Trader Joe’s has the tur-key to Thanksgiving

These elite Trader Joe’s items complete any fall harvest feast.

Sara Sharma, Staff Writer

I relish grocery shopping and am always enthralled by how put together it makes me feel. From jotting down a grocery list to rifling through aisles of produce, grocery runs are a rite of passage into adulthood. However, grocery shopping on a budget is arduous for college students. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s — a national neighborhood grocery store chain since 1967 — is our saving grace. 

Our mutual adoration for Trader Joe’s needs no justifications, but it truly is the season to be grateful for this one-stop, all-inclusive, low-cost grocery store. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Trader Joe’s has delivered it all with its assortment of apple-pumpkin pies, cranberry and orange relish sauce, Toscano cheese spread, brined turkeys, and more! 

After rummaging through Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving-themed guide titled “Fearless Flyer” released in November, I was exposed to its scrumptious myriad of Thanksgiving products. Creamy and rich vegetable gratins and autumnal pie truffles are some of the showstoppers Trader Joe’s has to offer. With the guidance of my favorite Union Square Trader Joe’s employee, Mama Raye, who knows each nook and cranny of the store, I compiled a list of the best Thanksgiving products at Trader Joe’s — you’ll be grateful to have them at your table.

For appetizers

Whether we’re celebrating the holidays away from or at home, the power of comfort food unites us, and Thanksgiving is a time when people look for home-cooked meals. Andrea, a former researcher from Hong Kong, was browsing through Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving aisle to make her go-to brussel sprout dish for her 16th Thanksgiving.

“We keep it simple — roast them in olive oil, add salt and pepper, and toss in some bacon,” Andrea said. “The winter season reminds me of home because my family and I celebrate Chinese New Year.

Maya —  a speech pathologist — shared that her Thanksgiving always entails family recipes. 

“A family favorite is a red cabbage dish we make with bacon and onion that is served with chopped up apples on the side,” Maya said. 

Trader Joe’s, with its large array of food options from around the world and its warm community, is a haven for those looking to find comfort in food. Whether that’s serving lavish spreads that involve hours of effort and energy, or popping a frozen dish into the microwave — grocery stores like Trader Joe’s bring you one step closer to home.   

For entrees

Turkey Pot Pie or Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast 

Boxes of food are laid on a layer of a shelf. There is a tag in front of the center box that reads “TURKEY POTPIE dollar symbol 6.99” in all caps. Under the text is a list of ingredients. There is a photo of a turkey potpie on the box.
(Anna Prenowitz for WSN)

For a quick turkey option, Trader Joe’s Turkey Pot Pie is a tried and tested recommendation. Pop it into the microwave for a few minutes, then serve. A flaky, golden crust meshed into turkey meat with a creamy white sauce base makes for a comforting meal. Mama Raye recommends adding Trader Joe’s sage, thyme and rosemary mix to your spread — whether you serve meat or go vegan with the Breaded Turkey-Less Roast, made with a stuffing of onions and celery topped with gravy. She also recommends pairing the vegan turkey with their creamy and multi-layered scallopini potatoes and sautéed carrots. 

Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix ($5.99)

A photo of a shelf labeled “Cornbread Stuffing Mix dollar symbol 4.49,” with seven boxes of cornbread stuffing mix and seven containers of grated parmesan cheese on top.
(Anna Prenowitz for WSN)

Dried cranberries, bits of apple, and tons of rosemary and sage bring this aromatic pre-made stuffing to life. Add some gravy or cranberry sauce to truly make the flavors pop, and enjoy this stuffing as more than just a side dish. A simple and efficient option, this stuffing is perfect for . those who prefer to eat sooner rather than later. 

For sides

Trader Joe’s Organic Cranberry Sauce ($3.99)

Several jars of red cranberry sauce stacked on a layer of a shelf with a tag that reads “Cranberry Sauce dollar symbol 3.49” in front of the jars.
(Anna Prenowitz for WSN)

A Thanksgiving hallmark, Trader Joe’s cranberry sauce is a thick, rich sweet relish that is an absolute delight. One can pair the sauce with multiple dishes — as a glaze for turkey or as a topping with apple pie and vanilla ice cream are two of my favorites. Couple this with Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix, and the amalgamation of savory and sweet will overwhelm your senses. Raye suggests making a fruit medley with Trader Joe’s mixed fruit options and propping it up with a cheese board. Accompanying this sauce with Trader Joe’s blueberry and cranberry chêvre, and Rosettes semi-soft cheese? Chef’s kiss.

For dessert

Apple-Pumpkin Pie Tart ($4.49)

A photo of a shelf tabled “Apple Pumpkin Hand Pies dollar symbol 4.49” with six boxes of Apple Pie on top.
(Anna Prenowitz for WSN)

A Kosher dessert option, the Apple-Pumpkin Pie Tart is a lovely concoction of flaky pastry, pumpkin purée, blends of cinnamon and apples. A certified hit, my friends and I devoured this pastry in less than two minutes as we topped the confectionary with cranberry sauce. If you’re not a major pumpkin or apple aficionado, there’s always Trader Joe’s Key Lime Pie. Perfectly sweet and tart, it’s the unconventional but succulent dessert to bring to the table. 

Contact Sara Sharma at [email protected]