Soy Sauce – TJ

Trader Joe’s sells reduced sodium soy sauce. Don’t forget that you can purchase “regular” soy sauce and simply dilute it with water.

Vinegar – Balsamic – TJ

Trader Joe’s sells a variety of balsamic vinegars. I have not yet tried them all, as I tend to stick with my favorite (Kirkland).

Salsa (store-bought) – TJ

While I love making my own salsa (See my Salsa Foodie Bar in the book), when I do buy it, this is one of my favorites.

BBQ Sauce

When purchasing BBQ sauce, look for one that does not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup or artificial sweeteners. Also, tomato puree should be the first ingredient! Then, you can compare sodium levels if you are trying to decide between a few choices. I will be sure to put a homemade BBQ sauce in the next book! Let me know if you have a great...

Bouillon Base (to make veggie broth)

I love this Better Than Bouillon Base to make veggie broth. While it can be purchased at grocery stores, larger jars were being sold at Costco. Look carefully at the label, you want the jar marked Organic Reduced Sodium Seasoned Vegetable Base. Once opened, store in the refrigerator (will stay good for months and months, especially if you are careful to use only clean utensils). 1 tsp of this paste can be added to 1 cup of water to make 1 cup of veggie broth. The flavor is excellent and I love to use it in many recipes, including Mia’s Garlic Trees (in The Foodie Bar Way or on my website...

Capers (in brine)

Look for jars of capers in the area near the condiments, pickles, relish, etc. My favorite are from Trader Joe’s. Once opened, keep in the refrigerator (use clean utensils and they will be good for months).

Chiles – Fire Roasted

Canned fire roasted chiles can be found at supermarkets and Trader Joe’s, typically near the salsas and tomato products.

Chili Pepper Sauce

This is my favorite “hot sauce” – I buy it at Trader Joe’s. Refrigerate after opening.

Chili Garlic Sauce

This Chili Garlic Sauce is quite spicy – a little goes a long way! It can be found in with other Asian foods (soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.) in the supermarket.

Hot Sauce – Cholula

Another one of my son’s favorite varieties of hot sauce… This one does not need to be kept in the refrigerator.

Vinegar – Balsamic

Although every supermarket carries balsamic vinegar, my favorite is Kirkland brand (Costco).

Vinegar – Apple Cider

I use apple cider vinegar in a lot of the dressings that I make for myself. I haven’t noticed a big difference in flavor among various brands....

Vegetable Broth – in box

Vegetable broth comes in aseptic containers like the one below (always look for low sodium varieties). I tend to use the refrigerated broth base, but usually have one carton in my pantry. Keep any open cartons in the fridge.

Aminos (Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Coconut Aminos)

Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Coconut Aminos are flavorful sauces that are fun to experiments with. Coconut Aminos has a slightly sweet flavor, but 0 g of sugar, is made from coconut sap and contains ~113 mg of sodium per teaspoon. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos contains 320 mg of sodium per teaspoon. Coconut Aminos can be expensive, with the best price I’ve found...

Soy Sauce or Tamari

I buy “regular” soy sauce or tamari, instead of low-sodium and simply dilute it with water (this is cheaper way to go). Both soy sauce and tamari are made from fermented soy beans, with soy sauce incorporating wheat and tamari made with very little to no wheat (check the label if you have eliminated...

Salsa (store-bought)

While I love making my own salsa (See my Salsa Foodie Bar in the book), when I do buy it, this is one of my favorites (Costco).    

Curry Paste, Red Thai

This is a very taste paste without any scary ingredients! A little goes a long way in a soup or other savory dish. Refrigerate once opened.

Pickles – (sandwich slices)

Start looking at ingredient labels when shopping for pickles and you’ll find that nearly all varieties at local supermarkets use food coloring. However, Trader Joe’s organic kosher pickles do not. Keep them in the refrigerator once opened.


It seems that relish and peperoncini’s are very difficult to find without added food coloring. Mezzetta is a very popular brand and has a “natural” line – called “Jeff’s Naturals” – so food coloring! Yippee!! I believe that I found these at Sprouts (supermarket). Ask your local market to carry them.  Keep refrigerated once...


My daughter and I love all different types of mustard! There is wonderful research that even just a pinch of mustard powder added to greens can boost the health promoting power! Be sure that you purchase a mustard without any food dyes. Trader Joe’s has quite a selection of very reasonably priced mustards. Once open, keep in the...


Molasses is a rich source of iron and calcium and I often add include it in my Oatmeal Foodie Bar and on my Pumpkin Oatmeal ( I keep it in my pantry at room temperature and it lasts for...

Miso – paste (refrigerated)

Miso paste is typically made from fermented soy, but can also be made from other legumes (chickpeas, etc.). While there are different varieties, any will work for the recipes in the book. I usually find in the refrigerated section of the produce area near other related products (tofu, wonton wrappers, shirataki noodles, etc.) Keep it in the refrigerator and it will last for at least a year! You can use it in dressings and several recipes in The Foodie Bar Way, as well as make your own miso soup (will be in my next Foodie Bar cookbook). Be sure to choose organic or non-GMO miso.  ...

Marinara (tomato) sauce

Growing up in an Italian family, we always made our “red sauce” from scratch, so I am pretty picky. While I love to make my Quick Tomato Sauce (in The Foodie Bar Way), I always have a few jars of Trader Joe’s Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms on hand. Not only is the flavor great, but the ingredients are organic, it does not contain any oil (quite uncommon), the mushroom pieces are super tiny (a plus for my son who doesn’t like to eat mushrooms when he can see them) and it sells for less than...

Maple Syrup – the real stuff!

Although I prefer to use Date Syrup (see recipe in The Foodie Bar Way) and on my website (, when I do use maple syrup, I made sure that it is not a “maple flavored imposter” made with coloring and flavor agents. Costco seems to have the best...

Liquid Smoke

I use a few drops of Liquid Smoke in a few recipes. A small bottle will last a VERY long time and does not need to be refrigerated. If you are interested – here is some interesting info/research about liquid...

Fruit Spread – organic strawberry and raspberry

Trader Joe’s sells these tasty organic fruit spreads that are sweetened with juice, unlike most jam/spreads (sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or white sugar). Use a clean knife, being careful not to contaminate the spread in the jar (esp. with a knife used to spread nut butter or cut...