Updated: May 1, 2020
Trader Joe's is by far my favorite grocery store. When I'm being a responsible adult and decide to buy my own groceries, this is the first store I will go to. The unique thing about Trader Joe's (or as I like to say, TJ) is that they mostly have their own line of items. This means that if you're looking for a delicious healthy pesto or gnocchi - more on this later - this is the only place you can get it. NOW, here are my top 10 must-have items to buy.
1) Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto
This delicious pesto tastes just like the real thing, except for I know I am making a much healthier choice. I struggle with finding good condiments or dressings for my meals, however, this has turned into a go-to.
2) Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole
This delicious guacamole is mixed with greek yogurt which gives the guac a creaminess, unlike others. I love chunky guac as well. It tastes like the real thing but better, especially that I know I will likely go well over the serving size for guacamole, so at least I have this variation.
3) ANY of their Frozen Gnocchi
When I say any of their Gnocchi's, I mean it. I first started off with their Gnocchi alla Sorrentina (aka with tomato sauce) and it's so good. I recommend with any of the gnocchi's to cook them 2-3 minutes less than it says, or just enough for the frozen sauces to be melted. I became obsessed with the Gnocchi Gorgonzola. As a person not a fan of strong cheese, I was surprised at how addicted I became. Recently, Trader Joe's launched their Outside-In Stuffed Gnocchi which is basically tomato sauce and mozzarella stuffed inside the gnocchis. I love this with the pesto mentioned earlier or even with more tomato sauce, or on its own with a little lemon and olive oil. If you're a fan of cauliflower-based products, you'll probably love their Cauliflower Gnocchi, I don't know one person who hates it. I personally hate cauliflower, but I think these are alright for a healthier choice.
4) Quinoa and Black Bean infused Tortilla Chips
I'm absolutely in love with these chips. They taste just like tortilla chips... but better if that's possible. There's just something about these chips that make me be able to just eat them without even any salsa or guac if I was too lazy to take them out. Plus, just like a lot of my other products, I'm happy to know that even on the items I'm treating myself with, I'm choosing a better alternative.
5) Chile Lime Seasoning
Ohmygod, love this. Think of this is a more lime version of Tajin that has a little more versatility. As a girl with a weird obsession with Tajin, this was an amazing find. I love to sprinkle this on an at-home pizza, chicken, pasta, or even watermelon if I'm out of Tajin. This is a delicious seasoning and for those who find Tajin to strong, the Chile Lime seasoning may be your best friend.
6) Frozen Bananas and Strawberries
If I am craving a dessert after my dinner, you bet this is my first choice. I've had the frozen bananas for years, however, I recently found the strawberry versions. The strawberries are great if you're looking for a little extra sweetness compared to the bananas. Pop a couple of these frozen goodness and you're set. You need these now.
7) 70% Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Bar
I've recently been obsessed with chocolate, a whole lot more than usually. My mom pointed out that dark chocolate with a 70-80% concentration will probably be my recipe for perfection, and she wasn't wrong. This chocolate is delicious, the sea salt is used sparingly but perfect in the bites that have it, and there is a melted chocolate-caramel mix in the middle that's just delicious. One square of this is all I need to satisfy a chocolate craving.
8) Creamy Pink Primavera Pasta Sauce
This pasta sauce is so delicious, healthy, and pink! This marinara sauce alternative includes beets, tomatoes, chickpeas, and cauliflowers. For a picky eater like me, this is the perfect way to get in more veggies without even tasting a difference. Unfortunately, it is a seasonal item, but as soon as you see it, pick up a few jars!
9) Everything but the Bagel line
Trader Joe's has released a line of different everything but the bagel products after their seasoning was a major hit. I love to combine the seasoning with my eggs or on avocado toasts. The greek yogurt dip is so delicious too. Spread it on a piece of toast and it makes for a great spread. Apparently they have smoked salmon too now!
10) Chicken-Less Mandarin Orange Morsels
Out of the whole list, this may be my oldest favorite, but a goodie. Made out of tofu, this is a great alternative to your traditional uber-fried orange chicken. They are easy to make and the sauce isn't too sweet... just perfect.
I have so many more things I could add to this list but if you're looking for something new at Trader Joe's next time you're shopping, pick up one of these items! What are your favorites?