For some people, a stop at Trader Joe’s is just another thing to check off their weekend to-do lists. For others, it is an *experience.* We’re talking a plotted-out, highly anticipated, “I can’t wait to see what new things they’ll have available to sample!” experience.
In honor of Trader Joe’s turning the big 5-0 this year (and generally, to profess our love for them from every corner of the internet), we’ve rounded up some of our favorite TJ’s products on shelves right now that you need in your life, ASAP.
I love all things pumpkin, but a lot of times you're let down when it comes to flavor. TJ's pumpkin Joe-Joes don't disappoint, though. Both the cookies and the filling are pumpkin flavored — it's like fall in your mouth. I'll definitely be stocking up before the season ends.
— Christine Aebischer, editor
TJ's coffee-glazed almonds combine two great things in one package: The nutty goodness you want from almonds, plus the caffeine kick you need from your morning cup of joe. The best part is that it's slightly sweetened, just how I like my coffee. Just be careful not to pop too many, because you may start feeling jittery (the caffeine buzz is real).
— Julia Chang, deputy editor
Homestyle Salsa Especial
Salsa Especial is my all-time favorite salsa. It tastes so fresh — it's almost restaurant quality — and has just the right amount of kick.
— Charisse Larado, director of video
Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese and Caramelized Onions
This is the perfect appetizer to serve when you're hosting a party or a friend get-together. They melt in your mouth, and your friends will be obsessed with them.
— Jason Hillard, office manager
Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
I’m not into most pumpkin-flavored goods that run rampant in the fall, but this is my one exception. They’re sweet, cheesy, filling, and make for a pretty autumnal plate.
— Jennifer Liu, editor
Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta
The lemon-and-pepper pappardelle from Trader Joe's tastes about three times more expensive than it actually is. I feel like I'm getting pasta from the Italian section of a gourmet food store. It also cooks perfectly al dente every time.
Vegetable Masala Burger
I like to lightly fry the veggie patty on both sides and eat it as a burger, or sometimes I’ll add it over a bed of lettuce. Indian food where I live can be pricey, so this is a good option for me when I’m craving curry.
— Andrew Hayakawa, front end engineer
Frozen Wild Sockeye Salmon
I don’t usually cook meat, but when I do, I like the simplicity of baking a filet of salmon to top a salad. So I was pleasantly shocked to learn that fish from the frozen aisle is just as good — if not better — than from behind the counter. At under $10 a pound, I can get my omega-3s at an affordable price.
Cut Butternut Squash
The first fall I discovered butternut squash, I made it every week for a few months. But between the precarious chopping and the bake time, it quickly fell out of my rotation. Then, the other night, I saw that TJ’s had pre-cut packages for just 60 cents more than buying a whole squash. Hey, time (and no kitchen injuries) is money! I sautéed it with kale to top some pasta and had dinner ready in 20 minutes flat.
Yuzu Kosho Hot Sauce
I can’t really get yuzu marinades in the U.S., especially in regular grocery stores. Finding this version made cooking with yuzu so much more convenient without having to visit the Asian supermarket. I mix it with cooking sake, mirin and sesame oil to make a marinade. It has a very Japanese flavor. I was in Tokyo recently and had sliced yuzu pork — this comes pretty close.