There are certain items at Trader Joe’s that are obvious go-to’s. (Peanut butter pretzels and those addictive bite-size chocolate chip cookies both come to mind.) And we’re suckers for the exciting new products popping up on shelves each month. But some of our favorite finds at the greatest grocery store of all time are a little lesser known and not new at all. Zhoug sauce is one of them.
If you’ve never picked up a tub of Trader Joe’s zhoug sauce, you’re probably like, what the heck?, but you’re in for a treat. The condiment is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, and it’s about to be a staple in your fridge, too.
Basically, zhoug (pronounced ZOOg) is an herby, spicy, cilantro-based sauce that looks a lot like a bright green pesto. According to the store’s website, it probably originated in Yemen before popularity brought it throughout the rest of the Middle East. We’ve seen similar condiments labeled as skhug, zhug or s’hoog.
This version is made with a blend of cilantro, canola oil, jalapeño peppers, chile flakes, garlic, cardamom, sea salt and cumin seeds. And FYI, TJ’s describes it as “very spicy.” Considering the other zhougs we’ve tried in the past, we’d definitely advise you pile it on at your own risk. (Baby steps, people.)
The fresh, spicy sauce is traditionally served alongside falafel and hummus (our two favorite food groups), but you can take as much creative liberty as you want here. Try it as a dip for pita bread or chips; a sandwich spread; a pasta sauce (a bold suggestion by Joe himself); or a condiment for fish and meat. We think it would be especially tasty atop a pillow of creamy, cool yogurt for veggie crudités.
Oh, and best of all, an eight-ounce tub is only $3. You’re welcome.