Our entire team is (unhealthily?) obsessed with Trader Joe's — an obsession that was only compounded by the fact our office is now walking distance from one. We once even had Lisa's sister create a custom Trader Joe's chalkboard for us! Though we shared our team's favorite products earlier this year, there have been some notable updates—consider this your personal Fearless Flyer. Here are the products Leslie, Jess, and Katie buy on every Trader Joe's run:
1. Bruschetta Sauce + Steamed Lentils + Crumbled Feta: I couldn't not include my favorite Trader Joe's hack in this post, even though I've shared it here a few times! My very favorite simple salad is made by combining the entire containers of Trader Joe's Bruschetta Sauce, Steamed Lentils, and Crumbled Feta. It's the perfect combination of fat from the feta with acidity from the tomatoes, and heartiness from the lentils. My mom introduced it to me as a "dip," but I've eaten it with a spoon over some arugula (or solo!) for dinner many a night. Add some avocado if you're feeling fancy, but it's delicious on its own.
2. Soy Chorizo: Because Jonah and I try to avoid red meat and pork, we're huge fans of this Soy Chorizo. You can use it anywhere you'd normally use chorizo, from tacos to egg scrambles, but we almost always use it to make our favorite pasta recipe. This weekend, we added it to a broccoli rabe and breadcrumb pasta from Alison Roman's new cookbook, Nothing Fancy, and it was delicious.
3. Coconut Aminos: I live and breathe by Coconut Aminos, which my nutritionist friend initially recommended to me as a low-sodium, gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, but I ended up preferring it to soy sauce. It's a little sweet but packs an umami punch. I put it on everything, and keep it in the office fridge to dress up sad desk lunches.
4. Everything But the Bagel Greek Yogurt: I was late to the EBTB train, and came to it through this seasoned Greek yogurt. It's literally just Greek yogurt with the seasoning mixed-in, but it's the best add-on. I put a dollop on my eggs in the morning, as well as pasta and rice bowls, shakshuka, and tacos. I also set it out as a dip alongside cucumbers whenever I have last-minute guests over. It's so versatile, I make sure to always have it in my fridge!
5. Cruciferous Crunch: When Jonah and I are low on groceries and feeling lazy, one of us will text, "Should we just do CC?" which is shorthand for cruciferous crunch sautéed over brown rice, with whatever else we have in our fridge or pantry. It's such a good mix of hearty leafy greens that you barely have to add anything to it, though we usually add in shredded rotisserie chicken, chickpeas, or canned beets, with Coconut Aminos or EBTB Greek Yogurt on top of course!
1. Honey Mama's Honey-Cocoa Bars: I wrote a love letter to these a few weeks ago, but they've since become a staple in my fridge. I break one of the bars in half and eat it most nights after dinner to curb any intense, more destructive sugar cravings. While they're not specific to Trader Joe's, they are significantly cheaper there than anywhere else I've seen them.
2. Canned Albacore Tuna: Unpopular opinion: Tuna salad is one of my favorite salads. (Another top choice is egg salad. Don't at me.) I always keep a few cans of low-sodium, white tuna in my pantry since it's the easiest thing to prep on a Sunday night to ensure I have lunch throughout the week. I add a bit of grainy mustard, mayo, red onion, green onions, celery, and the juice of a lemon, throw it on some arugula, and voila! a delicious meal (...at least in my opinion)!
3. Pizza ingredients: I'm aware that this is actually multiple products, but I couldn't select one without the others. The TJ's pizza dough is great and easy to roll out, their pizza sauce is the perfect serving for the pie, and I shred the mozzarella as I'm prepping for ultimate freshness. If I'm feeling fancy (I was this time), I'll grab some pepperoni, mushrooms, or prosciutto and arugula to take it up a notch.
4. Organic Polenta: I will eat corn in all forms – on the cob, tamales, and especially polenta. TJ's comes ready-to-eat, and I'll generally slice it into rounds and sauté it in a pan before enjoying. It's an excellent side dish with pulled pork, turkey meatballs, or scrambled eggs.
5. Harvest Grains: Obviously I'm a fan of carbs, and Harvest Grains are a more filling, hearty choice than generic pasta, so it's always stocked in my kitchen. It's a blend of couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and quinoa that I cook in chicken broth and a bit of butter, and it's ideal to enjoy with Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
Whenever I shop, I always keep two things in mind: convenience and entertaining. In terms of convenience, it's important to me that I have quick snacks and elevated elements to throw together a meal on the weekday, whether it's directly after work or after a night of plans. I also have guests over pretty much all the time, so my mom taught me to always have nice entertaining ingredients on hand in the kitchen just in case you have an unexpected party.
1. Dorot Crushed Garlic & Ginger: This is my favorite TJ's hack of all time, naturally told to me by my mom. These frozen crushed ginger and garlic cubes are the easiest way to cook on a weeknight. Each frozen square is equal to one tablespoon, and you can just pop them into whatever meal you're making. They melt quickly and taste just as fresh as if you chopped the ingredients yourself! I use them mostly in one-pot, dutch oven pastas and soups, but they really work with anything.
2. Mediterranean Hummus: Whenever I get home from work, I'm absolutely starving but hate nothing more than ruining my dinner at 5 P.M. I always have this hummus (the best one from TJ's by far) on hand to dip veggies in for a healthy, mid-day snack. It's also a great addition to any veggie and sprout sandwich.
3. Red Pepper Spread: TJ's has absolutely mastered the art of the prepared food. This red pepper and eggplant dip is excellent on anything from a cheese board to a slice of bread. I love pairing it with a hard cheese to add a bit of dimension to an otherwise one-note ingredient. I also add this to an Italian sandwich (salami, pastrami, etc.) to give my fiance a slice of his home state, New Jersey.
4. Raisin Rosemary Crisps: I never want a cracker to overpower the nice cheese I invested in. Instead, these crackers are the elegant complement to any cheese. I particularly love to top these with a soft brie, but they're even good on their own.
5. Port Salut (or any nice, soft cheese): Trader Joe's has an incredible cheese selection. So many grocery stores only offer the basics, but TJ's gives enough options to try a new cheese every party. After our Of the Month club at Emily's house, I decided to buy Port Salut for the weekend, and it's been on regular rotation since. I love that it's a strong flavor, without being too divisive for guests like a bleu or camembert.