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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Trader Joe's Pepita Salsa

"Pepita" sounds more exotic than "pumpkin seed." Maybe that's why Trader Joe's employs that word here...and other places. I mean, they're clearly not shy about slapping the word "pumpkin" on their products left and right, although we've seen that trend slow in 2018. To everything, turn, turn and all that. Maybe The Age of the Pepita is upon us...?

If you type "pepita" into Google Translate as a Spanish word, the corresponding English word they give you is "nugget." I asked Sonia, who's bilingual, if that's correct. She wasn't sure. She just thought it meant pumpkin seed. Whatever. Nuggets or seeds or exotic Latin snacky things, I was just expecting this salsa to be full of them—crunchy, nutty chunks of delight. I'm not saying they're not there. I'm just saying they aren't there the way I expected them to be there.

The salsa is chunky, for sure. That's always good in my opinion. There are tomato chunks, onion bits...and maybe some pieces of other things. But I wanted big crisp seeds. We're not sure if they've been partially dissolved in the liquid parts of the salsa or if they're chopped up into teeny tiny little bits, but there aren't any big crunchy pumpkin seeds. That's my complaint. It's a big complaint. BUT, it's also my ONLY complaint.

Because other than that, this salsa rocks. It's flavorful, smoky, harvesty, and thick. There's a bit of a kick to it. Not a lot. I think it's more of a garlicky kick than a hot peppery kick, if you know what I mean. Still spikes all that flavorful pleasure with a touch of lovely pain, but it lacks the intensity of a truly hot salsa. Okay, "pain" might be a little too strong a word to use. Discomfort? I dunno. There's a certain quality in good salsas that just lets you know you're alive. That's here. This product has that, most definitely, despite a lack of traditional heat. It has a bit of a chipotle flavor, but not so much the chipotle spice factor.

Sonia liked it as much as I did, immediately spouting positive remarks about the savory flavors in this tomato, onion, and red bell pepper-based condiment. It's a win—a sure contender for the Pantheon had it been full of crunchy pepitas. I'm not sure if it's been done before, but how about a salsa with a cellophane baggie of dry pepitas that you mix in when you serve it...? I guess you could always purchase a bag of pumpkin seeds separately and create a salsa worthy of even more praise. $2.99 for the jar. Probably a repeat purchase for us.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. I tried this last week and bought a second jar this week. It's fantastic on eggs or on Trader Joe's tamales.

    1. Eggs or tamales and this...definitely trying that when we pick up our next jar.

  2. Also loved this! Not sure i would identify the pepitas in a blind taste test but overall it’s delicious. I loved it with baby carrots as well as on a veggie and refried beans quesadilla

  3. Great on linguine and also chicken breasts!

  4. Just used as a marinade for boneless skinless thighs, will cook in the oven, added a little chipotle in adobo for a little more intense smoky flavor and spice. Hoping to get a mexican "mole" like sauce from this on the chicken. Yummy salsa!

  5. Added a great kick to my asparagus and potato frittata. I love this salsa!


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