This story is part of Junk Food, Redefined, our new collection of snack recommendations, recipes, and perspectives that celebrate an undervalued food group. Read all the stories here.
Sure, Trader Joe’s sells shrink-wrapped heads of broccoli, but this so-called “grocery store” is really a paradise of snacks. Next to the broccoli, notice the cutely packaged prerinsed and trimmed baby broccoli. That’s snack broccoli! You know you’re in professional snacking territory when even the produce is packaged as a snack. The most wonderful, joy-filled food group.
In honor of BA’s junk food package, I’ve toiled in the salty recesses of my memory to collect the absolute greatest-of-all-time Trader Joe’s snacks, based on my four years of experience tasting and reviewing near every damn thing sold at that store. (As a side note: I’ve been overthinking the term “junk food” ever since I wrote this piece on diets, and I don’t want to suggest you eat these snacks full of guilt in a dark corner of your house. Snacks are snacks. You eat them for fun. You’re allowed to do that!) Anyway, chill out and open a bag of Saddle Potato Crisps and see if you agree on my list below. If you don’t, eat your way through that grocery store and make your own list!
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
I asked my wide network of Trader Joe Heads what TJ’s greatest snack was and the peanut-butter-filled pretzels were the most mentioned, by far. They’ve been around forever. They’re salty and crunchy and yield to pasty sweet peanut butter. You can’t top that textural experience. Also: They’re bite-size. HOWEVER, I’m more fond of the newer almond-butter-filled pretzel nuggets, which are a little bigger, with a greater pretzel-to-almond butter ratio. Check them out too.