Garbanzo Beans from Trader Joe… and More

Trader Joe's Garbanzo Beans...and More
Yes, you read that right. I am going to review a can of beans.

Is that possible? Actually, there are a few reasons. Sandy and me like TJ’s beans. Black beans are a staple of our diet and we love them for many delicious dishes. We like black beans in all forms (I said). NearlySo it would be more challenging to be impressed by another type of bean. These Garbanzos are the same as chickpeas but much more fun. Sandy thought of making her own hummus after some success with TJ’s Hummus. Thirdly, after she said she wouldn’t, but rather spotted a recipe to fry chickpeas with TJ’s hummus in the new I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook. I agreed, not being one to argue.

They are easy to make, even though I won’t give the recipe. As the cover says, they can be made easy. In just a matter of minutes, we had a large and delicious batch. We ate each bite. The crispy batter on the outside contrasts with the soft, creamy, and fleshy insides is delicious. It may sound odd (she looked at me like I was confessing to walking around in Sandy’s clothes without her permission), but it almost brought back a kind of peanut butteriness with the texture and saltiness of their coatings, as well as the overall toastiness. Her face turned back to normal after I explained the situation. She shrugged her shoulders and seemed to understand what I was trying for. This dish is great when it’s hot. If you’re looking for something a bit more spicy, I suggest adding some spice to your batter.

It’s a decent can of beans as far as cans go. These Garbanzos can be enjoyed however you like. Sandy and me would give them a score of 3.5 each because they are semi-exemplary, but not outstanding, as good legumes should be.

But there’s more. These are not the only reasons we are reviewing them. Last night, we went grocery shopping at TJ’s. Word of caution: Sunday nights are not the best time to go. The shelves are only 1/3 full then. We couldn’t afford to buy even a decent package of tortillas. So, we decided to create an Indian meal that was quick, simple, and affordable. Garbanzos, a mainstay of Indian cuisine, were served as an appetizer. Here are a few other things we got:

First, some Trader Joe’s Masala Dosa. SandyThese are something that I’ve had before, when Nathan and Sonia came over for our blog summit dinner. They are an easy Indian concoction that is quite tasty. This is a rice crepe made with onions, chunky potatoes, and all the Indian spices like cumin, curry leaves, turmeric, and cumin. These are generously sized, with several large pieces at most. They also have a lot of filling. As an added bonus, the package includes a small packet of coconut chutney, which adds sweetness and spice to the dish. Although they tasted good, Sandy and mine preferred them the second time around. We think it may have been due to the way they were prepared. Sandy and Sonia fried them in oil and Nathan and I had beer. They were a lot crispier than when we baked them in an oven. They were still quite good, and the addition of beer was a pleasant surprise. They should be fried. Sandy gives them three stars, while I give them four stars because of how delicious they can be and the bonus sauce.

Next up: TraThe Joe’s Paneer Roll Aachari. This is not the first time we’ve tried TJ-style paneer. It didn’t deliver everything, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. Instead of big, delicious cheese balls swimming in a microwavable pool of red curried curry, the final product looked more like a semi-chunky, ill-defined stew. It’s not the same product as it appears on the box, but I am semi-convinced. But no matter. The curry sauce is rich and spicy. It’s delicious with a few paneer strands popping up for a little stringy, chewy bite. This sauce was perfect for pouring over the rice I made (not TJ’s brand). I scraped every bit of it. I found that there was plenty of sauce, which is definitely a plus. It was not what I had hoped for. It would have been nice for my taste buds. Sandy gave it a 3.5, and I give it a solid 4.

Last but not least: some good old-fashioned tasty Traders Joe’s Malabari Paratha. Forgive me for being a believer that Indian bread began with naan. I had never heard about malabari partha. I wish I’d! This might have been the highlight of our evening dinner. Easy to prepare – just fry each side in a lightly coated pan for 2 minutes. The result is a delicious, warm, flaky circle of bread that melts in your mouth. Sandy loves carbs, and will eat any type of bread. This was a great choice for her. There were many “mmms,” I was sure, from her side. Flaky, crispy and slightly salty. It was almost perfect. She rated it a 4, and I rated it 4.5.

It was quite good for a quick and easy Indian-inspired, make-at-home meal. All the dishes were vegetarian and, in the case the masala dosa was vegan, gluten-free. You might be surprised to learn that all of the dishes are quite high in sodium. All in all, though, they are all delicious and worthy of a dinner party. Although it isn’t the most authentic, it’s still delicious and hard to beat for just a few rupees.

Let’s close with these words:

Garbanzo Beans by Trader Joe The bottom line: 7 of 10 Golden Spoons
Trader Joe’s Masala Dosa Bottom line: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons
Trader Joe’s Paneer Roll Aachari Bottom line: 7.5 out 10 Golden Spoons
Trader Joe’s Malabari Paratha Bottom line: 8.5 out 10 Golden Spoons