Condiments make meals. Some—such as hummus and guacamole—are practically vegan food groups. When it comes to seasoning our food, Trader Joe’s carries the basics as well as store-brand inventions we never knew we needed—and can no longer go without. From Cowboy Caviar to Island Soyaki Sauce, here are the 18 essential Trader Joe’s condiments every vegan needs. 

 
 
 
 
 
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1. Cowboy Caviar
This jar of corn, black beans, and pickled peppers just surpassed salsa. It’s spicy, briny, chunky, and ever so subtly sweet. While even devout salsa connoisseurs may hesitate to eat salsa out of the jar, there are no reservations about spooning this stuff straight into your mouth. Of course, it’s also terrific on chips, vegan hot dogs, Mexican-inspired grain bowls, and burgers. 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Salsa
The beauty of Trader Joe’s is that it dedicates an entire shelf section to this tomato-and-pepper-based condiment. From mild to extra hot, chunky to pureed, traditional to fruity, everyone can find their favorite salsa style here. Confession: this VegNews editor has gone through half a jar of Trader Joe’s Chunky Mild Salsa in one sitting using an exceptionally large burrito as the vessel. But if you’re craving something freshly made, meander over to the refrigerated section for a deli container of pico de gallo or the medium heat, restaurant-style Organic Salsa.

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Hummus of all kinds
Original hummus, garlic hummus, eggplant hummus, avocado hummus, tomato basil hummus, chocolate hummus, dill pickle hummus … this Hawaiian shirt-themed grocer does not lack for this essential vegan food group. We’re sure you already know what to do with hummus, but have you ever thought of using it in place of marinara sauce on a pizza? Grab a bag of TJ’s pre-made dough (the garlic-herb variety is the best), slather on tomato basil hummus, and top with mushrooms, olives, diced tomatoes, and spinach. Fire it up in the oven and you have an incredible vegan pizza, no cheese required.

4. Baba ganoush
If you like hummus, you’ll love baba ganoush. It’s a creamy, beige-hued blend of roasted eggplant, garlic, and tahini. Use it just like hummus—as a dip, sandwich spread, Mediterranean bowl component, or creamy salad dressing.

 
 
 
 
 
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5. Sauerkraut
Whether you believe in the gut-enhancing properties of probiotic foods or not, you need to add some sauerkraut in your life. That briny, acidic punch adds a dimension of flavor to your meals—from classic hot dogs to salads and grain bowls. The Trader Joe’s variety features detectable garlic notes without being too strong or pungent.

 
 
 
 
 
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6. Vegan cheese
The TJ’s soy mozzarella shreds seem to have been around forever, but the grocer has been on a vegan cheese roll lately. Now, shoppers can find name-brand vegan cashew mozzarella shreds, almond mozzarella shreds, and cashew-based cheddar slices. We’re dying to make a three-cheese pizza made with all three varieties.

 
 
 
 
 
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7. Multipurpose Umami Seasoning
Umami is that fifth sense of flavor essence—it goes beyond sweet, salty, sour, and bitter to add an enhanced taste profile that elevates merely good food to restaurant quality. Trader Joe’s has bottled this elusive sensory flavor into an affordable mushroom-based seasoning that’s salty, slightly spicy, and totally umami. Stir it into cream sauces, toss it with tofu, or sprinkle it onto roasted and steamed veggies for a top-notch meal at home.

 
 
 
 
 
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8. Chicken-less Seasoning Salt
We always thought chicken seasoning was kind of odd—until we tried this. It’s mostly salty, but there’s a deliciously unctuous je ne sais quois flavor that lends itself perfectly to creamy pastas, dips, soups, and cooked grains. Stir a dash of this into your next batch of vegan chicken noodle soup or plain pot of beans and rice to transform basic into fabulous.

 
 
 
 
 
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9. Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette 
We love a good peanut sauce, but sometimes it can be challenging to find a store-bought version without fish sauce or bonito flakes. Trader Joe’s was looking out for its vegan customers when it launched this peanutty product. Use it on everything from noodles to stir-fry, dressing to dip. Pro tip: pair it with TJ’s frozen vegetable gyoza.

 
 
 
 
 
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10. Vegan Ranch Dip
After years of begging, Trader Joe’s launched its first vegan ranch rendition in August 2019. The thick, coconut-based dip encapsulates all the distinctive seasonings that make ranch … ranch. The only thing controversial about this creamy dip is whether you choose to use it on pizza.

 
 
 
 
 
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11. Sweet & Spicy Pineapple BBQ Sauce
Sometimes, barbecue sauce contains anchovy paste of animal-derived Worcestershire sauce. This thick, sticky-sweet condiment is vegan-friendly and does wonders to baked tofu and tempeh. Use it as a marinade, glaze, or dipping sauce for vegan meats, baked beans, and veggies.

 
 
 
 
 
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12. Island Soyaki Sauce
Part teriyaki, part soy, 100-percent transformative. This sesame-studded sweet sauce will make your next stir-fry, tempeh, or tofu dish. Pair it with Trader Joe’s Asian Vegetable Stir-Fry pre-cut veggies, add in chopped tempeh, and you can have a meal on the table faster than Postmates can deliver your typical takeout order.

13. Balsamic Glaze
This thick, syrupy condiment is magic on salads, vegan Caprese, pizzas, and even ice cream. It’s sweet with sour/acidic notes that complement savory dishes and punch up desserts. Once you try it, you’ll never go without a bottle on hand.

 
 
 
 
 
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14. Cashew Fiesta Dip
Everyone needs a quality cheese dip. This thick, oil-free, cashew-based queso is found in the chilled hummus section, but don’t reach for it straight from the fridge—it’s best served warm. Use it for gooey quesadillas, cheesy burritos, or good old fashioned chip dip.

 
 
 
 
 
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15. Vegan Caesar Dressing
Finally, Trader Joe’s discovered that anchovy-free is the way to be. This solid, plant-based Caesar is found in the refrigerated section near the brand’s other freshly bottled salad dressings. In lieu of fish and egg, it’s made with miso and silky tofu. Drizzle it over salads, grain bowls, and wraps.

 
 
 
 
 
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16. Vegan Kale Cashew and Basil Pesto
Trader Joe’s offers a number of chilled pestos, but for a cheese-free option, reach for the kale. Sure, it’s great with bowtie pasta, but we like to dollop it over pizza or swap out the red sauce entirely for this savory green paste.

 
 
 
 
 
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17. Guacamole
If you’re out of luck and the avocados on display are hard as rocks, Trader Joe’s has you covered. Pick up the Chunky Spicy package for a thicker, chunkier option, or opt for the Avocado’s Number if you like your guac silky smooth. Next to hummus, guacamole is the ultimate vegan condiment.

 
 
 
 
 
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18. Everything But the Bagel Seasoning 
What’s really in an everything bagel? As long as it’s vegan (it is), we’re content with keeping it a mystery. Sprinkle this magic dust on, well, everything, but avocado toast, roasted vegetables, and creamy soups are a great place to start.  

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.

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