This Bloody Mary Salsa from Trader Joe’s Was Worth the 5-Month Wait

updated Jun 18, 2019
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Credit: Jessica Kelly

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.)

Credit: Jessica Kelly

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.

Credit: Jessica Kelly

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.