12 Trader Joe’s Pasta Recipes That’ll Transport You Straight to Italy (Almost)
Red sauce? White sauce? Team no sauce? We’ve got you covered.
If you grew up with relatives like mine, a red meat sauce pasta such as spaghetti and meatballs (or, in my grandpa’s case, Italian sausage) was the quarterback of last-minute and large gathering meals. As an adult now, I get it. Pantry staples for the win, right?
However, I ate spaghetti so much as a kid that it’s become one of those meals I tend to steer away from now. Since I do my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, I’ve gotten into the habit of using the store’s digital recipe database for new pasta lunch and dinner ideas — and I’ve had a lot of delicious luck.
Tired of red sauce? TJ’s has Alfredo and other creamy white sauce recipes up its sleeve. For those with sensitive tummies or who prefer pasta noodles tossed in olive oil (team no sauce, I see you), Trader Joe’s has several recipes that call for the latter.
Inside this TJ’s recipe guide, you’ll find a broad spectrum of both easy and more decadent pasta recipes. Some can be made in 20 minutes, while others require a little more TLC. There are pasta recipes perfect for kids, at-home date nights, and everything in between. Now, that’s amore.
Find your new favorite pasta below.
1. Easy Bolognese-y
Pasta + meat sauce, you can’t go wrong! TJ’s fool-proof bolognese dinner recipe calls for pantry ingredients, a dash of garlic powder, ground beef (or ground turkey for a healthier alternative), and TJ’s beloved broccoli slaw. Tie the meal together with freshly baked garlic bread and a glass of red wine.
2. Turkey-less Pasta Primavera
If you don’t like sauced-based pastas, give this vegetarian dish a go. On a bed of Capellini noodles is a white wine-infused mixture of colorful carrots, leeks, and TJ’s Turkeyless Ground topped with fresh thyme. The ingredient list calls for TJ’s Grower’s Reserve Chardonnay, but any dry white wine will do.
3. Cheesy Hot Pepper Pasta
This spicy concoction centers around one secret ingredient: TJ’s Italian Bomba Hot Pepper Sauce. In a large saucepan, sauté oil, lemon zest, and bomba sauce, then fold in pasta and cheese. Pro tip: Set aside a cup of pasta water to “thin” the sauce once everything is combined. Serves six people.
4. Fusilli Garden Pasta
Another sauceless recipe, TJ’s Fusilli Garden Pasta is made with TJ’s Gluten Free Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta and a garden of veggies and herbs. Tossed with toasted pine nuts and shaved cheese, this meal is a savory change-up from traditional pasta sauce recipes. Add cubed cheese and cured meats to turn your leftovers into a cold pasta salad.
5. Street Corn Pasta Salad
Italian meets Mexican street food in this elote-inspired pasta dish at the hands of TJ’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn with Cotija Cheese. You’ll also find black beans, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and red lentil sedanini. Unless you count boiling noodles, the 15-minute recipe requires no actual cooking and can serve a dinner gathering of eight.
6. Creamy Pesto Chicken & Broccoli Bow Tie Pasta
Cooking to impress? TJ’s Creamy Pesto Chicken & Broccoli Bow Tie Pasta will have your guests convinced their dinner came straight from a restaurant takeout container. Between the mascarpone and pesto and salted pecans, your tastebuds will be in flavor heaven. Simply leave out the grilled chicken for a vegetarian-friendly version.
7. Linguine Limone Alfredo with Shrimp
TJ’s Linguine Limone Alfredo with Shrimp is a tangy spin on the cult classic. Whereas you typically see fettuccine and chicken paired with Alfredo sauce, TJ’s opts for linguine and medium-sized shrimp instead. It’s all doused in TJ’s show-stopping Limone Alfredo Sauce, whose bright notes of citrus are rounded out with minced garlic and parsley.
8. Hot & Smoky Rigatoni Bake
Save yourself the hassle of cooking dinner every night this week by meal-prepping TJ’s Hot & Smoky Rigatoni Bake. The baked pasta is a delicious mosh pit of mozzarella, grated parmesan, whole milk ricotta, smoked paprika, marinara sauce, and fresh basil. Pack in the protein using sweet or hot Italian sausage.
9. Dairy-Free Mac ’n Cheese
This homemade dairy-free sauce will earn you bragging rights in your friend group. It's a compilation of raw cashews soaked in TJ's Unsweetened Almond Beverage puréed with nutritional yeast, lemon, yellow mustard, garlic, and a litany of seasonings (turmeric powder, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper). Note: You'll need a blender or food processor.
10. Gnocchi with Bacon & Brussel Sprouts
This 40-minute recipe produces cheesy-creamy gnocchi and caramelized Brussels sprouts pairing with crispy bacon. If you love soupy pastas (ya know, when you can get a spoonful of just the sauce), you’ll be excited to know the recipe comes with instructions for how to expand the sauce. The dish does require more hands-on cooking, so be sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to prep, cook, and clean up — mopping up bacon grease is no joke.
11. Lemon Ricotta Ravioli Salad
Pasta can be heavy on the stomach, but with the right ingredients, you can create a light meal that doesn’t result in unbuttoning your jeans. TJ’s Lemon Ricotta Ravioli Salad forgoes pasta sauce for a bed of crisp arugula. Each sunflower-shaped ravioli is packed with fresh ricotta cheese, real Sicilian lemon zest, salt, butter, and breadcrumbs. Top off the pasta salad with freshly shaved Parmesan and pine nuts — and if you’re feeling thirsty, a glass of white wine.
12. Creamy Smoked Salmon Linguine & Capers
This 10-minute recipe marries TJ’s Spinach & Chive Linguine (you’ll never be able to eat regular linguine again) and TJ’s Smoked Salmon Dip with Capers. Once combined, serve with fresh lemon slices. It makes for a special at-home date night dinner, plus you’ll have leftovers.