If you’ve been following along as I’ve posted recipes, you’ve probably noticed a lot of my ingredients come from Trader Joe’s. This is because Trader Joe’s is a vegan goldmine. Not only are there reasonably priced vegetables and fruits, they have delicious meat substitutes, prepackaged foods, and desserts. I am able to buy so much more at Trader Joe’s, rather than go to my local grocery store. We gladly drive 40 minutes to the nearest one, in order to stock up on our favorite items. Below are some of my must have items at Trader Joe’s. Keep in mind, that you can expect to walk in and load up on fresh veggies and fruits, as well as almond milk and other generic items, but these are my favorite items exclusive to TJ’s. 😊
1. Veggie fried rice
I always keep a few bags of this deliciousness in my freezer for times I decide I want stir fry, but don’t want to wait for rice to cook in my rice cooker. There’s no egg and it’s loaded with veggies- peas, carrots, green onion. Cooks up in 7 minutes and a super low price!
2. Chickenless orange chicken (and crispy tenders)
What more could you ask for to go with your veggie fried rice? These orange chickenless morsels are really yummy and crisp up nicely in the oven. The nice thing about these, is if you feel like plain chicken, you can opt to not use the sauce packet. The result is less calories, but still delicious. The crispy tenders are often sold out because they are that great. By far the best vegan chicken tender substitute! Use them in salads, wraps, stir-frys and more.
3. Beefless ground beef
I’ve spent years searching for the perfect substitute for ground beef to use in spaghett, chili, stuffed peppers, etc. I love the Gardein brand, but they come frozen and a “one pound” beef substitute can be $4.99. These crumbles are not frozen and one package equals one pound of ground beef. A great price and a great substitute! My favorite uses are tacos, enchiladas, lasagna, stuffed peppers, and pizza.
4. Vegan mozzarella shreds
Speaking of lasagna, in addition to my cashew ricotta, I add a bit of this. It melts better than any vegan cheese i have ever bought. Years ago, I tried it out and hated it; I thought it had a really strange taste. They must have changed it, because I now love it in lasagna and on pizza! The best part, since it melts so incredibly well, you can use it sparingly! More bang for your buck.
5. All the tofu!
Reasonably priced tofu of all varieties. (Though I did not see any silken.) What more could a vegan ask for?
6. So much pasta
All pasta here, save for the egg pasta on the bottom, and the prefilled ravioli and tortellini is vegan! Fusilli and rigatoni for .99?! Yes, please!
7. Sweet chili sauce
Wondering what I meant by sweet chili sauce in the Pad Thai recipe? Look no further! This stuff is perfect in that sauce, which is why I have at least 3 bottles in the pantry at all times. It’s also delicious for dipping veggie spring rolls. 😍
8. Soyaki sauce
TJ’s has two different kinds of this lovely marinade- the island one edges out the regular, in my opinion, but both are great to have on hand in a pinch. Use this for marinating anything, really, but I especially like it for use in the TLT recipe.
You may be thinking…. ketchup? Reallyyyy? Yes, ketchup. The ketchup seen here is not only organic, it is free of artificial flavors and contains no high fructose corn syrup, which is why I even discovered it in the first place. It’s nearly impossible to find one free of HFCS at a reasonable price. You’re welcome. 🙂
10. Nutritional yeast
Don’t want to buy a huge canister of nooch like me? You’re in luck because as of a few years ago, you can buy a bag of nooch for $2.99 at Trader Joe’s. Much cheaper than the health food stores!
11. Cinnamon rolls
Making your own cinnamon rolls is obviously best, but I like to keep a few cans of these in the fridge if I need a quick dessert while people are over. They bake up nicely and are accidentally vegan!
12. Crescent rolls
Also accidentally vegan, these crescent rolls are perfect for your raw veggie pizzas or as a side to some pasta marinara.
13. Organic frozen pizza crusts
I absolutely love to make pizzas at home, but let’s be honest, rolling out your own dough for that crust takes a long time. Stock up on this two pack of frozen crusts and be able to whip up a pizza any time.
14. Thai veggie burgers
There’s a lot of veggie burgers out there, but this one has to be my favorite. Maybe it’s that Thai sweet chili sauce flavor, or the Asian vegetables, but it definitely has great flavor. I like to chop it up and put it in a big salad, but it works well on a traditional bun, too.
15. Cookie Butter
Delicious and unusual is right! If you haven’t tried this stuff, you are definitely missing out. I could eat it by the spoonful. (I usually do!) I really can’t explain it’s greatness; just try for yourself! Be careful though, there’s a few different flavors, only the original is vegan!
16. Ice cream
If you asked me where to find the best non-dairy vanilla ice cream, I would tell you Trader Joe’s. The cherry chocolate chip isn’t bad either. This ice cream is soy based, smooth, and delicious. I honestly don’t mind eating it plain, but I like to add chocolate or strawberry sauce every now and then. One quart for under $4 is a non-dairy ice cream bargain!
Sticking with the idea of great ice cream, there are amazing vegan mochi to be found at Trader Joe’s. Made from coconut milk, there’s two featured flavors- strawberry and green tea. While I am a green tea enthusiast, I prefer the strawberry flavor. Maybe the best part, one serving is 4 pieces!!! 😋
18. Unsweetened green tea
I feel like it’s nearly impossible to find tea that is unsweetened. I can’t say enough good things about this beautiful green bottle! We fill an empty wine case with 12 bottles almost every time we go. My husband and I even used the empty bottles for our wedding centerpieces last year because they are so pretty! While I still get the occasional Starbucks tea every now and then, these are so much more cost effective, at $1.49 a bottle. It’s safe to say, I’ve gotten my whole family hooked!
So now there’s no excuse to not try being vegan! 😉 Head to you local Trader Joe’s. You know what to look for!