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Book Review: Livin’ Lean with Trader Joe’s


It is hard to explain to others, when they don’t live near a Trader Joe’s store, just why the stores are so addictive. They are like crack to a foodie. So much. Food. The candy and cookie aisles require blinders on to avoid temptation. Considering that I can eat 99% of what is sold there, it is hard temptation (TJ’s doesn’t use artificial coloring in their branded products).

Now then, there is a light side, to help you eat well and still enjoy the bounty of what TJ’s sells: Livin’ Lean with Trader Joe’s. Authored by Jamie Davidson, M.S. of Healthy Trader Joe’s, she takes the store basics – the high-quality pantry staples, and incorporates them into meals that are easy to make, and tasty as well. While the book uses products from across the store, including meat and dairy, it has quite a few vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free recipes. And I found out something I didn’t know: the reduced fat mayonnaise is accidentally vegan. Normally I buy organic, short ingredient mayo…but what, egg free mayo? That Alistaire could have? Without any artificial coloring? How had I missed that in years of shopping there? So I did my monthly TJ’s visit with this in mind. An eggless egg salad filling: plant-based diet, vegan, gluten-free and my littlest could eat it!

PS: Jamie gives descriptions of the TJ ingredients so you can still make these recipes even without a Trader Joe’s nearby! Although I’d cry often if I wasn’t able to shop there! Where else would I find artificially colored free pickle relish? Dark chocolate syrup for mochas? Frozen Dim Sum? Oh, I’d be sad!


This recipe is vegan, gluten-free as a filling and is easily adaptable to what one has on hand. Add the relish and mustard to taste (I used more than called for).

Eggless Egg Salad (As adapted from page 62)


  • 1 (14 to 16 ounce) container Trader Joe’s Organic firm or extra firm tofu
  • ½ cup Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (used ¾ cup)
  • 2 red (used green) bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely
  • 4 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, chopped finely
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely shredded
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp pickle relish (used 2 Tbsp)
  • 1½ tsp yellow or Dijon mustard (used 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 tsp dried dill weed
  • Ground black pepper and sea salt to taste


Open tofu, drain off any liquid. Finely crumble into a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients, pour over tofu and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate for the flavors to meld together, taste for salt before serving.

Delicious on a hearty bread. Makes enough to fill 4 sandwiches.

FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy.

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