2017 has been a rough year. When the big picture is upsetting, the little things matter so much more — and honestly, that is why I have paid such careful attention to all of the
new Trader Joe’s items in 2017. They’re affordable; they’re delicious; and sometimes, making something tasty with fantastic ingredients is exactly the kind of self-care I need. This year’s new releases at TJ’s have run the gamut from summer treats to fall comfort foods, so as we get ready to wind down 2017 and prep for 2018, let’s take a look at some highlights, shall we? ‘Tis the season and all that. Trader Joe’s was originally founded in 1958 as Pronto Markets; however, its founder, Joe Coulombe, changed its name in 1967 to reflect a change in the way the markets planned to do business. The changes weren’t just cosmetic (bigger stores, Hawaiian shirts, etc.) — according to the brand’s Our Story page, the most important element was that the company “started packaging innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods under the ‘Trader Joe’s name.” And it’s been doing that ever since, even after it was acquired by entrepreneur Theo Albrecht, Jr. in 1979. It's still maintained by the Albrecht family today.
A note about prices: The ones listed here are what the items cost when they were initially released; however, as TJ’s notes on each of their item pages,
details might change “due to fluctuating market prices, federal regulations, currency rates, drought, pestilence, bandits, rush hour traffic, filibusters, clowns, zombie apocalypse, punctilious product developers,” and so on. As such, you’ll probably want to contact the Crew at your local store for current prices and availability.
Now, onto the tasties!
1 Simpler Wines
TJ’s totally changed the summer game when they
launched Simpler Wines in May; these canned sparkling wines are just what your picnic basket had been missing all this time. What’s more, at $4 for a four-pack, they average out to just one buck a can. Choose between Simpler Wines White, with “notes of honeydew and fresh cut herbs,” or Simpler Wines Rosé, with “elegant, mineral notes and red fruit flavors.” 2 Chocolate Mint Flavored Cupcakes
Perfect for all your winter celebration needs, these
Chocolate Mint Flavored Cupcakes are the real deal: Dark chocolate cupcakes, filled with dark chocolate ganache, and topped with mint frosting and a Mini Dark Chocolate Mint Star Cookie. They’re $4 for an 11-ounce container and can be found on Trader Joe’s Bakery tables. 3 Icelandic Style Nonfat Yogurt
Over Greek yogurt? Give Icelandic style yogurt a try. Thick and creamy,
TJ’s take on is “reminiscent of nonfat Greek yogurt, but even smoother and with slightly less bite.” It comes in Plain and Strawberry varieties, each $1.39 a pop. skyr 4 Cauliflower Pizza
In June, Trader Joe’s introduced us to their brand new, gluten-free
Cauliflower Pizza Crust — and it was so popular that just a little over a month later, a full-on Gluten-Free Pizza With A Cauliflower Crust followed. The crust is made from riced cauliflower and corn flour held together with cornstarch, potato starch, olive oil, and sea salt; the full pizza, meanwhile, is topped with a tomato-based sauce and a blend of mozzarella and provolone cheese. The crust on its on is about $4, while the pizza is about $5. 5 New Sparkling Water Flavors
Love sparkling drinks, but not a huge fan of cola?
Trader Joe’s Sparkling Waters are here to save the day. Released in August — just in time for the hottest days of the summer — these four new flavors work on their own or mixed with something else: Juice, booze, you name it. Choose from Pineapple, Island Colada, Grapefruit, or Cranberry Clementine. Bottles are 1 liter in East Coast stores and 1.25 liters in West Coast ones; each is just a dollar. 6 Bamba Peanut Snacks
snack in Israel, Bamba is typically made of puffed corn flavored with peanut butter. It can be hard to find in the United States — but TJ’s take on the treat, which was released in October, makes acquiring it a little easier. 3.5-ounce bags will set you back just 99 cents. 7 Mango And Sticky Rice Spring Rolls
I am a sucker for mango. I am also a sucker for sticky rice. I am
also a sucker for spring rolls. So,the idea of having all three of them in one glorious foodstuff? It is honestly beyond my wildest gustatory dreams. And in August, those dreams became reality: Trader Joe’s Mango And Sticky Rice Spring Rolls start by using fresh-pressed coconut milk to make Thai-style sticky rice; then, the rice is rolled together with pieces of Nam Bok Mai mangoes into a delicious spring roll. They’re $2.99for a box of five. 8 8. Midnight Moo
OK, so technically this one isn’t
new; it is, however, the triumphant return of an old favorite. After taking what Trader Joe’s calls “an unexpected hiatus from our shelves,” Midnight Moo chocolate syrup has re-emerged as of the end of August, and it’s better than ever. Get it for $3.49 per 20-ounce bottle and proceed to slather it all over ice cream, mix it up with some milk for the best chocolate milk ever, or do whatever else with it your chocolate-loving heart desires. 9 Cornbread Crisps Cornbread Crisps were one of the “new for September” items we took a look way back at the beginning of fall; at the time, I described them as what might happen if cornbread and chips had a baby. Made of actual cornbread dough that’s been rolled out and baked into crunchy little squares, they’re the crispy, salty snack you didn’t know you needed. Get ‘em for $2.49 a bag. 10 Extra Hot Habanero Ghost Pepper Salsa
Actually, you know what would go perfectly with those Cornbread Crisps? This extra spicy salsa. Ghost peppers have been having A Moment lately (who could forget
Wendy’s ghost pepper chicken sandwich and fries?), and TJ’s Extra Hot Habanero Ghost Pepper Salsa gives them a starring role. New for October, it’s not for the faint of heart; if you feel like challenging yourself, though, you can get a 12-ounce tub for about $4. 11 Premium Peanut Butter Roundels
I’m not sure whether it’s more accurate to call these incredibly fancy peanut butter cups or
incredibly fancy Girl Scout Cookies. Peanut butter cups is probably closer to the mark, as there isn’t any cookie involved in TJ’s Premium Peanut Butter Roundels… but honestly, who’s counting? About two inches in size, each consists of Trader Joe’s No Stir Peanut Butter wrapped in milk or dark chocolate. (Yes, please.) They’ll set you back $3.49 for a box of eight — four of each type. 12 Boatswain American IPA In 12-Ounce Cans
If sparkling canned wine isn’t your thing, maybe canned IPA is. Although Trader Joe’s has offered its
Boatswain American IPA in bottles for quite some time, this summer, it became available on 12-ounce cans. About the new format, Trader Joe’s wrote at the time of release, “Opening up a 12-ounce can is less of a commitment than opening up a nearly 24-ounce bottle,and you really can’t beat our price of $4.99 (or per market), plus deposit where required, for a 6-pack of cans.” And how! 13 Puff Dogs
I have a shameless love of pigs in a blanket. Yes, I realize that I am currently a 30-something, and that it is often frowned up for 30-somethings to play with their food — but that is exactly why I love pigs in a blanket: They're fun to play with. And hey, now I can eat them and pretend I’m at least somewhat sophisticated at the sametime!
Trader Joe’s Puff Dogs swap out the crescent roll dough for puff pastry — how fancy — and they are delightful. They’re $6.49 for a box of five in the freezer section. 14 Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend
Earlier this year, nearly every food blog I follow started posting recipes for “everything bagel seasoning” and coming up with recipe after recipe of amazing things to do with it. It seems that everything bagel seasoning was having a moment — and it hasn’t stopped, either. Trader Joe’s take on it,
Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, was released in February for about two bucks per 2.3-ounce shaker; it’s good for everything from grilled chicken to mac and cheese, so don’t be afraid to get creative with it. 15 Pumpkin And Roasted Pepitas Cookies
What would the fall be without a few pumpkin treats? These
Pumpkin And Roasted Pepitas Cookies hit the scene in October and feature not just pumpkin spice — in this case, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and clove — but also actual pumpkin, as well as roasted pumpkin seeds. Each five-ounce bag has almost three dozen cookies in it; you can snag one for $2.49. 16 Mango Chipotle BBQ Sauce
I realize that it’s
not really barbecue season anymore (unless you live somewhere warm and/or south of the equator), but Trader Joe’s Mango Chipotle BBQ Sauce was the darling of the summer — and honestly, I see no reason to stop using it purely because it’s cold AF out now. I suspect this sweet-and-spicy treat, which is made of apple cider vinegar, Bourbon, pineapple juice, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, spice and the aforementioned mangoes and chipotle peppers, would be terrific used as a marinade; let some chicken soak it for a while, pop it under the broiler for a few minutes, and voila: Dinner. Or, toss it in a slow cooker with some pork for eight hours and make some summer-worthy sandwiches, even in the dead of winter. An 18-ounce bottle goes for $2.99.
For up-to-date info on Trader Joe's new offerings, check out the
What's New section of the Dig In portion of their website. Bon appetit!