The 7 Best Trader Joe's Thanksgiving Meal Shortcuts

Mix and match homemade recipes with these Trader Joe's Thanksgiving products for your least stressful holiday meal yet.

In my family, some things, like the roast turkey centerpiece my mom and I tag-team to get on the table, simply cannot be tweaked or outsourced. But others, we would happily delegate to save time and oven space for the main event, especially with growing families and crunched schedules—meaning less time to prep the meal and spend together.

Several semi-homemade side-dish saviors at Trader Joe's have piqued my interest. I might just stock up to reduce stress while hitting all the traditional fall flavors.

In case you want to join me for a halfway-homemade holiday...

Plate of prepared Trader Joe's Mashed Sweet Potatoes next to box
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's.

Instead of Candied Sweet Potatoes, Try...

Trader Joe’s Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Roasted Pecans

This refrigerated side dish gets steamy and ready to serve after about three minutes in the microwave. There's melted butter and a pinch of cinnamon in the mash. The box includes a packet of maple-roasted pecans for garnish. Any of these sweet potato recipes will look and taste as if you sweated over it for hours.

Yellow box of Trader Joe's Cornbread Stuffing Mix
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's.

Instead of DIY Dressing, Try...

Trader Joe’s Corn Bread Stuffing Mix

Expect a taste of classic Southern comfort with this corn bread stuffing mix that can be cooked in a casserole pan for family-style serving or baked in a muffin tin for single-serving stuffing cups. I plan to jazz this up with a splash of broth and a ladle of pan drippings to enhance the savory flavors—and make it seem 100 percent handcrafted.

bag of Trader Joe's Riced Cauliflower Stuffing
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's.

Or Instead of Traditional Bread Stuffing, Try...

Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stuffing

While my family has no food allergies or dietary restrictions, many relatives try to eat cleaner and consume fewer carbs. This 60-calorie-per-cup creation features cauliflower rice in place of all the bread. It's prepared in vegetable broth instead of chicken or turkey broth to keep it vegan to please the masses. This stuffing substitute is table-ready after a quick saute session.

Trader Joe's Broccoli-Cauliflower Gratin.jpg
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's.

Instead of Potatoes au Gratin, Try...

Trader Joe’s Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin

In other lower-carb news, this freezer find is loaded with cruciferous vegetables. A full 50 percent of the casserole is broccoli and cauliflower, while the rest is mainly butter sauce and a mix of mozzarella and Grana Padano cheeses. I'm taking this trade at just 130 calories per cup as permission to slice a bigger piece of pie for dessert.

Bag of 12 Trader Joe's Holiday Herb Rolls
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's.

Instead of Made-From-Scratch Bread, Try...

Trader Joe’s Holiday Herb Rolls

Now, this can't be bad: Tender, buttery dough kneaded with the same herbs stirred into traditional stuffing recipes (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram). Skipping the flour shower that often comes with preparing homemade bread is well worth the (still low) cost, in my opinion.

Bag and bowl of Trader Joe's Green Bean Saute Kit and Trader Joe's Brussels Sprouts Saute Kit
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's.

Instead of Green Bean Casserole, Try...

Trader Joe’s Haricot Verts Saute Kit

After giving the can label a look recently, I'm okay with skipping the condensed soup in my green beans this year. Instead, this speedy skillet side dish makes fresh green beans the star of the show. For a nod to grandma's green bean casserole, it comes with a bit of mushroom sauce made with actual cream and red wine. I have a feeling we'll all be fighting over the scoops with the most toasted almonds and fried onion pieces!

Box of two Trader Joe's Apple Cranberry Tarts
Photo courtesy of Trader Joe's.

Instead of DIY Pie, Try...

Trader Joe’s Apple Cranberry Tart

Cranberry sauce and apple pie combine in this two-for-one dessert that looks rustic (AKA like I made it myself). If I'm feeling lazy, I'll serve as-is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but I think I might warm the fruit tarts quickly in the oven and deck them out in fresh whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. (I may or may not snag another box for Black Friday brunch, too.)

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