Meat-Free Living with Trader Joe’s

Apologies for being a bit AWOL from posting this week… I hate when work ramps up. Anyway, I’ve been keeping up my mostly meat-free lifestyle since the beginning of 2012, so I thought I’d check in with an update. Things have been going very well for me, I’ve lost nearly 15 lbs. (which I also credit to increased running and not drinking), and although I told myself I would be allowed to eat meat once a week if I wanted to, I haven’t really been doing that. I do still allow myself to eat seafood, though. Gotta get those Omega-3s.

Anyway, what has really helped me stay vegetarian and keep things exciting are my visits to Trader Joe’s. I admit, I haven’t always been such a big fan of the place, but it turns out they have a lot of very tasty, imaginative items for non-meat eaters. Here’s a run down of some hits and misses I’ve gotten there lately.


  • Serrano Salsa Fresca–This is probably the best salsa I’ve ever had, ever. I put it on just about everything, from tortilla chips, to mac and cheese, to scrambled eggs. It’s got a great, somewhat smokey flavor and just the right amount of heat.
  • Reduced Guilt Tortilla Chips–Imagine, a chip that tastes like real corn, not salt and oil. These are delicious, and with reduced fat and sodium. They are also very durable, no breaking off in the dip!
  • Cilantro and Jalapeño Hummus–If you don’t like hummus, this is the hummus for you. It’s amazingly smooth, tastes like salsa, and even has a spicy diced pepper garnish. Yum.
  • Roasted and Salted Marcona Almonds with Rosemary–These make a delicious snack, although they do have some added oil. I eat them in moderation.
  • Organic Low Fat Vanilla Bean Yogurt–Wow! This is delicious. Creamy with a rich but not overpowering vanilla bean flavor.
  • Indian Fare–I love the Indian dishes. The boxed entrees can be stored in the pantry and make a fast, flavorful vegetarian meal. I especially love the Madras Lentils. Their frozen Indian meals also come in vegetarian varieties featuring beans or paneer cheese. These are a bit less healthy, though. Again, a little moderation.


  • Spicy Ranchero Egg White Salad–It’s not that this is bad, but it requires some dressing up. The addition of peppers and spices is meant to add taste to this all-egg white, low fat, low-cal, low cholesterol offering, but it just comes out tasting like watery salsa. I’d still consider buying this again, but I can’t eat it without adding mayonnaise, which undercuts some of the healthy benefits.
  • Vegetable Masala Burger–Calling this a “burger” is a big misnomer. “Vegetable patty” would be a more accurate description, since what you’re getting is less like a veggie burger and more like a potato patty with corn, onion, and spices mixed in. Taste is OK, it’s just not what I was expecting. The other problem with this is that it’s not recommended for microwave preparation. It turns soggy and falls apart, making it a poor choice for a quick lunch.

As you can see, more hits than misses. I also give the place kudos for their produce, fresh and frozen. I didn’t realize how difficult it was to find frozen asparagus (I’m looking at you, Albertsons), but they’ve got it–in regular and grilled varieties! If you have any recommendations on vegetarian items, feel free to pass them along. I’d love to keep trying new items!


One thought on “Meat-Free Living with Trader Joe’s

  1. Pingback: More Trader Joe’s Finds | 31 to Life

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