We Tried 8 New Groceries from Trader Joe’s: These Are the Hits and Misses

published May 6, 2019
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Credit: Diana Liang

Hello, it’s me again — with the Trader Joe’s content that you want and need. Today I did my duty and filled up my red cart with all of the new goodies from the past month or so that I could get my hands on. As always, there are a few out-the-park hits and a few misses. Here are my very honest thoughts, but you can also be an official judge and try them for yourself!

Credit: Lauren Masur

1. Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers, $2.29 for 9.75 ounces

Trader Joe’s always nails it with their snacks, and these Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers are now officially one of my favorites. These chips somehow taste exactly like an ear of Mexican street corn — creamy, salty, and spicy all at once. I also love how sturdy they are, meaning that they can stand up to any dip I match them up against.

Credit: Lauren Masur

2. Jalapeño Sauce, $3.49 for 10 ounces

While this is 100 percent a sauce, I used this bottle of spicy green goodness as a dressing/dip and have no regrets whatsoever. I’m already dreaming up the ways I can use some to add a creamy kick to next week’s dinners. I predict that even my pasta is not safe …

Credit: Lauren Masur

3. Organic Coleslaw Kit, $2.69 for 10 ounces

I have really strong feelings about salad kits after I was tasked with (read: forced) to eat nothing but salad kits for more than a week of my life for the sake of investigative journalism. This coleslaw kit is a new addition to TJ’s already-stacked lineup of salad kits and, despite my trepidations, it’s a welcome one. While I prepared it and ate it immediately, I think that this one would be better the next day, after the sweet dressing gets a chance to properly soak into the cruciferous cabbage situation.

Credit: Lauren Masur

4. Mochi Cake Mix, $3.99

I mixed the contents of the boxed mix with melted butter, two eggs, and water and, like any good baker, dipped my finger into the bowl for a lick. Bad sign: It didn’t taste sweet. I put it in the oven for 50 minutes as instructed and watched it bubble like a witches’ brew. (Don’t worry — that’s supposed to happen.) Once I let it cool, I cut a gummy slice and was pleasantly surprised. If you’ve never had mochi cake before, imagine the taste of a slightly less sweet yet gelatinous cornbread. It’s good, I promise! If you’re someone who gets freaked out by textures, this cake probably won’t be for you, but I say it’s time to expand your horizons.

Credit: Lauren Masur

5. Jerk-Style Plantain Chips, $1.79 for 6 ounces

Winner, winner, jerk-style plantain chip dinner! I dipped these perfectly spiced, crispy plantain medallions in the jalapeño sauce (above) because I did not have guacamole, and was not mad about that decision. Get these immediately.

Credit: Lauren Masur

6. Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies, $3.49 for 8 ounces

Of all the new goodies in my haul, I’m sad to report that these organic chocolate chip cookies were my least favorite. These “cookies” are basically the size of Cookie Crisp cereal, so they’re not exactly cut out to satisfy a dessert craving — unless you eat half of the bag.

Credit: Lauren Masur

7. Tortilla Chips Seasoned with Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Onion, and Parsley, $2.69 for 8 ounces

Before opening this bag, I fully prepared myself for a wave of noxious Brussels sprout fumes to assault my nasal passage. Shockingly, that did not happen. These Brussels sprout chips are subtly seasoned and taste more like herbed tortilla chips than steamed mini cabbage tortilla chips, which is the better of those two options. They’re definitely subtle enough to pair with a guac and salsa of your choosing. I’m going with a classic pico next time for sure.

Credit: Lauren Masur

8. Spicy Salmon Gyoza, $4.99 for 1 pound

As someone who eats TJ’s frozen chicken gyoza at least three (okay, four) times per week, I was a little nervous to mix up the routine with this spicy salmon version. The serving size of my go-to option is a whopping seven dumplings, while the salmon option is only three — first strike! An official taste test confirmed my negative prediction. These taste a bit too fishy and the little bits of edamame are an odd texture pairing. I recommend that you stick to my beloved chicken gyoza! You truly can’t go wrong.

Have you tried any of these new groceries already? What’d you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!