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I used to be able to walk to my choice of three different Trader Joe’s locations. My husband and I relocated at the start of the pandemic and, now, the closest one is more than an hour away by car. Instead of making that trip, I’ve been turning to Target to fill that Trader Joe’s-shaped hole in my heart.
See, I love the store’s Good & Gather brand, and I’ve been noticing that a lot of the offerings are very Trader Joe’s-esque! Because there are more than 1,800 Target stores in the United States (and only around 500 Trader Joe’s), I figure many of you could put this list to good use.
I bought up a bunch of items that stood out the most to me (for being pretty Trader Joe’s-y) during a recent trip, and these are ones we’ve been liking the most. Maybe the next time I go, I’ll wear a Hawaiian shirt for added effect?
1. Everything Seasoned Cashews
These nuts are honestly better than any item I’ve found at TJ’s. They’re made with sesame seeds, garlic, onion, salt, and poppy seeds and they really do taste just like an everything bagel — but in cashew form. I love these cashews so much. I even insisted they get included in our grocery list of Kitchn Essentials.
Buy: Everything Seasoned Cashews, $5.99 for 7.5 ounces
I’ve made plenty of charcuterie boards using groceries from TJ’s, but this little pack is a charcuterie board for one. It’s got sliced Gouda, uncured pepperoni, and green olives. I’ve been eating these while I work to make a weekday afternoon feel a little fancier.
Buy: Charcuterie Bites, $2.49 for 2.7 ounces
More olives! I just love that you get three different types of olives in one jar. (Especially because the olive bar in our regular supermarket has been closed because of COVID-19.)
Buy: Italian Olive Medley, $4.99 for 9.8 ounces
4. Parmesan Pastry Wrapped Uncured Hot Dogs
As you might be able to tell by now, the freezer section at Target should not be skipped. These buns cook up in the microwave (after just one minute!) and are deliciously plump.
Buy: Pork Bao Buns, $4.99 for six
6. Tomato, Garlic and Calabrian Chile Spread
TJ’s is a great spot for spreads and sauces, but so is Target. This stuff is imported from Italy, made in small batches, and features Calabrian chilies and hand-chopped basil. I like to use it on sandwiches (like simple turkey ones!) and burgers. I’ve also mixed it up with some mayo to make a spicy aioli for fries. I haven’t yet tried in on a pizza the way Target suggests.
Buy: Tomato, Garlic and Calabrian Chile Spread, $3.99 for 6.35 ounces
7. Butter Chicken Simmer Sauce
Faith Durand, our editor-in-chief, convinced me to give simmer sauces a try within the last few years and I just wish I had them in my life earlier. You can get a simmer sauce at any grocery store, but if you see this one at Target, please get it. That’s all I’ll say!
Buy: Butter Chicken Simmer Sauce, $2.99 for 12 ounces
9. Avocado Toast Chopped Salad
A few years ago, my fellow Kitchn editors and I set out to eat every salad kit we could find. The kits at Trader Joe’s really stood out to us. Good & Gather didn’t exist yet, but now it does — and they have an Avocado Toast Chopped Salad. Tip: Save the pouch of mashed avocados (I used mine on a bagel) and chop up a full avocado to toss in instead.
Buy: Avocado Toast Chopped Salad, $3 for 13.85 ounces
10. Lemon Dill Tuna Salad
The refrigerated section at Trader Joe’s is, of course, great. The TJ’s tuna is fine. This stuff? Well, it has lemon and dill and I could eat it for lunch every day of the week.
Buy: Lemon Dill Tuna Salad, $4.99 for 12 ounces
12. Pomegranate Dragon Fruit Sparkling Water
Good & Gather offers a few flavors of sparkling water. I’ve found the Pomegranate Dragon Fruit to be the best and the most interesting. And definitely more fun than anything I’ve found at Trader Joe’s.
Buy: Pomegranate Dragon Fruit Sparkling Water, $0.99 for 1 liter