The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Taste testing five popular Trader Joe’s dips, dressings and sauces

Here are which ones to dip and which ones to dump

<p>Exploring the best dips at Trader Joe's so you don't have to.</p>

Exploring the best dips at Trader Joe's so you don't have to.

As a chronic snacker, I’m always looking for something delicious to eat between meals. I love to fill my fridge with fresh vegetables, and I can’t stay away from chips and hummus. My usual snacking routine has felt a little stale as of late, so I decided to stop by Trader Joe’s and add some variety to my fridge. 

At first I was a little overwhelmed by all the options at Trader Joe’s, but I did enjoy the variety. I picked up the Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip; the Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto; the Spicy Cashew Butter Dressing; the Tomato and Basil Hummus Dip and, finally, the Chocolate Hummus.

The Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip comes in a rather large 16 ounce container, but it’s sure to go fast — especially if you share it with friends. This healthy alternative to a decadent spinach and artichoke dip is advertised as low in fat and calories, and it goes great with pita chips, crostini or vegetables. I’ve only tried this dip straight from the fridge, but I bet it would be delicious warmed up in the toaster oven on a piece of crusty bread. Overall, I give this dip a seven out of 10 — I would recommend it and repurchase it, but I don’t know that it will become a staple in my fridge. 

The Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto was fantastic. I cooked up a serving of pasta and spread on a generous helping of this sauce. As soon as I added a dash of salt and pepper, it was perfect. As a pesto lover who tries to avoid dairy, this is an ideal sauce for me. I loved the bright, lemony flavor and how fresh it tasted. I hate a pesto that is too greasy, so I was glad that this didn’t have an excess of oil. I rate this pesto a nine out of 10 and will certainly be using this again on sandwiches, caprese salads and bowls of pasta.

The Spicy Cashew Dressing was next on my list. This dressing packs some heat and a lot of great flavor with ingredients like lime juice, cashew butter, ginger, cilantro and red chili peppers. I tossed some chopped kale, red cabbage and shredded cucumbers with a few spoonfuls of this dressing and called it one of the best salads I’ve ever had. If vinaigrettes and caesar dressing feel monotonous, try this spicy and zesty dressing to add some complexity to your greens and make salads feel exciting again. I think it would also go well over sauteed vegetables and rice noodles or as a dipping sauce for spring rolls. This dressing has a great flavor and some nice versatility. I rate this an eight out of 10 and would definitely recommend it to anyone in need of a salad refresh. 

My favorite purchase of the day and new go-to snack was the Tomato and Basil Hummus Dip. This hummus is bursting with flavor — it is savory, fresh and hard to stop snacking on. I ate half of the container with pita chips right after I opened it. This hummus is, in my opinion, far superior to any other hummus from the grocery store. It has a light texture and tastes almost like a creamy tomato soup. I would love to try spreading this on a turkey sandwich or continue eating it as a dip with carrots, cucumbers and pita chips. It is an 11 out of 10 and an absolute must-try. 

My last and most interesting purchase of the day was the Chocolate Hummus. I tend to lean towards more savory snacks, but I felt like I just had to try this. I dipped a pita chip into the rich, chocolatey hummus, and while I was pleasantly surprised, I didn’t eat more than a few bites of this. The texture is thick, and the flavor is similar to chilled brownie batter. If you have a sweet tooth and find yourself craving healthy, chocolatey snacks, you should definitely check this out. I would rate this, for my preferences, a five out of 10. 

These dips and sauces each rang up under $4. I paid $1.99 each for the Chocolate Hummus and Tomato Basil Hummus, $3.79 for the Vegan Pesto and $3.99 each for the Spicy Cashew Dressing and Spinach Kale Dip. If your snacking routine needs a fresh, healthy and fun upgrade, check out these awesome and affordable dips.