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28 Brilliant Trader Joe's Meals That Call For Just Four Ingredients (But Taste Way Fancier)

You're going to want to save this for your next trip.

Ryan Pattie

Cooking an easy and delicious dinner at home doesn't have to be a stressful thing. That's especially true if you live anywhere near a Trader Joe's. It's my absolute favorite grocery store, and I've basically memorized (and fully ranked) the aisles at this point.

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

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So I wanted to share some of the four-ingredient Trader Joe's recipes and meals I buy and make all the time. They're all super customizable, so feel to use them as inspiration and get creative with the ingredients you like best. 🍳

And if you have a favorite four-ingredient meal combo — at Trader Joe's or elsewhere — share in the comments!

1. Shortcut Fish Tacos

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Ingredients: Lightly breaded fish sticks + corn tortillas + southwestern chopped salad + avocado

How to make it: Heat up fish sticks according to package directions (or better yet, in the air fryer if you have one!). Toss the salad kit with the dressing in a bowl. Heat tortillas on the stovetop until slightly charred. Place a scoop of southwestern salad on top of each tortilla, then top with fish sticks and sliced avocado.

TJ's Tip: As you browse the aisles of Trader Joe's, you'll find unlimited possibilities for delicious tacos. Instead of fish sticks, you could also try coconut shrimp, pre-cooked carnitas, soyrizo, or even ground turkey. Just pair your protein with this southwestern salad kit, which includes a spicy avocado dressing perfect for garnishing your tacos.

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2. Loaded Falafel Pitas

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Falafel mix + pita bread + hummus dip + cauliflower tabouleh

How to make it: Add water to the falafel mix, shape into falafel balls, and bake according to package directions. Heat up pita bread and fill with a big scoop of hummus, several falafel balls, and cauliflower tabouleh on top.

TJ's Tip: Get creative with your falafel toppings! Try sliced pickles, cabbage, chopped tomato and cucumber, sliced beets, and more. Not a huge fan of hummus? Swap it for tahini, tzatziki, or eggplant spread.

3. Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich

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Ingredients: Green jackfruit in brine + Carolina gold barbecue sauce + coleslaw kit + hamburger buns

How to make it: In a skillet, sauté the jackfruit with barbecue sauce for about 25 minutes, until it's tender and easily shreds. Mix the coleslaw with the creamy dressing (included). Toast the burger buns and top with a scoop of coleslaw and jackfruit.

TJ's Tip: If you're not big on jackfruit and you eat meat, Trader Joe's sells fully cooked pulled pork. Or top these buns with ground beef simmered in barbecue sauce.

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4. Shrimp Fettuccini Al Limone

@whitneylovestraderjoes / Via instagram.com

Ingredients: Frozen fully cooked shrimp + spaghetti + limone alfredo sauce + Parmesan cheese

How to make it: Thaw shrimp in the fridge or under cool water. Cook the shrimp in olive oil, salt, and pepper in a skillet until pink. Make spaghetti (or your favorite pasta) according to package directions. Toss the pasta and shrimp with limone alfredo sauce until warm throughout.

TJ's Tip: If you want to cut back on carbs, Trader Joe's has so many pasta alternatives you can try from spaghetti squash to cauliflower gnocchi and hearts of palm pasta. And of course, if you don't eat seafood, you can easily try making this meal with shredded chicken or a vegetable like broccoli or asparagus.

5. Potato, Soyrizo, and Egg Hash

@tryderjoes via Instagram / Via instagram.com

Ingredients: Roasted potatoes with peppers and onions + eggs + Soyrizo + shredded cheddar cheese

How to make it: Heat up the frozen potatoes in a skillet. Make little nests in the potato hash and crack eggs into the pockets. Cover with a lid until the yolks are set and the whites are opaque. Sprinkle with your favorite shredded cheese and continue cooking until melted.

TJ's Tip: You can also swap the roasted potatoes for shredded hash browns or creamed greens to make a delicious base for baked or fried eggs.

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6. Teriyaki Chicken and Sesame Crunch Salad

@traderjoescravings / Via instagram.com

Ingredients: White rice + Sesame teriyaki chicken wing section + sesame crunch chopped salad kit + green onion

How to make it: Just cook rice (fresh or frozen) according to the package directions and dress the sesame crunch salad kit. Cook the sesame wings in the oven according to package directions and once cooked, combine everything on a plate to serve.

TJ's Tip: You can add pretty much anything to this base of rice and sesame crunch salad and it will taste delicious. In addition to the sesame wings, I love baking some simple salmon for protein.

7. Meatless Pasta Bolognese

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Ingredients: Vegan Bolognese sauce + meatless meatballs + pasta + green vegetable foursome

How to make it: Cook the pasta and set aside. Thaw the frozen vegetables in a skillet and cook the meatballs according to package directions. Once everything is cooked, toss it in a sauce pan with the meatless Bolognese and serve.

TJ's Tip: Whether you're vegan or just cutting back on meat, there are so many plant-based options at Trader Joe's. If you can't find this jarred meatless Bolognese sauce, grab a package of beef-less ground beef and your favorite tomato sauce to make your own.

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8. Korean Short Rib Bowls

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Ingredients: Korean style beef short ribs + shredded cabbage and carrots + Brown jasmine rice + Jalapeño sauce

How to make it: Cook the rice (fresh or frozen) and heat up the short ribs according to package directions. Place short ribs and cabbage over rice and drizzle with the jalapeño sauce.

TJ's Tip: Spend a little time looking through the condiments and sauces at Trader Joe's and you can take this meal a hundred different ways. Instead of jalapeño sauce, try the honey aleppo sauce, Soyaki sauce, or sweet Thai chili sauce. You can also swap the shredded cabbage for another vegetable all together.

9. Whole Roasted Middle Eastern-Inspired Cauliflower

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Cauliflower + za'atar seasoning blend + herbed tahini sauce + dry toasted pine nuts

How to make it: Coat the head of cauliflower in za'atar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in the oven at 375°F for about an hour or until the cauliflower is fork tender. Drizzle the cauliflower with tahini and pine nuts, slice, and serve.

TJ's Tip: Once you have a head of cauliflower and some olive oil, you can get creative with different spices and toppings. Roasted in the oven, the cauliflower gets seriously tender until it basically melts in your mouth. Try serving it with pesto, dukkah, or soffrito seasoning for starters.

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10. Pesto Salmon With Couscous and Burst Tomatoes

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: BBQ cut salmon fillets + cherry tomatoes + couscous + kale, cashew, and basil pesto

How to make it: Cook the couscous according to package directions. Coat the salmon fillets in pesto. Toss the tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lay them on a baking sheet with the salmon. Roast roast in the oven at 425°F for about 10–12 minutes until cooked through. Let the tomatoes cook for a bit longer until juicy and bursting. Serve the salmon and tomatoes over couscous.

TJ's Tip: Not a huge fan of salmon? You can use this same preparation with anything from shrimp or chicken to flank steak. Grab your favorite protein and try it for yourself.

11. Baked Greek Shrimp and Orzo

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Ingredients: Orzo + Feta, pepper drop, and olive antipasto + large cooked shrimp + diced + fire roasted tomatoes

How to make it: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cook the orzo according to package directions and thaw the shrimp. Place the cooked orzo in a baking dish and top with fire roasted tomatoes, antipasto mixture, and shrimp. Stir to combine. Sprinkle some feta from the antipasto mix on top. Bake for about 10 minutes until warm throughout, the shrimp is pink and opaque, and the cheese is melted.

TJ's Tip: You can try this same recipe with salmon or any of Trader Joe's frozen fish (like the branzino fillets) for a complete Greek-inspired meal. For an extra cheesy meal, replace the antipasto mix for a big block of feta cheese.

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12. Shortcut Chicken Milanese

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Breaded chicken tenderloin breasts + arugula + shaved Parmesan cheese + capers

How to make it: Cook the frozen breaded chicken according to package directions. Top with a simple arugula salad drizzled with olive oil, drained capers, and a serving of shaved Parmesan.

TJ's Tip: T.J's frozen breaded chicken breasts are an amazing shortcut for so many restaurant-quality meals. Another idea: shortcut chicken Parmesan. Layer breaded chicken in a baking dish with tomato sauce and mozzarella and bake until golden brown and melty. Top with fresh basil and voilà.

13. Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops With Corn Bruschetta

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Ingredients: Fresh sea scallops + sliced Prosciutto + sweet corn + Bruschetta sauce

How to make it: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap the scallops in sliced prosciutto. Place seam-side down in a baking dish that has been coated in butter or oil. Bake for about 15 minutes until scallops are cooked through. Meanwhile, boil the corn. Once cooled, remove from the cob and mix with the bruschetta sauce. Serve the prosciutto-wrapped scallops over the tomato and corn bruschetta mixture.

TJ's Tip: If you're worried about the fridge-life of fresh scallops, Trader Joe's also sells frozen scallops (along with a handful of other frozen shellfish and fish fillets) perfect for an elevated yet easy meal. If you don't want to deal with boiling corn on the cob, grab a bag of frozen corn...or for an extra pop of flavor, opt for the Mexican-style roasted corn with cotija cheese.

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14. Mexican-Style Riced Cauliflower Bowls With Fried Egg

@tjeatsntreats / Via instagram.com

Ingredients: Spicy Mexican-style riced cauliflower + shredded cheese + egg + cilantro

How to make it: Heat up the Mexican-style riced cauliflower in a skillet according to package directions. Add your favorite melted cheese and continue cooking until the cheese is melted. Transfer to a bowl. In the same skillet, fry an egg or two until crispy. Top the cauliflower rice with the fried eggs and fresh cilantro.

TJ's Tip: Want more protein? Add anything from ground beef, fully cooked pork belly, or shrimp to the cauliflower rice for a more filling meal. If you prefer saucier rice, add a scoop of your favorite salsa or a drizzle of hot sauce.

15. Lazy Eggplant Parmesan

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Eggplant + San Marzano peeled tomatoes + Italian breadcrumbs + Mozzarella cheese log

How to make it: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Slice the eggplant into rounds, coat with salt and pepper, toss with olive oil, and place at the bottom of a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. While the eggplant roasts, simmer the tomatoes in a pot with salt and pepper for about 20 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven and top with the tomato sauce and a log of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle everything with the bread crumbs and continue baking for about five more minutes until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden.

TJ's Tip: Not a huge fan of eggplant? Try a similar recipe with a head of cauliflower — sliced into thick slices and baked into cauliflower Parmesan. Or make Caprese spaghetti squash: slice and roast a spaghetti squash, pull out the strands, mix them with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and bread crumbs, then stuff everything back into the spaghetti squash boat to bake.

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16. Tortellini and Chicken Sausage alla Vodka

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Italian four cheese tortellini + vodka sauce + sun-dried tomato chicken sausage + broccoli florets

How to make it: Boil the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, pan-sear the chicken sausage until warm throughout and sauté the broccoli in olive oil until tender. Combine the sliced chicken sausage, tortellini, and broccoli and toss with pasta sauce.

TJ's Tip: Trader Joe's fresh pasta aisle is a wonderland. You'll find all sorts of stuffed pasta filled with everything from ricotta to lobster. Grab the tortellini or ravioli that speaks to you and cook it with your favorite pasta sauce, a vegetable and/or protein, and some cheese.

17. Spicy Gyoza Soup With Bok Choy

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Ingredients: Shrimp gyoza + miso ginger broth + baby bok choy + chili onion crunch

How to make it: Steam or boil the bok choy and heat up the gyoza according to package directions. Set aside. Heat the miso ginger broth in a pot or in the microwave. Add the gyoza and the sliced bok choy, then drizzle with chili onion crunch to taste.

TJ's Tip: T.J.'s frozen aisle has a ton of great Asian-inspired ingredients to add to this fragrant miso ginger broth. There are different gyoza, wontons, and dumplings filled with everything from veggies to chicken. My favorite soup addition of all is the frozen tempura shrimp.

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18. Four-Ingredient Carbonara

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Egg fettuccine pasta + uncured pancetta + Parmesan cheese + egg

How to make it: Cook the pasta according to package directions. In a skillet, cook the pancetta. Make a pasta sauce by beating grated Parmesan with egg yolk. Combine the cooked pasta and pancetta in a skillet and top with the cheesy egg yolk sauce. Stir to combine, then plate and garnish with more Parmesan.

TJ's Tip: Try this same recipe with cauliflower gnocchi or cheese-filled tortellini to make it even richer. Or if you really don't feel like cooking, pick up a bag of frozen cacio e pepe, then add bacon or pancetta with some more Parmesan cheese. The final result tastes equally as decadent.

19. Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta With Veggies

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Organic polenta + cherry tomatoes + baby Bella mushrooms + goat cheese

How to make it: Sauté the vegetables in olive oil until the mushrooms are tender and the tomatoes are bursting and jammy. Cook the polenta according to the package directions. Top with goat cheese and continue cooking until creamy and melted, then top with sautéed vegetables.

TJ's Tip: Pre-cooked polenta is such a versatile base for a filling meal. Top it with T.J's canned Bolognese sauce and Parmesan cheese or go a different route with pesto and lots of roasted spring veggies.

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20. Red Curry Tofu and Vegetables

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Ingredients: Firm tofu + Asian style vegetable stir fry + Thai style red curry sauce + coconut milk

How to make it: Add Thai-style red curry sauce and coconut milk to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the vegetables and cubes of firm tofu and cook until tender.

TJ's Tip: Trader Joe's has a bunch of different simmer sauces from tikka masala to green curry. Combine your favorite curry with coconut milk, your go-to protein, and whatever veggies you have on hand for a home-cooked meal that rivals takeout. Serve it with rice or naan for a filling dinner.

21. Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Stir-Fry

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Ingredients: Asian-style chicken sausage + General Tsao stir-fry sauce + cauliflower stir fry + stir-fry vegetables

How to make it: Cook the cauliflower stir fry according to package directions. And the additional stir-fry vegetables to the cauliflower rice and cook until warm. In another skillet, slice and cook the Asian-style chicken sausage. Add the chicken sausage to the cauliflower rice and season with General Tsao stir fry sauce.

TJ's Tip: T.J's frozen aisle is basically built for stir-fries. There are so many different ingredients you can throw together for a delicious dinner. If you don't love cauliflower rice, grab a bag of Japanese-style fried rice or even chimichurri rice. Add in anything from frozen tempura cauliflower to honey walnut shrimp or bacon and top it all off with your favorite frozen vegetable medley or an egg.

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22. Chickpea and Feta Shakshuka

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Ingredients: Shakshuka starter + eggs + garbanzo beans + Feta cheese

How to make it: Head the shakshuka starter in a skillet according to package directions. Bring to a simmer and add the garbanzo beans. Make little nests in the shakshuka starter and crack eggs into them. Cover the skillet with a lid and continue cooking until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your desired doneness. Top with crumbled feta cheese.

TJ's Tip: Prefer green shakshuka? Try using Trader Joe's frozen creamed greens with shaved Brussels sprouts and kale as a base. And if you don't love the chickpeas in this meal, jazz up your shakshuka with white beans, jalapeño, avocado, or soyrizo.

23. Harissa Chicken and Cauliflower Rice Bowls

@daliciousdish via Instagram / Via instagram.com

Ingredients: Harissa chicken thighs + riced cauliflower + cucumber + tzatziki

How to make it: Bake the pre-marinated harissa chicken thighs according to package directions. Sauté the riced cauliflower (fresh or frozen) in some olive oil in a skillet. Serve the harissa chicken over the cauliflower rice topped with sliced cucumber and tzatziki.

TJ's Tip: T.J's has a handful of pre-marinated meats that take virtually all the stress out of cooking. The shawarma chicken thighs are one of my favorites, and they taste delicious with a scoop or hummus or tahini over rice, naan, pita, or even the Mediterranean salad kit.

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24. Brown Rice Bowls with Miso Vegetables & Shrimp

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Ingredients: Miso vegetable and brown rice sauté kit + frozen shrimp + scallions + bell pepper

How to make it: Sauté the miso vegetables and brown rice according to package directions. Cook the shrimp and the bell pepper in olive oil, then combine with the veggie/rice blend. Toss everything in the miso sauce and top with sliced scallions.

TJ's Tip: In addition to this miso veggie and brown rice salad kit, I particularly love the miso vegetables and soba, the buffalo ranch chopped salad, and the pesto pasta veggie sauté kit. The dressing is already included in each, so just add your favorite protein like baked salmon, sautéd shrimp, or grilled chicken.

25. Pollo Asada Taco Bowls

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Brown rice + corn and chile tomato-less salsa + pollo asado autentico + Cuban-style black beans

How to make it: Heat up the rice in the microwave and cook the pollo asado according to package directions. Plate the chicken on top of the rice, then top with scoops of black beans and corn and chile salsa.

TJ's Tip: When it comes to taco and burrito bowls, there are so many ways to put together your perfect combination with quick and easy T.J's ingredients. Start with rice, riced cauliflower, quinoa, or even a taco salad kit, then load your bowl with your favorite protein like ground chicken, flank steak, Sriacha tofu, etc...and top it all off with canned beans (refried, pinto beans, black beans) and a your favorite salsa.

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26. Spinach Artichoke Pasta With Chicken

Hannah Loewentheil/BuzzFeed

Ingredients: Chicken breast + chopped spinach + creamy spinach & artichoke dip + pasta

How to make it: Heat up the frozen spinach artichoke dip according to package directions, boil the pasta, and thaw the chopped spinach. Cook the chicken and shred or dice the meat. Toss together the spinach, chicken, and the pasta and mix it in all in the warm spinach artichoke dip.

TJ's Tip: Keep a package of frozen spinach and artichoke dip on hand for lazy meals. Smothered on your favorite pasta and/or protein (shrimp, salmon, scallops, pork chops, etc.) It's great for an easy and decadent meal in a hurry.

27. Sweet Corn Burrata Ravioli

@tryderjoes / Via instagram.com

Ingredients: Sweet corn, burrata, and basil ravioli + cherry tomatoes + frozen roast corn + zucchini

How to make it: Boil the ravioli and set aside. Sauté tomatoes and zucchini in olive oil until the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are soft and jammy. Add frozen corn to the skillet and cook until warm. Toss the vegetables with the cooked ravioli and serve.

TJ's Tip: Keep an eye out for Trader Joe's seasonal raviolis and you'll find pasta stuffed with things like lobster meat, caprese tomatoes and mozzarella, and even cacio e pepe. Paired with your favorite pasta sauce, it's basically a restaurant-quality meal in 15 minutes.

28. Bulgogi Beef Fried Rice and Kimchi Bowls

@eat_drink_and_pat_pups via Instagram / Via instagram.com

Ingredients: Bulgogi beef fried rice + eggs + green onion + kimchi

How to make it: Prepare the bulgogi beef fried rice according to the package directions. Top it with a fried egg, plenty of kimchi, and chopped scallions.

TJ's Tip: If you find this frozen fried rice a bit skimpy on the protein, bulk it up with something like ground beef, fully cooked pork belly, or frozen Korean-style short ribs.

Do you have a favorite four-ingredient Trader Joe's meal? Tell me in the comments below!

Spring is here!

This season, we have tons of easy and delicious favorites to share.

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