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The Trader Joe's Essentials

Chloe Bruderer

I'm a Utah girl in love with Salt Lake City and everything going on here.

Feb 8 7 minutes read

Happy Monday!

Many of us are doing our grocery shopping for the week today, which means many of us will aimlessly aim around the aisles at the grocery store, wondering what to make for the week. If you’re going to the store on an empty stomach, you’ll find yourself debating about what to buy, because your stomach is begging you to buy EVERYTHING!

Trader Joe's is our absolute favorite place to shop. With fresh food, affordable prices, and the friendliest employees around it’s easy to see why. They also offer a lot of vegetarian, vegan, gluten and dairy free options for those of us with special dietary needs. One fun part about the store is the creative products they come up with. Some examples of this include chocolate covered edamame, bacon jam, pickle flavored pop corn, quinoa sushi, and horseradish chips.

So that’s a lot of product to take in. Where do you start? What’s worth trying? I am a very experienced Trader Joe's shopper, and today I have decided to share my knowledge and experience with you all! 

I present to you…. everything you MUST try at Trader Joe's. 

As far as vegetables go, the cauliflower rice is number one. Cauliflower rice is actually my FAVORITE product in all of Trader Joe's. (Well, my favorite non-chocolate product.) And I don’t even like cauliflower! This stuff is a healthy low-carb alternative to rice, and tastes quite a bit like the real thing! Pair this with pasta sauce, curry, fresh veggies, or even just butter and salt. 

How I eat it:  Cilantro Lime Rice: sauteed with olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and chicken! 

This chopped veggies mix is perfect for my lazy days. (Everyday) It comes with chopped broccoli, carrots, cabbage, jicama, bell pepper, radish, and celery. 


How I eat it: Fresh Salad: Toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. My picky sisters even love!

These vegetable masala burgers are divine. They remind me of the yummy appetizers my family orders when we go out to Indian restaurants. Each bite is full of Indian spice, and even potatoes. Cheers for extra carbs! 

Cooking tip: Microwave for a minute and a half, then fry in olive oil. Then the burger is cooked, but crispy on the outside. This tastes really good cooked with cauliflower rice and curry. 

This spicy Italian chicken sausage is a breakfast staple at our house. They only take two minutes to brown and we love to add them to everything from salads, to pasta, to wraps. Plus they have really healthy ingredients! It says spicy, but it’s not too extreme. I’m usually not a fan of spicy foods, but this stuff is pretty mild.

How I eat it: Spicy Omelette: sausage chopped up with peppers, onions, and cheese. Topped with salsa, salt and pepper.

Rice is constantly ruining my dinners because it takes so long to make. Sometimes I decide I want to include it for dinner, but everything else takes 10 minutes to make. I am just too impatient (and hungry) to wait. This organic brown rice rice takes 3 minutes to cook, and tastes moist and fluffy, just like the slow cooked stuff.

How I use it: When I’m in a huge rush, and I’m "hangry". "Hangry" = Hungry meets angry. 

Trader Joe's organic marinara sauce is my favorite. It tastes delicious, of course. But if you remember, I’m very lazy. Yummy pre-made food is the reason I don’t eat out every night. 

How I eat it: Quick Spaghetti: add some Italian seasoning, fresh basil and garlic, and some ground beef. Perfect spaghetti sauce in under 30 minutes!

Trader Joe's dried fruit section is huge. It’s extremely overwhelming. What’s worth it? The dried mango and the dried pineapple. Neither have added sugar, so they are the perfect amount of sweet.

How I eat it: As a perfect snack! I love chewy snacks. Good luck eating not eating it all at once. 

Okay, we all know how to eat frozen mango. But Trader Joe's frozen mango chunks taste better than everyone else's, promise.

How I eat it: Mango Sorbet: blend this mango with some coconut milk with a blender or processor, until it has a sorbet/ice cream type consistency. Top with fresh shredded coconut. Hey, you can buy that at trader joes too! 

Peanut butter is my favorite food in the whole world, so I have tried every brand you can find. This crunchy salted peanut butter is full of peanut chunks, chia seeds, and flax seeds. This makes it super crunchy, and super healthy. It will keep you full for hours!

How I eat it: I like to ruin the health factor, and dip this in any kind of crunchy chocolate chip cookie. Can you tell I like crunchy things? Plus peanut butter and chocolate are soul mates.

I’m not done raving about Trader Joe's nuts. There sliced almonds are good, but the honey roasted ones are heavenly. They are so sweet, and yes, crunchy! 

How I eat it: on top of my yogurt, smoothies, and my homemade mango sorbet! (recipe under the frozen mango picture above) 

Another killer yogurt topping is this chocolate almond granola cereal. It’s a perfect granola recipe because it’s crunchy and full of clusters. Plus, chocolate.

How I eat it: Usually by the handful, at midnight. But ideally on top top of yogurt, or with coconut milk, like cereal.

Now I’ve saved the best for last. Trader Joe's is famous for their cookie butter. Cookie butter is crushed up ginger cookies. It has a peanut butter/frosting like consistency. It tastes good with apples, pretzels, toast, or by the spoonful. Trader Joe's really wanted to make our day, so they took butter cookies, and smothered some cookie butter between them. Thank you TJ’s!

Another thing to know about Trader Joe's- they will open any box of anything to let you sample. You don’t have to commit to those chocolate covered edamame peas until you know they are delicious. (And I’ve tried them, they actually are.)

Visit Trader Joe's in Cottonwood Heights at 6989 1300 E, or in Salt Lake at 634 E 400 S. Both open until 9! 

Head on over to their website to explore all of their locations, and enjoy some fun recipes they provide!

What are you excited to try at Trader Joe's?

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