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Friday, January 17, 2020

Trader Joe's Antipasto Mediterranean Vegetables

Every once in a while, I get creative in the kitchen. Products like this one that aren't really meant to be consumed straight out of the packaging sometimes inspire me to throw a few items together and see what happens. Those spur-of-the-moment impromptu projects often end up a disaster. Just ask Sonia.

So it's fortunate that there was a recipe on TJ's site that included this product as one of the main ingredients. I modified it just a tad, as we did not have every ingredient listed, but I didn't go out on a limb this time—and in half an hour, we had some pretty delectable dip on our dinette table. In the pic below, you can see a before photo of the antipasto veggies by themselves and also the diptastic conglomeration that resulted from my little culinary endeavor. We ate it with tortilla chips, but it would also go great with baguette slices like the recipe suggests. It's much richer and tangier than traditional artichoke dip. The Superbowl's not too far away, and this recipe would be a total crowd-pleaser, in my estimation.


Trader Joe's Antipasto Mediterranean Vegetables are "semi-dried" and absolutely drowned in olive oil. I guess that's part of the preservation process that keeps them shelf stable pretty much indefinitely, but there's just a TON of olive oil in the little tray. Even after mixing them with four different kinds of cheese and lemon juice and baking them for 25 minutes, you can still tell that they're completely drenched in olive oil. Fortunately, I don't mind olive oil.

Glancing at the veggies, it appears there are mushrooms of some kind in the mix, but I think those are just zucchini slices with their edges turned down a bit. The flavors aren't super intense, but they're pleasant and vegetabley. The artichoke hearts are my favorite, followed by the zucchini, then the eggplant, and finally the tomato. I've never been a huge tomato guy. If they're cooked in some way, I'll eat them. In this case, the saturation of olive oil makes them palatable. They're nothing like fresh tomatoes in terms of taste or texture.

I did try each of the four vegetables straight out of the packaging, but they're much better as ingredients in some larger appetizer or meal. They'd be great on salads, pasta, sandwiches, or even burgers, though in most cases, they'd probably work better in smaller chunks. The dip recipe had me quartering them. I can't imagine an instance where they'd work better as the large chunks they come as, so it begs the question why they weren't cut in smaller pieces to begin with. I know, it's a silly complaint. The chewier elements, namely the eggplant, work much better as bite-sized pieces for almost any application.

Sonia and I both enjoyed this product overall, with our biggest complaints being too much olive oil and too large vegetable pieces. We're both thinking somewhere between three and a half and four stars for Trader Joe's Antipasto Mediterranean Vegetables, so we'll just go with one of each.

Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

5 comments:

  1. Did you buy these recently?? I used to buy them all the time last year but they told me they stopped carrying it a few months ago and I was so disappointed.

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    1. Yeah, these were first marked way down in price and then discontinued months ago...

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  2. (They ARE really good chopped up in salads or as toppings for toast/pizza. Very concentrated source of umami and meatiness without the meat!)

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  3. You can drain off the oil and reserve oil for cooking. It might be good for pizzas. Soups might be good idea.

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