I needed help and you seriously delivered. I’m book-marking this page forever. I shopped exclusively from Trader Joe’s in my 20’s (in New York) then in my 30’s in LA until we moved back to Los Feliz and I couldn’t handle the 15 minutes it took to wait for parking not to mention the line to check out. But now that I’m back in Portland, where running mom errands is a JOY, I literally didn’t know what to bring to a pre-omicron appetizer/crafting get-together a couple of weeks ago. So we put it out there on social media and y’all seriously hooked us up. What we loved so much was how consistent you were – there are CLEAR favorites and not only that but so many of you recommended a combination of two apps that we would have never done (see below). So whether you are hoping for some easy cozy snacks while playing games or serving others this year, here are some appetizer recommendations from Trader Joe’s (unsponsored obviously).
1. Spanakopita: So many of you recommended this. Everyone swears it’s a party hit and is great to have in a pinch.
2. Parmesan Pastry Pups: Sign me up for fancy pigs in a blanket any day of the week. Great for kids and adults!
3. Samosas: The samosas were another greatest hit in our DMs. You guys insist they are a super popular at parties or for a quick and easy snack.
1. Fried Stuffed Olives: I can’t wait to try these. They are breaded fried olives with cream cheese so I can imagine they would be gone very quickly at any gathering.
2. Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese: I am not at all surprised to hear these are fantastic. Jess Note: They are actual pieces of heaven on your mouth.
3. Chicken Cilantro Wontons: I know the frozen chicken potstickers are great but I haven’t tried these yet. I am excited to buy them next time I go to TJ’s.
4. Feta Cheese and Caramelized Onion Puffs: Oh these sound so delicious. A LOT of you said these are the best so I am very excited to try.
1. Buffalo Chicken Dip: This buffalo chicken dip is another clear winner. Y’all suggest pairing with bread or crackers and I imagine there are some great recipes you can use this in too.
2. Vegan Tzatziki Dip: You all said this is great paired with veggies and is a perfect vegan alternative for a dressing or dip.
3. Truffle Dip: If you have had anything truffle based you know it is RICH so I bet this dip would pair so well with celery or carrots.
1. Baked Brie: This baked brie en croûte looks delicious. It looks and tastes fancy and everyone loves bread and cheese, right?
2. Corn Salsa: I didn’t realize tomato-less salsa is such a thing but now I know. We are told that pairing the corn salsa with their blue corn tortilla chips is absolutely delicious.
3. Spinach Artichoke Dip: Almost everyone in the DMs noted that the frozen spinach and artichoke dip is killer.
1. Cooked Lentils + Crumbled Feta + Bruschetta Sauce: We were all blown away by how many of your recommended this combination. You guys suggest putting the mixture on a crostini, crackers, or just serving as a salad. I can’t wait to try.
2. Croissants with Spinach Artichoke Dip: YUM. Bread
+ creamy spinach and artichoke dip never misses.
3. Triple Cream Brie with Raisin Rosemary Crackers: So many of you swear by the triple cream brie cheese and a huge number also suggest pairing it with the raisin rosemary crackers.
1. Roll Goat Cheese in Everything But The Bagel Seasoning and Serve with Crackers: I knew Everything But The Bagel Seasoning was popular and now I am so excited to try it with goat cheese the next time we do a charcuterie board.
2. Pair Brie with Fig Butter on Crackers: Again, the triple cream brie was a very popular suggestion and the fig butter is supposed to pair with it perfectly.
3. Blueberry Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly: This is a very interesting pairing that I am intrigued to try! A TON of you told us the pepper jelly is a staple and pairs well with so many things.
Big thanks to everyone who sent us their recs and please if you have more drop them in the comments. xx
Opening Image Credit: Design and Styled by Jess Bunge | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: How To Have Great Holiday Cocktail Party In A Tiny Apartment (All the Hacks You Need to Know)
Chocolate humus??? What? It didn’t make the cut?
If you live in Oregon, the only appropriate thing to bring to a get-together is Toby’s Tofu Pate with some really good tortilla chips (i.e., not Doritos)!!! I don’t know where it is avail in Portland – in Eugene it is pretty much everywhere. In Seattle, my mom can get it in the vegetarian section of Fred Meyer. https://tobysfamilyfoods.com/tobys-plant-based-dip-spread/
Second the Toby’s, widely available in Portland!
And the tortilla chips must be Juanita’s!
When I host I usually shop Trader Joe’s with a theme in mind- Greek night, Tex-mex night, Asian night, cheese board night, it adds a unifying touch that makes the party spread feel so put together. I have discovered so many fun new products that way.
One year I hosted a holiday champagne party and wanted to serve heavy food without doing dishes, so the theme became all hand held items- no fork and knife and must be able to hold glass of champagne in the non eating hand! People were floored by the spread and kept remarking what a fancy party it was, even though I didn’t make anything myself.
Oh!! And the chocolate mousse cakes they make are amazing. At Christmas time they are in the shape of presents, at Halloween time pumpkins, at easter time eggs, during the summer flowers. So you can have a delicious and seasonally adorable dessert any time of the year!!!
“Asian night”?! Would you serve Shepard’s pie and Brie and Hefeweizen and call it “European night”?
Um, I think we would all agree that Shepherd’s Pie pairs with an ale or stout. And sign me UP for English Pub Night!
So many tasty-looking ideas! Just wanted to mention that the samosas and vegetable spring rolls are both vegan. My vegan husband also loves the TJ frozen vegetable burritos, Japanese fried rice, vegetable fried rice, and their soy chorizo (so great in tacos).
They also have a vegan feta! I’ve never looked at that bruschetta sauce so I’m not sure if it has cheese or something, but it looks like it may be vegan. They also have a vegan boursin cheese spread that is sooo good on crackers.
The vegan Romero sauce is really good. Also the falafel with the vegan tasiki and hummus. I also love their zhong dip on everything.
Will try the lentil/feta cheese/bruschetta sauce combo but, FYI, the lentils are so good I usually just gobble them up alone.
My new fave combo is the tomato pesto with the lentils – kind of a lentil hot pot. Add rice and some greens. Easy, delicious dinner. We always have those lentils in the fridge for easy dinners.
I haven’t seen the tomato pesto! Where is it in the store?
Corn salsa spread on cream cheese and served with crackers is a real favorite.
Love, love this kind of post. Don’t forget a bowl of the chocolate sea salt-covered almonds.
You can also use our (in a box next to the chicken broth ones) Miso ginger broth with the dumplings as a soup! YUM!
I use the Miso Ginger Broth, 4 or 5 mini chicken wontons, half a large sheet of roasted seaweed, small amounts of vegetables of your choice (spinach, red bell pepper, broccoli..), seasonings (like their onion salt blend, umami mushroom, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, furikake..) to make yummy single serve bowls of soup. Sometimes add a few roasted pepitas, and green onion at the end.
Omg I just moved five mins from a TJs too and was JUST telling my girlfriends that sometimes I get anxious walking around in the store because I feel like I’m missing some secret that everyone knows and that there is a hole in the blogosphere for entire recipes/weeknight hacks (esp for parents) w TJs ingredients so please do that as a follow up post. A few more: – jarred olive tapenade on goat cheese with pita chips, I now always have a jar of the stuff I’m the pantry, it’s like a fancy appetizer when neighbors come over for a surprise play happy hour/date – General Tso sauce + grape jelly + frozen party meatballs over rice and steam-in-bag broccoli = easy weeknight kids dinner – Can’t get enough of their Fall stock: their Fall Leaf tortilla chips w pepita salsa is AMAZING, my brother is a giant foodie and said this salsa may be his favorite ever. – Also their pumpkin bread mix is surprisingly good…I’m a snob about quick breads but our nanny made it with the kids one weekend and I called her after to ask for the recipe…not knowing it was TJs. – How has… Read more »
There are a lot of TJs whole meal recipes on Pinterest! On Instagram, Trader Joe’s List is a good follow. My kids also love the frozen orange chicken 🙂
Hey! I love the frozen orange chicken, and I’m a loooooooong way from being a kid! 😋
Love this post! But I agree about feeling like you’re missing the secret! Cup of Jo did a great Trader Joe’s meal hacks a while back https://cupofjo.com/2016/09/trader-joes-meal-hacks/amp/
This is so timely because I’m heading to TJ’s today! One thing I didn’t see was the spinach kale greek yogurt dip, which is a lower-fat version of that spinach dip you put in a bread bowl, but it’s really good. Planning to serve it as a lighter app option (along with other stuff) before our heavy dinner. TJ’s also has great cured meats and fancy cheese, and we’re going to stock up for a Christmas Eve charcuterie platter. Those rosemary raisin crisps are perfect for that!
Just had to follow up that aside from all the food, they also had a really cute red/white/green felt pompom garland there too! Super cute … I got two.
I love going to the recipes section on their website for amazing combinations and new recipes to try using all Trader Joe’s! Their Fearless Flyer is a fun way to find new things at TJs!
I’m shocked – SHOCKED – to see that this article left out the undisputed best party cracker in the world: TJ’s fig and olive crackers. If you know, you know.
I’m a big fan of the fig & olive with goat cheese but honestly, all those little Rainforest Crisp-wannabe crackers are pretty great.
We eat them with cream cheese. Decadent and good. No need to add anything else — just the crackers and the cream cheese.
The caramelized onion dip not being on here is CRIMINAL. I could eat the entire container in one sitting with a spoon. Divine.
YES I forgot that too-DEF REC!!!!!!!!
I’m a big TJ’s fan but found the Fried Olive Bites pictured above to be disappointing. I’ve made fried, stuffed olives and they are delish but a pain so I was excited when I saw these but these are little balls of olive paste that surround a dab of cheese. Not awful but not as good as actual stuffed olives.
The feta cheese and onion pastry puffs are SO good! We also like the mini quiches. Comes with two kinds, one is bacon & some kind of cheese and the other is mushroom. Both yummy!
We make big batches of that lentil salad and add roasted butternut, and some of their cooked beets, then portion out with greens and add a poached egg and half of an avocado for lunches. I can easily eat it every day of the week. Easy, filling and cheap!
If your cheese plate doesn’t have the Truffle Marcona Almonds you are missing out, they are insanely good.
Easy dip: mix the olive tapenade with cream cheese. Use the TJs frito style chips (so much better than the others!)
The TJs sweet/hot pickled jalapenos are an absolute staple condiment in our house. They are good on basically everything from eggs to chili to burgers to hummus – not too sweet, not too hot, not too tangy – and at $3, they are a steal!
I am eating the bruschetta, lentils, as we speak! So good 😊 oh this time I am using goat cheese instead of feta-yum!!
I can’t find a PINTEREST button in the post to save to my boards. Can you point me in the right direction please? Thanks for this post.
All the at the top- under the initial heading
We love the tempura cauliflower in the air fryer. Easy to eat with toothpicks or bamboo skewers and dipped in the warmed sauce.
Hi EHD peeps! I wanted to throw my two cents in on this as I work part-time at a TJ’s in LA (when I am not getting my hours as an AMFT therapist) and also have shopped there since 1998! I agree with all of these except the olive and cream cheese bites-NO ONE at our store liked them=yuck! And two of my fav foods are olives and cream cheese! The fresh bruschetta is one of my FAV store items! It doesn’t have raw onions which is great as some of us can’t take raw ones! 🙂 It’s good as that, as a pasta sauce, etc!!! I DEF REC the artichoke dip AND another hack is it is great to use as a baked dish with chicken breasts or thighs in the oven=easy delish dinner!! I would also DEF REC these apps not seen on here: Camembert Cheese With Cranberry Sauce Fillo Bites, Chicken soup dumplings (actually come out perfect in the microwave and I usu don’t cook anything in the micro), the Mini Quiche trio, the Creamy Roasted Cauliflower & Onion Dip (like the artichoke one-its in the freezer section=so good!), MY FAV dip of all is the (holiday… Read more »
Oh and the holiday cheeses that come in are amazeballs! My fav is a brie type one, but it isn’t stinky for those who don’t like that (I do but I like all cheese! lol), its more buttery tasting-it is in a little box and says Formage I think on it? The aged gouda’s and all the Toscano’s!
Blueberry Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly combination was super delightful. Thank youu
Fig & olive crisps + Jarlsberg cheese + fig butter. To die for!
TJs Cauliflower pancakes, Everything but the Elote seasoning, chipotle black bean dip, pecorino cheese.
Place frozen cauliflower cakes on baking sheet & sprinkle both sides with Everything But the Elote seasoning. Bake as directed.
Spread with chipotle black bean dip & top with shredded pecorino. Place in warm oven and warm through. Tasty!!