February 17, 2023 | FEATURES | By Mariel Zech
A few months ago, I wrote an article recommending Trader Joe’s products such as the Thai Style Yellow Curry sauce and Joe’s Diner Mac & Cheese. Now, I’m coming in hot with a list of even more products that are worth keeping an eye out for the next time you peruse the aisles of Trader Joe’s.
TJ’s sells these small, red table grapes produced by the company Divine Flavor, which claims that they taste like gummy bears. If we’re making a comparison to candy, I would say the flavor seems like a cross between gummy bears and fruit snacks. Some of my roommates didn’t think the candy comparison held up, but regardless, we all agreed that they are sweeter than your typical grape.
Thai Wheat Noodles:
If you ever want to swap Basmati rice out for something else to use as your curry base, these new Thai Wheat Noodles are worth a try. They really couldn’t be any more convenient: they come in a three-pack of pre-cooked noodles, and all you need to do is microwave a pack for 30-45 seconds. They are satisfyingly thick and absorb the flavor of whatever sauces I mix with them.
This “tangy sauce of secret proportions” is described by TJ’s as a “mustard-mayo-ketchup-relish kind of blend”, and it includes a spattering of herbs and spices such as rosemary and paprika. It resembles Chick-Fil-A sauce and In and Out sauce — it adds some fast-food-like, zesty flavor. It’s a great option to have on hand to elevate meat or veggie burgers, especially when mixed with other condiments.
Mushroom & Company Multipurpose Umami Seasoning Blend:
This seasoning was created by TJ’s to capture that coveted umami taste in a spice bottle. My friend recently made gnocchi with mushrooms for dinner. When she sauteed the mushrooms, the mushroom flavor combined with some of the sizzling butter, creating a delicious broth to pour on top of the gnocchi. She finished it off by sprinkling some Mushroom & Company seasoning and squirting some truffle oil over the dish. The seasoning did its part to beautifully enhance the existing mushroom flavor of the dish.
Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea:
I think that ginger and turmeric go together like peanut butter and jelly. These two distinctly strong flavors are combined with licorice root, orange peel, orange oil, and black pepper. This is the kind of beverage that can feel energizing in the morning, yet relaxing and soothing by the evening. The flavors can adapt to your current mood and needs. It’s also quite aromatic, which is a crucial part of any good tea experience.
Garden Vegetable Soup:
The Colorado Springs Trader Joe’s recently started giving out samples again after a hiatus because of the pandemic. It probably will not come as a shock to anyone reading this that I’m a sucker for samples, so of course I tried this soup when it was the sample of the day. I’ve found it to be the perfect winter soup. It includes chunks of vegetables like sweet potatoes and zucchinis, as well as leafy greens. The broth is dominated by tomatoes but is also mixed with carrots, celery, and onions. Despite the varied vegetables in there, I personally preferred this soup to be even busier, so I added macaroni to it when I made it at home.
Havarti Cheese with Dill:
This is a soft cheese with a lovely, buttery texture. Honestly, if you had a board with a variety of different cheeses on it this probably wouldn’t stand out much. It has a relatively mild flavor and compared to sharp cheeses and some of the more unique cheeses out there (like TJ’s Blueberry Vanilla Chevre Goat Cheese), it sort of blends into the background. But to me, that’s part of its appeal: its palatable, simple, and it never gets old.
On the back of a TJ’s bag of Flaxseed Meal, there is a recipe for No Bake Energy Bites. It calls for you to lump rolled oats, chocolate chips, flaxseed, crunchy peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract into balls and stick them in the freezer. I can speak from experience that these oat balls are a tasty and filling snack. Try it with TJ’s 70% dark chocolate chips and consider swapping out honey for their organic date syrup or peanut butter for their mixed nut butter.