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The $2.99 Trader Joe’s Find We Keep in the Fridge for When We’re Hangry

May 31, 2023

The trick is to store it in the fridge.

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Sarah Crowder / Ciara Kehoe

If you had to choose a meal that best reflects you as a person, what would it be? Ours is a Mediterranean platter, because there's variety and a touch of spice, and even though it looks chaotic, all the components work well together. (Oof! That's deep.) On the platter, you’d find falafel, rice, Greek salad, tabbouleh, hummus, Israeli salad, pickles, olives, zhoug, tahini, and our favorite: dolmas, stuffed grape leaves. (Dolmas are as diverse as they are beloved—the leaves and filling change depending on the region they come from.)

The best, most consistently delicious dolmas we’ve ever had are from Trader Joe's. (Caveat: We’ve never had homemade dolmas, but we’ve had many from restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, etc. and none compare to Trader Joe's.)

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration By Sarah Crowder

You can find TJ's Dolmas Vine Leaves Stuffed With Rice in the canned foods aisle, usually somewhere between the canned chickpeas and the jarred marinated artichokes. For $2.99 you’ll get a small white tin that holds 10 dolmas, the right amount for when you need a quick snack. TJ's also carries quinoa-stuffed dolmas in a blue can. The one we recommend is stuffed with rice.

Why are these dolmas elite? They are soft and flavorful—we’ve had too many hard, dry, mushy, or bland ones. The ingredients include aromatics like onion, dill, spearmint, and black pepper. The Mediterranean flavors are pronounced yet well-rounded.

As experienced dolma eaters, we can tell you that the key to maximizing enjoyment is to store the dolmas in the fridge, even before opening the container. While homemade dolmas or ones filled with meat, might be better served warmed, Trader Joe's dolmas are delicious cold. Eat them straight from the can and say "Mmmm!" after you sink into your first bite.

We drizzle them with tahini and red wine vinegar and eat them just like that! If you have some time on your hands, they’re also delicious dipped in homemade tzatziki.

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

While they’re a great snack, we also add them to meals. Here are some ideas:

Easy Greek Salad

Mediterranean Chickpea Bowls

Quinoa Greek Salad

Kale and Farro Salad

Crispy Tofu Bowls

For $2.99 you’ll get a small white tin that holds 10 dolmas