My 5 Favorite Products at Trader Joe's

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KEY POINTS

  • Trader Joe's is worth going the (driving) distance for.
  • Check out Mediterranean-inspired offerings, like Quinoa Stuffed Dolmas and Jumbo Kalamata Olives.
  • Trader Joe's also has a great selection of frozen foods that can make dinner prep super easy.

It would certainly be a fair assessment to call me a foodie. I was extremely excited to get approved for a grocery rewards credit card last year, because grocery expenses form the third largest category of my budget (after rent and health insurance). And before I even applied for that card, I double-checked that I'd get cash back on my purchases at Trader Joe's.

Sadly, I no longer live in a city with a TJ's location, and now must travel either 50 miles in one direction or 90 miles in the other (I don't visit that one often, for obvious reasons) to get to my closest store. So when I do go, I make it count. I bring a big cooler and often go first thing in the morning, before the store gets too crowded. Here are a few of the products I stock up on regularly.

1. Quinoa Stuffed Dolmas

I consider myself particularly blessed these days, because I am a lover of Mediterranean food and I live in a city with no fewer than six Mediterranean restaurants. That said, sometimes I want to be able to chow on my favorite dishes at home and on the cheap. This is where Trader Joe's comes in. These stuffed grape leaves come in a can and run $2.99 each, which means I can fill my pantry for cheap. And while I also love Trader Joe's original dolmas (which are stuffed with rice), the quinoa version is fun and different.

2. Jumbo Pitted Greek Kalamata Olives

As a lifelong olive fan, I've found that olives are one of those foods that people either love or hate. And to the haters I say, more for me! The $2.99 price point for these beats what I can find at my local grocery store, and kalamata olives are one of those foods I eat every week. Try adding them to salads, charcuterie plates, or even as a side dish to the Quinoa Stuffed Dolmas!

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3. Chicken Gyoza Potstickers

I tend to spend a lot of time in the frozen foods section of TJ's, and it's definitely part of the reason I own a big cooler. I like being able to make a big Trader Joe's run and keep everything frozen during the long ride home. I buy a few bags of these potstickers on every trip, as they make a fast and easy lunch and they taste really good. Plus, for $3.99 per pound, you can't go wrong.

4. Vegetable Fried Rice

I love to cook, but sometimes convenience foods are a handy fall back -- or in this case, a starting place for a recipe. Trader Joe's Vegetable Fried Rice can be had for $2.99 per pound, and it's an excellent way to save time on dinner. I keep bags on hand to serve with chicken or steak and vegetable stir fry. If you've got leftover Chinese takeout, this can be a nice pairing for that, as well.

5. Fig & Olive Crisps

Yes, olives again! These tasty little crackers are the perfect place to park a fancy spreadable cheese. If you're feeling less fancy, try them with a little cream cheese and a dollop of jam. Or you can just eat them as-is, but where's the fun in that? However you consume these, the $3.99 price point is quite budget-friendly.

With so many great products available, it comes as no surprise to me that Trader Joe's was ranked the second-favorite grocery store in a 2022 YouGov survey. Shopping at Trader Joe's is fun and can save you money -- what's not to like?

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