A Little Help From My Friends

Am I the only person that sees Trader Joe's and Whole Foods as absolute playgrounds? For fat kids? The Trader Joe's in Thousand Oaks actually does WINE TASTING. For free! And don't even get me started on Whole Foods. I have a salad bar problem. And they always have cheese samples... nuff said. 

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.


  1. I love this. I've purchased all of these items in one run but never would have thought to make this! Thats why i rely on your blog and TJs for ideas. Now get to Denver sooner TJ!

    1. ahh but you have the cherry creek whole foods... which is like the BEST one i've ever been to! you're getting one in boulder soon i think - worth the drive!!