Today I’m sharing 16 of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products. They are always adding something new to their shelves, and I like to try out different things every time I go. So consider this a work in progress!
(Let me know in the comments what I need to try next!)
Once upon a time, I lived within walking distance of Trader Joe’s. I had a little cart that I’d roll down the hill and right into the store to pick up any essentials. (It also meant I got to skip the hairy parking situation out front, which was a serious win.) There was no reason to do a huge weekly grocery run, because it was no big deal to pop down and get what I needed for the day.
Then I left California, and for many years, Trader Joe’s was a place I’d seek out when I was away from home. If possible, I’d stock up on favorites, so that my cupboard could be full of those items I’d grown to love that are only available at TJ’s.
As luck would have it, Trader Joe’s has been adding more Iowa locations. (We’re up to two now! Woot!) So a regular Trader Joe’s run is back in my life again.
Here are my 16 favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products…
Thai vegetable gyoza
These veggie-packed envelopes of deliciousness have won over everyone I’ve served them to – from grandparents to grandkids. There’s rarely a time when I don’t have a bag in the freezer ready to go for a quick snack, or to use as a side dish to a stir fry. Of course, they also have a starring role in vegan potsticker soup.
Filled with cabbage, carrots, chives, white radishes, onions, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce, they have a great taste that isn’t too overpowering.
These days I usually fry them in the air fryer (400 degrees for 10 minutes with a spritz of oil, stopping once to shake.) However, they’re also great fried or steamed in a skillet.
I like to serve them with tamari or Chinese hot mustard for dipping.
Vegetable spring rolls
Unlike uninspiring, cabbage-heavy spring rolls, these are stuffed with kale, edamame, tofu, and mushrooms. The wrapper gets delightfully light & flaky in the air fryer.
I serve them with Chinese hot mustard for dipping.
Grilled artichoke halves
I may be a little bit obsessed with these grilled artichoke halves. I’ve been an artichoke lover for decades, but these grilled ones add a certain something that makes them totally craveable. The artichokes take on a smokiness from the grill and have those beautiful, dark grill marks that I adore.
Prefer water-packed artichoke hearts? (I usually have both kinds on hand.) Trader Joe’s has those as well, and they are good for warm vegan spinach & artichoke dip or using for fried artichoke hearts.
Organic kosher sandwich pickles
It may seem strange to put sliced pickles on the list, but when Trader Joe’s wasn’t in my area, I’d stock up with 5 or 6 jars when I happened to be near one. They have a good dill flavor, crunch, and work perfectly for those of us who want our sandwich to include a taste of pickle with every bite.
Plus, they’re organic and only $2.99. That’s a really good deal when organic pickles can sometimes cost $5 or more. (It’s just cucumbers, people!)
Chickenless crispy tenders
For a long while, the chick’n strips at Trader Joe’s were just re-packaged Gardein, one of my favorites. Then they went away for a while. Now the strips are back, but with a reformulated recipe. They don’t quite taste the same as they used to; although, the general look is the same.
Chickenless crispy tenders are ideal for a super easy dinner when I come home famished.
I tear open a bag, and throw them into the air fryer. By the time I’m in pajamas and sipping on wine, the broccoli has steamed and a package of brown rice has warmed in the microwave. Not too shabby for something that took next to no effort at all!
And for those times when I’m missing vegan fast food options like Native Foods or Veggie Grill, I’ll put the air fried strips onto a warmed baguette. (Trader Joe’s sells those too.) I smear it with eggless mayo, mustard, add pickle planks & onion slices, and serve it with french fries.
By the way, Trader Joe’s also sells bagged french fries in the freezer section, and they’re perfect for nights when you don’t feel like chopping potatoes.
Trader Joe’s hashbrowns
Speaking of potatoes…
While I often make hashbrowns from scratch on the weekends, sometimes I want the delicious crispy crunch of hashbrowns without having to clean the food processor afterwards.
These hashbrown patties remind me of a certain non-vegan fast food establishment I used to visit as a kid. They are great with a tofu scramble. Don’t forget the seitan bacon & avocado!
I just got into this chickpea salad recently. It’s a really fresh & simple chickpea salad made with chickpeas, black beans, tomatoes, and parsley. It’s one of those things that would be easy to make at home. (I’d make mine with cilantro instead of parsley!) But on the other hand, sometimes it’s nice when you’re in a rush not to have to make something from scratch.
It’s tasty on its own as a snack or in a bowl with brown rice, avocado, and romaine. It goes well on a vegan cheeseboard (above in center bowl) as a heartier element along with dolmas, pickles, non-dairy cheese, Castelvetrano olives, grilled artichoke halves, and Herbivorous Butcher pastrami.
Trader Joe’s is my go-to stop for nuts. I always have a wide variety in my lazy susan – peanuts, raw & roasted cashews, shelled pistachios, salt & pepper pistachios, gochujang almonds…
Two of my favorites are these Marcona almonds in truffle & rosemary. Marcona almonds are the best, because they aren’t as dry as your typical almond. I love their thin crunch.
These are seasoned and go beautifully on a vegan cheeseboard, with salad, or as a snack. Plus, since they have a very specific flavor, it’s easy to be satisfied with a few. (That sounds like a back-handed compliment, but it’s true!)
Canned dolmas are another thing I would buy in groups of five whenever I went to a Trader Joe’s location out of town. Obviously they keep well in the cupboard, and so there’s no worry about them going bad before I can use them.
I know that canned food often doesn’t inspire confidence, but these stuffed grape leaves are really good! They are tightly packed and firm, not mushy like some underwhelming dolmas you buy in cans.
Extra firm tofu & baked tofu
Trader Joe’s is my go-to stop for alllllll of the tofu.
First, my main, all-purpose tofu is extra firm in vacuum packaging. I like that it doesn’t require pressing before using. It is a little drier than the water-packed kind. However, now I’ve been using vacuum-packed tofu for so long, I really don’t even notice.
And while it’s easy enough to bake your own tofu slabs, sometimes you can’t beat the convenience of having it already done for you.
Trader Joe’s teriyaki flavor is a good snack on its own straight out of the fridge. I also like to put it on avocado toast. It is an easy to transport lunch with a salad or bowl. It also works well in a cooler if you’re heading on a road trip or taking food on a plane.
When I need a quick stir-fry in a flash, I like to cut the baked tofu into cubes and pop it into the air fryer until crisp around the edges. I served it above with riced cauliflower stir fry & Thai vegetable gyoza.
For another baked tofu option, they also have a sriracha flavor that I like a lot too.
Frozen riced cauliflower, riced cauliflower stir fry, and organic brown rice
The first time I had cauliflower rice, I wasn’t totally sold on it. I tend to be a chewy grain person, and cauliflower rice kind of reminded me of couscous, which I’m not really keen on. (I realize that couscous is actually a pasta, and cauliflower rice is actually not rice… but the point stands. I tend to prefer chewier things like barley or brown rice.)
However, cauliflower rice has really grown on me. When I’m making plain cauliflower rice for a stir-fry or rice bowl, I sometimes add an equal or half part brown rice. That way you get some of that texture and oomph, while still getting the flavor and nutrients of cauliflower.
Lately, I’m really loving this cauliflower rice stir-fry. It already has added vegetables packed into it and is seasoned with sesame oil. So it’s ready to go for a quick lunch. Serve it with vegan orange chicken (Trader Joe’s & Gardein make a version), potstickers, or cubed baked tofu.
Pico de gallo
I could go through a tub of this salsa in a day or two without a problem. It is nice and chunky with fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic. I’ll eat a cooked salsa, but I’d always prefer a raw one.
I don’t have to tell you what to do with salsa, but I will…
It’s great on its own with chips, black bean tacos, burritos, or on top of nachos. You could also use it as a layer in vegan 7-layer dip instead of making your own pico de gallo. (I recommend draining first, if you go that direction. Watery 7 layer dip is no bueno.)
Organic tomato basil marinara
It can be hard to find spaghetti sauce that doesn’t include sugar in the ingredients. I’m not a hardcore sugar avoider by any stretch, but it just seems unnecessary in pasta sauce. So I like that the Trader Joe’s version doesn’t have any of that. The ingredient list is really wholesome.
Plus, it has a V for “vegan” right on the label. That’s super handy when you’re scanning the list of options at the store.
What are your favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products?