Google Tag

Search This Blog

Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label organic. Show all posts

Monday, April 8, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Midnight Moo


The first five years of my life or so were spent in Hershey, just blocks from Hersheypark, Chocolate World, and the old chocolate factory. My family kept in touch with a few folks in the town for many years after, so we'd find ourselves there quite often even after having moved away. You'd frequently smell cocoa wafting through the air of the affluent Pennsylvania neighborhood, and of course much of the local economy revolved around the chocolate industry.

Even in a town about an hour away, it was hard to escape the influence of Hershey and their world-famous chocolate brand. Thanks to some food sensitivities, I wasn't allowed much, if any, chocolate in my early years. Nevertheless, as I was treated for and grew out of said intolerances, I was heavily exposed to Hershey's chocolate and Hershey's syrup as I grew up and they naturally became my reference points for all things chocolatey.


We've frequently been criticized for comparing Trader Joe's chocolate products to Hershey's since, in the opinion of many chocolate snobs, Hershey's isn't that great compared to, say, European chocolate. In fact, foreign chocolate connoisseurs are often inclined to say that Hershey's tastes like literal vomit. But I digress. All that to say I'll be comparing this syrup primarily to Hershey's because I'm not all that familiar with any other brands.

Let's start with the ingredients. Hershey's kicks things off with high fructose corn syrup. It could still be those childhood food allergies lingering around, but my body hates HFCS. Trader Joe's syrup uses organic cane sugar. Good stuff. From there, the ingredients in Hershey's get even more unpronounceable and artificial, while Trader Joe's sticks with organics and basics.

Still, I think I like the taste of Hershey's a little better than this Trader Joe's chocolate syrup. It's sad, but I think my palate is just used to consuming chemicals, dyes, and fake stuff. Hershey's is a bit sweeter and thinner, both of which make it just a tad more chuggable. Trader Joe's syrup is a "darker" cocoa and it has a heavier consistency, which makes it harder to dissolve in milk. It's much more optimized for topping vanilla ice cream or other desserts in my humble opinion.

TL;DR—Trader Joe's Midnight Moo uses much higher quality ingredients than Hershey's but there's still something familiar about the old standby that makes it taste slightly better to me.

$3.99 for the squeeze bottle. Apparently this product was around years ago, got discontinued, and then came back again somewhat recently. Would I buy again? Maybe. I think it's growing on me. Four stars from Sonia, three and a half from me for Trader Joe's Organic Midnight Moo.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, March 8, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Granola Bites


Well, this is pretty much your average chocolate chip granola bar rolled into tiny balls. There are five little bags of balls with about eight balls in each bag. Appropriately, each ball is a single bite...hence the name, "bites." It's not one of those products where they call them "bites" but they wind up being two or three bites each. These balls are indeed "bite-sized."

Okay, I've said the word "balls" enough to last me a while. I'll try to refrain from using it for the rest of this review.


The bites are sweet, oaty, and filling. Since the product is dairy-free, the chocolate bits have cocoa and sugar, but no milk. They balance out the grainy flavors pretty well. There's agave syrup and dried apple in there, too, but somehow the bites aren't overly sugary.

We like the artwork on the packaging both for being unique and clever, but also for being appropriate. These snacks are perfect for road trips and on-the-go snacking. Just one bag can curb the munchies pretty effectively and keep your blood sugar up for quite a while.


$2.99 for the box. Organic. Vegan. Gluten free. Would buy again. Four stars from Sonia. Three and a half from me for Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Granola Bites.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Super Bread


Look! Up on the shelf in the baked goods section! It's a bagel! It's a pastry! It's Superbread!

I don't know if I'd call this bread "super" myself, but it is very earthy and seedy and unique, not to mention certified organic. For the third review in a row, Sonia is way more positive about the product than I am, although in the end, this product will get a thumbs up from me, too.

My in-laws have been sending us this delicious bread from Le Pain Quotidien that has nuts and seeds and dried fruit all through it. It's not dessert bread, but there is a bit of sweetness to it and it's amazing. I thought this bread might be Trader Joe's version of the same bread. And while it is similar in some ways, it's not quite as scrumptious as that LPQ selection.


Despite the "organic dried apple" mentioned in the ingredients, this bread really isn't very sweet at all. Aside from the wheat flour, seeds are far and away the dominant flavor and they add a lot to the texture, too. We've got pumpkin, flax, and sunflower here.

The most unexpected element? Carrots. I mean I guess it wouldn't be "unexpected" if I had actually bothered to read the front of the bag, but I tend to just impulsively yoink stuff off the shelves these days and ask questions later. But yeah, there are thin carrot slivers all through the bread. I wouldn't have expected that to work, but it does. Sonia is absolutely mad about the carrot bits. It'll be hard to go back to dollar store bread after this gourmet stuff.

Organic super bread isn't bad raw, but both Sonia and I prefer it toasted. It's nice with either butter or cream cheese. It's versatile enough to make sandwiches of all kinds. I don't know if I'd reach for this for, like, peanut butter and jelly. But for cold cuts and cheese it works well.

Organic. Kosher. $3.99 for the loaf. Sonia says a re-purchase is inevitable. That's fine, dear. That's fine. Four and a half stars from her. Like I said, I like it and will eat some here and there, but I can't muster quite the same enthusiasm as the beautiful wifey. Three and a half stars from me for Trader Joe's Organic Super Bread.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Red Lentil Sedanini


One comment/question/criticism about this blog that we've seen a few times throughout the years is: Why do you spend so much time on products that are somewhat lackluster or mediocre? Just come out and tell us what's GOOD at Trader Joe's. It is the name of the blog, after all.

It's a fair point to make. And to the folks that ask it, I generally just refer them to the "Pantheon" and "really darn good" links in the right side bar of the blog. Those are the links that answer the question: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?" at least in our humble opinions. And the "blahhh" and "not so great" links answer another frequently asked question: "What's NOT Good at Trader Joe's?" Again, in our minds, anyway. Your mileage may vary.


There are now over TWO THOUSAND reviews posted on this blog, many of which cover more than just a single TJ's product, so logically a lot of those items are going to fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. It's just the nature of the beast. We try to cover products objectively and accurately enough so that even if we don't love something our readers might get a hunch if they would like it, or vice versa.

All that to say that this is yet another fine product and should be a hit with folks who do the organic thing or the gluten free thing, but it's pretty much middle-of-the-road pasta in other respects. Three bucks gets you six servings of red lentil pasta imported from Italy. It's easy to make and goes fairly well with basic marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. I'm sure you could serve this sedanini any way you'd serve regular pasta.

It tastes very similar to Trader Joe's Risoni, also made with red lentils. It's an earthy, legumey flavor. Texture-wise, it's not quite a dead ringer for wheat-based pasta, but it's close. It might be a little firmer and less stretchy, if that makes sense.

Probably wouldn't buy again unless we were entertaining guests with dietary restrictions, but then again, it might be a nice break from regular glutenful pasta once in a blue moon. Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Organic Red Lentil Sedanini.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Trader Joe's Sri Lankan Organic Mango Chutney


So this totally wasn't what I was expecting. But I'm not going to let my preconceived notions ruin my experience with this product, because it's a unique and delicious condiment in its own right. Was I expecting Indian-style chutney while this specimen is uniquely Sri Lankan? Possibly.

I fell in love with chutney many years ago. There was a place close to my apartment that had the best chicken tikka, and I'd always get naan and samosas on the side and they came with two little dishes of red and green chutney. Before I'd even start on the entree, I'd finish both types of chutney completely. I'd later find out the green one was mint chutney and the red one was tamarind chutney, neither of which would have appealed to me if I'd only heard the names of the sauces. Both were heavy on sweet coconut flavor and were very watery and thin—no bits of fruit or chunks of anything.


This product is more like a marmalade in terms of look and texture. It's quite thick. And there are indeed mango bits floating throughout the little jar. It's sweet like the aforementioned chutneys, but this one is more fruit forward and has a lot less coconut taste, despite the fact that it does contain "organic coconut sap vinegar."

There's an unexpected though not entirely unwelcome spice blend here, as well. In addition to chili powder, which gives the product a modest kick, we're also looking at cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg. They're oddly strong, too. If it were me, I would have dialed the spices back just a tad and let the fruit flavors do the talking, but it makes for a very exotic taste combo.


This chutney went well with pan-fried chicken and rice. It complements naan bread, samosas, and charcuterie type foods. I'm sure you could use it with sandwiches, wraps, or as a glaze for meat or white fish.

Sonia says she's had chutney very similar to this one at other Indian restaurants. She's a fan. $2.99 for the 8.5 oz jar. Product of Sri Lanka. Organic. Kosher. Would buy again. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Sri Lankan Mango Chutney.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Trader Joe's Organic Italian Artisan Gigli Pasta


When I see the word "Gigli," all I can think of is that 2003 masterpiece starring Ben Affleck and J. Lo. Man, that was the golden age of cinema, I tell ya. They don't make rom-coms like that anymore.

Likewise, this pasta is similarly memorable. They're shaped like little flowers. I guess "gigli" is the Italian word for "lilies." How cute. They're pretty and dainty, but there's enough dough there that you've got something to sink your teeth into. It's a fun yet practical shape for pasta. Also known as "campanelle," the shape resembles bells as well as horns or trumpets, or "trompetti."


The product is organic and kosher, but it won't break the bank at about three bucks for nine servings. We've had it tossed with extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, and Italian Style Sprinkle. We've tried it with marinara sauce and ground beef. We made some pasta salad with veggies and Italian dressing. And it's absolutely delightful with the Limone Alfredo Sauce.


The "best by" date on this bag was marked as September of 2026. That's quite a long shelf life. We'll be keeping some in the back of the pantry for sure. Boil for 5 to 7 minutes and you've got the base for a tasty meal. Imported from Italy.

Three and a half stars from me, four stars from the beautiful wifey for Trader Joe's Organic Italian Artisan Gigli Pasta.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Apricot Preserves


For my obligatory, self-indulgent, lead-in segue today, I have to mention my childhood pet, Apricot. I've brought her up before on this blog, though not recently. I really loved that dog. I still have dreams about her decades after her passing. I love the little monsters we have now, but that dog was very special. She had apricot-colored fur, hence the moniker. Hey, I was only six when I named her. Can't talk about apricots without thinking of that pup. Don't worry. Food review begins...NOW.


I thought preserves were supposed to have big chunks of fruit in them. This stuff does not. I mean there's teensy tiny little particles of fruit to let you know it did, in fact, come from real apricots, but all in all, it's pretty darn smooth. Does that make it jelly? Or jam? I dunno. All I know is it's pretty good.

It's sweet and tart like apricots. Who'd have guessed? Honestly the cane sugar pushes it decidedly over onto the "sweet" side of the equation. Works for me. Goes great with butter and toast—or in this case, an English muffin. It's also scrumptious with that recently-reviewed toscano cheese and crackers.


It's made with organic apricots and organic cane sugar. Good stuff. $4.29 for the jar. Would buy again. I don't know if it could ever take the place of good old grape or strawberry jelly, but it shall be added to the rotation for sure. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Organic Apricot Preserves.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Sparkling Lemon + Strawberry Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage


This is the third installment of our Trader Joe's canned organic sparkling apple cider vinegar beverage series. Most of you remember the recently-reviewed Elderberry + Pomegranate version. And some may even remember our review of the Ginger + Lemon flavor from 2021.

I was surprised how much I liked the taste of ginger and lemon and was quite impressed at how efficiently they masked the intense sourness of apple cider vinegar. I was slightly less impressed with the elderberry iteration of the drink since it wanted to be sweeter and failed to be so. I'm even more disappointed with this flavor since strawberry is sweeter still even than elderberries or pomegranates and clashes with the tart pungency of vinegar more desperately than its deep purple predecessor.

It's like someone took a delicious, refreshing summer-themed beverage and poured salad dressing into it as a prank. I'd almost say this product is less sweet than that strawberry vinaigrette we looked at last week. It utterly frustrates my taste buds.

Sonia has given four and a half stars to each of this beverage's forerunners, and she'll have to go a half star lower this time because, like me, she's not quite as fond of this flavor. This is definitely my least favorite flavor, so I'll throw out my lowest score yet for these ACV beverages.

Once again, about two bucks for the can. Plenty of health benefits from drinking ACV in any form. Organic. Kosher. Bubbly. But still, I can't go higher than two and a half stars. The beautiful wifey will bestow this beverage with four stars.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Garlic Naan Crackers


No Indian meal is complete without a bunch of naan bread. Man, I could eat that stuff every day. I remember falling in love with the naan at my favorite Indian restaurant back in Los Angeles, Anarkali. Since most Indian restaurants pale in comparison to that place, and also because we don't eat out that much any more, we often pick up naan from Trader Joe's or other grocery stores to go along with our room temperature, pantry style Indian meals or frozen microwave ones.


The biggest problem with naan that I can think of is that it doesn't keep very long, just like regular white bread. It molds in a week or so, unfortunately. Hmmm. 

If only they could turn naan into crackers that last a year or so...and voila. Trader Joe's Organic Garlic Naan Crackers are here. I'm not saying TJ's invented naan crackers, but these are the first ones I've ever seen, so naturally I picked up a box. Garlic flavor. Yum.

And it's kinda uncanny how much these little guys actually taste like naan bread. I'm not even sure how they did it. They captured the unique bready flavor of naan in a crispy cracker format. The garlic flavor is there, too, but as I might have predicted, I want MOAR GARLIC.

It's a nice, savory flavor, but it's not very pungent. I guess that's so you can pair the crackers with Indian food or soup or any kind of dip without worrying about the cracker clashing or trying to steal the show. These crackers flaunt a subtle flavor. I think they could have amped up the allium and made these a very tasty stand-alone snack. As is, they're optimized for dipping, crumbling, and scooping. They go GREAT with hummus.

$3.79 for the 9 serving box. Kosher. Organic. Would buy again. Four stars from me. Four and a half from Sonia for Trader Joe's Garlic Naan Crackers.



Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

Friday, August 11, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Sparkling Elderberry + Pomegranate Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage


A few thoughts about my expectations in regards to Trader Joe's Elderberry + Pomegranate Sparkling Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage: We've seen surprisingly tolerable apple cider vinegar beverages on this blog in the past, and we've seen plenty of pomegranate stuff we liked from Trader Joe's. So this beverage just has to be kinda decent, right?

Enter: the elderberry. I've never had an elderberry to the best of my knowledge. I really don't even know anything about elderberries, other than that line from Monty Python: "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"

That's not very promising if simply smelling of elderberries is a French insult. If they smell that bad, they can't taste very good. I mean, I wouldn't want to smell of elderberries...so maybe I should avoid this beverage altogether, no?

Shoot, I'll be brave. I'll just wait for a day when I'm not going into public—which, to be honest, is most days for me—and I'll bite the bullet and smell of elderberries if I must. I'll share with Sonia and we can smell of elderberries together.

First impressions? Wow, I was expecting it to pour a mostly-clear, slightly lavender type color, but it pours dark purple—almost like a shade you'd associate with blackberry or raspberry juice.

It doesn't mask the intense sourness of the ACV quite as well as lemon and ginger did. There's something decidedly berry-esque and also something vaguely pomegranate-y. It wants to be sweet, but the berry flavor can't overpower that mouth-puckering vinegar taste.

ACV still has a lot of health benefits, so I can't completely snub this product even though I think it tastes a little weird. It's still way more palatable than straight Bragg's or whatever.

I'm actually shocked at how much Sonia likes this product. She says it's her favorite ACV drink from Trader Joe's or anywhere else. I expected her to like it more than I did, but I wasn't expecting her to love it as much as she does.

$1.99 for the can. I'll stick to ginger lemon if I have to have ACV. Might try strawberry next. Three out of five stars from me. The beautiful wifey gives Trader Joe's Elderberry + Pomegranate Sparkling Apple Cider Vinegar Beverage four and a half stars out of five.



Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Sencha Tea


So I shall start off this post by mentioning that the mug featured in this review was once owned by English model Dolly Martin, wife of Dick Martin, of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. No lie. My mother-in-law was a long time housekeeper for Dick and Dolly, and Sonia grew up spending many hours in their house. During a move, Dolly asked my MIL if she wanted some random coffee mugs, and among them was this "Be British" mug that Sonia eventually wound up with.

Fun fact: I once attended an Arcade Fire concert wearing a casual suit jacket previously owned by my father-in-law which was also previously owned by Dick Martin.


Also, I neglected to mention Sonia's thoughts on the sencha tea in the video companion to this written review, so I'll elaborate upon the beautiful wifey's sentiments here. She loves pretty much any green tea, and she likes this one because "it's very earthy but not bitter." She often drinks it plain with no sweeteners. Four stars from her.

I guess many versions of sencha are loose leaf and come in a large bag, but Trader Joe's Organic Sencha Tea comes in the form of individually-wrapped tea bags, as do most of Trader Joe's teas, which helps keep each serving fresh and moisture-free.


$2.99 for 20 tea bags. Organic. Kosher. I'm not sure if it's a product of Japan, but there's a picture of Japan on the back of the box. Three stars from me for Trader Joe's Organic Sencha Tea. Is this stuff still available? I couldn't tell you. Sonia hopes so.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


Monday, June 12, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars


In between exotic imported spices, purple yam-flavored cookies, and other miscellaneous oddities, it's nice to know there's still plenty of "normal" stuff at TJ's, as well. Sometimes a chocolate chip granola bar is in order, and you don't want anything weird in it.

I mean Trader Joe's Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars are organic, which is good, but that's where the Trader Joe-isms stop with this classic snack/breakfast-on-the-go.


With whole grain oats, brown rice flour, and unsweetened dried coconut in the chewy, solid base, there's plenty of complex carbs and healthy stuff to keep you feeling full throughout the day. The rest of the ingredients are organic sweeteners like honey, agave, cane sugar, and tapioca syrup.

The bars could probably use a few more chocolate chips. There were definitely a couple bites in each one without any chocolate. The whole grains and sweeteners are tasty enough by themselves that the lack of chips is certainly not a dealbreaker here.

Texture-wise, they're nice and soft. "Chewy" is as accurate a word as any. This box sat in our pantry for at least a month and the bars still felt and tasted as fresh as any pre-packaged granola bar I've ever had. I must point out it is quite warm here now. These types of granola bars tend to get much harder when consumed in colder temperatures.

$2.49 for 8 bars. Each one is individually wrapped, and honestly, they're on the small side. They're just big enough to curb the munchies and keep the blood sugar levels up, but they're on the verge of being so tiny that I'd be tempted to reach for a second.

Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me on Trader Joe's Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes


For some reason, during high school and college in particular, I was very much in that "breakfast all day" mode. A big plate full of carbs seemed appropriate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I'd supplement with fruits, veggies, and meats here and there, but by and large, I was in the mood for pancakes, waffles, cookies, toast, granola, and Pop-Tarts constantly.

It might have something to do with my metabolism changing, but lately I've generally been feeling the opposite. Like, I'm rarely in the mood for breakfast foods, even at breakfast time—so I just eat lunch and dinner type fare for my morning meal.


This morning, however, I wanted breakfast for breakfast, and I remembered we had some Trader Joe's Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes in the freezer. I'm not sure what I can attribute the unusual-for-me craving to, but it might have something to do with the changing seasons and the weather going from utterly frigid even up until April to downright summery and hot right now at the end of May. We barely had spring.

Anyway, the pancakes went from frozen to ready-to-eat in 65 seconds. That's pretty freaking convenient. I mean, they're not as good as ones you'd make from scratch and cook in a pan, obviously, but considering the significant difference in effort between the two methods, these tiny silver dollar sized dealies aren't bad to have on hand for mornings when you're pressed for time.

Of course, there's a heating option that involves the oven or a toaster oven. I'll see if Sonia wants to go that route when she wakes up. Otherwise, you can tell us in the comments if you've made these that way and how they turned out.

They're pretty plain until you slap some butter and syrup on them. But most pancakes are like that, unless of course you've got fruit in them or chocolate chips or something like that. I'd buy again for the convenience factor alone.

$3.29 for about 30 mini pancakes. Kosher. Organic. Not a bad value, either. Trader Joe's Organic Silver Dollar Pancakes are nothing to write home about in the flavor department, but they're a nifty product to have in the freezer in case you need to ready up a breakfast spread in a matter of minutes. Three and a half stars a piece from Sonia and me.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Mediterranean Style Salad Kit

If you want to pique my interest in any food product, slap the word "Mediterranean" on it. The promise of garbanzo beans, feta cheese, and any kind of pita or flatbread will reel me in every time, guaranteed.

Throw in other ingredients like romaine lettuce, radicchio, and red wine vinaigrette, and there's a good chance we'll have a winner on our hands. Speaking of red wine vinaigrette, does Subway still have that stuff? I don't go to Subway anymore because the last half dozen times or so I've gone, the prices have gone up, and there's no red wine vinaigrette. I digress.

So the ingredients in Trader Joe's Mediterranean Style Salad are good, but these kits rarely, if ever, have enough of the dressings, toppings, and fixins. 


I mean the vinaigrette, cheese, and flatbread strips were all lacking in our package. I'm not paying four bucks for a bag of lettuce here, Trader Joe's. I want a complete salad kit. 

The photo we took might lead one to conclude there were plenty of toppings, but this was our first little bowl of salad. Subsequent helpings were not as abundant in terms of flatbread strips, cheese, and dressing. We always have some vinaigrette on hand, so that wasn't really an issue. 

The bites that had each and every ingredient were delicious, but there were plenty of bites that were mostly just lettuce. I wasn't a fan of the little sun-dried tomatoes, either. I'm weird about tomato, though. I gave mine to Sonia. She was fine to finish them all but thought they were overly dried and too hard somehow. I just thought they were overly tomatoey somehow.

$3.99 for three and a half servings. A few tweaks here and there would put this in repeat-buy territory. As of right now, three stars from me on Trader Joe's Mediterranean Style Salad Kit. Sonia gives it three and a half.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Trader Joe's Organic Crumbled Feta Cheese


When I was a kid, I had allergies to a few very common foods including cow's milk and dairy-based cheeses. My mother had the same allergies, so our family did a rotation diet where we'd eat soy milk one day, rice milk the next day, then nut milks like almond milk, and then finally there was goat milk day. On goat milk day, we could have feta cheese with our meats and salads. I wasn't thrilled with it at first, but it really grew on me over the years. By age ten or eleven, while other kids were turning their noses up at unusual fare like feta cheese, I was seeking it out and educating my Velveeta-loving friends about the tangy, flavorful goat milk cheese.

And while Trader Joe's Organic Crumbled Feta Cheese is still tangy and flavorful, it's actually made with cow's milk, which mellows it out just a little bit. It's still undeniably feta-esque in taste and texture, though. Thankfully, I grew out of my food allergies and can eat pretty much whatever I want these days, so the cow's milk isn't an issue.


Trader Joe's Organic Crumbled Feta is a fairly salty cheese, which might turn off some folks, but the briny edge worked well in this instance if you ask Sonia or me. We added it to salads, sandwiches, pasta, and omelettes, among other things. The little tub disappeared fast. I want to say this was our second or third time purchasing this product, and I'm sure we'll get it again.

$3.49 for the tub. Organic. NOT non-dairy. I neglected to snap a pic of the ingredients and nutrition information, so just click here for all of that stuff. Four stars a piece from Sonia and me for Trader Joe's Organic Crumbled Feta Cheese.



Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Trader Joe's Organic Artichoke Pasta Sauce

Here's an interesting one. Not feeling marinara sauce on your pasta dish tonight? Don't want Alfredo either? This product might be the alternative you've been looking for.

Or maybe not. The flavor is...interesting. It tastes sour more than anything else, but also bitter, tangy, cheesy. It's quite flavorful, the only question is: will you as an individual like this flavor? 

I could see it being quite off-putting to some and delightful to others, much like the artichoke timbales we looked at a while back, though I think I liked this product more than those oddball appetizers.

You can kind of tell from the picture this product isn't as liquidy as most tomato-based pasta sauces or even Alfredo. It's sort of a coarse, custard-like consistency—like pureed artichokes with cheeses mixed in. It doesn't look very appetizing by itself: almost reminiscent of baby food.


Of course it thins a bit when heated. We also found it works best as a very modest coating. Neither Sonia nor I wanted to pile it on too thick, since the flavor was almost too intense.

It was fine by itself on plain pasta. However, contrary to our initial assumptions, the wifey and I both liked it better when we added some sweet chicken sausage to the dish. The sweetness helped offset some of the sauce's astringency.


Sonia says she'd buy it again just to have that third pasta sauce option on hand. I don't know if I'd ever prefer this over good old-fashioned Ragu or whatever, but I feel more worldly and sophisticated having tried it. $3.49 for the jar. Three and a half stars from the missus. Three from me for Trader Joe's Organic Artichoke Pasta Sauce.

Bottom line: 6.5 out of 10.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Trader Joe's Organic Maple Vinaigrette Dressing

Truth be told, I wasn't super excited to pour this stuff on a salad and consume it. Intrigued? Yes. Eager? No. If not for the prospect of reviewing it, I might not have purchased it at all.

I mean, I love maple syrup and generally enjoy maple-flavored things. I also love vinaigrette salad dressings. But together? That's an odd combo if you ask me...but not so odd that I'd avoid it altogether.

With a new, iffy salad dressing, you don't want to dump a bunch of it on your greens and beans and potentially ruin the whole bowl if you're not into the dressing. You have to do that thing like when you're trying a new cleaning product on your carpet where you have to "test in an inconspicuous area" in case it's a disaster. So I just poured a teeny little bit on one corner of my salad to assess the product.

And I'm glad I did it that way. I might have wasted a bunch of salad otherwise, because this stuff is gross. Like, it's the worst salad dressing I've ever had. You'd be better off putting household cleaning vinegar and raw tree sap on a salad.

Not only did the maple and vinaigrette elements commingle and clash in exactly the way I was hoping they wouldn't, there was also this unexpected smoky element that made the whole thing nearly gag-worthy. Maybe the dijon mustard? Canola oil? It poured like a medium-thick brown ooze, similar in appearance to a peanut satay sauce but perhaps a tad thinner. Not particularly appetizing.

I'd try it as a marinade for salmon or a drizzle for ravioli as suggested on traderjoes.com but I can't imagine it working better than something more traditional. I'm taking this one straight to Trader Joe's and getting my $3.49 back. Thumbs down from me.

Sonia tolerated it a lot better than I did, but even she admitted it had "a very weird flavor." She's not going to fight me on the return because she knows I won't help her finish the bottle. Two and a half stars from her.

I'll throw out one since I like it when Trader Joe's gets adventurous, and it is certified organic after all.

Bottom line: 3.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Trader Joe's Organic Tahini

Some dudes brew their own beer. Others have mastered the art of baking sourdough bread or dehydrating jerky at home. I myself have done none of those things.

But I just made my own hummus. <pats self on back> I'm probably a little prouder than I should be about that fact, since you could probably train a monkey to do it. It's surprisingly easy.

Goodness knows we have enough cans of chickpeas stocked up in the pantry. And if we can keep a few jars of tahini on hand, we'll never be without hummus. Now if only I knew how to bake pita bread...

Tahini is quite tasty in and of itself. It's pretty much just sesame seed butter, similar to peanut butter or almond butter but significantly runnier and maybe a hint more oily. It's super earthy and bitter by itself, but it's such a delicious bitterness—like a rich nutty blast of seedy goodness. Mixed with other yummy things, it's even better. Here, I'll share my recipe with you, which is really just an amalgam of the first half dozen hummus recipes I found online, modified based on which ingredients we actually had on hand around the house:


-1 part mashed garbanzo beans
-1 part Trader Joe's Organic Tahini
-1/8 part olive oil
-as much raw garlic as you can stand (that stuff is good for you) chopped as finely as you can chop it
-lemon juice to taste
-cayenne pepper to taste
-pink Himalayan salt to taste

I mashed the chickpeas with a fork and then just mixed everything together in the same manner, although you could do either or both in a blender if you wanted a very smooth hummus. I wanted it chunky style, and that's what I got.


The wifey and I consumed it with pita chips, and we both agreed it was a success. My version was not only chunkier than any store-bought hummus I've ever sampled, but it was also a little drier and a lot more garlicky. For my next trick, I'm going to make salad dressing with tahini, orange juice, and dijon mustard...wish me luck.

$3.69 for the 10.6 oz jar. Product of Greece. Organic. Kosher. Would buy again. Four stars from Sonia. Four and a half from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

You Might Like: