(Updated August 9, 2020) | Trader Joe’s is an affordable vegan shopping haven.
Founded in 1958 in Pasadena, California, Trader Joe’s is known for its luau shirt-clad employees, endearing customer service, flexible return policy (you can literally return anything you don’t like, even if it’s open), and its constant addition of new products.
Not only are the prices on fruit and vegetables lower than your standard grocery store, you can also find plenty of vegan pantry staples like pasta (including grain-free), lentils and beans, and grains, you can also find unique plant-based products—all at an affordable price.
The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Food at Trader Joe’s
While not everything made the list, these are some of the must-try vegan products that Trader Joe’s has to offer.
1. Soy Chorizo
TJ’s soy chorizo—aka soyrizo—is a customer favorite. Fans have consistently voted for the spicy meatless sausage as one of their favorite products since its launch. Best for Mexican-style dishes, the vegan chorizo—made from textured soy protein—can be crumbled or sliced and fried.
2. Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels
These vegan Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels have a cult following among Trader Joe’s fans. Made from soy protein, the meatless morsels have a crispy texture when baked that pairs well with stir-frys and Asian-inspired dishes. A 9.25-ounce bag costs less than $4.
3. Chicken-Less Tenders
These Chickenless Tenders are the hero of easy weeknight dinners. Just pair with potatoes and your favorite veggies.
4. Tofurky and Lightlife Vegan Meat
While Trader Joe’s specializes in its private-label products, it does also offer brand name vegan food for a price lower than other grocery stores. The chain carries four-packs of Tofurky Italian Sausage, Tofurky and Lightlife vegan deli meat slices, Lightlife high-protein vegan chicken tenders, and Gimme Lean Sausage.
5. Vegan Burgers
The grocery store chain’s frozen aisle has no shortage of vegan burgers and patties – including plant-based crab cakes made from jackfruit. One of the latest additions to the lineup is the Hi-Protein Veggie Burger which contains 26 grams of pea protein per patty. You can also find vegan burgers inspired by Tex-Mex, Indian cuisine, and a few veggie-based patties from Dr. Praeger’s. It also makes vegan turkey burgers.
5. Organic Tofu and Tempeh
Don’t skip on old-school vegan meats like tofu and tempeh. Trader Joe’s offers multiple varieties of tofu ranging from organic sprouted to high-protein as well as heat-and-serve options like Organic Baked Tofu and Sriracha Baked Tofu. It also carries multi-grain tempeh under its private label. Most varieties won’t cost you more than $2.
6. Vegan Cheese
Sprinkle Vegan Mozzarella-Style Shreds on top of pizza, add it to plant-based baked ziti or lasagna, or top off your dairy-free mac and cheese with a layer of melty shreds. Be sure to check the ready-to-go aisle for vegan pizza dough or the frozen aisle for plant-based cauliflower pizza crusts for an easy, affordable dinner. Be aware – Trader Joe’s also carries non-dairy Almond Mozzarella Shreds, but it contains casein, a milk protein. Most recently, it launched dairy-free cheese slices and shreds made from cashews.
Trader Joe’s also stocks two varieties of vegan cream cheese. Its private-label nondairy cream cheese has a classic flavor that can be spread onto bagels or used to make vegan cheesecake. Miyoko’s cashew-based Un-Lox cream cheese is perfect for recreating a classic NYC breakfast. Stop by the bread aisle for vegan bagels (which Trader Joe’s also carries) and grab a jar of capers before you check out.
7. Vegan Butter
Bakers, rejoice! Trader Joe’s carries two kinds of vegan butter. Earth Balance’s vegan Buttery Spread is made from a blend of vegetable oils while Miyoko’s European Style Vegan Butter is made from a blend of cashews and coconut oil. Both options can be used as a one-to-one substitute for butter in vegan baking. If you’re looking for a healthier option, grab a jar of Organic Coconut Oil.
8. Vegan Mayo
No eggs? No problem. Officially named “Vegan Spread & Dressing,” the grocery chain’s private label vegan mayonnaise works wherever you would typically use the classic spread. Try mashing it up with chickpeas (and crumble up some Trader Joe’s dried seaweed snacks) to make vegan tuna salad.
9. Nutritional Yeast
Despite its name, nutritional yeast isn’t for baking. This flaky yellow ingredient is a type of deactivated yeast that has a cheesy, nutty flavor. Nutritional yeast can be used to make vegan mac and cheese, dairy-free alfredo sauce, vegan broccoli and cheese soup, and nondairy cheese. It can also be substituted for parmesan cheese on salads and tastes great sprinkled on popcorn. It’s fortified with vitamin B12, which can be tough to get on a plant-based diet. While it used to be only available in health food stores, Trader Joe’s launched its own not too long ago – and at an affordable price, costing $3 for a four-ounce bag.
10. Vegan Cookies
TJ’s signature Oreo-like cookie, Joe Joe’s, are vegan. Like Oreos, so are most of the seasonal flavors—including the Neapolitan Joe Joe’s! The gluten-free Joe Joe’s aren’t vegan, though, so keep an eye out for that. It carries vegan speculoos cookies, its own-brand Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies, and Lenny & Larry’s protein cookies year-round. It recently launched two varieties of vegan sandwich cookies: chocolate and lemon.
The chain also carries allergen-friendly, vegan snickerdoodle cookies that are similar to the ones made by Enjoy Life.
11. Cinnamon Rolls
Trader Joe’s cinnamon rolls in a can are vegan—and so are the seasonal pumpkin spice version that comes out every year around fall.
12. Plant-Based Milk and Coffee Creamer
Trader Joe’s has plenty of options for vegan milk including soy, coconut, and almond – and that’s just the refrigerated section. The shop has a wide array of shelf-stable plant-based milk like organic soy and rice. Flavored options like blueberry lavender, matcha, macadamia, and cashew chocolate milk are also on offer, as well as the occasional seasonal option like peppermint mocha and pumpkin spice.
For your coffee, the supermarket chain has nondairy coconut creamer—plus plenty of fair-trade beans to choose from. You can also grab a bottle of cold brew concentrate or ready-to-drink coffee from throughout the shop. Trader Joe’s is always launching new non-dairy milk options. It recently added oat milk and shelf-stable hemp milk into the mix.
13. Vegan Yogurt
Trader Joe’s sells nondairy, probiotic coconut yogurt under its private label in the flavors blueberry and vanilla, along with the occasional seasonal flavor around the holidays. It also makes cashew-based vegan yogurt.
14. Vegan Ice Cream
Trader Joe’s carries both pints and novelty vegan ice cream treats, like its popular Soy Creamy Cherry Chocolate Chip featuring dairy-free vanilla ice cream with bits of dark cherry and chocolate chunks. You can also find vanilla soy ice cream, chocolate coconut ice cream, and vanilla almond milk ice cream.
15. Vegan Cheesecake
You can now find vegan cheesecakes in the frozen dessert section of Trader Joe’s. The dairy-free treats feature a graham cracker crust and a creamy filling made from lima beans, coconut oil, konjac, and agave syrup.
16. Vegan Candy
From “Scandanavian Swimmers” to fruit jellies and more, Trader Joe’s vegan candies will satisfy any sweet tooth.
17. Vegan Frozen Ready Meals
If you’re looking for a simple, affordable, convenient vegan meal, look no further than the frozen aisle. The chain carries a wide variety of ready meals like panang curry, yellow jackfruit curry, cauliflower rice bowls, organic frozen burritos, and Japanese fried rice.
If you’re looking for something to make dinner a little easier, keep an eye out for frozen brown rice and quinoa.
18. Vegan Ramen and Soups
This vegan Miso Ramen is a quick and convenient meal. According to the company, the umami broth is made from miso, seaweed, and garlic—all you need to do is add hot water, like the classic Cup Noodles. Try adding your favorite veggies for a more substantial meal.
In the same aisle, you’ll find heat-and-serve vegan soups like organic split pea soup, organic lentil soup, plus other convenient finds like miso broth and canned vegan chili (the label says “vegetarian”).
19. Vegan Grab-and-Go Lunch
Need something quick to eat? Pick up one of TJ’s plant-based grab-and-go options. You can find rainbow vegetable hummus wraps, vegetable sabich sandwiches, tofu spring rolls, and veggie burritos, plus multiple flavors of hummus to choose from that you can pair with baby carrots. You can also find a few vegan soups in the same section.
20. Vegan Gnocchi
Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi is completely egg-free and you can find it in the frozen aisle. This item is so popular that it can be tough to get a hold of since it’s frequently sold out in stores. The bag recommends sauteeing it with olive oil until slightly crispy or boiling, but fans have also found success in baking and then tossing it in sauce or TJ’s vegan almond and kale pesto. The supermarket also makes vegan kale gnocchi.
21. Affordable Nut Butter
In a regular grocery store, good almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or tahini (which makes a great base for creamy vegan dressing) can set you back more than $10. But at Trader Joe’s, you’ll find them for under $6. Be sure to try the cookie butter, too!
22. Flax and Chia Seeds
Flax and chia seeds can both be ground up and used as an egg replacer in vegan baking. Trader Joe’s carries both, including pre-ground flax seeds. If you’re making cookies, its regular chocolate chips are dairy-free and be sure to stop by the baking aisle for affordable staples. Many of Trader Joe’s baking mixes can be made vegan by using flax and nondairy milk in place of animal ingredients.
23. Vegan Marshmallows
Perfect for s’mores, rice crispy treats, and cookies, these marshmallows are free from gelatin, making them vegan. Around the holidays, you can even find vegan mini marshmallows to make your dairy-free hot chocolate even better.
24. Crunchy Snacks
Whether you like sweet or savory, you can find plenty of crunchy snacks at Trader Joe’s, from birthday cake-flavored vegan popcorn to dried veggies like okra, kale, beet chips, and broccoli florets.
25. Vegan Chocolates
Love chocolate? Trader Joe’s has plenty of options staged throughout the store, like its dark chocolate sunflower butter cups, Valrhona and Montezuma dark chocolate bars, and private label chocolate bars and chocolate straws.
26. Dried Fruit Snacks and Freeze-Dried Fruit
You can find all sorts of natural fruit snacks at Trader Joe’s like dragon fruit chips, organic pressed fruit bars, and plenty of plain dried fruit like apricots, pineapple, apple rings, and persimmon. For freeze-dried fruit, you’ll find strawberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, and more.
27. Vegan Banana Bread
Trader Joe’s vegan banana bread with walnuts is something of a cult hit among customers—once rare, you can now find it at stores across the nation. Fans recommend slicing and spreading almond butter on top.
28. Soft Pretzel
In the frozen food aisle you can find Big Soft Pretzels that are completely free from animal ingredients. Just bake and serve with mustard or vegan queso dip.
29. Vegan Cereal and Granola
Not only does Trader Joe’s carry name brand vegan cereal like Peanut Butter Puffins and Panda Puffs, it also stocks private label options like Crunchy Maple Ladders, Neapolitan Puffs, bran flakes, and Cocoa Crunch—its vegan version of Cocoa Puffs. You can also find plenty of honey-free granola options.
30. Eggplant Garlic Spread
Pair Trader Joe’s savory Eggplant Garlic Spread With Sweet Red Peppers with crackers and mezze favorites like hummus and olives.
31. Hummus, Dips, and Dairy-Free Pesto
When it comes to party planning, Trader Joe’s has vegan snacks covered. The affordable grocery store carries multiple kinds of hummus (including vegan Buffalo hummus), creamy dairy-free dips, and even pesto.
32. Quick-Cooking Grains
For busy days, Trader Joe’s has more than just pasta—you can find quick-cook farro and quick-cook barley among the grain shelves.
33. Organic Pasta Sauce
For last-minute dinners, look no further than Trader Joe’s abundant vegan pasta sauce options like its Tomato Basil Marinara and Fat-Free Spaghetti Sauce With Mushrooms.
Not only does Trader Joe’s carry bread from vegan-friendly brand Ezekiel, it also stocks its own-brand options. Most bags should be labeled with a “V” for vegan.
35. Smoothie Packets
Don’t have time to prep a morning smoothie? Trader Joe’s vegan açaí smoothie packets make it oh-so-easy.
36. Riced Cauliflower
While simple to make with the help of a food processor, Trader Joe’s ready-made riced cauliflower makes it even simpler. Find it in the fresh and frozen aisles. The grocery store also carries riced cauliflower bowls and stir-fry mixes for even easier dinners.