Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Trader Joe's Organic Split Pea Soup

When I was a kid, I loved pea soup. I'm not sure why really. For those of you who have been reading for a while...or even if you've only read one or two other posts of mine and just happen to be really perceptive, you've probably noticed that I have a sweet tooth, I love the same things kids love, and I'm not totally into healthy things unless they taste really good. I was even more that way as a wee one. I really didn't like healthy stuff.

But for some reason pea soup was an exception. Maybe it was because I crumbled about 20 Ritz crackers into the mix and was actually eating nothing but salt and bleached flour with maybe a hint of vegetable matter. Or maybe it was because I was eating Campbell's brand pea soup—which I haven't had in years, so I can't really do a direct comparison...but I have a feeling it would still taste a bit better than TJ's brand. Who knows?

All I know now is that after a very long hiatus without pea soup, coming back to it was not the joyous occasion I had anticipated. This soup tasted like what I would have thought pea soup would have tasted like before I ever tried pea soup as a kid. That is to say: it was bland, gritty, pasty, vegetabley health glop. Sure, organic, vegan, pea-based anything is going to lack a certain...excitement...but we've seen Trader Joe's do incredible things with organic, vegan soups before...I'm thinking Organic Tomato Bisque...and I really don't like tomatoes. At all. Cooked tomatoes and ketchup and that sort of thing, yes. Tomatoes, no. But that bisque...I could eat it everyday.

But I do like peas. So why didn't this very natural, untarnished pea-based soup do it for me? I don't know. It was just bland. It was pea-mush—and not much more.

Sonia liked it because it was so natural. She says it was filling, too. I suppose it might have been if I had been so inclined to eat a bowl and a half like she did. She says it's easy to prepare and highly portable. Aren't most soups easy to prepare and portable? I just don't think those are reasons to praise this soup beyond its due.

Now before you slather me with comments insinuating that I'm a big fat jerk that only likes junk food and is ungrateful for the earth's great and bountiful pea harvest, please take a moment to remember that I did indeed enjoy other varieties of pea soup in the past, and that just because I can see room for improvement with this one doesn't mean that I'm not extremely grateful that such sources of nourishment and sustenance are so extraordinarily affordable and plentiful in my 21st century western world.

That being said, with a clear conscience, I can give this item 2 out of 5 stars. Sonia gives it a 3.5.

Bottom line 5.5 out of 10.


  1. I've passed this in the aisle millions of time.. Maybe its the packaging, maybe because its peas? Now I love peas in their fresh state.. mooshed up doesn't quite appeal.,

  2. I've tried many brands of split pea soup, even the Anderson's famous one but I don't like it either. Peas should never be split, they turn gritty that way. Good post! I noticed you haven't done a review on TJ's cranberry juice (the one in the glass bottle) and the apple juice (glass bottle as well). I mix those two together (50/50 ratio) and it's amazing! :)

  3. Thanks for the apple & cranberry juice tip!

  4. You know, I have never been a fan of TJs soups.

  5. Yeah, I don't think soups are really their specialty, Nellie...but they've been kind of hit and miss with me and Sonia.

  6. I am vegetarian and this soup is a staple in my house. It's low in calories and I find it satisfying. Try mixing some in some Siracha, and/or dip some crackers into it. I especially like their black bean soup. I think bottom line is they are low calorie, satisfying soups that aren't meant to be anything fancy.

  7. This is a staple in my diet.. unfortunately they discounted it!

  8. Gelatinous and icky. I love pea soup, and I hate this one.