Reads: I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbooks

An idea so brilliant, I don't know how I didn't think of it

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I’m having one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” moments right now. I mean, it was inevitable, given how much people love this grocery store. So I’m not surprised someone wrote a bunch of I Love Trader Joe’s cookbooks. The newest one is geared toward starving college students—and that, I say, is brilliant.

The I Love Trader Joe’s College Cookbook contains 150 recipes using ingredients you can find at a Trader Joe’s store, most of which cost less than $5—perfect for a college kid’s (nonexistent) budget. Author Andrea Lynn created recipes that seem fancy but are easy—and fast—to make, like the spinach-stuffed mushrooms and the double butternut squash soup with gorgonzola ravioli. Some of the recipes can be made entirely in a microwave or single pot; others require no cooking at all. There are even a good number of vegetarian and vegan options. And the book includes how-to kitchen tips, like how to dice an onion, cook al dente pasta, or make the perfect burger.

I’m not too proud to admit that even though I’m now six years out of college, I think this cookbook might really come in handy in my kitchen. If this particular volume seems a bit to, um, elementary for your cooking skills (lucky you), there’s the more mature I love Trader Joe’s Cookbook, written by Cherie Mercer Twohy, or the I Love Trader Joe’s Party Cookbook, if you’re big on entertaining. There’s also a soon-to-be-released international edition: I love Trader Joe’s Around the World Cookbook, which will be on shelves in November.

The college cookbook is available from for $12.26.