The post you have been waiting for is actually here! Aka where I channel my obsession for a store.
It is a little nuts that I have this much love for a grocery store, right? Actually, probably not. I never went to a physical Trader Joe’s until I was in college. For me, Trader Joe’s was a magical place that my grandfather went to to pick us up all kinds of goodies. The nearest Trader Joe’s to my house as a kid was over an hour, but he lived five minutes from one. He would always surprise us with some of the weirdest stuff. He was a depression man, so he always thought the various canned goods were bomb!
Sardines in harrisa? Yeah, not exactly my cup of tea.
Still, all of the visits when he would bring home chocolate covered almonds and fig and olive crackers (and the CHEESE! Oy vey!) made me slowly fall in love with the man known as Trader Joe. Who was he, and why did he have SUCH good food? The obsession only grew when I went to college (my Trader Joe’s was the infamous 72nd street location. Youknowwhatimmasaying?), in Princeton, and now in DC. I live within walking distance to the closest Trader Joe’s.
Yes, it is as good/bad as it sounds.
Luckily for you (and unluckily for my wallet), this proximity has given me a chance to try a TON of different products. And I have had the opportunity to narrow down my list of my favs for y’all. In this review, I did not include most fruits and vegetables, since I mostly buy those from my local farmer’s market. I also did not include any meat products, since I am a vegetarian (although I’ve heard awesome things about their chicken tikka masala… at least from my sis). So yeah, come check out my fav eats. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
California Style Sprouted Wheat Bread
This is normally the bread I reach for when I am out at Trader Joe’s. It has a bunch of different textures from the different grains, which I LOVE. Also, one slice has 5g of protein and 1g of sugar. I always keep a loaf of this in my freezer
Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea
For the price of $2.50 for 20 bags, this is WAY less than I would pay at a local coffee shop for this tea. I love serving this with warm milk for a bomb turmeric latte. This is also especially good if you are sick.
Fig and Olive Crisps
These + brie make for an awesome cheese plate. They have other variations on these crackers, but these are def my fav.
Speaking of cheese plates, this probably belongs there too. This is such a high quality spread. I also spread it on toast with peanut butter for a killer PB+J combo.
Organic Three-Grain Tempeh
For $1.99, this is WAY cheaper than any other organic tempeh I have found. I marinate this in maple syrup and soy sauce for a killer sandwich filling or salad topper. It also lasts forever in the fridge.
Organic Coconut Flour
There is no way that, for the quality of product, that this coconut flour should be THIS cheap. But it is. And it is amazing. If you’ve been interested in gluten-free baking, then this is definitely a good place to start.
Cuban Style Black Beans
This + rice + avo makes for the best quick dinner ever. The flavor from these beans tastes like you’ve been cooking them all day. I have at least one can in my pantry at all times.
Crunchy Salted Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia
This peanut butter requires a good stir BUT you get the most peanutty delicious flavor from this bad boy. Whenever I’m making baked goods or baked oatmeal, this peanut butter gives the most amazing crunch!
Goat’s Milk Creamy Cheese
On crackers or veggies, this spread is so good! If I have extra (which usually never happens) I also love dressing up pasta or pizza with a schmeer. Seriously good!
10 Minute Farro
Forgot to meal prep a grain, but need a complex carb asap? This is SUCH a life saver. It has actually saved dinner so many times! Use it to make Smitten Kitchen’s One Pan Farro with Tomatoes for a delicious quick and easy dinner.
Farm Raised Smoked Trout
I know what you are thinking: Sarah is SUCH a grandpa for liking this. But hear me out! I get tired of tuna of water, so this is such a nice change. I throw it on a salad for a quick protein boost, or use it as a topping for crackers with a squeeze of lemon. I have at least four cans in my pantry right now. No lie.
Coconut Oil Spray
I have a popcorn addiction. Seriously. So when I pop my own, I love to spray this on with a little salt for flavor. It has such a coconutty taste that is a warm welcome from the usual butter on popcorn. I also use this when frying up some pancakes or eggs.
Before this, my life was meaningless. Just kidding, but actually this coconut cream is the best thing to happen to you. I love to whip it with powdered sugar as a FANTASTIC alternative to whipped cream. If I’m using only part of the can, I freeze it in ice cube trays to pop into a stew or curry with ease.
Cut Beets in Vinaigrette
Truth: My mom and I used to stockpile these in our pantry because they were a seasonal item. But no longer (although you might still need to stockpile these in your pantry). We used to eat them out of the jar in one go, but be a normal person and throw them on a grain bowl or in a sammie.
If you’re like me and crave tomatoes when it is cold outside, then I highly recommend this to you stat. This is WAY better than those rock hard pellets they call winter cherry tomatoes. Throw some of these into cooked lentils for a quick lunch or use it on top of pasta with a quick pesto. DEELISH.
Green Dragon Hot Sauce
A cashier at my Trader Joes fed this to me at a spoon when I was checking out and I have never looked back. Think hot sauce with a ton of cilantro and parsley thrown in. I throw this stuff on everything, from curries to soba to eggs. Oh man, you haven’t lived until you’ve had this stuff on eggs.
Gt’s Organic Kombucha
When I figured out my Trader Joe’s carried GT’s, I was thanking all of my stars/angels. This is the best kombucha (and you can’t beat the Trader Joe’s price of $2.99)!
Organic Riced Cauliflower
In my freezer always, because sometimes, I don’t feel like whipping out my food processor to make this. There was a shortage of this product for a good year, so you know there must be something special about it. Perfect if you are on a low carb/gluten free diet!
Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
These also come in a triple ginger and coconut flavor, but the meyer lemon is definitely my fav (also, is it weird I’ve tried all three flavors? Nah). Two or three of these are freaking BOMB with a cup of really black, bitter tea. They really curb those sugar cravings.
Organic Coconut Almond Chia Cereal
A relative newcomer to my cart, but definitely a regular now nonetheless. All of these goodies (coconut chippies/almonds) make for a delicious yogurt topper. I also loving making trail mix, and this always finds itself in there.
Cioppino Seafood Stew
This stew with a ton of seafood actually makes for an affordable, yet DELICIOUS dinner in the winter time. I pair this with a slice of crusty bread and DAMN, dinner is delicious!
Before I had a real kitchen, I lived off of these at least twice a week. The perfect balance of flavor that reminds me of my favorite Indian restaurant. This still is a staple to my freezer. Obsessed is an understatement.
Mango and Cream Bars
This is the creamsicle of your childhood on a MAJOR upgrade. They are the perfect nightcap to a busy crazy day. They are a little awkward because they do not have a stick, but I am still obsessed nonetheless.
Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds
I can only limit myself to 2-3 of these or else I will eat the whole container. How are these so good? Is there unicorn rainbows in here? I have no idea other than these are on fleek.
Unsweetened Organic Acai Puree Packs
The price on these is unbeatable ($4.49 for a 4-pack). Why would I ever buy an acai bowl again when I can whip one up myself? So EASY!
Sesame Honey Cashews
Could I eat these babies by the handful? You betcha I could! This is my go to snack. I love mixing these with popcorn for a fun, shelf stable snack mix for on the go hunger suppression.
Popcorn with Olive Oil
I normally pop my own popcorn, but this is too good that I normally have a bag stashed somewhere. Some may say I am addicted to popcorn, and they would totally be right!
Roasted Seaweed Snack
I love these plain snacks and also the wasabi flavor. They are so good chopped up on popcorn or on top of macro bowls. They pack a punch of protein and are so flipping delicious.
Japanese Fried Rice
The perfect vegan frozen meal or side dish! Edamame, tofu, seaweed, and veggies all mixed with delicious rice? Sign me up!
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Not stored in oil like the usual sun dried tomatoes, these babies have the texture of raisins. I could actually snack on these by themselves! These are wonderful to add to curries, salads, and sandwiches when tomatoes are less than ideal.
Chile Spiced Mango
A little weird, but I love having a package of these when I’m on the road! They are sweet, yet spicy, yet salty, but they have an INCREDIBLE balance of flavor. Talk about win-win!
The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar
My day one when it comes to chocolate. It is 85% cacao, which means it’s very dark, just the way I like it. It also is amazing to add to chocolate chip cookie dough or banana bread. Definitely a staple in the cutting veg’s kitchen!
Golden Spiced Milk Chocolate Bar
Currently what I am “cheating” on my dark chocolate lover’s bar with (but for good reason!) The spicy flavors of this bar totally hit this one out of the park for me! Packed with curry, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, this bar is like your fav turmeric latte and chocolate had a baby. Nailed it!
So there you have it! A short listing of all of my Trader Joe’s essentials! Did I miss any? Please comment below so I can see what you like to take