I know I’ve talked about my personal fitness challenge some here and have also discussed how I’ve mostly followed a vegan diet for a little more than two years now. One thing that has helped me continue is finding exciting, delicious vegan options when I grocery shop.
So, I thought sharing what I buy might help anyone else out there in a similar situation. I don’t always shop at Trader Joe’s — I usually only go there as a treat or when I need something specific.
But I’ve put together a list of my top vegan items from Trader Joe’s for you. There’s still so many items I haven’t tried yet, so perhaps down the road I’ll be adding to this list. I should also note that I’m not big on vegan “meat”, which is why you won’t see veggie burgers or faux chicken tenders, etc. here. However, if you’ve tried those things and they’re good, please let me know!
The prepared salads (one serving per package) are what I consider my gateway drug for Trader Joe’s. I used to buy them to pack in my lunch and they were such a treat when I was working retail. However, they are usually $4 each, which is a steal honestly, and they are so filling and delicious!
My top salad picks are the Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Quinoa & Wheatberry Salad and the Kale & Edamame Bistro Salad. The Roasted Butternut Squash dressing does have honey in it, which means it’s not vegan. However, this salad is great without it! Use some olive oil and lemon or keep your favorite vegan dressing on hand (I always keep a vegan ranch and vegan Caesar in my fridge). The Kale salad dressing is completely vegan, so no worries there!
Vanilla Almond Spiced Chai Protein Shake
This is sold in individual bottles, and it’s around $3 per bottle, so it’s not an every day option for me, but it is delicious! It came out around the holidays, but if you like chai, it’s great anytime of the year, plus it has 8 grams of protein in it.
Vanilla Coconut Milk
I am not picky when it comes to nut milks, but this is my favorite one. There’s not extra sugar in it, but it’s sweet enough to put in your coffee without using sugar or sweetener. Perfect for smoothies, shakes, cereal… so good!
Jerk-Style Plantain Chips
I love the plain Plantain Chips, but when I saw these on the shelf, I snatched them up right away and they are spicy and so good! These would be really good with hummus or guacamole, but also great on their own.
Giant Peruvian Inca Corn
These are basically Trader Joe’s version of Corn Nuts, which I loved as a kid. These are just a good snack and, if I remember correctly, they have 2 grams of protein per serving.
Crispy Crunchy Okra
They sell similar items in bulk aisles at other stores and all of them are so good! You get the flavor of okra without the slime and it’s not fried, so… plus, these have 5 grams of protein per serving.
Corn, Pea, Bean & Quinoa Crisps
I think these are fairly new and they are perfect for dips! They don’t have much flavor on their own, but have the texture and weight of a chip — 3 grams of protein per serving.
Ice Cold Caffeine
Cold Brew Coffee Bags
I was SO excited when these rolled out on the shelves — I believe it’s a seasonal item, so if you see it and like it, stock up when possible. I do love some cold brew, but it’s often expensive and if you want to make it at home, you have to have a system. But these make it SO easy and possible — you just need a pitcher. The pack comes with four bags, which are like giant tea bags. You just put a pitcher of water and two bags in it and let it chill overnight and voila! These are fantastic.
Canned Cold Brew Coconut Cream Latte
These are new, so I snatched them up right away. I am not big on adding calories to coffee — I usually drink it black and if I need something I add a tablespoon of the coconut milk I mentioned earlier. But, if it’s an occasional treat, it’s okay. So, I grabbed both options: the original and caramel spice. I tried the caramel spice first and I’ll say it’s not too sweet, so don’t be scared away!
Mint Watermelon Flavored Black Tea
I’m always looking for ways to drink more calorie-free stuff; not that I usually drink sugary things, but I always need more options. So, I saw this and it sounded so summery and refreshing! I made a pitcher of sun tea with it, served it over ice and it’s very good — it’s not overly flavored, so I’d suggest adding a few fresh mint leaves if you like that type of thing. Perfect to have with lunch or anytime you need a refresher.
Honestly, I’ve never seen a larger hummus selection than when I go to Trader Joe’s! There’s roasted garlic, Mediterranean, sriracha, tomato and basil, cilantro and jalapeño, beet, avocado, spicy… you really can’t go wrong here.
Organic Buffalo Style Hummus
This. Stuff. Is. LIFE. This tastes so much like a buffalo wing, I can’t even believe it! I ate it with the Corn, Pea, Bean and Quinoa crisps I mentioned above, but it would be really great with carrots, celery, or bell peppers, and also in a wrap of some sort. Seriously, RUN and get a few tubs — I had to stop myself from eating all of it in one sitting.
Vegan Cream Cheese
I usually avoid cheese products altogether, but sometimes you just need some cheeeese. Trader Joe’s brand of vegan cream cheese is great, and it’s much better tasting than the Miyoko brand which is more than double the price. I put this on toast with micro greens or eat it with cherry tomatoes and the EBTB seasoning!
Organic Vegetarian Chili
This chili is canned, so you can keep it on hand. It says it’s vegetarian, but ta-da, it’s vegan! It’s really delicious in flavor and makes for a great meal with avocado and tortilla chips, or you can easily make it a dip using vegan cheese! Yum!
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
I can give up pasta, but I CANNOT give up pizza! This cauliflower crust is so good and it’s my go-to when I want to make pizza. You do have to bake the crust first and then add toppings, but it’s nothing complicated. Makes for a delicious crust and you can actually hold the pizza in your hand as you eat it 🙂
Vegetable Spring Rolls
Chinese takeout is my weakness and it’s really hard to find veggie-only items that can satisfy those cravings. These are the best spring rolls! Eat them on their own or grab some of their sushi rolls, edamame, or frozen Asian options for a full meal.
They have all sorts of frozen edamame — unsalted, lightly salted, organic, shelled, etc. — and I am here for it! It’s such a good snack and since the bag isn’t the steamer bag, you can make as much or as little as you want. Perfect!
That’s my list! If you have yummy vegan must-haves from Trader Joe’s that aren’t on this list, please let me know! If you guys like this sort of thing, let me know — I’m thinking of putting together similar lists for Aldi and HEB.
If you’d like to see more writing from me, I curate and edit an email newsletter focused on local news and entertainment in Austin, Texas, called Inside Austin. It comes out every Tuesday and Thursday, but once I hit 3,000 subscribers, it gets a third day of publishing. Sign up to get Thursday’s newsletter and/or read past issues!