Top 10: Favorite Products from Trader Joe’s

by Lara on August 18, 2011

Occasionally, I will stumble upon the rare unfortunate human being who has never shopped at a Trader Joe’s.  Either they are just out of touch with the good things in life, or they live in a city without a store in close proximity.  When I tell them of its glory, they always ask, “Alright, so what should I buy when I go?”

Well my friends, here is what I say.

In no particular order:

1.  Peach salsa.

Sweet, smoky, spicy, and tangy, all in one bottle.  Use this as you would a traditional salsa (chips, crudités, etc), or as a chutney-like marinade for pork, chicken, or tofu.

2.  Orange muscat champagne vinegar.

This vinegar will turn your salads into an elegant, sophisticated affair.  Use it alone or make a vinaigrette by adding olive oil, fresh garlic, dijon mustard, and some fig or apricot jam (readers of my old blog may remember this as “Liquid Gold Dressing”).

3.  Organic “European style” plain nonfat yogurt.

This yogurt is, to me, the perfect consistency.  Traditional yogurt is too runny.  Greek yogurt can sometimes be too thick.  My inner Goldilocks declares this to be juuuust right.

4.  Organic baked tofu (savory or teriyaki flavor)

Tofu lovers, rejoice.  This tofu is tasty and as convenient as it comes.  Though I love eating plain tofu raw, I’ve found that most people prefer it cooked to a much firmer texture.  This is perfect to dice up and throw on salads or stir fry, and it’s only 150 calories per block.

5.  Fat free feta crumbles.

I’ve never seen fat free feta anywhere else.  It’s that simple.  Oh, and it’s nice and salty, which I love.

6.  Parmesan ranch dressing.

Somehow this delicious salad dressing only has 30 calories per serving.  I find this astonishing since it is the perfect mix of buttermilk ranch dressing and a creamy caesar dressing.  It doesn’t taste remotely lowfat or low calorie.

7.  Organic sirloin roast.

Probably my all-time favorite TJ’s product.  This organic meat is impossible to mess up (it’s already cooked), perfectly portioned, and so tender and flavorful, you could easily pass it off as 100% home cooked.  Not that I would ever do such a thing.

8.  Olive hummus.

Obviously the precursor here is that you must like olives if you hope to like this hummus.  If you do, it is amazing.

9.  Organic brown rice, frozen.

Perfectly portioned for two, one bag requires just three minutes in the microwave.  On busy nights, these frozen gems (three bags per box = 6 servings) painlessly deliver perfectly cooked, organic short grain brown rice.

10.  High fiber fruit & nut cereal.

A pretty healthy cereal that still tastes like you’re getting away with something when you’re eating it.

Are you a Trader Joe’s shopper? What is your favorite product?

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

emily (a nutritionist eats) August 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

Love the frozen rice! My favorite is their frozen wontons/dumplings – can’t remember specifically what they call them but there is a chicken and pork variety. They are delicious and cheap!


Lara August 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

I love those too! I think they’re called gyoza? Delicious and easy.


LIzAshlee August 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

We don’t have Trader Joe’s in Colorado but we are headed to California for vacation on Monday and it is on our places to stop!

Thanks for the heads up on the great food finds!


Andrea@WellnessNotes August 18, 2011 at 10:47 am

We love a lot of the same products! Have to try the Ranch dressing! Some of my other TJ favorites are the vegetable grain country salad, the refrigerated cookie dough, and the cooked beets in the refrigerated section.


Lara August 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

I didn’t know they had refrigerated cookie dough!


@stampylisa August 18, 2011 at 11:25 am

I love TJ’s!! my fave new products are the new unsweetened or vanilla non-dairy coconut milk in the tetra packs. Also their new house branded almond milk will save me a bunch over buying the other brands. I love their new fig butter (like apple butter, only figs!) which is divine w/their new goat honey gouda. I put the fig spread & gouda on the rosemary raisin crisps. yum. The new grinder filled with cocoa, coffee beans & sugar is also great on fruit and probably also on a toasted english muffin, but I would prefer most coffee/choc & less sugar. It’s very yummy though. Great post for TJ newbies.


Rene August 18, 2011 at 11:44 am

I LOVE Trader Joes! I love most of your list too! I’ll have to try that Ranch Dressing! I also love their black bean and corn enchiladas, the frozen rice medley (brown, black and red rice- so nutty and good!) their guiltless gourmet couscous, the mushroom risotto, the southwest salad, the artichoke and hearts of palm salad, their multi grain english muffins, their pretzel thins, their dark chocolate hazelnut bars… I could go on and on….


Lara August 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm

So many things on your list that I want to try now! I’ve never seen the frozen rice medley, or the mushroom risotto–those are definitely up my alley! Thanks!


Sarah @ Sarah's Modern Bites August 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Ohhhhh boy this is a GREAT post! I don’t know what I would do without Trader Joe’s haha I mean it is soooo inexpensive and fun!

The baked tofu and ranch dressing are on my list along with the white bean basil hummus, TJ’s canned marinara (so awesome), the reduced guilt popcorn, WINE, fiber cake muffins, cheap flowers, and the most delcious dijon mustard around… it’s ‘wasabi’ hot. Addictive and amazing.


Lara August 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

How could I forget wine?! Ah, yes, the fiber muffins…those are good too. Maybe I need to make this a list of 20?!


Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous August 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I don’t know how I would eat if it weren’t for Trader Joe’s! I love their black bean and corn enchiladas, their tomato basil hummus dip, and the thai chili cashews! Among tons of other things of course…I’m going to try that vinegar the next time I’m there!


Lisa August 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm

oooh yes! I bought so much from Trader Joes home with me after our trip to the US!


Erin August 18, 2011 at 4:08 pm



Kris | August 18, 2011 at 11:16 pm

ohhh dang girl…way to rub it in 😉 I wish we had a TJs up here in Canada!!! I stock up when I go to the states and get all my baking stuff!!!



elise August 19, 2011 at 8:39 am

youre baaaack!!! 🙂

great list. id add candied ginger and every hummus they make (but especially the mediterranean one…oh and the white bean puree)


Dukebdc August 19, 2011 at 9:34 am

Oh, there are so many things I love at Trader Joe’s!
1)The organic tomato soup in a box.
2)Vegetarian corn dogs (frozen)
3)Frozen Mattar Paneer entree
4)Cinnamon sugar almonds (love!!)
5)Chocolate truffles (seem to be Christmas seasonal)
6)Low fat Triple Berry Granola
7)Better Than Peanut Butter spread


Erika @ The Teenage Taste August 20, 2011 at 8:18 am

I love Trader Joes! A few of my favorite things from there are the frozen chocolate-covered bananas, the FiberFull fruit bars, and the herb pizza dough. Yum! 😀


Abby August 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

Yes, I am one of those who lives 300 miles away from the nearest Trader Joes (or Whole Foods.) When I travel, I always want to stock up on things, but I can’t buy anything frozen or perishable. Hoarder fail.

Instead, I stock up on the sunflower seed butter. It’s not that it’s a million times better than SunButter, but it feels fancy to have Trader Joe’s.


Elina (Healthy and Sane) August 21, 2011 at 9:57 am

I remember you blogged about that vinegar a while back and I picked it up at TJ’s… haven’t put it to use yet.
The baked tofu and the European style yogurt are totally kitchen staples for me. I also saw that organic roast the other day and showed it to Adam but he said he was sure it was going to be nasty. Maybe I’ll give it a try after all!


Lara August 21, 2011 at 10:34 am

Definitely try the roast–we love it, and it’s impossible to screw up!


Bella August 21, 2011 at 10:42 am

the new vegan hummus salad dressing! amazeballs!


lynn @ the actor's diet August 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm

ginger chews, meatless meatballs, organic salad mixes…the list goes on and on!


suzanne August 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I was lucky enough to have someone send me some things and I loved the pumpkin butter, the muscat vinegar and some awesome chocolates 🙂


glidingcalm August 22, 2011 at 8:11 am

yes! agree on the high fiber cereal, greek yog, and baked tofu!!! (havent had the other stuff!) ill have to try that dressing too!


julie August 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

oh oh! great post 🙂 i’m keeping my eyes pealed for that dressing the next time i’m there 🙂 🙂 my fav product is def the tomato basil hummus and the raita dip right now! mmmm 🙂


Lara August 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I haven’t tried either of those! They’re going on the list!


sarah@spinach and spice August 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

loving the parmesan ranch as well! And I haven’t tried that olive hummus, but I do looove their kalamata olive hummus! European yogurt is always a must 😀 I’ll pick up a jar of the peach salsa next! You should be a TJ’s spokeswoman 😉


Lara August 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Haha! I suppose I should have prefaced the post by saying that I am NOT a sponsor…yet 😉


katecooks August 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm

i bought that champagne vinegar after reading it on your list and just made the best “salad” with it…arugula, cold leftover spinach tortellini, warmed white kidney beans – tossed in a ton of that orange vinegar. it’s delicious!!


Lara August 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm

That sounds delicious!


Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) August 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Wow great and popular post!!

Some of my faves:
*TJs greek yogurt nonfat
*Goat yogurt (not TJs but it’s available there)
*Sunflower butter
*Organic Roasted Almonds and some single serve packs of nuts etc
*Cat food (for the cats, obvi)
*Carne Asada in refridge- cooks up amazingly well!
*Cat shaped cookies (for people) chocolate flavor
*Cage free egg whites in a carton
*Dark chocolate covered cacao nibs (at the register)
*Spelt tortillas (amazing)
*Akmaks (can get these other places, but they are cheap at TJs and amazing)

Thanks for the cool list!


Lara August 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Oh I love Akmaks but didn’t realize they were sold at TJ’s! Also I’ve been wanting to try the spelt tortillas, so I’m glad they get your seal of approval 🙂


Maria August 26, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Yes, we love Trader Joe’s and for the most part, they do a pretty good job. BUT, you have to watch their labels closely. (As I am sure we all know, the designation “natural,” means nothing.)

I bought a “natural” turkey there two years ago. When I got home, my husband pointed out that the turkey had salted water added. I took it back immediately. The guy said, “By law we’re allowed to say that because salt is natural.” I replied, “Perhaps by law you are allowed, but ethically, you aren’t.”

Up to that point I had really trusted their labels without reading the detail. No more. I still shop there, but for any new product I read the details on the labels much more carefully.

M. Full discosure: I don’t take any money from anyone, and I have no interest in any food provider. I am passionate about misleading claims.


Lara August 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for the heads up!


megan @ August 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

I dont know what I would do without the frozen cooked brown rice. I make it as a side probably 4 times a week! gotta love Trader’s.. and that salsa looks yummy- I will have to check it out!


Arusa August 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm

I am one of those unfortunate people who haven’t been to Trader Joe’s ever. I live in Canada so no Trader Joe’s for me, I wish it came up North! Thanks for the list!


Amanda August 28, 2011 at 10:34 pm

I love the orange muscat champagne vinegar. I drizzled it over almost every salad I had last year. I don’t like creamy dressings (I like to be able to taste my vegetables!) so it’s perfect.

My favorite TJ item is the macarons from the freezer. These are normally really expensive at bakeries and have the be eaten fresh, but the TJ ones are cheap and easy to defrost when I need study break.


Jean February 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

what a coincidence. i just bought the olive hummus and love it. can’t stop eating it. can’t wait to try the others products on your list.


pauli cymet October 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

LOVE tJ’S…Try their rosemary rolls-they are LOW CAL, baked daily, delicious.Store well in the frig-can keep for a week or so. If you are trying to cut out bread, like me, this takes the edge off and is just enough where you don’t feel guilt.Tried baked tofu for lst time today..DELICIOUS.sauteed with fresh sliced mushrooms & garlic powder. Low calorie, but tasty. Next time will add veggies, then it will be perfect. Many of TJ’s salads–the chili corn (yellow) in a glass jar near the salsa shelf-sweet, delicious. Oatmeal-great price-steel oats. Add blueberries, almonds, strawberries-the best breakfast. Frozen fish-yes, frozen, and it’s delicious-wild caught only. Ravioli frozen w/basil & tomato-great for a frozen food, as are truffle ravioli frozen. Amazing almond butter-crunchy or smooth, no salt. You won’t miss the salt.Candy-individual wrapped packets of dark chocolate. Lentil chips-newer product-good, tried for lst time today.
Ideal to use with hummus…I prefer Sabra brand, but next is TJ’s.
I am a foodie-but one who has lost 30 lbs. recently, & that’s because with treats from tJ’s, I don’t feel deprived. But the other lister is right, you MUST read the labels-some say ‘healthy” and they have 20 grams of fat, or mega unsaturated fats or high salt…so take the time & read.
I follow an abridged version of Dr. Fuhrman’s “EAT TO LIVE” , no meat, morsels of chicken on occasion, fruits & veggies for the most part–AND it’s the best thing in the world-wish I had done it sooner. 90% eat veggies & fruits, and l0% eat what you would like in moderation. So you don’t feel deprived and fall off the wagon! Same diet Bill Clinton, ex Prez, used to lose weight.Thanx for all your suggestions on this site-I will try some new things and hope you try some of my suggestions, also….And don’t forget HOW NICE and courteous the checkers are-no ‘tudes there-makes me never want to go into a supermarket, a standard one, again. It’s just a different vibe & experience & I feel great after shopping at TJ’s..and love their tote bags for $l.99. I could go on and on-love this store! Feel sympathy for those of you not near one….


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