I feel like it’s been for-ev-er since I gushed about my love for Trader Joe’s and there’s no better time than the present so get ready for a full-on Trader Joe’s lovefest today. How crazy would you think I am if I told you that grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do? Not sure why but it’s very therapeutic for me. I genuinely love Trader Joe’s and exploring their new products each week to see what piques my interest. I do my very best to stick to my grocery list but I also keep a list in my Notes section of Trader Joe’s products to try and will pick a new product each week to toss into the cart. Some new products become weekly staples (like the hot ‘n sweet jalapeños) and others are one ‘n done but it’s fun to try something new and see how it can add a fun twist to the weekday meal essentials.
All of these Trader Joe’s essentials are so incredibly helpful to pull together a healthy + tasty meal during the work week. Delicious and time saving, that’s the dream. Save/pin this post for your next Trader Joe’s run!
1. Trader Joe’s Organic Cauliflower Rice
I’ve tried to make cauliflower rice from scratch but it ended up being messy and I didn’t get nearly as much “rice” as I thought I would. I’m all for prepping veggies yourself to save a few bucks but in this case, the $1.99 bag of frozen cauliflower rice is 100% worth my sanity. Trader Joe’s Organic Cauliflower Rice is great, I love mixing it into quinoa and it’s the easiest base for a stir fry, just add it into wok with the other veggies in the last few minutes. My favorite cauliflower rice dish is a veggie fajita bowl topped with dollop of salsa and avocado.
2. Trader Joe’s Organic Quinoa
Once I learned you have to rinse quinoa before preparing it, I was hooked. I make a batch of quinoa every Sunday and keep it on hand throughout the week to add to every dish I can. Right now I love making zucchini noodles with chopped tomatoes and a spoonful of Trader Joe’s Pesto (see below) and maybe a 1/4 cup of quinoa. It’s the easiest weekday dinner and I’m hooked.
3. Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils
Lentils are a pretty high-maintenance grain. And I don’t know about you but I don’t have the time to soak them and then cook them for hours. Enter Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils. They come pre-cooked and take minutes to heat up on the stove top or in the microwave. I keep a container of lentils in my fridge and like the quinoa, add in a spoonful in salads and soups to give it some oomph.
4. Trader Joe’s Pita Bite Crackers
I have a bit of a snacking problem. And these pita bite crackers are the BEST. I cannot stop eating them. I love crushing them up and putting them into salads as croutons or I’ll add them to a bowl of Trader Joe’s Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup instead of oyster crackers. They’re great with salsa or peanut butter + jelly. Pick up a box of pita bite crackers. You can thank me later.
5. Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats
Peanut butter + jelly overnight oats are my lazy breakfast lifesaver. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and will keep you full for hours. Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats will last you for awhile and I like having them on hand for a smoothie bowl, skillet oatmeal or a quick cobbler in the summer.
6. Trader Joe’s Organic Acai Puree Packets
Acai bowls are super trendy on Instagram right now, who doesn’t automatically double-tap a pic on Instagram of an acai bowl with artfully arranged toppings? Good news, you can now be an Instagram goddess with an acai bowl in your feed, too. Trader Joe’s Acai Puree Packets are $4.50 for four packets so both your wallet + IG feed will be happy!
7. Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Granola
Speaking of acai bowl toppings, Trader Joe’s Almond Butter granola is pretty much made for topping your nutritious + photogenic smoothie bowls. I keep this granola on hand because it’s the best quick snack for when you get home late and are ravenous. Or at night, I’ll have a handful of almond butter granola to keep my late-night sweet tooth cravings in check.
8. Trader Joe’s Arrabiata Sauce
A few years ago, I went through a big kick where I would make this pasta dish for dinner at least twice a week. Trader Joe’s Arrabiata Sauce, which is a spicy tomato sauce, Trader Joe’s Seafood Blend + cappellini pasta. So simple, so good and made me feel so fancy. And because I love love love spicy food, I’d naturally add a generous amount of red pepper flakes to the sauce. I always keep a jar of this sauce in my pantry next to a big container of angel hair in case of emergencies. Sometimes the emergency is that I’m craving pasta with Arrabiata sauce.
9. Trader Joe’s Pesto
GAH. I have a lot of feelings about this pesto so get ready. This is my all-time favorite #1 store-brand pesto. I probably buy 2 jars of this each time I go to Trader Joe’s because I don’t know what I’d do without it. That may seem dramatic but get back to me after you try this pesto. You will see the light and there will be 2 jars of Trader Joe’s pesto in your cart every time. I love it with roasted veggies and quinoa in a grain bowl. My tastiest #couchdinner that I rely on when I need a healthy meal in under 30 minutes is zucchini noodles, sauteed tomatoes and pesto topped with a salmon filet. I’ve also used this pesto to doctor up Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup (see below) and as a spread on a grilled chicken sandwich. I’ve tried other store-bought pestos and in my opinion, none come even close to Trader Joe’s Pesto. Add this to your grocery list immediately.
10. Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce
I discovered Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce over the winter when I had a serious craving for curry. There’s just something about a warm bowl of curry that’s just so comforting and perfect. I keep a jar of the curry simmer sauce on hand because it will make a big batch of curry in about 20 minutes. I usually will chop up cauliflower and Brussels sprouts to saute and then simmer in the curry sauce and serve over quinoa. It’s filling and delicious and also great to freeze to have “microwave meals” for the week.
11. Trader Joe’s Hot ‘n Sweet Jalapeños
Every once in awhile, I’ll pick up a new item at Trader Joe’s and the next thing I know, it’s found its way into my weekly grocery list. The Trader Joe’s Hot ‘n Sweet Jalapeños have almost reached the coveted 2-jar-a-trip status, that’s how much I love them. You can get a spicy jalapeño or a sweet one, it all balances out. They’re great to add to a Southwest salad or lentil soup. Or to top off nachos (They would be amazing in these lentil nachos) or honestly, just eat them straight out of the jar.
12. Trader Joe’s Vegetable Burritos
Whenever I know I’m going to have a busy week, I toss Trader Joe’s Vegetable Burritos into my shopping cart. They’re in the frozen section but quickly thaw out for an easy, no-fuss, throw in your bag as you head out the door kinda lunch. Drizzle on their Green Dragon Hot Sauce on top and you’ve got one happy desk lunch.
13. Trader Joe’s Lamb Vindaloo
Trader Joe’s Lamb Vindaloo is my other go-to frozen meal from Trader Joe’s. I gotta say, Trader Joe’s frozen Indian meals might be their best work. And if that’s the case, then the lamb vindaloo is the champion. It’s definitely spicy so be warned if that’s not your thing. TJ’s gives you a solid amount of thick chunks of lamb with a generous portion of basmati rice. If you want to make this into a dinner, pick up some naan on your TJ’s run.
14. Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burger
Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burger is hands down my favorite frozen veggie burger on the market. They come already cooked, you just need to heat them up. I prefer to heat them up in the skillet with a little bit of coconut oil, they get a really nice crispy exterior this way. These veggie burgers are a really easy way to add some protein and oomph to a salad or grain bowl. I love this grain bowl combination: Quinoa, sauteed zucchini or Brussels sprouts, Vegetable Masala Burger and an avocado. Super simple yet the flavors just work.
15. Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Whenever I make a salad for lunch, I try to add a spoonful of hummus to it. It adds protein and makes the salad more filling for me by adding another texture. You also can’t go wrong with hummus and carrots for a snack. Or spreading a nice layer of hummus onto a veggie-packed sandwich.
16. Trader Joe’s Tzatziki
Trader Joe’s Tzatziki is really one of my top TJ’s condiments. I’ll use it as a dressing over a Greek Buddha Bowl or again as a dip for veggies. I also will use it as a dressing on my Vegetable Masala Burger, sauteed veggies + quinoa bowl. It’s just a fresh, clean flavor that really can go with a number of dishes. I especially love its cool flavors in the summer months.
17. Trader Joe’s Herb Salad Mix
Whenever I need a break from romaine lettuce, I reach for the herb salad mix. Pro tip: I always rinse the mix and pat it dry with paper towels before storing it in a large Ziploc bag with a dry paper towel inside. That way you won’t have wilted lettuce after 4 days.
18. Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Funny enough, I had this soup for dinner tonight. It’s such a ridiculously simple meal and you can easily add some pizzazz to this soup by adding a spoonful of pesto, a dash of red pepper flakes or even quinoa.
19. Trader Joe’s Turkey Bolognese
Trader Joe’s Turkey Bolognese is a staple you’ll want to keep in your freezer for that moment when you’re really hungry and just craving a bowl of pasta. Bolognese normally takes awhile to prepare but Trader Joe’s does all the work for you. TJ’s Turkey Bolognese comes in a frozen square and you just heat it up in a skillet and then toss with cooked pasta (For a heavy sauce like bolognese, go with a thicker noodle like pappardelle).
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