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

TrishUntrapped Apr 4, 2013 06:16 PM

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.

  1. n
    nikkihwood Apr 4, 2013 09:17 PM

    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. b
      brilynn79 Apr 5, 2013 12:18 AM

      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
        p
        pickledtink Apr 5, 2013 09:22 PM

        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
          l
          littleflower Apr 5, 2013 10:32 PM

          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. k
          Kalivs Apr 5, 2013 12:39 AM

          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. s
            shaebones Apr 5, 2013 11:06 AM

            Arabiata!

            1 Reply
            1. re: shaebones
              geminigirl Apr 10, 2013 06:30 PM

              Ditto!

            2. TrishUntrapped Apr 6, 2013 12:19 PM

              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
                p
                pedalfaster Apr 9, 2013 04:05 PM

                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
                  TrishUntrapped Apr 9, 2013 04:14 PM

                  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
                    p
                    pedalfaster Apr 9, 2013 04:19 PM

                    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
                      TrishUntrapped Apr 9, 2013 06:06 PM

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

                    2. re: TrishUntrapped
                      Fowler Apr 13, 2013 11:13 AM

                      "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
                        TrishUntrapped Apr 14, 2013 06:11 AM

                        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
                        westsidegal Apr 15, 2013 08:42 PM

                        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
                      c
                      cheesecake17 Apr 9, 2013 06:20 PM

                      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. westsidegal Apr 6, 2013 11:14 PM

                      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
                        pamf Apr 7, 2013 09:27 AM

                        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
                          l
                          littleflower Apr 7, 2013 12:36 PM

                          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
                            westsidegal Apr 8, 2013 08:51 PM

                            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
                              pamf Apr 9, 2013 10:48 AM

                              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
                                westsidegal Apr 15, 2013 08:39 PM

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

                        2. s
                          sarahintexas Apr 9, 2013 03:14 PM

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

                          1. c
                            Cheesy Oysters Apr 9, 2013 03:30 PM

                            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. trolley Apr 14, 2013 08:49 AM

                              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.

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