Trader Joe’s Spelt Risotto

Spelt RisottoTrader Joe’s Spelt Risotto

Now that’s a mouthful! Spelt Risotto? Sounds like a spelling mistake! Spelt, get it? Yuck, Yuck… Let’s break it down… What in the world is Spelt? Spelt is one of the family of ancient grains. It’s also called farro. It’s closely related to our modern day wheat grains. Spelt has a complex history but scientists think that it was a hybrid of another type of ancient grain called emmer and wild goat grass in the Near East. It was cultivated in Europe during the middle ages and was replaced by bread flower wheat by the beginning of the 20th century. It’s making a comeback among health conscience people because Spelt requires fewer fertilizers to grow properly.

Here is a great cookbook on making Risotto at home

While this dish is not exactly Risotto since it’s made with a grain closely related to wheat and not rice. It’s otherwise pretty similar to risotto. It has kind of a rich creamy sauce and some a decent amount of vegetables (pumpkin, zucchini and turnip greens). Then also layered in there are some garbanzo beans for a boost of protein. The sauce is made up of smoked provolone. In the 2nd picture it looks a little soupy, but believe me it’s more cheesy than soupy. BTW, this is a Product of Italy and as I’ve said before when you can find these ready made dishes in the freezer section from Europe, they are usually of high quality.

Spelt RisottoIt’s super simple to make. Just dump the contents of the bag into a skillet with a little bit of water and start to cook everything. The sauce actually comes in these weird squares that look like frozen cheese and melt as you cook the dish giving a rich creamy sauce. It takes about 7 minutes from the time you throw it in the skillet to the time you serve it.

I really thought this was an excellent side dish to a main meal (Although I ate the whole dish by myself for lunch one day). My wife thought it was too smokey, but she is sensitive to smoked foods. I could barely taste the smoked provolone and just thought it gave it a more full bodied flavor to the dish. The spelt has a different texture than risotto rice and is a little harder to chew, but distractingly so. I do wish the grains were a little softer, but that’s just me. If you are expecting real risotto, you might be disappointed. But if you are expecting a satisfying vegetarian meal or side dish, then this is for you!

I am going to rate this Trader Joe’s Spelt Risotto a solid 8 Bells and this one is especially for you vegetarians out there



  1. What can you pair this with? Would be great if TJ’s would create a page where pre made sides like this could be partnered up with other items to make a full meal.

    • I paired it with the grilled lemon chicken and a side salad of arugula dressed with some of hot Pico de gallo sauce and some shredded Parmesan.

  2. Well now I know what I actually ate and I liked it a lot. I had mine with lamb chops. You did forget to add 1 tbsp of oil to the water.

    • No I don’t think I forgot to add the water. I just think the grains needed to cook a little longer or something. It was chewier than I have had risotto before…

  3. Super disappointed that they discontinued this!
    I’m actually beginning to hate TJs because I’ll find something I love, then they’ll discontinue it.

    This was such an easy and delicious meal to make:

    Cut up a bunch of zucchini and add chicken.
    Saute in olive oil.
    Add risotto.
    Add TJ’s Everyday Seasoning, and wa-la, super healthy and delicious meal.

    • I feel your pain. When they took away the pretzel nuggets that they had been carrying for about 10 years, I almost cried they were my favorite snack. I just heard they discontinued the multigrain pancake mix that has been on the shelf for as long as I’ve been shopping there, maybe 15 years. I don’t get it, but it comes with the territory. Anything in the frozen section or comes in a bag, box or can will be rotated out eventually.

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