It’s a fact that Trader Joe’s is all the talk on campus. It has great prices, exciting seasonal items and food that’s ready to eat on the go. If you’re not a meal prep afficiandado, study late at night, buy limited groceries, or have lazy days, whipping up meals can be difficult. Even if you regularly cook throughout the week, having these simple Trader Joe’s combinations are perfect for when there simply isn’t enough time in the day. The following product duos are so perfect together, they make me want to become an ordained minister so I can marry them already.

Mini Vegetable Samosas and Amba Mango Sauce

Mini Vegetable Samosas

Zhihan Yang

I like to have these bites on hand for an afterschool snack or light dinner. I think of them as a more sophisticated and delicious alternative to pizza rolls. These Vegetable Samosas are crispy on the outside and stuffed with spiced lentils, onions, potatoes, and carrots. Although these bites are little, they are fierce.

#SpoonTip: The frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s is never a bad idea to stock up on. The expiration dates aren’t something to be concerned about, and most of the frozen items can be made in a pinch.

Amba Mango Sauce 

Zhihan Yang

While the samosas are good alone, I found that adding a little bit more pizzazz doesn't hurt. This is where the Amba Mango Sauce comes in. It's made from fermented mangoes, and the flavor is reminiscent of curry. It presents a punchy bright flavor while preventing the samosas from becoming too dry.

#SpoonTip: The mango sauce is not just good for samosas. It’s a great addition to veggies, proteins, and starches like rice or quinoa. Better yet, mix all of those suggestions with the sauce and you’ve got yourself a satisfying bowl.

Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Chimichurri Rice

Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Zhihan Yang

 The Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup is pureed to creamy perfection with a zip of vegetable flavor. It's a perfect base to eat on its own or spice it up with extras. 

Peruvian Style Chimichurri Rice

Zhihan Yang

Chimichurri Rice is a great option to elevate the flavor and make the Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup more filling. This one is chock-full with chimi-yumi realness. First, I heat this up in a skillet, and then I pour in the soup to give my meal a comforting twist. I would rank this combination in the drool-worthy category.

#SpoonTip: This heavenly pairing would have never crossed my mind had it not been featured at the Trader Joe’s sampling station. Try to make a pit stop at the sampling station as soon as you get in the store—you never know what treat will inspire you. At the very least, a sample of coffee will help you power through your shopping trip. 

Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry and Eggs 

Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry

Zhihan Yang

Yes, I’m doing another frozen rice, but this one hits differently. For any keto or low carb folks, this quick bite will get you through your day. It’s got all the basics for fried rice like green peas, ginger, and green onions. I can’t say it’s just like take out, but it's a healthier and even quicker option.


Zhihan Yang

What inches it closer to take out is the addition of a fried, scrambled, or over-easy egg. You can throw it in as you’re warming the rice or cook it on the side. It makes the rice even more savory. Not to mention, it boosts the protein content and is a source of biotin and vitamin A.

#SpoonTip: Eggs are delicious on top of anything like toast or noodles. If you’ve got a meal in mind but want it to be a tad more satisfying and filling, add an egg to it.

Noodles and Chili Onion Crunch Mix


Zhihan Yang

While this shelf-stable product is a great essential for any household, no one likes plain noods. Since I have a sensitivity, I enjoy the gluten-free alternatives that Trader Joe’s offers. The brown rice and quinoa blend also have a little more protein than typical wheat-based options. If you don’t have an intolerance, they also have plenty of traditional styles of pasta to try.

Chili Onion Crunch 

Zhihan Yang

After cracking open this fairly new addition to Trader Joe’s shelves, Chili Onion Crunch became my three favorite words. It’s savory, crunchy, and has a slight kick to ramp up your tastebuds. Your cooked pasta can go from bland to blissful with just a few spoonfuls of this concoction.

#SpoonTip: The label on the container does recommend it with pasta, toast, or protein. I can also attest that this is a perfect addition to avocado toast. If you see an interesting Trader Joe’s product that isn’t on the daily sample lineup, check the packaging for additional insights on how to implement it in your kitchen.

Trader Joe's, reusable bags, egg carton
Jocelyn Hsu

Frozen, basics, and quick meals don’t have to be boring, but they shouldn't be difficult either. While I tried to limit these simple Trader Joe's combinations to two ingredients, adding fresh herbs and spices is another great way to brighten any pre-packaged meal. As bustling college students, cooking can sometimes be too overwhelming. With the same skills and devices to make a hot pocket, why not dine on more thoughtful and flavorful combinations?