This post is SUCH a long time coming as I always get so many questions about my Trader Joe’s staples any time I share my true love for TJ’s on Instagram (and that’s a LOT). We are so fortunate that it’s pretty much our closest grocery store, so we do a good amount of our shopping there. Between the fantastic prices (their reasonably-priced organic produce and meat is unmatched, in my opinion), helpful and happy staff (pre-pandemic and present), one-stop shopping (cheap, good wine + beer for the win), beautiful flower selection (best spot for DIY arrangements), and all of the unique, delicious items, it really is my happy place!
I could honestly do a whole rambling post on how much and why I love it— for example, the way they introduce new things all the time and bring back seasonal favorites to mix things up and make foodie dreams come true. BUT for this post, I want to focus on my must-haves that have become constants in my cart and favorites in our household. Even for this, the list is LONG but I narrowed it down to my absolute must-haves here, in no particular order. If you haven’t given these a try, give them a whirl and let me know if I’ve gotten you hooked too. Oh— I plan to add to this over time so bookmark this to come back to!
Even though these are technically two separate items, I usually can’t leave the store without snagging two bags of each (yes, our family of two adults and three little ones goes through two bags, so keep that in mind when you’re planning). After several trial and error methods of preparation, I discovered what I truly think it the best way to cook these. You want them crisp on the outside and not gummy. I do them in my air fryer, at 400 degrees for about 20-23 minutes. I can fit an entire two bags in the basket, and I recommend shaking around every few minutes. I love to have these in the freezer in a pinch for a quick, hearty dinner with a nutritious fix for a pasta craving. If I had to choose one over the other, I’d go cauliflower and my hubby and 4-year-old would pick the kale, but really they are both delish. For recipe ideas for these head to my Instagram and check out the Trader Joe’s highlight.
These peanut butter puffs are .99 cents a bag, have minimal ingredients, no sugar and are so crunchy and addicting. They’re the perfect snack for the kids and just as yummy for adults! The last time I went they were out of stock and we were all equally bummed to not have these in the house for snack time. These are an absolute must to stock up on.
Broccoli + Kale Slaw
We love all of the TJ’s salad kits (we had the the seasonal Lemon Arugula one last night and it was bomb) but this one is our go-to. Crunchy, healthy, perfect amount of sweetness, and our kids love it because of the berries and nuts. Total win!
Definitely one of the splurge items but it’s just THAT good. I honestly like the sauce better than most actual Chinese food takeout. Here’s what I do: pair it with one bag of the Vegetable Fried Rice and one bag of the Riced Cauliflower Stir-Fry I talk about below (I cook the two rice bags together in the same pan) and it’s all a fantastic five-minute busy mom dinner that is a big family crowd pleaser.
Riced Cauliflower Stir-Fry
I’m telling you this stuff has saved me so many times on nights (especially during quarantine) where I’m staring at my fridge or freezer waiting for chicken or shrimp or something to tell me what to do with it. Throw in a protein, a fresh vegetable to bulk it up a bit (peppers, zucchini and broccoli all work great) and you’re done. This is slightly sauced, but when I add something to it to make it into a meal I add sauce to it, usually a combo of soy sauce or liquid aminos, honey, sesame oil and grated ginger.
Kale & Spinach Greek Yogurt Dip
There are SO many good Trader Joe’s sauces and dips and I love to try different ones each time I go, but this is just a staple. Low-cal, nutrish and delish, it’s a perfect easy snack for the whole fam. We love to dip snap peas in it, that’s a regular lunch ‘side’ over here.
Syrah-Soaked Creamy Toscano/Unexpected Cheddar
TJ’s cheese game is seriously on-point and super cost-friendly. These two are fan faves for good reason. If you haven’t tried them, add to your cart to really up that charcuterie board. Grab the Italian meats sampler, a jar of their Fig Jam, the Multigrain Crackers (another must!) and a bunch of grapes and you’re in business.
Mexican Style Roasted Corn
This is the side-dish you’ve been looking for to spice up your Taco Tuesdays. It is so seriously good. The corn has this beautiful char on it, the sauce has a tiny kick but is still kid-friendly, and the cheese makes it! Definitely a top item.
Everything But the Bagel Seasoning/Smoked Salmon
Last but not least, no ode to TJ’s would be complete without a shout-out to my favorite breakfast addition, the Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. Now, lucky for us, they’ve also added the salty, flavorful spice combo to smoked salmon for the perfect eggs or avo toast topper.
As I said, there are MANY more I could add to this list but thought I’d get started with these. What are some of your favorites? Any to tell me about that I may not have tried yet? Let me know in the comments!