Whether you are a vegan, a vegetarian or just trying to consume less animal products, it can be helpful to have a few go-to, easy options that are compatible with your dietary needs. That's where Trader Joe's comes in. The cult-favorite grocery chain is constantly pushing out new products and resurrecting old favorites — many of which are vegan! Here's your guide to shopping the aisles for the best plant-based items to get you through your day deliciously.
Trader Joe's jumbo cinnamon rolls fall into one of my favorite food categories: accidentally vegan. Flip over the cardboard tube and scan the ingredients list. Not an animal product in sight! If you're looking for something a little more protein-packed to get your day started, steer your cart over to the frozen aisle and pick up the tofu scramble with soy chorizo; it's filling and flavorful without being too heavy. If you're in the mood for something sweeter, TJ's gluten-free organic rolled oats with ancient grains and seeds are a perfect complement to their blueberry cultured coconut milk yogurt. Eating on the run? Spread some vegan buttery spread on toast and you're out the door in no time.
Want more great food writing and recipes? Subscribe to Salon Food's newsletter.
With a little food prep, you can set yourself up for a delicious week of vegan lunches sourced from within the aisles of your local Trader Joe's. Whip up a batch of their falafel mix (or buy the frozen falafel if your store carries them) and bake them off on a sheet pan or in the air fryer until crispy. Toss them on some mixed greens with olives, cherry tomatoes and the store's vegan feta alternative. Drizzle a little vegan tzatziki dip over the whole thing and you've got a delicious salad.
If you're running short on time or energy, thankfully TJ's has some grab-and-go vegan options. Two of our favorites are the organic hearty minestrone soup and the peanut udon noodle salad.
If your weeknights, like mine, are a flurry of impending deadlines underscored by overwhelming desire to just fade into the couch, perhaps frozen dinners are a good option. Thankfully, Trader Joe's has you covered. Their vegan enchilada casserole is melty, saucy and lightly spiced. Their vegan tikka masala and vegan pad thai are both classics for a reason. If you're looking for something that gives the same vibes as old-school Chinese carry-out, pair their chicken-less mandarin orange morsels with instant white rice and frozen broccoli. For an all-in-one meal, consider their yellow jackfruit curry with jasmine rice.
There are so many great vegan snack options at Trader Joe's. Three that are consistently on-rotation in my kitchen are the spicy porkless plant-based snack rinds (these are also really fun to sprinkle on black bean tacos), the chile-spiced dried pineapple (which is addictive) and the veggie gyoza.
Time for the sweet stuff. As the weather gets warmer, spend some time in the frozen aisle and pick up a treat or two, like the Hold the Dairy! Vegan chocolate mini cones, oat non-dairy frozen dessert sandwiches or the vegan cookies & cream vanilla bean bon bons. For something classic, grab a box of the vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and a glass of your non-dairy milk of choice.
More stories about vegetarian and vegan meals: