Food

The Best New Groceries – November 2021


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If pumpkin is the unequivocal flavor of fall’s beginning (it is!), then peppermint (specifically in partnership with chocolate) takes ownership of the year’s later months. Fact: I counted seven chocolatey peppermint items in this month’s haul of new groceries. Of the dozens of new products I tried, the ones I was most excited by fell into three clear categories: innovative breakfast staples, frozen dinner shortcuts, and digestible holiday merriment (peppermint falls neatly in the latter).

These are the new grocery items that really stood out — including a plant-based pancake mix, frozen soup dumplings, and two kinds of cookie doughs. Let’s take a look!

1. Otherworld Plant-Based Pancake & Waffle Mixes

I rarely make pancakes, not because I don’t love them (they are in my top three best breakfast foods) or because they take a bit of prep work (smoothies, for example, are just as demanding). It’s strictly because of the volume. Pancake batters aren’t portioned for one — at least not typically, and I’m not in the habit of freezing extras for later. But these new plant-based pancake and waffle mixes from Otherworld are! Banana Chocolate Chip was my favorite of the four (I ate them plain, no fork needed), but Original came in a close second. ​​You can order single cans or a variety pack with all four flavors directly on their site.

2. Feel Good Foods Gluten-Free Danish-Style Pancake Bites

As a pancake-lover (see above), I seek out fresh-off-the-griddle cakes. I’d rather eat something else for breakfast than settle for a fluff-less short stack. But these bites, which are made with rice flour, baking soda, and yeast, are perfectly pillowy on the inside. Available at Whole Foods nationwide and on Amazon, I baked mine in the oven for 16 minutes — you can also microwave them for 45 seconds if time is of the essence — and dipped them in a little maple syrup. Again, no fork needed.

3. Applegate Naturals Spicy Breaded Chicken Breast Tenders

If you like your breaded chicken with a little heat, these are the tenders for you! The nuggets are good too, but I’m emphatically #teamtenders. The breading cooks up extra crispy and these tenders are the perfect size for a DIY spicy chicken sandwich. You can find them in the freezer section at retailers nationwide including Amazon, Whole Foods (tenders only), and Kroger in January 2022 (just in time for the Super Bowl!).

4. Fly by Jing Soup Dumplings

Fly by Jing has done it again. Like all of the brand’s pantry staples, the flavors in their new dumplings are rooted in Sichuan tradition and made in California. It was hard to choose a favorite between the three new soup dumplings: Pork, Shrimp, and Scallop versus Pork, Shrimp, and Mushroom or Pork. In the end, I’d say the pork dumplings took the top spot. I ate these for lunch, dinner, after dinner while watching TV, and, on one particularly chilly morning, for breakfast. All the dumplings, which come in sets of two, four, and six are available online now.

5. Green Giant Parmesan Garlic Riced Veggie Blends 

A well-known secret of people who eat a lot of plants is to shop the freezer aisle. And that’s where you’ll find this new Parmesan-garlic number, made with green pea pasta, riced broccoli and cauliflower, grilled zucchini, and tomatoes. It’s a real add-to-cart moment. (Find it at Walmart.) I especially liked the generous size of the diced zucchini. Whether you heat this stuff in the microwave or on the stovetop, it takes nearly the same amount of time to prepare. My only gripe is the 1.5 servings per container. I was able to stretch mine across two full meals, but I could see a family of four needing at least three bags.

6. DoughP Edible Naughty & Nice Toffee Pretzel Cookie Dough

Any flavor of this edible (and bake-able) dough would be good to stash in your fridge for a rainy afternoon, but of the new, limited-edition holiday flavors, my vote goes to Toffee Pretzel Brittle. It’s a toffee-flavored cookie dough with pretzel pieces and chunks of dark chocolate! According to the writing on the pints, you can bake the chilled dough balls in the oven or (and this is a “pro tip”) half-bake them and enjoy with ice cream. I’m sure both are equally delicious, but I did not get past the dough-eating stage. You can order them online now.

7. Nestle Toll House Ginger Bread Cookie Dough

Do you prefer to eat your seasonal cookie dough baked? The folks at Nestle had a feeling as much, which could be why they released four mostly festive flavors: Red Velvet, Peppermint Cocoa, Gingerbread, and Snow Day (aka sugar cookie). Also new to the lineup: a package of peppermint-hot-cocoa-inspired “morsels & more.” I did not expect to like the Gingerbread as much as I did; it’s more doughy than the traditional cut-out cookies. If I had to recommend just one, that would win the nomination. You can find it and the other three flavors at grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide, for a limited time.

8. Gigantic! Double Dark Mint Candy Bar

When I first unwrapped this plant-based “sortasweet (sic) candy bar for so-called adults” all I could smell was peppermint. But then I tasted the bar and the flavor was subtle and, dare I admit, pleasant. (It could be because peppermint extract is the second-to-last ingredient and dark chocolate — my favorite kind of chocolate — tops the list.) To be sure it would be equally enjoyed by peppermint-lovers, I had my brother-in-law (a “big fan” of the minty flavor) try it. He took the remaining six bars, so I guess I’ll need to order some more online!

9. Chocolove Hazelnut Latte Bites

These mini chocolate trees are returning for the holiday season and I’m putting them on full display on our coffee table. Made with 33% milk chocolate, hazelnut butter, and coffee, they’re incredibly creamy — like Ferrero Rocher’s older, smoother cousin. The trees are smaller than I expected (a true bite-size!), but that’s just one more reason why I like them.

10. June Shine Prickly Pear Margarita Hard Kombucha

June Shine is having a big November. Their newest flavor, brewed with organic prickly pear, tangerine, and lime, and spiced up with ancho chile and sea salt, launched earlier this month. This is 16 ounces of easy drinking — I especially like how the spice lingers after each sip (as did several taste-testing volunteers). Along with mulled wine, I’ll be drinking it all season.

Which of these are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below!

Mara Weinraub

Lifestyle Editor, Groceries

Mara is the Groceries Editor at Kitchn. She’s fascinated with how we eat and what it says about our society. She lives in New York City where she stocks a minimum of three peanut butter jars in her apartment at all times.





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