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This $3 Trader Joe’s Cheese is Key to Easy Spring Dishes

April 12, 2024

Good news for Trader Joe’s shoppers: I’m a food writer and cheese professional, and I think the popular retailer carries a solid selection of cheeses. In particular, there’s one goat cheese that Trader Joe’s specifically carries that I will always make space in my cheese drawer for: Chèvre Goat Cheese with Fine Herbs. Bonus: It costs $3.

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What’s so special about this goat cheese?

One thing to note up front: I don’t live near a Trader Joe’s. It’s a 30-plus-minute commute on my end, but worth it for this cheese alone. Why? The Chevre Goat Cheese with Fine Herbs is the key to the easiest, most flavorful meals that straddle the line between cheap and cheerful weeknight dinners and dishes worthy of serving to company.

Of course, there are plenty of goat cheeses with herbs at other stores, but this one is special because of the “fine herbs,” fines herbes in French (pronounced “feen ayrb”). This is a classic French herb blend of tarragon, chervil, chives, and parsley. The Trader Joe’s chevre honors this blend, and includes dill and basil as well. The effect of these herbs coming together is basically springtime in a single bite.

Wrapping an inexpensive cheese in this glorious herb mix is genius, and that’s why I’ll travel so far for this one product.

Trader Joe's herb goat cheese

Courtesy of Pamela Vachon

Goat cheese 101

As for the cheese itself, chèvre, which simply means “goat” in French, is a go-to cooking staple in my house regardless of the fancy herb treatment. Its texture is much creamier than other fresh cheeses like feta or even mozzarella. You can add it to hot noodles directly without the full baked cheese treatment; with just a splash of hot pasta water, you have an instant creamy sauce. With its natural saltiness and tang, chèvre pretty much precludes the need for additional seasoning or even a hit of acid.

Chèvre also has some health benefits. Goat’s milk has the least amount of natural fat than any other animal whose milk we use for cheese, with chèvre clocking in at 70 calories and 6 grams of fat for a one-ounce serving. Because it has a fresh, robust flavor, one ounce actually goes a long way. By comparison, cheddar cheese has about 110 calories per ounce, and 9 grams of fat. Some people who have trouble digesting cow’s milk find goat cheese easier; it’s lower in lactose, and the structure of the fat in goat’s milk is easier to digest. 

How to enjoy it

Another great thing about this cheese: It works in meals and snacks at any time of day.

  • Breakfast: 
    • Use a dab to transform simple scrambled eggs into something that feels creamy and indulgent. (Incidentally, the French fine herbs combination is most commonly used in omelets.) 
    • Swap it for cream cheese on a bagel. It adds lushness and an herby edge that goes beautifully with sliced veggies like cucumber or tomato.
  • Lunch:
    • It’s an instant upgrade for any salad, from green salads to grain salads to pasta salads. 
    • Spread on grainy bread to elevate any sandwich.
    • Fold into egg salad and your life will actually change. (I might be exaggerating here. A little.)
  • Dinner:
    • Dress up mashed potatoes, polenta, or any starchy side dish with just one dollop.
    • Instantly delicious pasta. As mentioned, stir the cheese into freshly cooked pasta, adding a bit of hot pasta cooking water to thin, if needed. Perfect as is, or toss some green veggies like peas or asparagus in the last minute of the pasta cooking time. Add some rotisserie chicken, too, if you like. It’s like a grownup version of mac and cheese.

Did I mention this cheese is only $3?

Read next: The Healthy Trader Joe’s Sauce I Use in Everything

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