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35 Kinda Healthy Trader Joe’s Recipes

What’s so special about Trader Joe’s? Is it their focus on quality ingredients, unique product offerings, healthy options, or affordable pricing? We think it’s a combination of all those things and more. Being able to find low carb options like riced cauliflower stir fry and hearts of palm pasta, lean options from the butcher like 96/4 ground beef and chicken sausage, and a wide variety of fresh produce makes a drive across town to Trader Joe’s worth it.

This post has 30+ recipes using some of our favorite Trader Joe’s products. Each recipe below will have a full recipe infographic you can save for later. If you have questions about a recipe or need more detail about ingredient substitutions or serving sizes, I’ve linked to the original post above each graphic.

I’ve also included a rough shopping list of the most frequently called for ingredients at the end of the post. Now, let’s get cooking.

Crispy Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Gnocchi

Let’s be real, cauliflower gnocchi is clearly cauliflower gnocchi. If you’re expecting pillowy gnocchi, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment. That’s why I like going a totally different direction with this crispy garlic parmesan spin. Pair it with Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba sauce mixed with a little ketchup (cold) or marinara (warm).

Full post: Air Fryer Cauliflower Gnocchi

Oven Roasted Cauliflower Gnocchi

This is a spin on one of the internet’s best recipes for crispy roasted potatoes, using garlic and rosemary infused oil to make delicious golden brown gnocchi nuggets. You’ll want to start roasting everything this way!

Full post: Oven Roasted Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

Garlic Parmesan “Keto Potatoes”

There are no true keto friendly potato substitutes, but radishes come darn close, especially if they’re prepared correctly. If you need a crispy tater fix without all the carbs or calories, you’ll be happy here. The entire recipe has 225 calories and just 13 grams of carbs!

Full post: Air Fryer Roasted Radishes

Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet

Continuing the radish love, this skillet pairs lean ground beef, radishes, burger sauce, and cheese to make a solid Kinda Healthy tribute to burgers and fries.

Full post: Low Carb Cheeseburger Skillet

Red Beans and Cauliflower Rice

Trader Joe’s chicken sausages might be my favorite products behind cookie butter. They have stellar macros, and you can tell they’re really high quality compared to some of the chicken/turkey sausage products out there. This red beans and rice recipe is one of my favorite ways to use their andouille chicken sausage for meal prep.

Full post: Instant Pot Red Beans

Low Carb Jambalaya

I’m telling you. Go ahead and stock up on Trader Joe’s chicken sausage.

Full post: Jambalaya with Cauliflower Rice

Chicken Sausage Pasta for Two

If you’re not using shallots in your kitchen, this is a great introduction. The shallots and tomatoes in this recipes create this almost jam-like flavor explosion that will have you wondering how a 5-ingredient pasta could ever taste so good.

Full post: 5-Ingredient Chicken Sausage Pasta

Chicken Shawarma Bowls

The Trader Joe’s shawarma chicken thighs are too legit to quit, and this recipe from Mandi Hickman is a great way to elevate them even further.

Full post: Chicken Shawarma Bowls

Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice

Look, I know we’re all getting tired of cauliflower rice. But Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower stir fry is really solid thanks to the added sesame oil, soy sauce, and other veggies. It’s great on its own (I like prepping it in the air fryer as you’ll see below) or worked into recipes like this chicken fried rice.

Full post: Chili Garlic Chicken Fried Cauliflower Rice

Fried Cauliflower Rice with Ground Chicken

If you don’t like handling chicken breast, you can use the same riced cauliflower stir fry with ground chicken.

Full post: Ground Chicken Fried Rice

Salmon Fried Rice

If you’re anything like us, you could definitely use some more fish and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. This salmon fried rice from Brandi Crawford of Stay Snatched is an awesome way to do just that and work some Trader Joe’s Asian veggies into the rotation.

Full post: Easy Salmon Fried Rice

Air Fried Cauliflower Rice

Why air fry when you could just pan fry? Well, sometimes it’s nice to have a completely hands off side dish cooking while you prep a main protein. It’s also nice to not dirty up any dishes!

Full post: How to Make Fried Cauliflower Rice in an Air Fryer

Thai Chicken Salad

If you’re unfamiliar with Lillie of Lillie Eats and Tells, she’s the yin to our yang here at Kinda Healthy Recipes. We’re heavy on comfort, proteins, and lots of cheesy goodness. Lillie’s very bright, colorful, and veggie heavy. This Thai chicken salad is a great introduction to her and to ingredients like Trader Joe’s spicy peanut vinaigrette.

Full post: Quick Thai Chicken Salad

Sweet Chili Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

If I’m in the condiments aisle of Trader Joe’s, I’m 99% of the time grabbing a bottle of their sweet chili sauce. It tastes amazing and is on the lower end of the calories/serving scale compared to other sweet chili sauces. You can use it as a sauce for serving, but I also like to use it as a glaze for things like chicken, ground meats, and veggies.

Full post: Air Fryer Chicken and Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Chili Sauce

The Best Green Beans

Using the Trader Joe’s Trimmed Green Beans, Citrusy Garlic seasoning, and a little butter, I dubbed these THE BEST green beans. See if I’m wrong.

Full Post: Air Fryer Green Beans

Chicken Fajita Pasta

One of the more macro magical (surprisingly low calorie) items you’ll find in Trader Joe’s is their queso dip. The entire jar barely has over 200 calories and has an amazingly creamy, cheese sauce texture. It’s not the most flavorful queso you’ll find, but you can easily spruce it up with sautéed veggies and spices.

Full post: Cheesy Fajita Chicken Pasta

Queso Mac and Cheese

Why don’t you see queso mac and cheese more often? Let’s change that.

Full post: Queso Mac and Cheese with Chipotle Ground Beef

Trash Can Nachos

This recipe pairs Trader Joe’s extra lean ground beef with spicy taco sauce and queso dip to make a healthier spin on Guy Fieri’s infamous trash can nachos. It’s a bit easier to prep, too!

Full post: Kinda Healthy Trash Can Nachos

Sausage and Mushroom Gnocchi

Need a one pan meal? This sausage and mushroom gnocchi pairs Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi with, you guessed it, chicken sausage and a spicy tomato sauce.

Full post: Chicken Sausage and Cauliflower Gnocchi with Mushrooms

Sausage and Veggie Pasta Bake

If you’re not totally down with the cauliflower gnocchi, this pasta will be more your speed. It’s got tons of veggies and is made with farfalle or your choice of wide pasta, which makes for great eating!

Full post: Italian Chicken Sausage Pasta

Rotisserie Chicken Spaghetti

Trader Joe’s recently released a hearts of palm pasta to compete with the liked of Palmini and Pastabilities. If you’re unfamiliar with hearts of palm pasta, it’s a much lower carb pasta option that doesn’t have any funky tastes or textures, especially when incorporated into dishes like this one.

Full post: Low Carb Rotisserie Chicken Spaghetti

Mongolian Ground Beef Bowls

And for another recipe with the Trader Joe’s hearts of palm pasta, this simple low carb sweet and salty ground beef and noodle combo is a must try.

Full Post: Mongolian Ground Beef and Noodles

Mustard Balsamic Chicken

Trader Joe’s fat free balsamic vinaigrette is a powerhouse ingredient in the marinade department. Try it out with these air fried chicken thighs or use your favorite chicken cooking method instead.

Full post: Mustard Balsamic Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Mediterranean Grain Bowl

How pretty is this bowl? Lillie’s back again with a copycat recipe for Cava’s grain bowls. The Trader Joe’s fat free feta featured in this recipe is one of our favorite TJ’s ingredients!

Full post: Copycat Cava Mediterranean Grain Bowl

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Meatballs

I basically brush my teeth with BBQ sauce, and Trader Joe’s sriracha and roasted garlic BBQ sauce is some of the best stuff out there.

Full post: Baked BBQ Chicken Meatballs

Sweet Chili Chicken Meatballs

Ah, the sweet chili sauce makes its return. In case you wanted a quicker method than the oven baked meatballs above, you can pop them in the air fryer using this recipe. Or you could pan fry both using my firecracker chicken meatballs recipe.

Full post: Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs and Rice

If you’re expecting to enjoy Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs straight out of the package, guess again. They need some tender love and caring, as they’re quite bland as-is. You could cook up a slow cooked Sunday sauce to simmer them in, or you could make this super quick pressure cooker version.

Full post: Instant Pot Meatballs and Rice

Green Dragon Chicken Tacos

Trader Joe’s does branding right. Think: sriracha but with jalapeño, tomatillo, spinach and kale powder, and other green wonders instead of their red counterparts. This sauce has an overwhelming surplus of diggity and makes for a great pressure cooker or slow cooker pulled chicken cooking liquid.

Full post: Instant Pot Green Dragon Chicken

Cowboy Caviar Dip

If I brush my teeth with BBQ sauce, Trader Joe’s cowboy caviar is my mouthwash. I can’t get enough of the stuff. So when I saw their Kickin’ Corn Dip recipe, I had to make a Kinda Healthy copycat. My version adds pulled rotisserie chicken and the TJ’s light cream cheese to make an ultra creamy, cheesy cowboy caviar dip that’s packed with protein.

Full post: Cowboy Caviar Rotisserie Chicken Dip (or Traeger Smoked Cheese Dip for a grilled version)

Cajun Chicken Sausage and Veggies

We all could use more vegetables in our life, but it can be daunting buying lots of veggies without a plan for what to do with them. This sausage and veggie combo is one of my favorite ways to use lots with minimal effort. It’s also a great way to repurpose odds and ends in the fridge. You can throw other veggies like zucchini and okra in the mix, or change the seasoning to work with any veggie combos (like Greek chicken and veggies).

Full post: Air Fryer Sausage and Cajun Vegetables

Smoked Cajun Pasta

Similar to the air fryer sausage and veggies above, this recipe pairs chicken sausage with veggies and smokes everything for about an hour before adding Trader Joe’s red lentil pasta and Cajun alfredo sauce.

Full Post: Traeger Smoked Cajun Pasta

Crispy Baked Taquitos

I’ve used Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce (and spicy taco sauce) for a beaucoup of recipes on my blog, but seasoning taco meat is my go-to. It adds tons of flavor and moisture, especially if you’re using leaner ground beef like the TJ’s 96/4 ground beef.

Full Post: Baked Beef and Cheese Taquitos

P.S. If you’d like to make your taquitos even faster, check out my air fryer taquitos recipe.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Enchiladas

This recipe calls for Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce and ground chicken. And while I originally used cilantro and lime Right Rice, I’m sure you could substitute the Trader Joe’s Risoni from the turkey meatballs and rice above.

Full post: Ground Chicken and Rice Enchiladas

Migas Breakfast Tacos

Okay, these aren’t the most “Kinda Healthy” recipe on the list, but you can lighten them up with egg whites instead of whole eggs. The real secret to these tacos is the Trader Joe’s Elote Corn Chip Dippers. These things are legit! And you’ll want to pick up an extra bag to make our Corn Chip Taco Pie while you’re at it.

Full Post: Migas Breakfast Tacos

Saved the best for last. While I’ve made some Kinda Healthy recipes with cookie butter in the past, I wanted to share a “regular” recipe from our sister site, With the Woodruffs. We paired on of our favorite devil’s food cupcakes with a simple Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter frosting.

Full post: Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Speculoos Cookie Butter Frosting

Trader Joe’s Shopping List

While this isn’t a conclusive list of everything to buy at Trader Joe’s, it’s a good roundup of everything called for in the recipes in this post.


  • chicken sausages (garlic herb, spicy Italian, and andouille)
  • extra lean ground beef
  • shawarma chicken thighs
  • Santa Maria tri tip (check out our tri tip tacos using this)
  • lite shredded cheese
  • light cream cheese
  • fat free feta
  • radishes of many color
  • sliced mushrooms
  • Marzano tomatoes


  • fire roasted corn
  • cauliflower gnocchi
  • rice cauliflower stir fry
  • turkey meatballs
  • cauliflower rice
  • Asian vegetable mix

Condiments/Dry Goods

  • Risoni
  • red lentil pasta
  • hearts of palm pasta
  • enchilada sauce
  • spicy taco sauce
  • queso dip
  • cowboy caviar
  • roasted garlic marinara
  • sweet chili sauce
  • green dragon sauce
  • Italian Bomba pepper sauce
  • sriracha and roasted garlic bbq sauce
  • fat free balsamic vinaigrette
  • citrusy garlic seasoning
  • elote corn chip dippers
  • cookie butter

And that should do it. What did we miss? If you have any favorite Trader Joe’s products not mentioned in this post, we’d love to hear about it and work it into future recipes. Let us know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this roundup, be sure to check out some of our others:


Wednesday 31st of March 2021

Nice recipes!

Mason Woodruff

Thursday 1st of April 2021

Thanks, Michele! Let us know if you give anything a try.