Kitchn Love Letters

The Trader Joe’s Bag of Frozen Vegetables I’m Buying on Repeat This Spring

updated Apr 20, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Masur

I go to Trader Joe’s on a very regular basis. I go for my own shopping needs, but I’ll also make a special trip if I see something new on Instagram or read a Facebook post about something I haven’t yet tried. (The limited drops can go fast!) So, yeah, I’m there a lot. Sometimes with a list. Sometimes without. I recently found myself there without a list … and no real game plan. I hadn’t spotted anything online that piqued my interest; I just went to wander and see what turned up. What I was hoping to find was something that might, maybe, break me out of a cooking rut.

And that’s how I found Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn with Cotija Cheese, which costs $3.29 for 14 ounces and happens to be the very best TJ’s find I’ve picked up all year.

Credit: Lauren Masur

This frozen bag is filled with charred kernels of corn, already off the cob (obviously), and smoky sauce pellets that melt upon heating. It’s also got a touch of lime juice, cilantro, and a packet of cotija cheese meant for sprinkling over the finished dish. According to the Fearless Flyer, this offering was inspired by Mexican esquites (corn off the cob mixed with mayo and cotija cheese). Here’s what it looks like after less than three minutes in a skillet on the stove.

Credit: Lauren Masur

Because I live by myself, I only cooked a third of the bag as an initial test. (It was so good that the other two servings went quickly thereafter.) As promised, the sauce is a little spicy, the corn is fresh-tasting, and the lime juice gives it a satisfying hit of acid. My only complaint? Not enough cotija. (Never enough cotija!)

While heating this up wasn’t exactly cooking, it did get my creativity flowing. I’ve already dreamt up a ton of main dishes I’d like to make to go along with this. Tacos al pastor! Crispy-skinned salmon! I might even make this pasta salad recipe in the Fearless Flyer. This is easily the best side dish that you can buy at Trader Joe’s — and the best thing I’ve bought all year.

What’s the best thing you’ve bought at Trader Joe’s this year?