This $2.49 Trader Joe’s Pantry Item Brings Southern Italian Flair to All Our Meals|Recipes Spots

  • on August 16, 2023
This $2.49 Trader Joe’s Pantry Item Brings Southern Italian Flair to All Our Meals

Trader Joe's Store Front
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Ciara Kehoe

Sun-dried tomatoes remind us of carefree summer days and for that, they hold a special place in our hearts. We once watched our neighbor’s sweet, elderly nanny carefully line up plump red tomatoes on their back deck on a particularly sunny day. She matter-of-factly told us that she was “making sun-dried tomatoes” and we giggled, thinking there was no way they would magically shrivel and turn into the jarred tomatoes we knew of.

Since then we’ve learned that Missy was spot on about the natural sun-drying process! In southern Italy, it’s common for Italians to place ripe, garden tomatoes on their rooftops to dry out in the sweltering sun. The rich, tangy, and textured tomatoes are a staple of southern Italian cuisine. 

What Sets Trader Joe’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes Apart

Being Italian (and appreciating the cuisine wholeheartedly), we love the bright, intense flavor of sun-dried tomatoes. However, we often avoid the ones packed in oil because they’re messy to work with and often have unnecessary ingredients.

Not the Trader Joe’s variety! For $2.49, you can get a 3-ounce pack of completely dried, julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes.

As soon as we saw these on the shelves, we snagged multiple bags. For an entire week, we tossed them into almost every meal—Mediterranean quinoa salad, creamy zucchini pasta, take-out pizza, and stir-fried vegetables.

The mildly sweet tomato flavor is uninterrupted by oils and herbs and the texture is chewier, which we enjoy. The pre-cut, thinly sliced dried tomatoes require zero preparation and are conveniently stored in a resealable zip-top bag.

Bag of Sundried Tomatoes on a Background With Fun Illustrations
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustrations by Wanda Abraham / Trader Joe’s

Our Favorite Ways to Use Trader Joe’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • Creamy pasta dishes: Our favorite combination for creamy pasta dishes is lemon, fresh basil, and sun-dried tomatoes. The punchy flavor of TJ Sun-Dried tomatoes cuts through the rich, cashew cream-based sauces we love.
  • Salads of all kinds: We’ve been on a major pasta salad kick where we add oven-roasted zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes—so good! We also throw the tomatoes onto hearty salads with kale, arugula, farro, and a creamy tahini dressing.
  • Sandwiches: Italian subs are something we crave on a weekly basis and the addition of thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes takes it up a notch. They’re also delicious on grilled cheese.
  • Breakfast frittatas and scrambles: We love a savory breakfast and can’t resist tossing the sun-dried tomatoes into our tofu scrambles and chickpea flour frittatas. 
  • Soups and skillets: Simmered in soups, the tomatoes absorb flavor and soften in texture. They’re the perfect addition to our Italian greens and beans cooked down with garlic, lemon, and Parmesan cheese.
Article Categories:
Dishes · Pizza · Salad · Sandwiches · Soups

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