Among the questions that have plagued humankind for millennia — Who are we? Why are we? How did we get here? — is the age-old conundrum: what am I going to make for dinner? Fear not, fellow hungry humans, for Trader Joe’s has the answers you seek. There are plenty of easy Trader Joe’s meal hacks for when microwaving your frozen mac and cheese feels too sad or boring or both. However, if it’s a cozy dinner you crave, the solution is clear: soup. And thankfully, there are plenty of Trader Joe's soup hacks for an easy, leveled-up meal.
Soup is, in my very correct opinion, one of the most underrated foods. It’s comforting! It’s versatile! It’s essentially a fancy way to have dip for dinner. Of course, making soup isn’t always the Ina Garten kitchen dream you hope it to be. There’s bubbling. There’s boiling. There’s way too many pots on burners you’re pretty sure don’t work. Here is where Trader Joe’s comes to the rescue once again.
The grocery chain is stocked with pre-made soups a-plenty. There are the ones in the carton, of course. There are also canned soups by the beans as well as refrigerated soups usually near the grab-and-go meals. To paraphrase the rom-com classic, Love Actually: Soup actually is all around.
Here are 16 ways to jazz up your Trader Joe’s soup the next time you’re wondering what to make for dinner:
1. Pappa Al Pomodoro + Cheesy Bread Bites
Trader Joe’s Pappa Al Pomodoro soup is already thickened with a sourdough bread base, making it perfect to pair with more bread. If you aren’t in the mood to babysit your grilled cheese on the stove, just slice up one of Trader Joe’s big ol’ baguettes, top it with some parmesan or your cheese of choice, and broil it in the oven while your soup heats up. Voila! You’ve essentially got mini, open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches to dip in your soup.
2. Pumpkin Bisque + Pepitas and Goat Cheese
The seasonal Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bisque is pretty much perfect on its own. However, if you really want to take it to the next soup level, top it with some toasted pepitas and goat cheese, both of which you can, of course, find at Trader Joe’s.
3. Mushroom Miso Broth + Tofu
Adding protein to your soup of choice is an easy way to bulk it up. Trader Joe’s Mushroom Miso Broth pairs perfectly with some cubed tofu. Throw in whatever vegetables you want to use up and you’ve got (bok choy, onions, and mushrooms work great), let it simmer, and you’ve got a heartier miso soup.
4. Chicken Soup + Gnocchi
Shelf-stable gnocchi is a soup gift from the Trader Joe’s gods. Let your gnocchi cook in Trader Joe’s creamy chicken soup for a more adult version of chicken noodle.
5. Your Favorite Broth + Potstickers
Keep some Trader Joe’s frozen gyoza on hand and thank me later. They’re easy to pair with rice, stir fry, or transform entirely into a potsticker soup. Just add the gyoza to your favorite Trader Joe’s broth (I’d recommend the Mushroom Miso), throw in some veggies for extra oomph, and tada! Soup!
6. Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette Dressing + Coconut Cream and Canned Pumpkin
OK, hear me out: you can turn Trader Joe’s dressing into soup. I’ll let that soak in for a moment. Per the TJ’s recipe page, you can make a bomb Thai peanut pumpkin soup simply by combining their Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette Dressing with some coconut cream and canned pumpkin. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to speak to some ranch about somehow transforming into a nice, creamy bisque.
7. Chicken Stock + Mediterranean Style Orzo Pasta Salad
Next time you snag a salad from Trader Joe’s grab-and-go section, make sure to grab an extra Mediterranean Style Orzo Pasta Salad. You can turn that salad into soup by adding it to some chicken stock with a little fresh lemon if you’re feeling extra fancy. The orzo, spinach, and roasted red peppers lend themselves well to some broth. And the entire soup will lend itself well to your stomach.
8. Tomato & Red Pepper Soup + Channa Masala
Trader Joe’s Tomato & Red Pepper Soup is delicious on its own. Mix in Trader Joe’s Frozen Channa Masala and you’ve got a new dish entirely.
9. Your Favorite Soup + A Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
It’s a classic combo for a reason. Get a loaf of Trader Joe’s bread, a block of Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar, perhaps some Everything Bagel Seasoning or sriracha, and you’ve got yourself the makings of an excellent grilled cheese sandwich. I recommend also grabbing the Tomato & Red Pepper Soup since it pairs well with anything bready and cheesy.
10. Your Favorite Soup + Beer Bread
If you’re more the “set it and forget it type,” grab Trader Joe’s beer bread mix next time you get a carton of your favorite soup. (Let’s be honest, it’s going to be the Tomato & Red Pepper Soup.) Trader Joe’s recipe page recommends topping your baked beer bread with jalapeño and cheese for an extra kick.
11. Chicken Stock + Mirepoix + Your Protein Of Choice
Ready for the easiest soup recipe of your life? Get some Trader Joe’s Chicken Stock. Grab a container of mirepoix, which is a mix of diced onions, celery, and carrots perfect to use as a soup base. Pick up your preferred protein like TJ's Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage. With those three ingredients combined, plus any seasonings you see fit, you’ve got a delicious, semi-homemade soup.
12. Tomato Soup + Shawarma Chicken
If you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Shawarma Chicken, it makes the perfect addition to an otherwise plain tomato soup. Add some rice and veggies if you want it to be extra filling.
13. Mushroom Miso Broth + Tofu Fries
Trader Joe’s new furikake seasoning, a Japanese seasoning you’ve most likely seen at poké restaurants, was made to be paired with miso broth. Rather than adding plain tofu to your miso broth, make tofu fries coated in furikake seasoning.
14. Black Bean Soup + Mexican Cheese + Ground Turkey
Turn Trader Joe’s Black Bean Soup into a Tex Mex extravaganza. Just add some browned ground turkey, Mexican cheese, and top with sour cream and jalapeño. For this soup, the role of the spoon will be played by a tortilla chip.
15. Tomato & Red Pepper Soup + Chimichurri Rice
Sick of regular tomato soup? Add in Trader Joe’s Frozen Chimichurri Rice. It becomes a new dish entirely. You can even add jalapeño sausage if you’re feeling extra motivated.
16. Lentil Soup + Small Shells + Sriracha
Trader Joe’s Lentil Soup is fine and good on its own. But add some small pasta shells and a bit of sriracha, and you’ve got a soup of a different, spicer caliber.
If all else fails, just grab one of Trader Joe’s premade sandwiches and dunk it in your Trader Joe’s soup of choice. Happy souping to one and all!