7 Vegan Trader Joe’s Products Plant-Based People Will Love
Whether you're planning on going full-on vegetarian or vegan, or you're just looking to mix more plant-based foods into your diet, it can sometimes be tough to find replacements for dietary staples, especially if you're looking at giving up some of your favorite foods. As someone repeatedly lured back from vegetarianism by Taco Bell, I totally get it — which is why, when I know I'm going to take my diet more plant-based, I keep a handy list of available alternatives. And thankfully, Trader Joe's makes tons of cult vegan staples to help keep those cravings at bay.
With more and more plant-based alternatives appearing on the market (like the ridiculously delicious Impossible Burger), folks keen on trying plant-based foods have a veritable plethora of options, from true game-changers like the Impossible Burger to smaller but equally noticeable changes, like flake sea salt, as Melissa Breyer writing for TreeHugger recommends.
Adding more plant-based foods to your diet or swapping over wholesale can often (understandably) lead to thinking about big changes rather than small changes, but little things like incorporating flake sea salt can add some serious depth of flavor to dishes that may need some seasoning help to compete for an omnivore's attention.
Here are seven excellent vegan classics from Trader Joe's you can add to your upcoming meal plans.
1. Nutritional Yeast
So the idea of straight-up sprinkling yeast on your food might not be super appealing, but trust me: This yeast, which is flaky and definitely not the yeast you're probably used to using for baking, is a total necessity for making vegan nacho cheese, mac 'n' cheese, and virtually anything else you want to have a cheesy flavor. You can also sprinkle it straight on foods, so if you dig, say, parmesean and garlic on your popcorn, nutritional yeast is your new go-to.
2. Soy Chorizo
I'll be honest: I had no idea vegan meats existed until recently, when I found myself browsing for pepperoni and stumbled across a tofu-based brand. As someone who comes from an Italian family that really — and I mean REALLY — loves its spicy pastas and lasagnas, one of the top things I miss while eating vegetarian is the hearty, peppery taste of things like Italian sausage and chorizo. That's why this soy chorizo, packed with spices and peppers, is a true staple.
"Sauces" is vague, but really, Trader Joe's does have a wide variety — everything from veggie-infused salad dressings to this "soyaki," which can be an excellent replacement for sauces like Worcestershire (which, I am sorry to tell those of you not in the know, contains anchovies) and miso.
Green Jackfruit in Brine
Discovering jackfruit was a revelation for me. I cannot possibly preach enough about just how dang good "pulled pork" made from jackfruit is. While jackfruit can be kind of intimidating if you just buy a whole one from the grocery store, canned jackfruit like this is a good starter for a fruit that, I kid you not, can be used as a substitute in all sorts of savory dishes that are usually meat-based. To me, jackfruit has one of the weirdest tastes in the world, but also the best? It's a must-try.
Unsweetened Organic Açaí Purée Pack
It may seem like good old açaí came and went after having its time in the superfood spotlight, but no. Açaí is still here, and still excellent. For me, packs of fruit like the ones Trader Joe's sells are invaluable additions to vegan baked goods. I'm also someone who struggles with eating non-dairy-based yogurts and ice creams, and these packs are literal lifesavers.
Cauliflower is becoming incredibly popular in the plant-based food space, from faux "buffalo wings" made from cauliflower florets to crumbled cauliflower appearing in all kinds of dishes. I am not a cauliflower lover, but I won't deny that it takes all kinds of sauces super well, and despite not liking it much, it's certainly the best chicken wing replacement I've found. Trader Joe's put a whole new spin on this up-and-coming vegan food with cauliflower gnocchi, which will doubtlessly become a staple for folks who, again, grew up with big Itaian families eating lots of pasta with lots of cheese.
Marshmallows are another food people may not realize isn't vegan. Like most gummy foods, marshmallows are usually made with gelatin, which is decidedly not vegan. But Trader Joe's marshmallows are 100 percent vegan, so get ready to tote them to your next cookout for s'mores or use 'em to top your next sweet potato pie.
Swapping to plant-based foods can be rough, but with options like these to smooth the way, it's becoming easier than ever to embrace a little — or a lot — of plants on your plate.