I worked at Trader Joe's for 3 years. Here are 8 of my favorite vegan things to get there.

I worked at Trader Joe's for 3 years. Here are 8 of my favorite vegan things to get there.
  • I worked at Trader Joe's for three years and still rely on the chain for vegan groceries.

  • The vegan feta alternative and soy chorizo are staples for delicious, flavorful dinners.

  • I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's canned jackfruit in brine because it's so versatile.

When I was in college, I worked at Trader Joe's for three years. Throughout my time working at the chain, I learned how to cook and elevate Trader Joe's frozen food items with a few fresh ingredients.

Now, my partner and I often rely on items we picked up at Trader Joe's to cook vegan dinners.

Although I stopped working at Trader Joe's almost a year ago, I still go there for these items.

The chili-onion crunch adds spice to so many dishes.

Trader Joe's crunchy chile oil
I might even use the oil from Trader Joe's chili-onion crunch as a dipping sauce.Kelsey Brown

Trader Joe's chili-onion crunch is good on anything and everything.

Its small jar is jam-packed with garlic, onion, bell pepper, and chile flakes. The combination of crunch and spice makes it the perfect topping.

I recommend trying it on ramen or using it as a savory dip.

I think everyone needs to try Trader Joe's soy chorizo.

Trader Joe's soy chorizo
Trader Joe's soy chorizo is a good source of protein.Kelsey Brown

In my opinion, Trader Joe's soy chorizo is essential no matter your diet. Its flavor and texture are strikingly similar to chorizo and it serves as a meat-free alternative that cooks even faster.

The soy chorizo is perfect for tacos or a rice bowl. Just add oil and potatoes to a pan and wait a few minutes to add the soyrizo, diced red onion, and cilantro. You'll have a hearty, delicious meal in less than 15 minutes.

Trader Joe's soy chorizo is affordable, freezable, and a great source of protein, with 8 grams per serving.

Trader Joe's Thai wheat noodles were perfect when I was picking up cooking skills.

Thai wheat noodles at Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's Thai wheat noodles can serve as a base for so many dishes.Kelsey Brown

When I was first learning to cook, Trader Joe's Thai wheat noodles were constantly in my cart.

For a stir-fry that comes together in less than 10 minutes, I sauté shiitake mushrooms, carrots, Broccolini, and bok choy in a pan with sesame oil. I follow the surprisingly great brown-sugar-and-soy-sauce recipe on the box, add the noodles, and top with green onions and sesame seeds.

If you're feeling bold, these noodles can also be a blank canvas to explore different flavor combinations.

Upgrade your cheese and crackers with Trader Joe's fig butter.

Trader Joe's fig butter
Trader Joe's fig butter has a slight sweetness and smooth texture.Kelsey Brown

I love to elevate Brie cheese and crackers by pairing the snack with Trader Joe's fig butter.

Its flavor is subtly sweet, making it a versatile pairing. For a savory and sweet five-minute snack, I make a quesadilla with fig butter, Brie, and Asian pears.

From tropical flowers to festive seasonal bouquets, Trader Joe's florals are unmatched in quality and price.

Flowers at Trader Joe's
Be sure to look out for any seasonal bouquets at Trader Joe's.Kelsey Brown

Trader Joe's receives deliveries of bountiful bouquets each morning. You can easily get a bouquet for under $10, with some as affordable as $4.

I only buy flowers from Trader Joe's because I find that they always last over a week.

Don't overlook the chain's reserve wine.

Wine at Trader Joe's
I think the platinum-reserve wine at Trader Joe's is top-tier.Kelsey Brown

It's easy to overlook the modest label on Trader Joe's reserve wine, but I think this option may be one of the chain's best-kept secrets.

The reserve options are private-label wines that Trader Joe's sells in a variety of tiers, including petite, grand, platinum, and diamond levels.

My Trader Joe's elders taught me that when you see a platinum-reserve wine, you buy it. I've never been disappointed by the reserve wines, and they're a great way to start exploring different flavors.

Trader Joe's vegan feta-cheese alternative is a staple for me.

Trader Joe's vegan fets cheese
Some of my guests would never have guessed the feta alternative was vegan.Kelsey Brown

For all dairy-restricted former cheese lovers, Trader Joe's vegan feta alternative is a game changer.

I've served the feta alternative to cheese lovers and they couldn't even notice a difference. The substitute is the perfect topping for beans, enchiladas, and salads.

It's a staple in my kitchen so I always keep at least two containers of it in my fridge.

I search for a can of green jackfruit each time I go shopping.

Trader Joe's canned green jackfruit
A can of Trader Joe's green jackfruit comes in a brine.Kelsey Brown

The green can of Trader Joe's jackfruit can be easily looked over, as it's often displayed on the bottom shelf. Once you remove the jackfruit pieces from the brine, squeeze out the excess liquid, and take out the seeds, its potential is endless.

Jackfruit is amazing at absorbing flavor — I boil it to remove the taste of the brine and pan fry the meaty fruit with my favorite spices, like Trader Joe's taco seasoning.

I like to transform jackfruit into carnitas by shallow frying it in oil with a splash of orange juice and some spices.

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