Obviously TJ's is a lot more grad-student-budget-friendly, so it's my go-to store. TJ's does samples, but they don't just cut up a block of cheese and call it samples... they actually make something that requires multiple ingredients. Hear that, Costco? That's called up-selling. It's genius from a retail perspective and it's also quite inspiring to the home cook! Last week TJ's featured a summery vegetarian pasta salad that was so unexpected and creative that I had to recreate it. It's mayo/yogurt/creamy-free, so it's a good summer potluck bring-along. Also, it's a one bowl wonder and the flavors will knock your 1995 Cher Horowitz knee high socks off.
Italian Lentil Pasta Salad
Makes a HUGE bowl
1 lb fusilli pasta
16 oz tomato bruschetta (1 1/3 jars of TJ's brand)
12 oz part skim mozzarella, cubed (2/3 of TJ's block)
16 oz or 2 cups cooked lentils
1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
In a large bowl, combine lentils, bruschetta, and vinegar.
Dice cheese into 1/2" cubes.
Fold into lentil/bruschetta mixture.
Cook pasta and rinse with cold water to bring to room temp.
Fold pasta into lentil magic.
Dream job: Trader Joe's Snack Director.