Kitchn Love Letters

The Frozen Vegetable from Trader Joe’s That I Always Have in My Freezer

published Jul 17, 2021
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Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

In case you’re ever on the fence about taking a free sample (should they ever fully return in all their glory!), please use this inspiring story to help sway you to the take-the-cup side. I first tried Trader Joe’s Melange a Trois Bell Pepper Mix, many moons ago, at one of the store’s sample stations. They were mixed in with TJ’s phenomenal frozen Penne Arrabbiata pasta and the little taste was so overwhelmingly amazing that I was convinced to buy both right then and there. I bought them both together, thinking I’d recreate the combo at home, but quickly saw the potential of using the frozen peppers in other dishes too.

Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

No matter the season, these peppers make so many meals easier. Over the past few years, I’ve added them to so many other pasta dishes — plus stir-fries, soups, and even breakfasts. I always keep a bag in my freezer, and typically get three to four servings out of each bag. I love that I don’t have to wash and chop a bunch of peppers (the pieces are always perfectly bite-sized!) or have to worry about them going bad before I can get to them. Plus, there’s the price! The bag costs just $1.99 and all the work is handled, so I save money and time!

Credit: Nilina Mason-Campbell

Perpetually having a bag (or three) of these around has not only made things easier and more affordable, but it’s also upped my vegetable intake. I’ll pour in a bunch when making my weekly stir fry, or shake out a few when frying up a potato dish for breakfast. Having them at that sample station that fateful day opened my eyes to the magic of frozen peppers — and taught me to never turn down a free sample. You just never know what you might fall for.

Are there any groceries you tried for the first time at a sample station and now buy all the time? Tell us in the comments below!