflower fried “rice”
    Frozen mashed cauliflower pucks
    6 pack mini yogurts (sons favorite!)
    Argentine red shrimp
    Frozen wild caught cod pieces (for fish tacos!)
    Frozen French green beans
    Frozen organic super sweet corn
    Flavored sparkling waters

    We usually end up needing more than one basket for our monthly trip. ?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      I just bought a delicious goat Brie the other day, yum :)

    • Reply
      Ky
      January 27, 2019 at 9:44 pm

      This is really helpful, I’m going to copy this and look for these treats tomorrow!

  • Reply
    Natalia
    January 27, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    For me it’s the goat gouda, the baking cocoa (best price and tastes better than the expensive stuff I have) the Greek olive oil and the organic coconut oil, which I use for cooking as well as skin care. I also use their almond meal to replace half the flour in my baked goods to make them more healthy.

  • Reply
    Lydie
    January 27, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for the post. I drive four hours for TJs. The dried blueberries, low sodium roasted red pepper and tomato soup and 21 seasoning salute are my favorites.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 7:31 pm

      Boy, I never realized how lucky I was to have one so close by ~ I imagine you don’t pick up too many freezer items with that drive.

  • Reply
    Rosanne Surette
    January 27, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Sue, you have such a great website — so many amazing recipes and so nice of you to share your TJ favorite finds and how you use them in your recipes. Going to add them to my list on my next visit. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 7:32 pm

      Thanks Roseanne, it’s fun to connect with readers now and again with a post like this.

  • Reply
    Libby
    January 27, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    –A couple of cheeses. I love the Asiago with Rosemary, but when I went there last week they were out. :(
    –The frozen Indian foods, like Palak Paneer, chicken samosas, etc.
    –The frozen mac & cheese, especially the spicy one
    –Cans of grape leaves
    –Olive oil
    –Something from the meat case that I wouldn’t normally buy at my regular grocery store. This time it was the Tri-tip roast.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Love your list, the frozen mac and cheeses are amazing. Have you tried the one with Brie and asparagus?

  • Reply
    Rhonda
    January 27, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Crunchy Cookie Butter!!! Such a treat!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      You know I’ve been so late to that party, I’ve got to try it.

  • Reply
    Patty
    January 27, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    I too live TJ and drive 75 miles to shop there. I have never tried any of the products you described so I’m really excited to make another trip.
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 5:23 pm

      Oh gosh, what a long trek, I’m not sure there’s any store I’d go that far for!

  • Reply
    2sisters recipes
    January 27, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    There are so many items I never leave TJ without them but I never heard or tried the Green Dragon Hot sauce.. and I’m with you – love those chocolate peanut butter cups too much so I stopped buying them for the same reasons.

  • Reply
    Marilyn Bement
    January 27, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    FrozenMashed potato disc, frozen cauliflower disc, raspberry jam, hair mask, spices, and the list goes on and on.. Discover something new every time I shop there.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      I need a good hair mask, checking that one out!

  • Reply
    Donna
    January 27, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Back off, Edward. If you pay attention and keep an open mind, you can learn something new in the way of recipes and cooking from Sue.

  • Reply
    Abbe@This is How I Cook
    January 27, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    It took me awhile to love TJ’s. But slowly I got used to it and am lucky to have one 5 minutes away. You are right, some things you just gotta have. Like Marcona Almonds!

  • Reply
    Edward
    January 27, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Sue your diet is a health mess. It’s not easy to slowly commit suicide at Trader Joe’s but damn girl – you found a way.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      This definitely doesn’t represent my health recommendations, Edward, just a fun round up of stuff I really love ~ if you peruse my site you’ll see I’m pretty even keeled when it comes to a healthy diet :)

    • Reply
      Nora J Winn
      January 27, 2019 at 5:16 pm

      Edward! Why would you even think for one tiny little man-second that this was ever meant as anything more than a list? I guess no one ever man-splained this to you before. So.. Now you know.. List =list =list.
      OH wait! I just had an epiphany! If making a list, which includes several things that might not be totally healthy, which then Must mean everything that person cooks/consumes is unhealthy… So if I only make lists that are 100% healthy then I will be 100% healthy? That’s it? Dang Ed.. Ive been doing this wrong for 65 years! Phooey. I need more time. Hope you r at least smiling. ?

  • Reply
    Sandra Shill
    January 27, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    I always get a bag each of their frozen mushroom risotto and frozen asparagus risotto. Heat one of those up in the microwave and mix in some leftover chicken and you have a really yummy dinner in under 10 minutes that is actually fairly low in calories!

    TJ’s is also the cheapest place to buy most nuts (even including places like Walmart), so, ever since reading an NYT article that documented scientific studies showing that having almonds every day drastically reduces the incidence of many medical issues, I always buy a couple of bags of plain, raw, whole almonds when I go, and stick the one I’m not ready to use in the freezer.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      I agree about the nuts, they can be so expensive elsewhere, but I have to put in a plug for my Instant Pot risottos which take 6 minutes (plus the heat up and venting time) ~ they are SO good, I’ll never make risotto any other way :)

  • Reply
    Krista Daily
    January 27, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    I love the coconut strips. They’re a great snack.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      I’ve never seen those!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    January 27, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I love these TJ’s lists because I always find a new item or 2 to try! I always buy the frozen brown and frozen jasmine rice, salsa verde for white chicken chili, the sliced yogurt cheese (tastes like cheddar!), freeze dried strawberries, glazed pecans, goat cheese, marscarpone, salami, bacon and seasonings like the pink salt grinder, Chile lime, garlic salt and everything but the bagel seasoning. I also love the precut broccoli! I could go on and on!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      I love lists too, and I agree with all your choices, the goat cheese was a staple buy for me for years.

      • Reply
        Nora J Winn
        January 27, 2019 at 5:20 pm

        Another great item.. Even if my mouth (after damaged sub-mandibular salavary gland due to internal radiation almost 20 years ago) can not take really spicy things so I have to pour out over half of the yellow curry sauce & add honey.. The jackfruit in yellow curry sauce is really good. I like they have the rice separate.

  • Reply
    Amy | The Cook Report
    January 27, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    I so wish we had Trader Joes in the UK, all this stuff looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Karen Anderson
    January 27, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    You should mention that the happy workers will open any package for you to taste. I don’t know any other store that will do that.
    I have 2 TJ’s close to me but the parking is awful in both. One I won’t even try to get into and the other is iffy at best. So when I do go, I stock up on nuts. The raw almonds are good but my favorite is the almonds and chocolate! Yum! And the walnuts for baking are a must.

  • Reply
    Paisley
    January 27, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    I love their German soft pretzels in the frozen aisle. Brush with a little water and heat up in the oven. Taste like being back in munich.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      OK I didn’t know about the soft pretzels, I’m heading back to the store today ;)

  • Reply
    Janet
    January 27, 2019 at 11:38 am

    I don’t go to Trader Joe’s although I could easily since parking is generally not an issue in Minneapolis. What I don’t like about it is all the packaging. I have membership at a great food coop which has much less packaging and has all I need, bring my own bags. I make my own ghee. I also make my own yogurt when I realized how many plastic containers pile up, even though they are recyclable. Less plastic use!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      Great points. I love to make yogurt ~ and I just decided to do a post on making homemade ghee, any tips?

  • Reply
    Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    January 27, 2019 at 11:35 am

    I’d probably choose the same things if we had Trader Joe’s in the UK!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 12:10 pm

      It’s probably just a matter of time :)

  • Reply
    Kathy B
    January 27, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Sue, I like Trader Joe’s shampoo and body wash. I love their selection of cheeses (and the price!), the carb free cheese bites, dark chocolate almonds, toasted hazelnuts. At Christmas, I bought a tabletop rosemary Christmas tree.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      One of the things that I was going to put on my list was cheese for sure, any kind, their selection is fun. I also buy the rosemary trees at xmas.

  • Reply
    Dannii
    January 27, 2019 at 11:09 am

    I wish we had Trader Joe’s over here. It looks like you can get some great things.

  • Reply
    Kim
    January 27, 2019 at 10:16 am

    French Roast Whole bean DECAF coffee beans because I haven’t found them anywhere else!
    Spanish Olive Oil
    Tomato Paste in a tube, best price around
    Low sodium Soy Sauce, good value
    Seasame seed oil
    Parmigiano-Reggiano in a tub
    Asian Chili sauce
    dijon and whole grain mustard
    frozen edamame SHELLED

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Love your list, I need them all.

  • Reply
    Emma
    January 27, 2019 at 10:08 am

    We are visiting friends in the US at the end of June. Will have to take this list with me and see what I can bring back on the plane!!

  • Reply
    Heather Hughes
    January 27, 2019 at 9:47 am

    We love their frozen vegetarian and pork pot stickers. I buy MANY bags for quick, busy weeknight dinners. So easy to stir fry a few veggies along with it.
    My teenage sons are addicted to their frozen hash browns. They’d eat the whole package in one sitting if I let them.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:50 am

      Haven’t tried the hashbrowns, but that makes so much sense, and the potstickers are one of their best products!

  • Reply
    Blue
    January 27, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Hello,
    What I always pick up
    1. Raw whole cashews
    2. Clusters cereal, maple pecan
    3. Organic, maple agave
    4. Creamed honey
    5. Spinach & cheese spanakopita
    6. Organic green beans
    7. Turkey stock
    8. Riced cauliflower stuffing
    9. Pesto pizza
    10. lemongrass chicken rolls
    But non food.. I always get
    1. Moisturizing cream
    2. Spa face wash with tea tree oil. I just never leave the store without those 2. I do buy plants and sundries. Lots of new items to try. I will buy boxes sets of baking things just to have on hold as well. Last one I tried over Christmas were Maple pecan shortbread bar box!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 10:07 am

      I just noticed the creamed honey for the first time the other day, it looks so good, what do you do with it? And yes to the Spanakopita, I make dinner out of it, one of my favorites :) Love the lemongrass chicken rolls, too, I almost included those on my list.

  • Reply
    Andria
    January 27, 2019 at 9:41 am

    I love all your faves, as well, especially the peanut butter cups. :)
    But our family favorite is hands-down Soyrizo! My Mexican father in law didn’t even notice it was a veg option when I made it for him, and when I told him what it was after he complemented my cooking, he was shocked at how authentic it tasted. He’s now fully converted to TJ’s soyrizo and doesn’t even buy the Mexican-made pork variety any more.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:42 am

      Great suggestion, I haven’t tried it but it does sound so interesting. It’s amazing what they’re doing with meat substitutes these days, and we need them so badly!

  • Reply
    Monique Domian
    January 27, 2019 at 9:22 am

    I go to TJs on the regular and one of the many delightful products I would recommend is the Pink Grapefruit Marmalade. I make a grilled Brie and Havarti cheese sandwich with crispy shallots on sliced brioche bread with a schmear of Dijon mustard on one side and a Tbsp of marmalade on the other. The flavors together are meltingly delicious. And I sprinkle cinnamon and powdered sugar on top of the sandwich to give it a bit of a French toast twist! I could also imagine making a citrusy thumbprint cookie and using a dollop of that marmalade.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:22 am

      omg you’ve got me drooling Monique!!

  • Reply
    Priscilla Rochin
    January 27, 2019 at 9:16 am

    I live in southern California and fortunate to have a few TJ not far away, and they are all always busy!
    Always purchase arugula, persian cucumbers, sesame seed oil, bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls), frozen turkey meatballs (quick meatball sandwiches), chicken, vegetable stocks. I’ve been curious about the green dragon sauce so maybe I will give it a try!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:27 am

      The Persian cukes are great, and the arugula is one of the few bagged greens I buy there, it does seem to stay fresher better.

  • Reply
    Karen
    January 27, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Sweet and Spicy Pecans!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:27 am

      Yup, love ’em :)

  • Reply
    Candace
    January 27, 2019 at 9:04 am

    So, after reading about these items at Trader Joe’s, I’m struck by the fact that you obviously don’t look for organic or non-GMO, as I do. And in meat or poultry, not for no antibiotics, hormones, etc. I also look for humanely raised and pasture raised, etc. and thinking about giving them up. Disappointed.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:20 am

      That might be worth another post about the healthiest foods you can find at Trader Joe’s, and there are many, I agree. I actually don’t buy meat or fish at TJs, I haven’t been pleased with the quality, and I can get good organic/humane animal protein at my regular grocery store, which I love.

  • Reply
    Susan Thompson
    January 27, 2019 at 8:54 am

    My nearest TJs is 130 miles away, in Las Vegas. I couple a visit there with a stop at Total Wine so it’s a two-fer and worth the four hour round trip. I never leave TJs without their salt and pepper grinders, capers, and cedarwood spray cleanser. We are unlikely to get a Trader Joes in St. George Utah because of the liquor laws here but one can dream.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 9:00 am

      I think in New Hampshire we had liquor laws and did finally get a Trader Joe’s. The cedarwood cleaning spray sounds great, I have to look for it.

      • Reply
        LoriLyn
        January 27, 2019 at 9:19 am

        We have a couple in New Hampshire now and the parking is never a problem but a new one is opening soon right next door to Whole Foods and the parking lot is super tiny!
        We love the organic baguettes and ciabatta rolls!

        • Reply
          Sue
          January 27, 2019 at 9:29 am

          Oh wow, a food shopping dream/nightmare! I’ve always passed by the breads, I’ll have to give them another look.

  • Reply
    Barbara Hill
    January 27, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Your TJ list is similar to mine. Living near DC I have easy access to two stores in the suburbs two different parking lots both difficult. Thanks for information about cream. I used to buy baby spinach and arugula but after romaine scare I stopped because I assumed TJ used CA and AZ suppliers. Have a good farmer market nearby which can supply both.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:53 am

      I don’t love their bagged produce, I’ve had bad luck with it, it never seems super fresh.

  • Reply
    Judy
    January 27, 2019 at 8:34 am

    I’m lucky enough to have TJ’s close by. My standard purchases include coconut milk, coconut cream (for dairy-free diet), dried fruit, nuts, flaky salt, beef sticks, cruciferous crunch bag salad, uncured bacon, coffee, wine, AND their awesome shopping bags.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:37 am

      Their shopping bags are the best :)

  • Reply
    Renate Kasper
    January 27, 2019 at 8:22 am

    No trip to Trader Joe’s is complete without dolmas! They come ten to a can, and aren’t very expensive. It’s nice to have them on hand for adding to a cheese plate, or light meal, or when you get a surprise guest. They’re inexpensive and keep in the pantry until you need them.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:25 am

      Wait what? I’ve never seen them, I’ll check next time!

      • Reply
        Priscilla Rochin
        January 27, 2019 at 9:05 am

        Sue, I believe dolmas are stuffed grape leaves? I used to make stuffed grape leaves with lamb and rice, traditional Lebonese dish.

        • Reply
          Sue
          January 27, 2019 at 9:20 am

          They are so nice on a cheese plate, agreed!

  • Reply
    Donna
    January 27, 2019 at 8:13 am

    It’s funny that you should mention how hellish the parking is at your Trader Joe’s store. It’s the same here – I live in south Florida. You can get a parking space only if you go early In The morning, or right before they close. I didn’t know they had heavy cream that is not ultra pasteurized. I will be on the look out for it next time I’m there. I like to make cream brûlée, and would prefer to not use ultra pasteurized. I also want to make clotted cream.
    The things I always get are fresh pizza crusts, and I like to check out their wine section. Their nuts are the best, especially macadamia.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:18 am

      I’ve actually heard, but it’s probably not true, that the bad parking is part of their business model! I don’t see how that could be, but it does seem to be a universal problem for them. I used to buy the pizza crusts but got tired of them…I’ll try again!

  • Reply
    Tricia | Saving Room for Dessert
    January 27, 2019 at 8:09 am

    This makes me want to drive 50 miles to shop at the closest Trader Joe’s! Great variety and will look for these products next time I’m near one. Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 27, 2019 at 8:19 am

      Not sure if it’s worth the 50 mile trek Tricia, maybe they’ll move into your neighborhood soon :)

  • Reply
    Jill
    January 27, 2019 at 8:05 am

    I only get to Trader Joe’s about once a month because it’s about 30 minutes from my house and parking is definitely a pain. I’ve tried some of these but not all. Glad to hear your reviews so I can try some more new items!