A&E’s guide to Trader Joe’s snacks

Yes, there’s cookie butter involved.

The Minnesota Daily rated the best products from Trader Joes for students. A new Trader Joes will open on South Washington Avenue on July 20.

Tony Saunders

The Minnesota Daily rated the best products from Trader Joes for students. A new Trader Joes will open on South Washington Avenue on July 20.

Maddy Folstein

The recently-opened Fresh Thyme near campus has found competition in downtown Minneapolis — a brand new Trader Joe’s, opening this Friday. Located a couple blocks away from the Guthrie Theater and a short walk from both a Metro bus stop and the Green Line, the new store is sure to attract crowds. 

So, if you’re heading to the store on Washington Avenue this weekend, come armed with a list. Here’s A&E’s roundup of suggestions for any snacking occasion you might face in the coming months:

Best portable form of cookie butter: Cookie butter sandwich cookies

Trader Joe’s has turned this decadent spread into chocolate bars, ice cream and cheesecake. This version of the treat is sandwiched between two buttery cookies, perfect for grabbing on your way out the door. No knife required. 

Best affordable vegan dinner: Green jackfruit in brine and BBQ sauce of your choice

The Twin Cities are home to plenty of vegan restaurants, stores and even a butcher. But these options can run pricey. Instead, you can pick up a can of jackfruit for around $2 and make a vegan version of pulled pork or chicken. Just cook with your favorite Trader Joe’s barbecue sauce — we chose the organic brown sugar BBQ sauce and marinade. 

Best at-home cold brew: Coconut cold brew concentrate

Whether you’re still mourning the loss of Espresso Royale and Espresso Exposé on campus or you’re trying to cut back on your daily Starbucks run on the way to work, cold brew concentrates are the way to go. Mix one part concentrate with two parts water or milk, and pour over ice. 

Best breakfast on-the-go if you have an 8 a.m.: Greek yogurt with trail mix

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but — if you find yourself jumping out of bed 15 minutes before your 8 a.m. lecture on West Bank — it can also be the trickiest. We like the strawberry vanilla yogurt; it has a resealable lid, making it extra-portable if you need to finish it on a Campus Connector ride. Top it off with a sprinkle of granola — we like the individually packaged “Handful of Breakfast” trek mix. 

Best treat to bring to a group project meeting: Gluten free chocolate chip brownie mix

Something for everyone, whether they’re gluten-free, vegan or simply in love with chocolate. Just use your favorite vegan egg substitute and use unrefined coconut oil for a subtle, coconut-y flavor. 

Best snack to serve for your roommates: Mini chicken tacos

Though you could probably polish off an entire plate on your own, this frozen snack is a great sharing option if you live with a few friends. Serve with an open jar of Trader Joe’s salsa; the salsa verde is always excellent. 

Best lunch to keep in the freezer at work: Chicken tikka masala 

Be sure to write your name on this one; it will get stolen from the freezer at work otherwise. The Trader Joe’s chicken tikka masala takes less than four minutes to make but still tastes decadent. You’ll be looking forward to lunch all day. 

Cheapest weeknight comfort food meal: Macaroni and cheese (with Wisconsin cheddar!)

Cheap and cheesy. There’s no need to resist boxed macaroni and cheese, especially when Wisconsin cheddar is involved.

Fastest route to an impressive mixed drink: Jalapeño limeade

Why bother with Crystal Light anymore? Thanks to a hint of jalapeño, this limeade is spicy, tangy and an easy way to take your average mixed drink to the next level. 

Easiest dish to impress your dinner date: Asparagus risotto

Way less stirring required here! Serve this easy risotto alongside chicken and vegetables, and you’ll have the taste of the Loring Bar and Restaurant without the bill at the end of the night. Just make sure to throw away the freezer bag before your date comes over.

Best treat for the green line ride back to campus: Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

A perennial Trader Joe’s favorite. Grab the small package of these for the ride home to split with your roommates, and throw the rest in your freezer for a frozen dessert later.