The $1.99 Trader Joe’s Find So Good You’ll Want to Stock Up

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You’ve heard the rhyme: Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…OK, you see where this is going. I love beans just as much as I love flatulent humor, but they are so much more than that silly childhood rhyme paints them to be. Beans are magical, as they are a key part of any wholesome diet as well as a staple ingredient for those on a budget. 

As a young and aspiring transplant navigating his way through NYC, I spent a large portion of my early 20s living off canned beans and bags of rice. While I enjoy everything from black beans and kidney beans to pinto beans, chickpeas, and lentils, I love baked beans the most. 

While browsing my local Trader Joe’s recently in search of some ingredients for a new recipe, I came across an interesting offering that immediately caught my attention. A bright red can sat on the shelf labeled Giant Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce, and I couldn’t help but be attracted to the description of Mediterranean herbs and spices, strips of onion, and chopped parsley and dill. They are a take on a classic Greek dish called gigandes plaki.

The baked bean connoisseur in me was already reaching for two cans at once due to the $1.99 price point while my mind raced to come up with ways I could cook with them.

Why I Love Trader Joe’s Giant Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce

Trader Joe’s Giant Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce uses a white bean just like any other traditional baked bean recipe; however, the bean of choice is a much larger version called gigante beans. The beans are soaked and boiled until they are plump, soft, and “giant” before being combined with a tomato sauce incorporating strips of onion and finely chopped parsley and dill. The mixture is then seasoned with salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to round out a beautifully rich consistency that seriously left me craving more. 

Buying two cans at once was a great idea because I found myself devouring an entire can at room temperature in one sitting before even heating the beans. The label recommends eating them straight out of the can, and from the first bite, I was met with a tender, savory flavor with a smooth aromatic sauce that pairs perfectly with the plump beans.

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Retailer below


How To Enjoy These Giant Baked Beans

Moving forward, I can see myself serving these beans warmed up over toast and topped with spinach and crumbled feta. They can also be turned into an easy vegetarian lunch by baking them further in the oven with fresh garlic cloves, cherry tomatoes, and rosemary.

Trader Joe’s also advertises a delicious-looking penne recipe on their site that incorporates pasta with giant baked beans, kale, and cherry tomatoes. 

If all else fails, a simple can be opened at room temperature will still suffice and not at all be a disappointment. Just dig in and enjoy!

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