How To Cook Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma

Let’s start with your Shopping List. It should include:

  • package of TJ’s Chicken Shawarma Thighs
  • Naan (frozen or fresh, or pita or flour tortillas)
  • Tzatziki Sauce (cucumber yogurt)
  • Onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, parsley or cilantro…
  • Zhoug Sauce (optional, or your favorite hot sauce)

Now there are a number of ways you can cook the chicken thighs. Seared in a pan, baked in the oven and I’ve even read some people cook these in an Air Fryer. Do not even think about Microwaving the chicken. It needs to brown.

My simple preferred way is grilling in a pan. I do it in a cast iron pan but if you don’t have one of these handy babies, any heavy non stick pan will do just fine. Sure cooking it on an outdoor grill would be great if you have one. If you want to bake them, put them on a sheet pan with foil under for easier cleanup and bake them at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

First of course, remove the thighs from the package. Carefully as this is a bit messy (and stain-y)! You probably want to use a fork or tongs and not your fingers to remove the chicken unless your want to have orange fingers as the marinade contains both turmeric (yellow) and anatto (red) both of which are super natural dyes. Put the thighs on a cutting board. It may stain that but you can clean it up later with diluted bleach.

I like to put a few shallow slashes in the thickest parts of the thighs to open them up a bit and make them cook more evenly. You can pat some of the wet marinade off with a paper towel if you like. What I actually do is sprinkle on more seasonings before I put them in the pan. Ground cumin and Ajika seasoning blend or Smoked Paprika . These spices will help it to brown better but this is optional. If you are cooking the chicken with a few veggies (onions, etc) which I do recommended, prep and slice them. I highly recommend at least adding a few cloves of fresh garlic during cooking. You will add the veggies about 1/2 way during the cooking. Get your pan on medium heat and add your oil/butter mix, say a good tablespoon of oil plus one of butter too. Wait till it’s sizzling and now add the chicken to the pan. Resist any urge to touch or move the chicken for at least 5 minutes. We want to get a good sear on the bottom. Cook until the bottom side is well browned, which might take about 7-8 minutes for the first side.

When the bottoms is browned, flip it over. This is when I add my sliced onions, garlic and maybe some peppers (green, red or yellow peppers) placed around the chicken if you have room. If not you can cook them when you take out the chicken. When the thighs are finished after maybe 6-7 minutes on the second side, you can remove to a cutting board and let the chicken rest a few minutes, then slice them up as you wish. Put the sliced chicken back into the warm pan (off the heat) with any juices from the cutting board and mix it all up with your grilled veggies if you made some.

To assemble, warm up your wrap/bread : Naan, pita or tortillas. For a “Shawarma” sandwich put a little sauce down then add your chicken (and veggies) down the center of the naan (or pita) Top with sauce and a little chopped tomatoes and parsley. Eat them kind of like a taco, folded up.

Other ideas how to serve them? Besides doing some type of wrap, you could just just lay the chicken on top of a salad or eat with hummus, served with side dishes like basmati rice Harvest Grain Blend.


Seen at Trader Joe’s KOSHER SALT!

Why, you may wonder as I did when I saw this, is Trader Joe’s selling Diamond Crystal brand Kosher Salt? If you’ve watched any chef cook you probably know they frequently specify using Kosher salt which has a much bigger flake than regular sea salt and is therefore useful for seasoning and is the “go to” salt for most chef’s. What even is Kosher Salt?

I haven’t bought Kosher Salt for some time. When I saw this I got bit of sticker shock seeing how much Kosher Salt seems to be now! $9 for a 3 lb. box (or $3 a pound) Wow. By contrast Trader Joe’s sells their Sea Salt for about $1.70 for over 1 1/2 lbs.


I really liked this blueberry preserve Trader Joe’s has come out with, which uses wild organic blueberries from “the Canadian Boreal Forest“. It has a really delicious, intense flavor of wild blueberries. It’s very tasty though I found it a bit on the sweet side, borderline overly sweet. So what I did was I tamed the sweetness down easily by squeezing in about a 1/4 of a fresh lemon into the jar and mixed it in. The lemon juice did the trick to cut the sweetness and giving it some more acid. It made it even better and really improved the whole thing. So definitely I suggest don’t forget to buy a lemon when you pick this up. TIP: after adding your lemon juice cut a little piece of the lemon rind and throw that it too for extra lemony flavor. The Organic Wild Blueberry Preserve is $4.49 for a 17.5 oz jar. Not cheap but then it is Certified Organic and taste-wise I would say this stuff is certainly a Gourmet Level jam. Probably elsewhere (say Whole Paycheck?) a similar one would probably go for more like six or seven dollars. Try this on just about anything but I really think it would be heavenly on a slice of TJ’s Sliced Brioche bread, toasted with butter, spread with the blueberry preserves. Ditto on an English Muffin, toasted Crumpet or on your pancakes….

Trader Joe’s says: “Our supplier takes wild, organic blueberries, harvested from the Canadian Boreal Forest, and simmers them with organic cane sugar to complement their pleasantly tart and rich blueberry flavor.”

I would buy this again.


Here’s some of what Trader Joe’s has to say about this product:

“Each bowl of Trader Joe’s Vegan Pasta Bolognese comes with a bed of toothsome, tube-shaped pasta made from red lentils, which our supplier then tops with a ragu made with tomato, carrot, onion, and garlic, in addition to the previously mentioned mushrooms and wheat protein. All together, they create a supremely satisfying pasta dish that takes only a few minutes in the microwave to heat up, and provides an impressive amount of protein per one-bowl serving.”

Now while I’m not vegan on occasion I like to try out some vegan Trader Joe’s stuff to review here. I tried TJ’s frozen bowl of “Vegan Pasta Bolognese” which they say is a “meatless, plant based Bolognese style sauce with mushroom and red lentil pasta”. It’s in the Frozen section and its a microwavable dish. I wasn’t expecting this dish to taste like much so I was a little surprised when I found I actually liked it better than I had expected to. For one thing, I usually do not like any non-regular pasta. I once bought TJ’s pasta made from red lentils and didn’t like it at all, I found it gummy and yucky. But the pasta in this “Vegan Bolognese” tasted OK more or less like regular pasta and the texture was fine. The sauce of this vegan “Bolognese” sauce was pretty tasty and did kind of taste like a traditional (meat based) Bolognese. After tasting it by itself I then tried it with grated Parmesan. Yes no longer vegan, still I did find cheese added to the taste, so you’re call there if you are vegan. Overall two of us, not vegetarians, found this pasta bowl quite acceptable and tasty enough for anyone. Meatless Mondays? One bowl has an impressive 30 grams of Protein. It’s $3.49 so a pretty inexpensive lunch or dinner. “Contains Wheat”


This is a very nice new shape pasta on offer I saw at Trader Joe’s recently. I really like it. Its a ribbon shaped flat wide noodle like a thinner lasagna, cut into short (“corta”) pieces. The pasta has a ruffled edge, which hold sauces well. I made it with a homemade ragu bolognese style sauce and we both really liked it. Its a nice hardy noodle and will be great with almost any sauce you can think of. This is a nice organic bronze die cut semolina pasta, and a good buy for $1.99.TIP: It has a recommended cooking time of 8-9 minutes. I was making my pasta Italian style, meaning under-cooking it a bit then fishing it out of the water and putting it in a pan to cook with some sauce till its done (al dente). So I fished out the pasta before it was al dente, a minute or two under than so maybe at about the 6 minute mark (2 minutes under the recommended 8). The noodles went into a pan with a 1/2 ladle of the pasta cooking water (!) and I then added about 1 ladle of my sauce. I cooked that mixing it all the time for maybe 90 seconds, and adding another ladle of sauce. Turned off, then the pasta got plated. I put some additional sauce on top as well as some fresh grated Parmesan. This “Italian pasta cooking method” imbues the pasta with your sauce so it’s way better than just putting sauce on top of pasta which is how most people cook pasta in this country. I would gladly buy this again. I think the Malfada would be a great match for TJ’s frozen MUSHROOM MEDLEY.


You pretty much can’t go wrong with TJ’s PINEAPPLE SALSA. It’s one of Trader Joe’s best selling salsas and not for nothing. It hits all the right notes to make a good all around salsa. For one thing it’s not spicy. They say Mild to Medium (I say Mild) so this salsa is good for folks who say they don’t like it too spicy. Me I like spicy but I still like this too and can add something spicy to up the heat if I want. The Pineapple Salsa gets a nicely balanced subtle sweetness from pineapple blended into a tomato based salsa. The subtle sweetness adds a nice touch and counterbalances any spiciness. I add a few Sweet Hot Jalapeneno‘s on top if I want spicy. Another good thing about this is that it’s the cheapest salsa they sell as it’s only $1.99 and all the other ones cost more now. It has no preservatives and no artificial ingredients. Tasting wise, it was quite nice on tacos and quesadillas and some black bean burritos with cheese. You can use it for things other too. TJ’s says try it with cream cheese and crackers. Interesting. I would buy this again.


You may have heard of this super popular “recipe” if you can call it that, which is all over the internet. It makes a healthy snack or dessert. Basically there are actually two ingredients: chia seeds and almond milk (or whatever “milk” you want). Here ya go.


In a glass or small jar, put about 2 tablespoon of TJ’s chia seeds. Next add about 1/2 cup of any kind of milk beverage (like almond milk). Give it a little stir. There are no rules that you must use almond milk, just use whatever you like best. Me, I alternate all the time between OAT, ALMOND or SOY MILK depending on my mood. Option: Add a bit of honey or any of your preferred sweetener (agave, maple syrup) and stir that in. While optional it does add some flavor and if you have kids you must use something like that. All you do now is wait for it to thicken so put it in the fridge and let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least about 30-60 minutes but it sets up best if you let it sit for 8-12 hours or overnight. When ready to serve put some fruit on top, or even something crunchy like Granola.

Chia seed pudding is super easy to make and of course very healthy. Now there is no rule that you can’t have use more ingredients and include a few other things. I usually mix in some yogurt or kefir too with the oat milk and sometimes add a few dried fruits like dried cranberries in. Basically figure about 1/2 cup of liquid to about 2 tablespoon of the chia seeds. If that is too thick (or not thick enough) adjust with more or less chia seeds until you get the consistency you, or your kids, prefer. This is a great snack.

Trader Joe’s Everything But NUT DUO

Another item in Trader Joe’s beloved “Everything But The Bagel” line.

“Meaty almonds and cashes are tossed with poppy seeds, black and white sesame seeds and salt along with the flavors of garlic and onion for a nutty savory crunch”

These are dangerously good. Almonds and Cashews that have been seasoned with sesame seeds and tasty flavors. My wife especially is addicted to these nuts and if I’m lucky when I ask for some she may deign to put about 2 or 3 in my hand then tells me I should buy my own bag.

Trader Joe’s UGANDA RWENZORI Mountains Of The Moon Small Lot Coffee

Amazing stuff. I had read somewhere on the ‘Net that this Ugandan coffee was one of the best coffees Trader Joe’s has offered, so I told myself I had to check it out. I had seen it sitting in the NEW ITEMS shelf but I was done shopping so made a mental note to buy a bag the next day. Well when I went back, as luck would have it there were no more bags of it! My bad luck, it was sold out. Of course by their very nature “small lot” means these coffees come in a limited batch from small producers. Think a Limited Editions.

Fortunately it just so happened that my upstairs neighbor, another big TJ’s fan, happened to have gotten some of this coffee. Yeah! She offered me some so I could review it. After grinding it I had high hopes. It smelled fantastic. After brewing it wow was I impressed. I was almost surprised at just how good this coffee tasted. Not to mention this may be the first time I’d even tried a coffee from Uganda.

So I am sold. I definitely agreed with those who gave this high marks. This must be one of the best coffees I’ve tried from Trader Joe’s, period. The Mountains of the Moon UGANDA RWENZORI coffee is just a fantastic tasting coffee, which I found wonderfully balanced. To my taste buds its just perfect, hitting all right notes. Bold and robust but not over powering, it was both a little sweet and a little bitter, both smooth and robust, tasting surely like an “African” coffee a little ascertic and winy and yes even had those “notes of chocolate” describe on the bag. This is just terrific. Also TJ’s got it right that this is actually a “medium roast” as described (sometimes TJ’s roast descriptions are off). I loved this coffee and want more. I’m crossing my fingers we see it again (might be next harvest?) If by any chance you see it, do yourself a favor and grab a bag if you can. I have a feeling anyone who considers themselves a coffee lover is going to love this. If/when I see it again, I will be sure to stock up on a few bags. ($8.99 12 oz bag, whole bean)


Trader Giotto’s CHICKEN PICCATA in lemon caper sauce (heat and eat)

Trader Giotto’s (Trader Joe’s) CHICKEN PICCATASeasoned, breaded boneless chicken breasts in a lemon and caper sauce

“Our Chicken Picatta is made for us using a special family recipe. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are seasoned and breaded then baked in the oven until crispy. We then add a buttery, lemon and caper sauce to complete the dish. A timeless Italian American classic that tastes like you made it from scratch”

My neighbor wanted to see if this heat and eat Trader Joe’s chicken dish was worth buying for some night when she didn’t feel like cooking. So she got it to try out and invited me along for dinner. In short, we both thought it was good. In fact I was impressed at how good this actually was. It tasted almost “homemade” quality. Now I should note we did fix it up slightly just by adding a bit more lemon and capers, and that helped boost the flavor. To cook it we did Trader Joe’s “recommended method” of baking in the oven. I recommend doing this that way. As compared to just nuking it in the microwave, it will be better baked, as the chicken will crisp up a bit in the oven and when you add the sauce (at the end) it will reduce a bit and get a bit brown and bubbly. Both of these will make it taste better than if you just microwaved it. The chicken was not dry, it was tender and juicy and of course the sauce helps this. The sauce was tasty. It certainly was better with the flavor boost some more lemon juice and more chopped capers. If you add those it will really make this taste even better (maybe even a tablespoon of butter). There were about 2 large pieces and 2 small pieces of chicken breast in the box and it comes with a large package of the sauce. The Nutrition Facts on the box says this contains 3 portions, but in reality you may find it more like 2 portions. You do want to serve this with something on the side to make it into a meal, like some rice, potatoes or pasta. Maybe some crusty bread for mopping up that tasty lemon caper sauce? We ate this with a fast easy pasta with zucchini and garlic which matched perfectly with this dish. Trader Joe’s Chicken Piccata was quite tasty. It’s $8.99 (16 oz). Not frozen, this is in the refrigerated (fresh) section with other prepared dishes. I would buy this again.

If you want to be fancy add slices of lemon on top when you serve it.

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