This updated list of my favorite Trader Joe’s vegan products highlights some of the store’s must haves. Items include pantry staples, refrigerated sauces and spreads, enticing frozen items, as well as tasty snacks and treats.
(Want to take this list of Trader Joe’s vegan favorites with you for easy shopping? Scroll to the bottom for a printable list!)
Going to Trader Joe’s is like a treasure hunt. You never know what you may fall in love with at your next visit. New and exciting products appear on store shelves in regular rotation.
But being a TJ’s fan is also a lesson in detachment. As soon as you’ve found a product you love, it may be discontinued.
Products are taken off the shelves because they’re seasonal, not selling well, or for quality control reasons. So when you like something, you’ve got to buy it and enjoy it while you can. Some products stick around for years, others for just weeks.
Today I’m sharing an updated list of 30 favorite Trader Joe’s vegan products. I had to remove some items because they’re no longer sold at Trader Joe’s. And I had to add some of my new favorites since the last posting.
Obviously, you can buy young green jackfruit other places. It’s available at Asian grocery stores, in addition to natural food stores. But it’s very handy to buy at Trader Joe’s when I’m doing my regular shopping run.
And for people who are confused about which jackfruit to buy for savory dishes, it’s an easy place to point them.
This green jackfruit packed in brine works well for things like vegan BBQ pulled pork. And there are lots of vegan barbecue sauce options at Trader Joe’s that you can use for it.
Ways to use Trader Joe’s jackfruit:
- Jackfruit carnitas tacos with red wine (Pick up wine while you’re there!)
- Vegan French dip sandwich with au jus
- Vegan reuben jackfruit sandwich
- Vegan Philly cheesesteak
- Vegan taquitos with jackfruit
- Vegan crab dip
Alvarado Bakery flax seed bread
For years Alvarado Bakery flax seed bread was our regular sandwich bread. We always had it on hand. So I was delighted when it popped up at my local Trader Joe’s recently.
This grainy bread is made with sprouted organic whole wheat berries, filtered water, wheat gluten, sprouted organic whole flax seeds, oat fiber, cultured wheat starch, organic dates, yeast, organic raisins, sea salt, and sunflower lecithin.
Two slices are 100 calories.
Plus, when there’s an orange cat on the label, you know it’s going to be quality.
Use flax seed bread for:
- Your morning toast along with a slathering of vegan butter
- Vegan tuna salad sandwiches
- Vegan egg salad sandwiches
- Picnic sandwich with jalapeño cashew cheese
- Toasted sandwich with eggy tofu & seitan bacon
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 taste the same as they used to. Although, the general look is the same. These days, I actually prefer TJ’s strips to Gardein. Plus, they’re cheaper!
I cook them in the air fryer. They’re one of those super easy dinners for when you 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, broccoli has been steamed and a package of brown rice warmed in the microwave.
Or I’ll throw them into veggie wraps with bell pepper, romaine, and a lemon tahini sauce drizzle. Not too shabby for something that took next to no effort at all!
And for those times that 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 vegan mayo, mustard, add pickle planks & onion slices.
Serve it with french fries (also cooked in the air fryer). You can find bagged french fries in the freezer section. Perfect for nights when you don’t feel like chopping potatoes.
Amba mango sauce
The surprising thing about this mango sauce is that it isn’t sweet. It’s a silky, savory sauce made with fermented green & ripe mangoes, garlic, salt, turmeric, paprika, and spices.
I’ve been using it as a dipping sauce with vegetable samosas, or on top of toasted pita with falafel.
When I’m making a quick stir-fry or curry, I also like to add a squeeze of this Trader Joe’s vegan favorite for some underlying warmth.
Dukkah is a seasonal item. So you will only find it on the shelves certain times of the year.
(When it’s not in season, use this dukkah recipe to make your own! It’s based on the Trader Joe’s dukkah nut and spice blend.)
To use dukkah, fill one small dish with good olive oil. In the next, pour some of the dukkah.
Then dunk warm, crusty bread first into the oil, and then into the dukkah. The dukkah clings to the oil.
When you bite into it, you get the nutty flavors of almonds & sesame seeds. There are undertones of sausage & licorice because of the fennel, anise, and coriander. Finally, there’s kosher salt, which makes it all the more snackable.
Use it as a topping for hummus or toss it with roasted potatoes.
Everything but the Bagel seasoning
If you’ve ever had an everything bagel, you know what to expect with this seasoning mix. It’s a combination of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt flakes, dried garlic, and dried onion.
I use it several mornings a week on my vegan avocado toast, along with a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast flakes (also on this list.)
You can also add it to non-dairy cream cheese or as a topping on hummus. A lot of people like to add it to their popcorn or an air fryer baked potato.
Garlic chipotle salsa
I usually prefer fresh salsa, but this jarred garlic chipotle salsa has become my newest obsession. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to the salsa doled out at Chevy’s Mexican Restaurants, which is one of my favorites.
This smoky salsa is rich with the flavors of roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, and chipotle peppers. I would classify this as a fairly mild salsa.
One downside is that it’s a little on the watery side.
Nutritional yeast flakes
Buying a big canister of nutritional yeast flakes can get pricey. However, a bag of nutritional yeast at Trader Joe’s is only $2.99.
And unless you’re making massive amounts of vegan mac & cheese, it will probably last you a while. (And if you are making massive amounts of vegan mac & cheese, invite me over, okay?)
What is nutritional yeast? <— Find out here
Use Trader Joe’s nutritional yeast flakes in:
- Crustless mini vegan quiche
- Vegan cheese dip
- Vegan breakfast tacos with tofu & black beans
- Vegan chili cheese tater tots (with Trader Joe’s potato tots)
- Warm vegan spinach artichoke dip
Organic shredded cabbage
Sure, you could easily shred a head of cabbage yourself. But this shredded cabbage mix is a terrific shortcut.
And since cabbage and carrots are relatively dry vegetables, this mix keeps well in the refrigerator for a while without going bad.
Ways to use shredded cabbage mix:
- Use it as a topping on vegan fish tacos
- It’s a great base for vegan coleslaw
- Use it as a topping on a vegan BBQ sandwich
- Add it to your easy spinach salad for extra crunch and interest with no added chopping
Lentils aren’t hard to make from scratch. And they only take about 30 minutes to cook.
But you know what’s even easier & faster? Opening a package of fully cooked brown lentils that are ready to go.
A lot of lentils are packed into a pouch. It contains five ½ cup servings.
These steamed lentils are a refrigerator staple for me.
Use steamed lentils in:
- Vegan burrito bowl with lentils & black beans
- Lentil chili with pinto & black beans
- Lentil balls with zesty lemon rice
- The best marinated lentils (Obviously skip the “cooking” part of the recipe.)
The first ingredient in Zhoug sauce is cilantro. So if you’re one of those people who think cilantro tastes like soap, stay far away from this one.
Zhoug is a Middle Eastern sauce that reminds me of what would happen if chimichurri and cilantro chutney got together.
Some call it a “Middle Eastern pesto.” However, it’s a lot spicier than your typical basil pesto fare.
In addition to cilantro, this spicy sauce includes canola oil, jalapeño peppers, chile flakes, garlic, cardamom, sea salt, and cumin seeds.
It is great with vegetable samosas as a dipping sauce. I also like to add dollops of it to stir-fries at the end, instead of chopping a bunch of cilantro. It also has a spicy kick that brings some heat.
And when I’m making my favorite easy hummus recipe, adding a dollop or two of Zhoug sauce adds a spicy zing. It is also tasty alongside falafel.
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.
(By the way, I also buy the bagged baby spinach & tri-color peppers shown above almost every visit!)
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 delicious as an appetizer of 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!)
Trader Joe’s hashbrowns
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!
Did you know you can even cook them on the grill? My usual method for cooking them is in the air fryer. However, if you’re already making a cast iron breakfast skillet, add some hashbrowns to a grill basket!
Balela is 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 also goes well on a vegan cheeseboard along with dolmas, pickles, non-dairy cheese, Castelvetrano olives, and grilled artichoke halves.
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. 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.
(By the way, they also make quinoa dolmas. I recommend avoiding that one. Quinoa is just too small and seedy to work in that application.)
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.
Use super firm tofu for:
- Vegan egg & toast
- Baked tofu recipe with lemon & rosemary
- Bulgogi tofu bowls
- Curried tofu salad
- Vegan blue cheese dressing
Trader Joe’s teriyaki flavor baked tofu 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.
For another baked tofu option, they also have a sriracha flavor, which I like a lot too.
Organic brown rice
Frozen brown rice is so darned convenient. No more waiting for rice to cook.
And you can use it straight from frozen when making vegan fried rice. Just get your vegetables softened. Then add the rice straight from the bag into the skillet.
Ways to use organic brown rice:
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 don’t have to tell you what to do with salsa, but I will…
Ways to use pico de gallo:
- Black bean tacos
- Vegan bean burritos
- Vegan nachos with cashew queso
- Use it as a layer in vegan 7-layer dip instead of making your own pico de gallo. (I recommend draining first, though. 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.
Monteli Organic Pizza Crusts
These frozen, organic pizza crusts have become a staple. They come two to a package, have a neutral flavor, and great texture.
They are all ready to go straight into the oven. No rolling required – just ladle on your favorite pizza sauce and toppings.
Lately, we’ve been making a lot of supreme-style pizzas with Beyond Meat sausage, Herbivorous Butcher pepperoni, bell pepper, and onions. It’s also an awesome base for a vegan taco pizza or this cheeseburger pizza recipe.
The cooking time on the package suggests 6 to 7 minutes at 420 degrees. I like to cook it for 12 minutes to get a crispier crust.
The ingredients are wheat flour, water, sunflower oil, extra virgin olive oil, salt, malted wheat flour, dextrose, semolina, dried wheat sourdough, and yeast.
Under the allergens it says that it “may contain” milk and soy. Because I’m not allergic to dairy, I don’t worry about possible cross contamination.
Ridge cut potato chips
These potato chips are my obsession.
I hardly ever buy them, because once the bag is open, I can’t stop thinking about them. I love the balance of salt and pepper, and the crunch from the ridges.
Corn chip dippers
For another crispy snack, their organic corn chip dippers have a wonderfully fresh snap that’s perfect right out of the bag or in vegan walking tacos. If you like Fritos, you’ll love these.
Mini Vegetable Samosas
These flaky samosas are made with a phyllo-type dough and loaded with peas, carrots, potatoes, lentils, onions, and spices.
I cook them in the air fryer. They get beautifully crisp on the outside. Cook them in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes. Stop once to flip half way through.
I like to serve them with homemade apple chutney, Trader Joe’s mango chutney, or Zhoug sauce.
Frozen fully cooked falafel
Sometimes you just need a hummus bowl with falafel, dolmas, kale salad with lemon tahini dressing, sauerkraut, and brown rice.
I like to make my own homemade hummus. Then I throw some frozen brown rice in the microwave, whip up a kale salad, and make frozen falafel in the air fryer.
The Trader Joe’s falafel is on the dense side, but it gets the job done. They are very filling, and usually two are plenty with a bowl. That means that I can really stretch one bag out for a while.
Organic riced cauliflower
The first time I had cauliflower rice, I wasn’t totally sold on it. However, over time it has really grown on me.
This frozen cauliflower rice is made with just two ingredients – cauliflower and salt. You can use it on its own anywhere that you’d use rice.
However, when I’m making cauliflower rice for a stir-fry or rice bowl, I like to 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.
Click here for a printable list of my Trader Joe’s vegan favorites.
Originally posted March 2018. Content, photographs, and printable list updated March 2019.