The I Love Trader Joe's Vegetarian Cookbook | Herbed Garlic Polenta Fries & Lemon Aioli

With multiple grocery store chains in YYC, and access to 5 different ones within a 5 KM radius of my house, you'd think that I'd be satisfied.  However, secretly, or not-so-secretly I would love to add two more.

Trader Joe's & Whole Foods

If you've been to the US and gone through either of these two markets, you know first hand that they have some awesomely unique products in addition to the standard grocery staples.  So when I was sent "The I Love Trader Joe's Vegetarian Cookbook" by Kris Holechek Peters, I was immediately excited.  What's not to love about TJ's?

It may seem a little bizarre that I'd be reviewing a cookbook about products that are found in a store that I don't have access to.  Surprisingly though, most of the products used in this book can also be found in our local stores, you just need to look for them.
This book is packed with over a 150 Vegetarian (and even vegan) meal options which are healthy and simple enough to prepare on any busy weeknight.  Tuscan Tomato Soup, Curried Squash-etti, Spring Veggie Bake, and Tofu Scramble just to name a few.  However, when I came across the recipe for Herbed Garlic Polenta Fries & Lemon Aioli, I immediately knew that was the one I was going to try first.  I'm a huge polenta fan, I enjoy using it in place of pasta and rice, and best of all, you can buy it pre-cooked, so all you need to do is slice, warm and serve.

These fries were perfectly crisp and more than flavourful, but it was the lemon aioli that took this dish to another level.  Second batch here I come.  Yum.

Herbed Garlic Polenta Fries

1 (18-ounce) log Organic Polenta
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup lemon aioli (recipe follows), to serve


Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Prepare the polenta slices by cutting into 1/2-inch discs, then strips (about 3 to 4 strips per disc)
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano to combine.  Gently toss the polenta with the olive oil mixture and spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake until slightly browned and crispy on the edges, 35 to 40 minutes, flipping halfway through
Serve fries warm, with lemon aioli.

Yields: 4 servings


Lemon Aioli

1tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/3 cup reduced fat mayo
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a small saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat.  Saute the garlic just to remove the bitterness, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  Add the mayo and mix until incorporated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Store in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yields: 1/3 cup


  1. Yum! I have these in the oven right now (yes, at 3am. It's Black Friday and I'm up), and I can't wait to try-they look awesome!
    I tinkered with the aioli and added a few leaves of tarragon. The sauce by itself is to die for, so I'm anxiously watching the timer.

    1. Yum the addition of tarragon sounds wonderful.
      I hope you enjoyed the fries. Happy Shopping, and thanks for your comment.


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