4 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Groceries That Just Hit Stores, According to a Former Employee

published Feb 17, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
New Items sign at Trader Joe's
Credit: Lauren Masur

Phew! We made it through the heart-shaped, everything-pink mania that is Valentine’s Day. While I’m sad to lose my seasonal Trader Joe’s favorites (looking at you, raspberry mousse cakes), I’m looking forward to stocking my pantry with some new classics that’ll hopefully stick around for a while.

This week it did dawn on me that we’re in that awkward little seasonal holding pattern of not-quite-grilling season and not-quite-puffer-jacket season, which makes me excited for all the new things that are about to burst out (figuratively, of course) of the shelves at Trader Joe’s. And as far as I can tell, it looks like we might be looking forward to an early spring, with some al fresco dinner inspiration and grill-spiration finding its way into my basket this week. Here are four new finds you’ll want to add to your next TJ’s shopping list.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. Salmon Rub Seasoning Blend, $2.69 for 2.6 ounces

If a groundhog tells us how long winter will be, let me be the one to tell you that it’s time for you to think about expanding your spice rack. Someone in the spice research department is clearly taking very little time off, because each time I make a Trader Joe’s run there seems to be a new spice to try. And you’ll want to clear some space for their newest Salmon Rub seasoning blend.

Each shaker has a blend of brown sugar, dried thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper that leads to a smoky-sweet finish that goes so well with buttery salmon. Best of all, this seasoning blend also builds to form a crackly, caramelized crust once seared or baked, which leads me to believe this could really improve anything, like pork chops, tofu, or sweet potato fries. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Elote Chopped Salad Kit, $3.99 for 11.9 ounces

I couldn’t help but shout “It’s corn!” when I spotted this newest installment to the Trader Joe’s Elote-ified Universe, such is my love for cheesy-creamy-salty street corn. Elote might as well be a major food group, so it took me negative seconds to add this to my cart. Studded with cornbread crumbles (ingenious) and cotija (of course), and coated in a creamy-spicy elote-inspired dressing (brilliant), this salad kit is truly one for the record books. 

Do yourself a huge favor and top this with some aforementioned salmon-rub-seasoned salmon, a shower of fresh cilantro, and a splash of lime juice, and you’ll have the easiest time getting in your daily recommended amount of vegetables.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Tri-Colored Mini Gnocchi, $2.99 for 14 ounces

This new addition to the Trader Joe’s fresh pasta section has a lot going for it: Tiny? Check. Multi-colored? Affirmative. Cooks up extremely quickly? Absolutely. 

These mini gnocchi are as easy to eat as they are to cook, becoming perfectly pillow-soft in just two to three minutes, tops. They were a delightfully fun addition to my weeknight standby (Caprese sheet pan gnocchi), and I have more than a strong hunch they’ll be great in a quick zuppa Toscana-style soup or simply slicked with pesto, too!

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

4. Rigatoni alla Contadina, $4.49 for 16 ounces

Do you ever find yourself wanting comforting cheesy noodles but also wanting to feel a bit fancy at the same time? Well, this new frozen pasta will perfectly pair with that need. Rigatoni alla contadina essentially translates to “peasant pasta,” and harkens back to the humble, but delicious cucina poverastyle meals that make up the backbone of Italian cuisine.

And just because this pasta meal has unsuspectingly simple components doesn’t mean it’s lacking in the flavor department. Any time I go to Trader Joe’s, I like to make sure I grab a few “In Case of Emergency” meal options that are ready to go as soon as I get in from my grocery shop. This was one of those meals for me on my most recent run, and it really hit the spot; it’s both creamy and rich, yet light enough for a quick lunch.

Whenever I rely on a frozen meal, I do like to add some semi-homemade touches to really make it feel like a pinkies-up experience. I highly suggest dusting these noodles with shaved Parmesan or (my favorite) pecorino, or a drizzle of spicy olive oil or lemon juice to finish to make it a real experience! 

Spot anything new at Trader Joe’s this week you don’t see here? Tell us about it in the comments.