10 Best TJ’s Items to Buy for Thanksgiving This Year, According to the Creator of Black Girls in Trader Joe’s

updated Nov 11, 2020
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Credit: BdotVision

Gathering around the turkey is going to look a lot different for most of us this Thanksgiving season (if we even choose to have turkey at all)! Whether we’re hopping on a Zoom call with loved ones, or sitting down to the table together as an intimate group, there is one thing we know for sure: Food will be involved.

In my case (as the creator of @BlackGirlsInTraderJoes), TJ’s will definitely be involved as well. One of the biggest reasons I love Trader Joe’s so much is for its fantastic seasonal finds, which makes it a great place to shop for holidays and beyond. Here are my top 10 Thanksgiving picks for this extra-strange Thanksgiving ahead. Set your table (or Zoom square) accordingly.

1. Holiday Vegetable Hash, $4.99 for 18 ounces

This prepped item in the refrigerated section is an absolute gem. It contains cubes of butternut squash, sweet potato, chopped celery, and red onion, and is seasoned with parsley, sage, and rosemary. It’s great as a Thanksgiving morning breakfast hash, a seasonal soup starter, or even as an addition to stuffing. I plan to sauté it with some turkey stock, and cranberry sauce, and top with Mini Cornbread Biscotti.

Credit: Mercedes Davis

2. Everything but the Leftovers Seasoning Blend, $2.99 for 2.6 ounces

This is like the Everything but the Bagel seasoning, Thanksgiving-style. It somehow contains all of the flavors of Thanksgiving and makes everything you sprinkle on it taste like … stuffing. It’s a great seasonal addition to their spice aisle (which I already adored).

3. A Black Woman-Owned Bottle of Wine

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s that sells wine, show support for the Black-owned businesses on their shelves. My personal favorite brands are McBride Sisters and Sun Goddess, wines which are available in Trader Joe’s across the country. Pick up a bottle for yourself and another to deliver to a best friend, coworker, or a family member you haven’t seen in a while.

4. Magnolia Leaves, $4.99

Something about these leathery green leaves, with their brown suede-like underside, scream “TURN ME INTO A CENTERPIECE.” Pair these with other finds from TJ’s floral selection and your table will look like an extravagant masterpiece (even if it’s only set for a few people this year).

Credit: Mercedes Davis

5. Maple Sea Salt Kettle Corn, $2.99 for 7 ounces

The sweet and salty flavors of kettle corn get a festive kick with a hint of maple and sea salt. Call this a snack, appetizer, or dessert … no matter what, you’re going to call this delicious.

6. Fennel

Trader Joe’s offers so many great seasonal produce options, which is why I recommend you try something new this Thanksgiving. I’m planning on picking up fennel! You can shave it into a salad, roast it along with other veggies (I like to add White Modena Vinegar), or sauté it and throw it in a casserole.

Credit: Mercedes Davis

7. Oven Roasted Potatoes & Peppers, $4.99 for 24 ounces

If you’re anything like me and don’t care for mashed potatoes (yes, I said it), this is an excellent item to keep in your freezer. This way, you’ll have potatoes that aren’t in the form of baby food. To all the mashed potato-lovers, I apologize. It’s not you, it’s me.

8. Condensed Cream of Portobello Mushroom Soup, $1.99

Casserole season calls for all the ooey-gooey, warm-belly favorites — my favorite of which usually involve cream of mushroom soup. I like to kick my casseroles up a notch with this flavor powerhouse made with portobellos. Get a box or two to replace the canned version you’ve used in the past.

9. Cornbread Mix, $2.69 for 15 ounces

I’m most likely making my cornbread from scratch this year, but if you’re not in the headspace to do so, Trader Joe’s boxed version has passed my test. Pair it with Maple Butter for a winning combination.

Credit: Julian Montijo

10. Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, $3.99

This year is unlike other Thanksgivings, which is why it’s 100 percent OK to skip the turkey. If you’re only eating for one this year, I say go rogue. Dive into this paradise of peppery pecorino pasta (say that five times fast) that lives in the freezer section. The sauce is frozen separately, so when the par-cooked pasta and sauce meet in the pan they blend in perfect harmony.

Which items from Trader Joe’s are you picking up for Thanksgiving?