For when you want and you're feeling

30 Favorite Budget Finds From Trader Joe’s

This round up details my current go-to items budget items when grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s! From baking staples to easy dinner helpers, this list goes into the versatility of specific items and shows how I like to incorporate them into simple, delicious meals. Weeknight wins and party-ready items featured for a well-rounded, plant-based pantry!

The Top Budget 30 Grocery Finds from Trader Joes Collage image with label

The Best Budget-Friendly Finds at Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s roundups are plentiful these days, but nevertheless I am always interested in reading about “top” grocery item.If you’re someone like me who shops frequently, it’s likely you some favorite items you purchase on a weekly or monthly basis. In this list I detail what items I consider “staples,” or at least worth the trip to Trader’s if you have one in your area. Everything detailed here is either of exceeding quality and a budgetary win (meaning I haven’t been able to find a comparable product at a lower price in another store).

Fresh items

collage image of cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes, lilacs, and avocados


The fresh flower selection at Trader Joe’s is somewhat famous, both for its variety and impressive amount of options under $10. These flowers are of course not going to last forever but they’re the perfect thing to pick up when you want to brighten your house during the week.

Teeny Tiny Avocados

I eat avocado toast every morning, and these small avocados are the perfect size (I’ll use a half to three fourths, depending). They come in a bag of six for just $2.99.

Organic Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes add the perfect hit of acidity to so many meals, from nachos to falafel to pastas to soup. This organic pick is just one of a few varieties to choose from!

Organic Sweet Potatoes

The organic sweet potatoes in this bag are relatively small, making them perfect for microwaving for lunch. Instant pot sweet potatoes are another favorite.

Other favorites: Apples, oranges, bananas, kale, fresh herbs, carrots, fresh berries, figs, shallots, lemons, limes

Refrigerated section

collage image of fridge items from trader joes - pesto, butter, and yogurt

Creamy Almond Cultured Vanilla Bean Yogurt

Dairy-free yogurt is used frequently in my house for vegan scones, but it is just as delicious when eaten on its own or with some banana bread granola.

Miyokos Cultured Vegan Butter

I’ve said before that Miyokos is my all-time favorite vegan butter, and Trader Joe’s sells it for $1 cheaper then many other places, at $4.99! Dairy-free butter is necessary in recipes like this vegan colcannon and crispy orzo with peas and garlic butter.

Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite spreads, but getting fresh basil is sometimes not an option. When I do not want to make pesto at home, I like to use this pre-made version for pastas and tomato toast.

Other favorites: Pre-made pizza dough, extra-firm tofu, tempeh

Pantry staples

abuelita tortillas, garlic, olive oil, flour

Organic Garlic

I’m working on a roundup of my favorite garlic-heavy recipes, which I will link here once it’s ready.

De Mi Abuela Corn & Wheat Tortillas

While these tortillas are not entirely authentic, they are a solid time-saving option that I prefer the taste of (with a mix of corn and wheat flours). I am also working on a homemade flour tortilla recipe, so stay tuned for that!

All Purpose Flour

Sadly, Trader Joe’s no longer sells whole wheat flour. Their all purpose flour is only $3.00 for 5 pounds, and is unbleached (most cheaper flours are bleached).

100% Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil

High quality olive oil is something I use nearly every day in cooking and baking. This vegan olive oil cake and this garlic olive oil confit are both great examples.

best trader joes pantry items with fusilli pasta, red lentils, thai noodles, and peanut butter

Thai Wheat Noodles (new!)

This is a recent find at Trader Joe’s that I wanted to include, as they have long been missing a “Thai-style” noodle offering that does not come flavored. I try to avoid pre-made/convenience items as they often are more expensive. This was less than a dollar a serving, and seems fairly hearty and simple for a weeknight. I think it would be perfect in this recipe for sesame noodles.

Red split lentils

Red lentils cook in just 15 minutes, making them an affordable and simple source of protein. This post details some of my favorite high protein lentil recipes.

Organic Whole Wheat Fusilli

You always want to have pasta in the pantry, and this whole wheat fusilli is less than $2.00 and not at all tough. Try it in this rose pink pasta.

Creamy Unsalted Peanut Butter

I typically prefer the Trader Joe’s Chunky & Salted peanut butter, but on this shopping trip I wanted to pick some up for Puffin to make him these 3-Ingredient Dog Treats.

Other favorites: Orzo pasta, raw almonds, coconut oil, popcorn

Flavor Additions

top trader joes vegan seasonings with everything but the bagel and nutritional yeast

Everything but the Bagel Seasoning

While I do have a post that details how to make your own everything bagel seasoning, I have to admit that spending $1.99 on this container is definitely worth it.

Nutritional Yeast

I’ve used nutritional yeast in a countless number of recipes for its perfect umami quality. It mimics cheese well when combined with a fat like cashews and adds a huge depth of flavor to so many meals. I eat it at least once a day!

Other favorites: Harissa paste, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Red Pepper Spread 

Frozen goods

best trader joes freezer items of a collage of blueberries and frozen peas

Organic Wild Blueberries

Frozen blueberries are a great addition to smoothies and fruit desserts like this berry galette. They’re full of antioxidants and I always like to keep some on hand.

Petite Peas

Frozen peas add satisfying plant protein and are a convenient freezer option when you may be running low on fresh produce. Try them in this recipe for orzo with peas.

Other favorites: Shelled edamame, frozen spinach, frozen mango


top trader joes finds in a collage with almond milk, seltzer, rose, white and red wines

Boxed Unsweetened Almond Beverage

Almond milk is my go-to nondairy milk for baking because I prefer its taste and it’s very affordable.I recommend sticking with unsweetened varieties like this one, as it lets you better control the amount of sugar that is added to a recipe.

Lemon and Ginger Juice Seltzer Water

This is more of a splurge purchase as it only comes in a four pack, but every now and then it is worth it. Especially if you are a fan of sparkling water.

Josh Cabernet Sauvignon

My pick for a budget red wine option, this is a standby that is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Emma Reichart Riesling

I have a tendency to regularly revisit German wines and this is an easy choice that is light and dry.

Aime La Vie! Syrah-Grenache

This syrah-grenache blend has notes of green apple and is again very refreshing and not too sweet. I think I need to do a wine-specific post soon to cover more of my favorites.

Other favorites: Coconut water, Gingerade Kombucha

Snacks and Party Foods

collage image of sesame honey cashews, mideast feast, garlic naan crackers, soy flaxseed chips, and roasted garlic hummus from Trader joes

Organic Garlic Naan Crackers

These simply spiced crackers are perfect for dipping.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

If you’re not in the mood to make hummus, this $1.99 option is delicious and convenient.

Sesame Honey Cashews

Warning: these are addictive and you may want to purchase two bags if you’re having guests over. I may try to do an at-home version soon!

Mideast Style Feast

This is my go-to package pickup if I am traveling by plane. It contains a mix of hummus, grape leaves, bulgur salad, and lentil salad. It is full of protein and very satisfying.

Soy and Flaxseed Corn Tortilla Chips

I’ve tried a few different chips and these had the most satisfying crunch. They’re featured in this recipe for vegan queso!

Popcorn kernels

I have a tutorial for popping kernels at home in this post for kettle corn.

Other favorites: Tabbouli salad,  elote chips (not vegan)

I’ll likely add to this list in the future, so comment your favorite Trader Joe’s finds below and let me know what I missed!

Portrait of Emily Meyers, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Emily (Frigon) Meyers is the founder of Garlic Head, a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets while saving time and money. She is a lifelong vegetarian and 10+ year vegan. Garlic Head does not focus on labels - it focuses on creating food that everyone can enjoy.

Emily earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University along with degrees in Economics, Spanish, and Global Sustainability from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been featured on numerous podcasts and websites including The Food Institute, VegNews, Buzzfeed, and the Boston Globe.

Meet Emily here.

Love this post? Share the love!

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Garlic Head Logo

Garlic Head is a community for food lovers that is focused on providing affordable, simple, & delicious plant-based recipes to help us feel our best.

iPhone X displaying Garlic Head's "3-Ingredients Cocktails" e-Book

Free Resource

Get this e-book for free!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
For when you're feeling...
Our recipes look great on Pinterest!