If you had to guess the most popular pasta at Trader Joe’s, what would you pick? The pesto-filled favorite of moms? A freezer find that’s better than homemade? Something more fun-shaped and well-suited to the grocer’s jarred-sauce offerings? Last year’s second runner-up for the most popular product of 2020? None of the above?
If you picked the second option, hi! That’s what I would have guessed too. But we’re both wrong. In the latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, released today, hosts Matt and Tara dive into two staples of the Mediterranean diet: pasta and olives. In between their “pasta the microphone” and “pasta la vista” puns, Jasmine, the category manager of grocery at Trader Joe’s, casually drops this fun, and very unexpected, fact about the grocer’s top noodle: “Our number-one selling pasta isn’t really a pasta.”
According to Jasmine, Trader Joe’s sells somewhere between 20 and 30 different types of pasta; the majority of those are made from wheat semolina, which, as Jasmine points out, are what’s considered the traditional pastas. The store also stocks a number of pasta products made from other kinds of grains (rice), legumes (lentils), and vegetables (cauliflower). Those well-acquainted with the always-trending Frozen Cauliflower Gnocchi, might have picked the fourth option in my little quiz. Great guess, but still not correct.
Turns out, the correct answer would have been none of the above. (Did you guess right?) “Our number-one selling pasta is the Hearts of Palm Pasta,” says Jasmine. “We can’t even keep [it] in stock because that’s how much people love it. And we have an amazing, amazing value.” If you’re not familiar (although, maybe you are because this stuff is so popular!), pasta that’s made from hearts of palm has been trending as a low-carb pasta alternative. It definitely tastes more vegetable-y than regular pasta (of course) but it holds onto pasta sauce incredibly well and shines in spaghetti-like form.
Did you get my little quiz right? Have you been able to get your hands on a box? If so, congrats all around!
Have you tried Trader Joe’s Hearts of Palm Pasta? Tell us about it in the comments below!