This Bloody Mary Salsa from Trader Joe’s Was Worth the 5-Month Wait
Back in April, the hosts of the podcast Inside Trader Joe’s teased a Bloody Mary Salsa that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. We were told it was an homage to the humble tomato, kicked up a notch with celery and spices. It didn’t include any vodka, but I wanted it anyway. So I did what any reasonable snacker would do: I called my local store EVERY WEEK until they told me they had some in stock. Well, guess what? This is the week they got the stuff in stock! I demanded (er, asked nicely) they hold some for me and then I high-tailed it in to pick it up.
While I was there, I decided to pick up a variety of salsas so that I could compare the offerings. Fact: I never realized how many salsas Trader Joe’s carried! With a loaded cart, I also needed to hit the chip aisle. (I wasn’t just going to eat the stuff with a spoon!) I opted for the Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips and the Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips. Buying the sweet potato chips was a controversial decision, but I thought it would go well with some of the sweeter salsas. (They’re thicker, slightly sweet, and seasoned with sea salt and lime.)
When it was time for the official taste test, I went for the Bloody Mary Salsa ($2.99 for 12 ounces) first. Obviously. Again, there’s no vodka in it — just wonderful flavors that remind you of the drink. I swear I really could taste the horseradish, jalapeño peppers, Worcestershire sauce, capers, lemon juice, salt, and more. The salsa is very thick and also very spicy, with a heat that hits you hard.
Next up: the Spicy, Smoky, Peach Salsa ($2.29 for 12 ounces), which wasn’t too spicy despite its name. It’s a sweet alternative that blends peaches, tomato purée, tomatoes, onions, chilies, lemons, salt, and spices. It’s actually very sweet (and tasty!) with chunks of juicy peaches and a slight smoky flavor. If you want heat, though, move it along.
The Cowboy Caviar ($2.79 for 13 ounces) with corn, black beans, and peppers came highly recommended and boasts a lot of flavor. You definitely get a kick of heat and some smokiness from chipotles in adobo and jalapeños. It has a nice dark color and a little sweetness to even out the savory aspects.
The Salsa Verde ($1.99 for 12 ounces), made with fresh tomatillos and jalapeños, is a colorful alternative, which could look nice on a party table and makes for a mild choice. It’s fresh, salty, and only packs a little heat.
The Trader Joe’s employee who helped me get my on-hold salsa wouldn’t stop raving about the Pepita Salsa ($2.99 for 12 ounces). The seeds are dry-roasted and mixed with crushed tomatoes, peppers, a little oil, vinegar, cilantro, garlic, and onion to create a nice blended flavor almost similar to the flavor of chili.
I realize this is a little like comparing apples to salsas here, but if I had to pick one here, I’m team Bloody Mary Salsa all the way. For starters, it’s just a more interesting way to snack. I’ve seen similar versions of all of these others at mainstream grocery stores before, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s not just a novelty treat, either. It’s ACTUALLY GOOD. I’d even go as far as to say it was worth the wait — and the incessant phone calls.