Trader Joe’s Melodious Blend Recipe – Homemade Version

I am  a big fan of healthy, easy meals.  Balancing a full time job and living my life, I don’t always have time to cook healthy meals from scratch.  On one very busy day, I dug around in my freezer and was quite happy to find Trader Joe’s Melodious Blend.  This is a vegan dish, packed with nutrition and great tastes.  It is so simple, but one of my favorite super-easy meals.  I top it with a fried egg (I am vegetarian so I like to sneak in extra protein whenever I can) and it is a very filling but not heavy meal.

Trader Joe's Melodious Blend Homemade Recipe


Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  See my Disclosure Policy for more information.


I don’t have a Trader Joe’s located conveniently to me, so I set out to make my own version.  

The Trader Joe’s Melodious Blend has the following ingredients: Cooked Green Lentils, Cooked Red Lentils, Cooked Green Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt.

image of the Trader Joe's Melodious Blend package
Courtesy Trader Joe’s, copyright 2017

Making my own, there are plenty of opportunities to tailor to my own taste, and to what ingredients are on hand.  This recipe below is how I most recently made it, packing in even more nutrients than the Trader Joe’s version.  My recipe makes 4-6 servings.  To make more like the true Trader Joe’s Melodious Blend, increase lentils to 1.5 cups, omit the spinach, onions, and peppers, and add 1/2 pint quartered grape tomatoes or 1/2 can diced tomatoes (finely diced if available).

Trader Joe's Melodious Blend ingredients

Ingredients
  • 1 can chickpeas (1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas), I use unsalted
  • 1 cup dry lentils (100 grams)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 100 grams spinach (about 1.5 cups chopped frozen, or 3.5 cups fresh, packed)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch ground black pepper

Note: My recipe contains roughly similar amounts of chick peas and lentils, by volume.  The Trader Joe’s version is more like 2-3 parts lentils to 1 part chickpeas, but I wanted to use a can of precooked chick peas (actually I cook chickpeas from dried and freeze them in 2 cup mason jars to have ready-to-use chickpeas without the cans) and did not want to make a huge batch.  

cooking homemade Trader Joe's Melodious Blend

Instructions
  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add the 1 cup lentils.  Use the cook time on the package instructions (different types of lentils have different cook times – typically split lentils cook in about 7 minutes and whole lentils cook in 15-20).  Do not add salt to the water when cooking lentils (I have read this can ruin the flavor or texture, and it always comes out well when I salt later).
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.  
  3. Dice the onions and peppers.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan (I love this ceramic nonstick pan!).  Saute the onions about 5 minutes, then add peppers.  Continue to saute until the onions are translucent.  If using fresh spinach, chop and saute until wilted.  Remove from heat.
  4. Once the lentils are done cooking (they look “fluffy” around the edges and are tender), reduce heat to low.  Add the chickpeas, onions and peppers, spinach (sauteed or frozen), an additional tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper*.  Stir together and, once the chickpeas are warmed, remove from heat.
  5. If desired, fry 1 egg per serving (the nonstick pans are the only way I can manage to cook eggs). 
  6. Divide into 4-6 individual serving bowls.  If including egg, top each bowl with a fried egg.
  7. Enjoy your healthy, delicious, and frugal home-cooked meal!

*If including tomatoes, add in step 4.  

homemade Trader Joe's Melodious Blend - finished cooking

Lentils are high in iron, and vitamin C has been shown to increase the absorption of iron, so I like adding vitamin C-rich foods to iron rich foods, like lentils.  Bell peppers and tomatoes are both high in vitamin C, so I always try to add at least one of them to my lentil meals.

Homemade Recipe - Trader Joe's Melodious Blend
Serves 5
My adaptation of Trader Joe's Melodious Blend - made from scratch.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
271 calories
38 g
0 g
7 g
15 g
1 g
150 g
615 g
2 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
150g
Servings
5
Amount Per Serving
Calories 271
Calories from Fat 65
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 615mg
26%
Total Carbohydrates 38g
13%
Dietary Fiber 13g
52%
Sugars 2g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A
62%
Vitamin C
57%
Calcium
7%
Iron
22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 can chickpeas (1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas), I use unsalted
  2. 1 cup dry lentils
  3. 1/2 medium onion, diced
  4. 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  5. 100 grams spinach (about 1.5 cups chopped frozen, or 3.5 cups fresh, packed)
  6. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. pinch ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add the 1 cup lentils.  Use the cook time on the package instructions (different types of lentils have different cook times - typically split lentils cook in about 7 minutes and whole lentils cook in 15-20).  Do not add salt to the water when cooking lentils (I have read this can ruin the flavor or texture, and it always comes out well when I salt later).
  2. 2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  3. 3. Dice the onions and peppers.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan.  Saute the onions about 5 minutes, then add peppers.  Continue to saute until the onions are translucent.  If using fresh spinach, chop and saute until wilted.  Remove from heat.
  4. 4. Once the lentils are done cooking (they look "fluffy" around the edges and are tender), reduce heat to low.  Add the chickpeas, onions and peppers, spinach (sauteed or frozen), an additional tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper*.  Stir together and, once the chickpeas are warmed, remove from heat.
  5. 5. If desired, fry 1 egg per serving.
  6. 6. Divide into 4-6 individual serving bowls.  If including egg, top each bowl with a fried egg.
  7. 7. Enjoy your healthy, delicious, and frugal home-cooked meal!
Notes
  1. Note: My recipe contains roughly similar amounts of chick peas and lentils, by volume.  The Trader Joe's version is more like 2-3 parts lentils to 1 part chickpeas, but I wanted to use a can of precooked chick peas (actually I cook chickpeas from dried and freeze them in 2 cup mason jars to have ready-to-use chickpeas without the cans) and did not want to make a huge batch.
  2. *If including tomatoes, add in step 4.
Adapted from Trader Joe's Melodious Blend
beta
calories
271
fat
7g
protein
15g
carbs
38g
more
Adapted from Trader Joe's Melodious Blend
My Greener Living https://www.mygreenerliving.com/
If I am really hungry and want to make this a more hearty meal, I like to enjoy it with a slice of my homemade soaked bread or sourdough bread.  I particularly like how the sourdough complements the mild flavors of this recipe. 

Nutrition

I used MyFitnessPal to calculate the nutrition for this recipe.

Assuming 5 servings, nutrition per serving without egg:

225 calories, 7 grams fat (1g saturated), 490 mg sodium (20%DV), 31 grams carbs, 8g fiber, 6 g sugar, 11 g protein, Vitamin A 43%, Vitamin C 93%, Calcium 6%, Iron 19%

Assuming 5 servings, nutrition per serving with egg:

300 calories, 12 grams fat (2g saturated), 560 mg sodium (23%DV), 32 grams carbs, 8g fiber, 6 g sugar, 17 g protein, Vitamin A 48%, Vitamin C 93%, Calcium 9%, Iron 24%

homemade Trader Joe's Melodious Blend - serving

Cost
  • 1 can chickpeas (1.75 cups), prepared from dried beans. $1.50 for 1 lb dry, which yields 6 cups, or $1.50 x (1.75 cups/6 cups)=$0.438
  • 1 cup dry lentils (200 grams) (organic). $1.99/lb (1 lb = 454 grams).  $1.99 x (200g/454g) = $0.877
  • 1/2 medium onion (organic). $3.49 for 3lbs (6 medium onions). $3.49x(1/2 onion/6 onions)=$0.291
  • 1 medium bell pepper (~130 grams) (organic). $3.99 for 1 lb (454g) organic frozen bell peppers. $3.99 x (130 g/454 g)=$1.143
  • 100 grams spinach (organic). $6.99 for 3.5 lb (1588 grams).  $6.99 x (100g/1588g)=$0.440
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (30mL). $9.99 for 1.5 Liters. $9.99 x (30mL/1500mL)=$0.20
  • 1 teaspoon salt. $1.48 for a 26 oz (737g) carton, containing 491-1/4 tsp servings. $1.48 x (4 servings/491 servings)=$0.012
  • pinch black pepper – assume 1/16 teaspoon. $4.19 for 1.7 oz (53.9g) organic ground black pepper. 2.1 grams/tsp. $4.19 x (2.1g/53.9g) x (1/16 teaspoon) = $0.010
  • 5 eggs. Currently $1.48 per dozen. $1.48 x (5 eggs/12 eggs)=$0.617

Total without egg: $3.411.  Per serving (assuming 5 servings): $0.68

Total with egg: $4.028.  Per serving (assuming 5 servings): $0.81

This meal packs in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, and is less than $1 per serving!  This is by far one of my favorite frugal + nutritious meals. 

homemade Trader Joe's Melodious Blend - serving with egg

Have you made your own homemade version of a store bought meal mix?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

Veggie Black Bean Burger Recipe

Summer time means lots of great things, including cookouts and burgers.  As a vegetarian, I enjoy the side dishes and desserts brought to cookouts, but sometimes I want to be included in the main course.  Store bought veggie burgers are easy, but I rarely find them satisfying.  So I set out to find a delicious and nutritious veggie bean burger recipe!  Per my usual, nothing I found quite suited my preferences, so I took inspiration from several other recipes and made my own. 

veggie bean burgers on a plate with title

 


Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.  See my Disclosure Policy for more information.


In case you’re wondering, as a vegetarian:

  • No, I do not miss meat
  • No, I do not “wish” I could eat a burger or hot dog (as an adult, I can choose to eat whatever I want and I choose not to eat those things)
  • No, I do not want my vegetarian food to look or taste like meat
  • Yes,  I do sometimes want a “main course” offering that I can dress up with all of the regular condiments that are found a a cookout!

So, this veggie black bean burger can be formed into roughly the same shape as a beef burger for ease of cooking, it can be adorned with the same condiments, but it otherwise looks nothing like a meat burger patty and tastes nothing like a beef patty.

These veggie bean burgers take about an hour to prep (using mostly fresh veggies that require chopping), but the recipe makes a big batch that lasts me most of the summer/grilling season.

My recipe has a strong basis in Ambitious Kitchen’s Meatless Black Bean Loaf.  Thanks, Monique, for the inspiration!

Veggie bean burger ingredients
  • 2 cans black beans, or about 3.5 cups cooked beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bell pepper (130 grams, ~3/4 cups), diced
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (95 grams)
  • 1 small-medium onion (100 grams, ~ 2/3 cups), diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (45 grams, about 1 carrot)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 pinch (~1/32 teaspoon) cayenne powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (sourdough gives a great taste!)
veggie bean burger patties on a baking sheet
uncooked patties ready to bake
Instructions
  1. Place a large pan on the stove on medium heat.  Add olive oil.  Add onions, and cook until it starts becoming translucent.  
  2. Add peppers, garlic, and carrots to the fry pan.  Cook until vegetables are softened and onions are transparent.
  3. Transfer veggies to a large bowl.  Add spices and mix.
  4. Preheat an oven to 350°F. 
  5. Using a blender or food processor, blend 1 can of black beans until mostly smooth.  Transfer the pureed beans and other can of beans into the bowl with the veggies.  
  6. Add the corn, breadcrumbs, and eggs to the bowl.  Mix all ingredients together.  
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (number 5 in my list of favorite kitchen gadgets!).
  8. Form veggie bean burger balls, flatten to a burger patty shape, and place on the baking sheet.  I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop out batter, and ended up with 14 patties.
  9. Bake at 350°F for about 18 minutes.  

The burgers should have a slight crunchy layer on the outside, and stay moist but fully cooked on the inside. 

Like all homemade veggie or bean burgers that I have tried, these tend to crumble more than a store bought veggie burger or beef burger, so they can be difficult to eat on a bun.  I usually eat my bean burgers with a fork. 

cooked veggie bean burger but in half on a plate
cooked veggie bean burger
Veggie Bean Burger
Serves 14
A delicious an nutrient-packed vegetarian bean burger recipe
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 18 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 18 min
62 calories
10 g
27 g
2 g
3 g
0 g
46 g
245 g
2 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
46g
Servings
14
Amount Per Serving
Calories 62
Calories from Fat 14
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 27mg
9%
Sodium 245mg
10%
Total Carbohydrates 10g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
22%
Vitamin C
21%
Calcium
3%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans black beans, or about 3.5 cups cooked beans, rinsed and drained
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1 bell pepper (130 grams, ~3/4 cups), diced
  4. 3/4 cup corn kernels (95 grams)
  5. 1 small-medium onion (100 grams, ~ 2/3 cups), diced
  6. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1/2 cup grated carrot (45 grams, about 1 carrot)
  8. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  11. 1 teaspoon cumin
  12. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  13. 1 pinch (~1/32 teaspoon) cayenne powder
  14. 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  15. 1 cup breadcrumbs (sourdough gives a great taste!)
Instructions
  1. Place a large pan on the stove on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onions, and cook until it starts becoming translucent.
  2. Add peppers, garlic, and carrots to the fry pan. Cook until vegetables are softened and onions are transparent.
  3. Transfer veggies to a large bowl. Add spices and mix.
  4. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  5. Using a blender or food processor, blend 1 can of black beans until mostly smooth. Transfer the pureed beans and other can of beans into the bowl with the veggies.
  6. Add the corn, breadcrumbs, and eggs to the bowl. Mix all ingredients together.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (number 5 in my list of favorite kitchen gadgets!).
  8. Form veggie bean burger balls, flatten to a burger patty shape, and place on the baking sheet. I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop out batter, and ended up with 14 patties.
  9. Bake at 350°F for about 18 minutes.
Notes
  1. The burgers should have a slight crunchy layer on the outside, and stay moist but fully cooked on the inside.
beta
calories
62
fat
2g
protein
3g
carbs
10g
more
Adapted from AmbitiousKitchen.com
My Greener Living https://www.mygreenerliving.com/
Recipe modification options
  • To make this vegan, replace the eggs with “flax eggs”: 1/2 cup cold water, 3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed.  Mix flaxseed in the water and place in the fridge while prepping and cooking the veggies and beans.  The burgers may not hold together quite as well when using flax eggs in place of chicken eggs.
  • Add or subtract spices to suit your tastes.
  • Substitute other beans in place of black beans.  Keep the same quantity – 2 cans/3.5 cups.
  • Use other veggies if you prefer.  Keep to about 2  2/3 cups veggies.
Cost

Cost of the veggie bean burgers depends on which ingredients are selected for this recipe, if veggies are in season when they’re purchased, etc.  The below cost breakdown is based on recent prices in my local grocery stores, and the ingredients listed in the above recipe.

  • 3.5 cups cooked black beans, prepared from dried beans. $1.50 for 1 lb dry, which yielded 7 cup, or $1.50 x (3.5 cups/7 cups)=$0.750
  • 2 eggs. $1.99/dozen x 2 = $0.332
  • 1 bell pepper (~130 grams). $3.99 for 1 lb (454g) organic frozen bell peppers. $3.99 x (130 g/454 g)=$1.143
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (95 grams). $1.49 for 1 lb (454grams) organic frozen corn. $1.49x(95g/454g)=$0.312
  • 1 small-medium onion. $3.49 for 3lbs (6 medium onions). $3.49x(1 onion/6 onions)=$0.582
  • 3 cloves garlic. $2.09 for a bulbs; about 6 cloves per bulb. $2.09 x (3 cloves/6 cloves) x (1 bulb/5 bulbs)= $0.209
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (45 grams, about 1 carrot). $1.29 for 1 lb (454 grams) organic baby-cut carrots.  $1.29 x (45g/454g)=$0.128
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (5mL). $9.99 for 1.5 Liters. $9.99 x (5mL/1500mL)=$0.033
  • 1 teaspoon salt. $1.48 for a 26 oz (737g) carton, containing 491-1/4 tsp servings. $1.48 x (4 servings/491 servings)=$0.012
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs. I made from my sourdough bread, but based on current price of plain breadcrumbs at my local grocery store: $2.09 for 15 oz (425g).  1 cup = 90 grams.  $2.09 x (90 g/425 g) = $0.443
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano. $6.19 for 0.5 oz (14g) organic dried oregano. 1.0 grams/tsp. $6.19 x (1.0g/14g) x (1 teaspoon) = $0.442
  • 1 teaspoon cumin. $4.19 for 1.8 oz (51g) organic ground cumin. 2.0 grams/tsp. $4.19 x (2.0 g/51g) x (1 teaspoon) = $0.164
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder. $4.79 for 4.5 oz (127g) chili powder. 2.6 grams/tsp. $4.79 x (2.6g/127g) x (2 teaspoon) = $0.196
  • 1 pinch (~1/32 teaspoon) ground cayenne pepper. $4.19 for 1.9 oz (48.2g) organic ground cayenne pepper. 1.8 grams/tsp. $4.19 x (1.8g/48.2g) x (1/32 teaspoon) = $0.005
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. $4.19 for 1.7 oz (53.9g) organic ground black pepper. 2.1 grams/tsp. $4.19 x (2.1g/53.9g) x (1/8 teaspoon) = $0.020

Total cost: $4.771 for a full batch, which was 14 veggie bean burger patties for me. Thick comes out to about $0.34 per patty!  Even if I eat two for a meal, this is only $0.68!  For comparison, I consider a “good price” (on sale or with coupon) to be $1/patty for a store bought veggie burger.  My veggie burgers cost about 1/3 the store bought ones, and to me, mine taste so, so much better!