Top 5: Convenient and Delicious Sauces from Trader Joe's
There is not enough time in the day lately! Even as a food blogger, who loves to cook and create recipes, I get too tired to make dinner some nights. I preplan five to six dinners per week and leave weekend meals to whatever is left in the house (that can be made on the grill). Last week we ended up eating out a lot more than usual because my husband has been working long hours and I can’t seem to get enough sleep. I feel like a zombie most days and by the time I get home from the studio, I just want to watch an old movie and then read in bed.
Recently, I have been thinking about what I can do to make meal planning easier and exciting. I have spent some time walking around our local Trader Joe’s looking for sauces that can be added to ingredients we normally have on-hand. The thought is, if we already have fresh veggies, beans, tofu and pasta, we can add a pre-made sauce and viola! Dinner!
What have you tried in your kitchen to make dinners both flavorful and effortless?
#5 Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce, 2 TBSP, 3 WW PTS, $2.99
Zhoug sauce is made from cilantro, canola oil, jalapeno peppers, chili flakes, garlic, cardamom, sea salt and cumin seed. It is spicy and full of vibrant flavor from the cilantro, peppers and cumin. It reminds me of the cilantro chutney that you get from an Indian restaurant but is much hotter. Use sparingly if you are sensitive to spicy foods!
It can be used as a dip, with pasta, or as a spread on sandwiches. I suggest serving it swirled into hummus to add a bit of extra kick. Dip sliced carrots, cucumbers and red peppers in the spicy hummus for a snack.
#4 Trader Joe’s Pepita Salsa, 2 TBSP, 1 WW PTS, $2.99
I love pepitas! This salsa is made from tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper puree, dry roasted pepitas, crushed tomatoes, red bell peppers, canola oil, water, white vinegar, sea salt, cilantro, garlic, onion powder, lime juice and chipotle powder. It is tangy with a bit of acidity from the tomatoes and has a smooth nuttiness from the pumpkin seeds.
I suggest serving the salsa on top of your favorite southwest inspired buddha bowl with black beans, quinoa, avocado, cilantro and fresh lime.
#3 Trader Joe’s Amba Mango Sauce, 2 TBSP, 1 WW PTS, $3.29
This sauce is so good! Wow! It’s has middle eastern flavors making it complex and pleasurable. I taste a bit of curry and the fermented mango is sour but balanced with a slight sweetness. The ingredients include water, mango, green mango, sunflower oil, garlic, salt, spices, turmeric and paprika. It reminds me of Trinidad Charlies Pumpkin Hot Sauce which is made in U.S.V.I. and is worth a trip to St. John just to try on a breakfast taco!
I suggest serving it with baked tofu, cauliflower, scallions and red peppers over brown rice.
#2 Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Dressing, 2 TBSP, 1 WW PTS, $3.69
There is so much flavor in this small jar! TJ’s Green Goddess Dressing is vegan and contains water, avocado, apple cider vinegar, green onions, lemon juice, chives, parsley, olive oil, yellow onion, basil, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. It has a fresh earthy flavor that comes from the green onions and basil. It is light and a bit creamy from the avocados. This would make a great pasta sauce to replace the heaviness of pesto or could be mixed with sour cream for a tasty dip.
I suggest serving this with Trader Joe’s High Fiber Spaghetti, asparagus, peas, garlic, spinach and fresh basil.
#1 Trader Joe’s Toasted Sesame Dressing, 2 TBSP, 5 WW PTS, $3.49
If you are in need of a quick sauce to pour over your favorite Thai dish, look no further. It reminds me of peanut sauce, but is lighter and less sweet. I love peanut sauce, however, I often find that it overwhelms the other flavors in a recipe. This dressing is a great compromise and if used sparingly is not terrible for you. The ingredients include sunflower oil, water, toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, white vinegar, sesame seeds, yeast extract, black sesame seeds, dried egg, sea salt and xanthan gum. It is not vegan.
I suggest serving with roasted brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, onions over rice noodles and a scallion garnish.
Bonus Item: Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce, 2 TBSP, 1 WW PTS, $2.49
I couldn’t pick just 5! I also wanted to include this mustard sauce from TJ’s. This is a smooth, creamy and mild dijon tasting sauce. Sometimes I think that mustard can be too biting and this is a subdued flavor. It contains mustard seed, vinegar, garlic, water, soybean oil, mustard flour, eggs, spices, salt, lemon juice. If you are a pescatarian, you can use this as a sauce for salmon or shrimp.
I suggest using it as a replacement for dijon mustard in your favorite salad dressings or on a sandwich.