24 Trader Joe's Recipes That Only Require 4 Ingredients

24 Trader Joe’s Recipes That Only Require 4 Ingredients

These recipes are pretty much impossible to mess up — and none of them break the bank.

It’s officially summer, which means you probably want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. And, of course, the price of groceries (and everything else) is skyrocketing. So I’m on the look-out for realistic, low-effort recipes that call for as few ingredients as possible.

Which is yet another reason why I really adore Trader Joe’s. I always rely on TJ’s for creative and delicious products that I can turn into easy recipes without spending a fortune. So I wanted to share a few of my favorites easy meal ideas.

Without further ado, here are a bunch of my favorite meal ideas — all using four Trader Joe’s items. Besides the ingredients listed, all you’ll need are basic ingredients from your kitchen (think: olive oil, salt, and pepper).


Easiest Crispy Chicken Parmesan

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Breaded Chicken Tenderloin Breasts + Bruschetta Sauce + Genova Pesto + Mozzarella

How to make it: Defrost the chicken according to package directions (if you have an air fryer, the results will be extra delicious). When about two minutes remain, remove the chicken tenders from the air fryer or oven. Top each chicken tender with a slice of mozzarella and a scoop of bruschetta sauce. Continue cooking until the cheese is melted. Drizzle each with a spoonful of pesto.

Get creative: You can always swap the breaded chicken tenders for plain old chicken, or try this same creation on a turkey burger. Finally, if you don’t eat meat, try using sliced eggplant for a lightened-up take on eggplant parm.


Spicy Summer Corn and Burrata Ravioli

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Zucchini + Sweet Corn, Burrata & Basil Ravioli + Roasted Corn + Chili Onion Crunch

How to make it: Defrost the corn according to package directions and sauté the zucchini in olive oil until just charred. Cook ravioli according to package directions and drain, retaining a bit of the starchy pasta water. Combine the ravioli, zucchini, and tomato in a skillet. Toss with chili onion crunch, olive oil, and a tablespoon or two of pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. 

Get creative: The pre-made ravioli selection at TJ’s is spectacular, IMO. Grab a container of your favorite and choose the toppings from there. Try the Caprese ravioli topped with blistered tomatoes and pesto or lobster ravioli tossed in vodka sauce with your favorite summer veggies. 


Easy Pork Fried Rice

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Eggs + Fully Cooked Pork Belly + Vegetable Fried Rice + Soyaki

How to make it:  Heat up the pork belly in a skillet and set aside. Add the vegetable fried rice to a skillet coated with olive oil. Once defrosted, add the pork and continue sautéing. Add the eggs and stir to combine. Toss everything in soyaki sauce and serve.

Get creative: Not a fan of pork belly? Pick any protein to toss into the mix. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Trader Joe’s frozen red Argentinian shrimp. And you can always bulk up the fried rice with more veggies.


Everything Bagel Seared Salmon

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Salmon Fillets + Cherry Tomatoes + Leeks + Everything Bagel Seasoning

How to make it: Halve the cherry tomatoes and slice the leeks. Sauté the vegetables in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are jammy and the leeks are tender. Transfer to a plate. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the salmon pieces skin-side up. Cook for about two minutes per side until just opaque. Sprinkle the salmon with everything but the bagel seasoning and top with the sautéed leeks and tomatoes.

Get creative: You can easily turn this into a sheet pan meal: Just slice the veggies and place them on a baking sheet with the salmon fillets. Drizzle everything with olive oil, salt, pepper, and everything seasoning. Bake in the oven at 400°F. Make the most of your leftovers by boiling some noodles for a chilled pasta salad.


Soffrito Potato and Egg Skillet

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Baby potatoes + Eggs + Spinach + Soffrito Seasoning Blend

How to make it: Halve or dice the potatoes. Toss them in olive oil and soffrito seasoning and bake in the oven at 425°F or air fry until golden and crispy. Defrost the spinach according to package directions. Toss the spinach and the potatoes in a skillet with more seasoning. Prepare the eggs to your liking: Crack the eggs right into the potato hash and cook until the whites set or poach/scramble them and serve them on top of the vegetables. 

Get creative: Jazz up this breakfast skillet with the help of any additional veggies, your favorite breakfast meat like bacon, soyrizo, or sausage, and some hot sauce (I’m a big fan of Green Dragon).


Barbecue Jackfruit Sliders

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Shredded Cabbage + Sweet Pull Apart Aloha Rolls + Green Jackfruit in Brine + Truffle-Flavored BBQ Sauce

How to make it: In a small bowl, toss the cabbage with olive oil, salt, and pepper (optional to add anything like mayo, lime juice, vinegar). Set aside. Cook the jackfruit with barbecue sauce in a skillet until tender and resembles the consistency of pulled pork. Serve the barbecue jackfruit in pull apart rolls topped with slaw.  

Get creative: Jackfruit takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked in, so play around with simmering it in different sauces. If barbecue sauce isn’t your think, try jackfruit in yellow curry over rice or cook it in enchilada sauce and toss it into tortillas. 


Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Pasta Alfredo

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Papparedelle Pasta + Asparagus Sauté + Lightly Smoked Salmon + Limone Alfredo Sauce

How to make it: Cook the pasta according to package directions and sauté the asparagus and mushrooms in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Combine cooked pasta and vegetables in a skillet and add lightly smoked salmon. Toss everything with limone alfredo sauce until coated.

Get creative:  With a bag of pasta and some tinned fish, you’re never far from a cheap and delicious meal. If you’re not a huge salmon fan, try tossing spaghetti with canned tuna or smoked trout, capers, olive oil, and grated Parmesan.


Hash Brown Eggs Benedict

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Eggs + Hash Browns + Smoked Salmon + Avocado

How to make it: Defrost the hash browns according to package directions.  Top each hash brown with a generous piece of smoked salmon and sliced avocado. Poach eggs and once cooked, pat them on a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Top each hash brown with a poached egg.

Get creative: Take advantage of TJ’s frozen aisle to whip up a satisfying breakfast. In addition to hash browns, you can start your creation with frozen waffles, potato latkes, or even naan. And if smoked salmon isn’t your favorite, swap it for bacon. 


Carne Asada Cauliflower “Rice” Bowls

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Riced Cauliflower + Carne Asada + Melange à Trois Bell Peppers + Jalapeño Sauce

How to make it: Add cauliflower rice and peppers to a skillet with olive oil and sauté until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the carne asada on a grill or grill pan according to the directions. Slice the cooked carne asada and plate over the cauliflower rice and pepper medley. Dress with jalapeño sauce.

Get creative: Swap the cauliflower rice for regular rice, tortillas, or even a big green salad at the base. I’m also a big fan of TJ’s Pollo Asado. Put it on a sheet pan with peppers and onions and serve it in tortillas fajita-style.


Breakfast Sausage and Potato Egg Hash

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Eggs + Shredded Sharp Cheddar + Breakfast Sausage + Roasted Potatoes With Peppers and Onions

How to make it: Slice the chicken sausage into coins and brown them in a skillet. Set to the side. Add the roasted potatoes with peppers and onions and continue sautéing until defrosted. Add the chicken sausage back into the skillet. Make little pockets and crack and egg into each pocket. Cover with a lid and cook until the whites are opaque and the yolks are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top. 

Get creative: You can easily make this meal vegetarian by swapping in plant-based sausage or soyrizo. Or leave out the meat all together and add your favorite sautéed veggies. 


Coconut Masala Cauliflower Curry

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Cauliflower + Coconut Milk + Masala Simmer Sauce + Rice

How to make it: Cut the cauliflower into florets and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast the cauliflower on a baking sheet at 425˚F for 20-30 minutes, flipping once, until the florets are just charred. Simmer the coconut milk and masala sauce in a pot. Once simmering, add the roasted cauliflower florets and toss to coat. Microwave the rice according to package directions and serve with the cauliflower masala.

Get creative: Not feeling cauliflower tonight? Try this recipe with chickpeas, shrimp, chicken, or even tofu. You can always bulk it up with whatever vegetables are in your fridge. And in addition to masala sauce, TJ’s has some delicious red, green, and yellow curry simmer sauces that go perfectly with coconut milk.


Seafood Fiochetti Pasta

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Cheese-Filled Fiochetti With Pink Sauce + Parmesan Reggiano + Seafood Blend + Peas

How to make it:  Defrost the seafood blend and the peas according to package directions. Once defrosted, pat the seafood blend dry to remove excess moisture. Cook the fiochetti in a skillet according to package directions. Once defrosted, add the seafood and peas and toss to combine in the pink sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Top with grated Parmesan.

Get creative: You can add basically any protein to this pasta and it will taste delicious. Or leave the meat/seafood out all together and double up on some summer veggies.  


Pickle Falafel Pita Pockets

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Pita Bread + Dill Pickle Mini Falafel + Antipasto Mix + Zhoug Sauce

How to make it: Toast the pita bread if desired. Heat the mini falafel according to package directions (try using an air fryer for extra crispiness). Add several falafel balls and a scoop of the feta, pepper drop and olive antipasto to each pita, and drizzle with the zhoug sauce.

Get creative: Frozen falafel is such an easy and filling protein to keep around for lazy meals, but there are plenty of other options to fill your pita with. Don’t sleep on the pre-cooked gyro. It’s one of my absolute favorite TJ’s buys. Same goes for the chickpeas tossed in cumin and parsley. 


Brie and Prosciutto Naan Pizza

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Tandoori Naan + Brie + Prosciutto + Fig Butter

How to make it: Defrost the naan in the oven according to package directions. Remove the naan and drizzle it with fig butter. Top each piece with slices of brie and prosciutto. Place in the oven for another 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Get creative: With naan as your base, the flatbread combinations are endless. Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough (found in the refrigerated aisle) is also deceptively good. It just requires a bit more work!


Korean-Inspired Short Rib Rice Bowls

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Korean Style Beef Short Ribs + Rice + Baby Bok Choy + Kimchi

How to make it: Steam or sauté the baby bok choy and microwave the rice. Cook the Korean short ribs according to package directions. Top each rice bowl with sliced short ribs, wilted bok choy, and kimchi. 

Get creative: You can really customize these Asian-inspired bowls with your favorite ingredients. For starters, consider the frozen teriyaki chicken, shrimp tempura, and fully cooked pork belly. 


Crispy Fish Tacos

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Breaded Cod Fillets + Tortillas + Corn and Chile Tomato-Less Salsa + Guacamole

How to make it: Defrost the breaded cod fillets according to package directions and heat up the tortillas on the stove-top with some olive oil or butter. Place a breaded cod fillet in each tortilla and top with a generous spoonful of salsa and guacamole.

Get creative: Tacos are probably my #1 go-to lazy meal. Grab a bag of tortillas and your favorite protein and you’re halfway there. I’ve tried just about everything: fish nuggets, popcorn shrimp, battered halibut, fully-cooked pork carnitas, chicken adobo, and more. I really love making tacos with TJ’s southwest salad kit because it comes with an excellent spicy avocado dressing.


Baked Meatball Sandwiches

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Brioche Buns + Bread And Butter Pickle Chips + Italian-Cooked Meatballs + Magnifisauce

How to make it:  Heat the meatballs according to package directions and toast the brioche buns. Place cooked meatballs into the buns and top with pickles and magnifisauce. Drizzle the buns with olive oil and place the meatball sandwiches in the oven. Bake uncovered at 350°F until golden and toasted.

Get creative: Add a little marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella into the mix to take these baked meatballs sandwiches to the next level.  If you want to switch things up, replace the meatballs with your favorite deli meat like honey ham and Swiss cheese. Add a little garlic mustard aioli and you are ready to rock.


Mozzarella, Prosciutto, and Nectarine Summer Salad

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Mozzarella + Prosciutto + Nectarines + Balsamic Glaze

How to make it: Slice the nectarines into slices and arrange on a plate. Break apart or slice the mozzarella and the prosciutto slices and plate it with the nectarines. Drizzle everything with balsamic glaze. 

Get creative: This OG summer salad never fails. Try throwing the nectarines on the grill to make them taste even more delicious. Oh, and if you can find burrata at your local TJ’s, it’s always a good idea. Alternatively, try using grilled halloumi.


Lightened-Up Chicken Cacio e Pepe

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Grilled Chicken + Spinach + Squash + Frozen Cacio e Pepe

How to make it: Heat the grilled chicken slices according to package directions. Sautée the spinach and squash in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Cook the cacio e pepe in a skillet according to package directions. Add the heated chicken and sautéed vegetables to the pasta skillet and coat everything in the cheese sauce.

Get creative: This combination of fully cooked grilled chicken, veggies, and pasta is foolproof. Play around with whatever concoctions sound best. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Gnocchi alla Sorrentina. Of course, if you don’t eat meat you can just load up on vegetables. 


Spring Vegetable and Goat Cheese Frittata

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Eggs + Garden Vegetable Hash + Goat Cheese + Shredded Potato Hash Browns

How to make it: Heat the oven to 400°F. Whisk six eggs, a bit of milk from your fridge (cream, dairy milk, or nut milk) salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. In an oven-safe skillet, sauté the vegetables and the shredded hash brown potatoes in olive oil. Once tender, press the veggies and potatoes toward the bottom of the pan to form a layer and sprinkle them with goat cheese. Pour the beaten eggs over the veggies and cheese and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the eggs are totally set. Slice and serve. 

Get creative: The humble frittata is one of the most versatile foods on earth. It’s totally appropriate to enjoy any time of day, and you can pretty much use whatever combination of vegetables, meat, and cheese you like best. Need some inspiration? Try making this baked egg dish with broccoli and cheddar, bacon and Gruyère, sun-dried tomato and broccoli. 


Tuscan Cauliflower Gnocchi Skillet

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Cauliflower Gnocchi + Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup + Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage + Kale

How to make it: In a skillet, sauté the cauliflower gnocchi with olive oil or butter until just crispy. Set aside. Slice the sausage into coins and add to the skillet. Pan fry until heated through. Place the gnocchi and the sausage into the skillet and cover with tomato and roasted red pepper soup. Add the kale and simmer until the soup thickens and coats the gnocchi like a sauce.

Get creative: It’s so easy to turn this meal into a vegetarian one. Just leave out the chicken sausage and double up on more vegetables. Or add your favorite cheese!


Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Whole Grain Frozen Waffles + Eggs + Sliced Gouda Cheese + Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon

How to make it: Defrost the waffles according to package directions and fry the bacon in a skillet. Place a few pieces of bacon and a slice or two of cheese between the two waffles. Prepare your eggs however you like them (scrambled, fried, etc) and place the egg on top of the cheese. Place the waffle sandwich in a skillet for a minute on each side until the cheese is melted.

Get creative: Behold, the savory breakfast sandwich. Add a condiment to take this baby to the next level. A drizzle of chili sesame oil, hot honey, or even maple syrup is life-changing. It might sound strange, but I love Trader Joe’s frozen waffles topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and capers. It’s like a bagel, only the ideal combination of sweet and savory. 


Chicken Shawarma Bowls

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Chicken Shawarma + Couscous + Hummus + Grecian-Style Eggplant With Tomato and Onions

How to make it:  Cook the chicken shawarma according to package directions and simmer the cousous. Plate the couscous and top with scoops of hummus, eggplant, and  sliced chicken shawarma.  

What you need: If you want to cut back on carbs, try making this bowl with cauliflower tabouleh or cauliflower rice at the base. In addition to chicken shawarma, I love this Middle Eastern-inspired bowl with frozen fully-cooked falafel or gyro. 


And finally, Paratha Breakfast Burritos

Hannah Loewentheil

What you need: Malabar Paratha + Eggs + Pico de Gallo + Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend

How to make it: Heat the paratha in a skillet according to package directions. Set aside on a plate. Beat eggs with salt and pepper and add to the non-stick skillet. Cook as if you were making an omelet and do not touch until the eggs are set. Place the paratha on top of the egg and flip the pan so that the eggs are on top. Add a scoop of pico de gallo and sliced avocado on the egg and wrap everything in the baratha as if it were a burrito. 

Get creative: Parathas are like flaky, Indian-inspired tortillas, but you can also make a breakfast burrito with TJ’s scallion pancakes or Taiwanese green onion pancakes.

What are your favorite easy meals using minimal Trader Joe’s ingredients? Tell us in the comments!