Trader Joe's employee picks summer 2019
All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission.

Summer is flying by and Trader Joe’s employees are here to help you make the most out of this season. There’s no time or need for trial and error because I chatted with some employees at my local TJ’s to get their picks for this time of year. So sit back and relax—here are their recommendations and favorite Trader Joe’s food for summer.

1. Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit

This Southwestern Chopped Salad is one of several new salad kits at Trader Joe’s. The packaging does not lie—it’s truly complete. All the toppings, mix-ins, and dressing are included inside with the lettuce, so there’s no food prep (i.e. chopping) needed at all—perfect for dinner guests, barbecues, or your lunch!

Related Reading: Are Trader Joe’s Cashiers Required to Comment on Your Purchase?

2. Watermelon Cucumber Cooler

This Watermelon Cucumber Cooler is a new staff favorite. Add it to your mixed drink or have it over ice on its own. This tastes especially refreshing with some fresh mint leaves.

Related Reading: 15 Ways to Use Trader Joe’s Peach Bellini Jam

3. Ghost Chili BBQ Sauce

This one is for the serious heat lovers. The infamous ghost pepper has made its way into TJ’s BBQ sauce, along with tomatoes, spices, vinegar, and smoke. Are you brave enough to try it?

Read More: A Comprehensive Guide to BBQ Sauce Styles in America

4. Key Lime Pie

According to TJ’s staff, even Floridians are impressed with this seasonal-only Key lime pie. This truly delectable summer favorite is sure to bring you a taste of The Keys no matter where you are—and makes no-bake dessert even easier.

5. Steamed Lentils

For a refreshing vegan option, TJ’s staff suggest that you try these right out of the fridge—or warmed up on a cozy, rainy summer day; either way, they’re nutritious (packed with protein), flavorful, and great with TJ’s Bruschetta sauce (below).

Read More: The Best Vegan Trader Joe’s Items to Stock Up On | 5 Vegan & Vegetarian BBQ Dishes

6. Bruschetta Sauce

This zesty bruschetta sauce is a great addition to any dish. You can add it to chicken, pasta, veggies, or freshly toasted bread. Made with roma tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and garlic, don’t overlook this one because it surely won’t disappoint—no prep needed here, either!

7. Ube Ice Cream

This new summer favorite is flying off the shelves. Ube, a naturally purple colored yam, is popular in many Asian cuisines. You’ve probably heard of it by now but maybe you haven’t tried it. Trust us, its popularity is warranted, especially as an ice cream flavor.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Ube

8. BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee and Garlic

This rub is a surprisingly complex sweet and savory balance—use this on anything you’d like. The TJ’s staff even suggested sprinkling it on some fresh popcorn for an outdoor movie night or picnic. In other words, this could give their beloved Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning some competition.

Trader Joe's BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic, 2 for $9.18 on Amazon

Can't get it in-store? Try online!
Buy Now

Read More: The Best BBQ Rubs for All Your Summer Grilling Sessions

9. Gone Berry Crazy

The fan favorite Gone Bananas! has a seasonal sister: Gone Berry Crazy! These frozen dark chocolate-covered strawberries are a perfect snack on a hot summer day. This counts as getting your daily serving of fruit, right?

Read More: Our Favorite Trader Joe’s Summer Items Right Now | Your 50 Favorite Trader Joe’s Items, Ranked

Header image courtesy of Trader Joe's

See more articles