New Jersey Bariatric Center
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Healthy or Not: Trader Joe's Risoni

By Dana Babeu, R.D. | July 31, 2020


My favorite grocery store is back with yet another take on replacing traditional carbohydrates with an alternative source. A patient first asked me about Trader Joe’s new “Risoni” and I just had to hunt it down myself. Risoni is among the growing number of products using legumes in place of a grain-based starch. In this case chickpea and red lentil flour substitute for arborio rice, the base for traditional risotto recipes. 


INGREDIENTS: Organic chickpea flour, Organic red lentil flour

May contain traces of soy.


Here are the pros and cons:

Nutrition comparison for ¼ cup dry/uncooked Risoni vs Traditional Arborio Rice 

(about 45 grams)*

The bottom line:

This is a case of better than, but still not great. While Trader Joe’s Risoni packs more nutrition than traditional risotto or other types of white rice, it’s still more of a starchy carbohydrate than anything else. While it should not be used as the main source of protein for a meal, it could be a viable side dish if the serving size is cut in half to ⅛ cup dry and if the meal contains lots of veggies along with some type of meat, fish, eggs or dairy. 

Dana Babeu, RD, is a registered dietitian at New Jersey Bariatric Center, a medical & surgical weight loss center with offices in Springfield, Somerville, Hoboken, East Brunswick, Hackettstown and Sparta, New Jersey. She provides pre-operative and post-operative nutritional counseling to New Jersey Bariatric Center’s Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve, LAP-BAND (gastric band) and revision patients, in addition to dietary counseling for patients in our Medical Weight Loss program.
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