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Does Trader Joe's have a good jarred spaghetti sauce?

Let me start off by saying I usually make my own spaghetti and marinara sauces. But sometimes time is a real crunch for me and on those days a jarred sauce comes in really handy. I like Rao's and Victoria's and buy it when it's on sale.

I went to TJ's the other day and bought a few different varieties because it was quite cheap. Didn't like two of them - both too sweet for my palate. Reluctant to even open the third one.

What do you think of TJ's sauces? Thanks.

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  1. We like the Roasted Garlic sauce - it is garlicky, and I like that it's not smooth. The marinara is good for a fast meal, but from scratch/freezing is probably better.

    1. I like the Organic Tomato Basil. I like sweet, so our palate differs. I just bought a new one that was in the flyer, but have not tried it yet.

      2 Replies
      1. re: brilynn79

        2nd on their tomato basil. I don't eat a lot of pasta sauce, so I don't have much to compare to, but I don't find it too sweet. Then again, I never eat it "plain" on pasta either but do use it as a nice-add in to other dishes that call for tomato sauce.

        Haven't tried their other varieties, but now I am curious!

        1. re: brilynn79

          Also putting my vote in for the Organic Tomato Basil Marinara sauce - it is the only jarred sauce we'll use when don't have the time/energy to make it from scratch.

        2. I find them a bit sweet but I will make a base of tomatoes, garlic, onions and any other vegetables I think would be suitable. Then I sauté them and add a couple of table spoons of the jarred sauce & water. It only takes about 25 mins for me. I also like the house brand for WF. I think it's only $3

            1. Thanks for the tips everyone. RIght now I have a jar of Bolognese in the cupboard. Next time I'm at TJ's I'll try the Organic Tomato Basil.

              8 Replies
              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                I suppose my thought (after reading the replies) is to just buy good quality canned tomatoes. Sautee garlic in plenty of olive oil, dump in the tomatoes. Smush 'em around, Break them up if they are whole. Simmer briefly. Finish with fresh basil and perhaps pepper (red?) if you want a kick.

                1. re: pedalfaster

                  That's what I do normally. If there isn't a good TJ's sauce, I'll stick with Rao's or Victoria when I'm in a bind.

                  I suffer from MS, which Annette Funicello recently lost her battle with. One of my symptoms is extreme fatigue. It doesn't help that I am a Type A personality and work long hours like a dog as a journalist. So there are times, rare, but times nonetheless, when I want to just brown some ground beef, add some heated sauce, and grate a little fresh Parmesan over it and eat (I don't eat pasta anymore).

                  I really do try to avoid convenience products, but sometimes they are darn handy.

                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                    Got it.
                    Is there a way to Private Message on this board?
                    Good luck, best wishes and many happy times in the kitchen!

                    1. re: pedalfaster

                      I don't think so, but if it's me you want to contact I'm at walnut36@aol.com.

                    2. re: TrishUntrapped

                      "I suffer from MS, which Annette Funicello recently lost her battle with. One of my symptoms is extreme fatigue. It doesn't help that I am a Type A personality and work long hours like a dog as a journalist."

                      TrishUntrapped, My guess (after reading many of your posts) is that you are not the type of person that wants people to feel sorry for you. But regardless, I express my empathy and sincerely hope somehow things will get better for you.

                      1. re: Fowler

                        Thanks Fowler. In the game of life, we all have to play the cards we're dealt. My hand has a joker, so I'm dealing with it. It doesn't keep me out of the game.

                      2. re: TrishUntrapped

                        there is a brand called Silver Palate.
                        they make a jarred low-sodium marinara that is good.
                        imho, it tastes better than their regular marinara: the tomato flavor seems more "bright" in the low sodium version.

                    3. re: TrishUntrapped

                      We like the organic tomato basil. I use it over pasta, in chicken dishes, with fish. Not "chunky" which is important to my toddler.

                    4. first of all.
                      if you still have the jars, bring them back to TJs with you the next time you go and they will give you 100% refund on them.

                      the only TJ sauce i like is one that i doctor.

                      here is the recipe:
                      saute briefly in good quality olive oil 4 large cloves of garlic sliced.
                      add a "green" can of tj's marinara sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.

                      fwiw, most canned/jarred sauces taste lousy because garlic changes flavor when it is heated to the high heat necessary for processing. the only way around it, imho, is to saute the fresh garlic yourself and combine it with a brand of purchased sauce that contains very little garlic like the "green can" brand of tj's.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: westsidegal

                        I like the "green can" Marinara sauce too. I basically use it like I would use plain canned tomato puree, adding my own meat/vegetables.

                        It costs about the same as plain canned tomatoes as well, but has a nicer consistency.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Do you or pamf happen to remember what is the name of the "green can" of TJ's marinara sauce? Also, does anyone know if TJ's has assured the public that all of their canned products are BPA-free? I thought I heard they were moving in this direction but not sure if they have fully converted yet.

                          1. re: littleflower

                            dunno about the bpa.
                            i do buy my tomato puree in a bottle at gelson's.(an italian import, on sale this week)
                            whole foods sell tomato paste in a jar.
                            i'm told that eden foods sells jarred tomatoes, but it appears they've been out of stock in most places.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              Not sure about the BPA either. Trader Joe's web site doesn't seem to discuss BPA.

                              I did google and found a blog post from about a year ago with correspondence from TJ's that outlined their policy and it seemed like they were pushing to have their suppliers go BPA free, so I hope they have made progress over the year.

                              When westsidegal mentioned the "green can" I just took it to mean the very bright green color of the label. So if you look for that it should be easy to find. Near the other sauces and tomato products. It is called a Marinara sauce, but I am not sure of the exact name.

                              1. re: pamf

                                that's the one i meant.
                                thanks so much.

                        2. For the price, I like them. But, I agree, better doctored.

                          1. It's not in a jar but a large can! It's the Low Fat Tuscano Marinara Sauce. It tastes fresh and I don't add anything to it. I prefer it over any other sauce out of a jar or sometimes to my scratch sauce.

                            1. hi, you know i buy the EXACT same sauces as you. either Rao's or Victoria's if i end up at costco so i understand the flavor profile you're after. so that said, no there isn't something comparable to those two sauces at TJ's. you have to go back to that sweet ragu like taste. the organic sauce is ok, but you'll need to add salt.

                              people always say, you should just make your own but when you dash home and you have 20 minutes to make dinner a jarred sauce works perfectly. i have made my own with canned san marzano tomatoes and something is always off. it tastes too raw. i do like the marcella hazan butter tomato sauce. it takes 45 minutes but i once made it ahead of time and jarred it in a mason jar to use later.

                              oh, and as cheesy oysters mentions the canned sauce is ok. not bad but i've been trying to avoid canned foods so i don't buy that but it may work for you.