Trader Joe’s is like the Target of grocery stores: you go in needing only one item and leave with a cart full of goodies, but hey, we’re not complaining. We’ve listed out the 10 must-have’s and need-to-try’s from our favorite neighborhood store.
1. Everything But The Bagel Seasoning
Everything bagels have been a staple in my coffee cart order for years, but I didn’t realize how just the “everything” part was, well, everything. In a heavenly mix of sesame seeds, sea salt, garlic and onion blended together and thrown in a seasoning jar, this is the perfect addition to any meal. Sprinkle it on your eggs, avocado toast or even pasta!
2. Almond Croissants
For the mornings where you already need a pick-me-up, let almond croissants from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s do the heavy lifting. Coming frozen in a four-pack, pop one of these flaky, almondy goodness into your oven and enjoy with a cup of cold brew (More on that later!) It’s the perfect breakfast, or midmorning snack, to help you get through your day.
3. Gone Bananas!
You don’t need an excuse for this enjoy this treat, but it is certainly perfect for those upcoming hot summer days. Frozen dark chocolate covered bananas can cool you off and sweeten you up after a nice day at the pool. For the strawberry lovers in your life, Trader Joe’s even has a dark chocolate covered strawberry option!
4. Pancake Bread
I loved pancakes. I loved bread. Who would’ve thought they’d be magic together? Trader Joe’s. Baked into a moist loaf are the classic flavors of your favorite short stack with the perfect hint of maple syrup. On top is a streusel made of cinnamon, brown sugar and magic probably.
5. Roasted Plantain Chips
If you know anything about plantains, you won’t judge me when I say I’ve downed an entire bag of these myself. #SorryNotSorry. Plantain chips are a staple in many South American foods and lucky for us, Trader Joe’s is here to make them a staple in our pantries. The salty taste and perfect crunch will remind you off a classic potato chip, but the plantain offers a different flavor that will have you finishing off your bag, too.
6. Hummus Dips
I am a sucker for a good hummus dip and Trader Joe’s is here to fulfill that need. They have a variety of hummus dips to use on your charcuterie board: roasted garlic hummus, Mediterranean hummus, eggplant hummus, spicy hummus dip and even a three-layer hummus! Grab a bag of pita chips and carrots before checking out and snack to you heart’s content.
7. Mandarin Orange Chicken
Trader Joe’s frozen entrees section is basically the Holy Grail for college students and the mandarin orange chicken is what would be filling it up. For less than $5, you have an entree that doesn’t taste like it came from the freezer. Serve it over greens or grains, this will impress your roommates, parents and S/O’s.
8. Unexpected Cheddar Cheese
You know we couldn’t complete this list without some cheese! This block of cheese is every bit as unexpected as its name promises. It has hints of parmesan that offer up a nice surprise with the classic sharpness of cheddar. Shred over soups, pizzas, nachos, quesadillas… The possibilities, they are endless. The cheese, it is glorious.
9. Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
Cold brew concentrates can be a hit or miss in grocery stores, but Trader Joe’s knocks it out of the park. You can ditch that $5 coffee shop order and instead opt for this one. Add in your favorite syrups and milks from the comfort of your home. Sip on your cold brew as you enjoy one of those almond croissants!
10. Black Bean and Jack Cheese Burrito
Another Holy Grail item for college student — or really anyone who wants something fast and easy. Grab this burrito at the ready-to-eat section of Trader Joe’s and it will leave you feeling satisfied. Filled with black beans and monterrey jack cheese, it offers the perfect spice to add some flavor to your day.