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

published Mar 10, 2023
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trader joes bag with goods on kitchen counter
Credit: Photo: Lucy Schaeffer; Prop Styling; Tom Hoerup

Just for a moment, close your eyes and quickly imagine what three Trader Joe’s items you’d take with you on a desert island. I know, I know. It’s a cruel question. How could you ever choose? And you don’t want to hurt any feelings, either (it’s not personal, mandarin orange chicken). Plus, with new items coming in left and right, the choice gets increasingly harder to make.

So what if I told you my new three desert-island picks came in just this week? Yup, I know it sounds ruthless. But I think once you try these new Trader Joe’s items, you’ll see why. There’s a little something for everyone, too — no matter if you’re looking for a glow-up for any weeknight dinner, a midday pick-me-up, or something to make you a potluck MVP. Want to meet my desert-island picks? Let’s take a look. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. PB & C Snack Duo, $3.99 for 12.7 ounces

Maybe you’ve tried the OG snack duo (the PB&J Snack Duo), but it’s time to get acquainted with the newest addition to the family. Where the original has peanut butter-filled crepe wafer sticks (think: Pirouline cookies) and raspberry jam for dipping, this new iteration flips the script with chocolate-filled chocolate wafer sticks and a peanut butter dip. I cracked open a package and was transported back to cracking open my third-grade Hello Kitty lunch box to find lunchtime gold. I even gasped over how good these are.

Like, can you imagine getting one of these in your school lunch box? These are basically the same level as getting any other lunch-box MVP (the Lunchables pizza, chocolate pudding, and Gushers) and that feeling was still preserved in my now 32-year-old brain. My rating? 12/10, will stock up on these — whether or not I’m on a desert island. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Korean Gochujang Sauce, $3.49 for 9.17 ounces

If I had the choice of a desert-island takeout option (a girl can dream), it would 100% be Korean food. Sweet, salty, savory, crispy, with all the tiny banchan sides to chase down the BBQ? My heart. So I knew I had to pick up Trader Joe’s new Korean gochujang sauce (not to be confused with its gochujang paste that came out last year).

While Trader Joe’s gochujang paste is jammy and thick (ideal for mixing into a bomb wing sauce, TBH), its newest Korean gochujang sauce is eminently more dippable on its own, with the addition of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Do yourself a huge flavor favor and add a splash of this to your next fry sauce, fried rice, or a Bulgogi-inspired burger.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Organic Lemon Torchietti Pasta, $2.99 for 16 ounces

Whenever things get a bit too same-y (my very technical term) in the kitchen, I know I need to add some novelty. The easiest, most cost-effective way to do that? Sounds like it’s new-pasta-shape o’clock! These new noodles do two special things: They’re both ridged and tubular, which makes them ideal for slicking with a wide variety of sauces. 

Plus, this lemon-oil infused pasta is basically sunshine you can eat. If you’re a bit afraid of the lemon flavor, don’t be. It’s definitely not at all close to tasting like a candle or soap, and was next-level good tossed with browned butter, capers, and grated Parm. I can’t wait to use this as a side dish for chicken piccata, stir it into a perked-up noodle soup, and toss it in as the base for my next pasta salad

What three Trader Joe’s items would you bring to a desert island? Tell us in the comments.