There’s a reason Trader Joe’s is a cult favorite—it makes an ordinary chore of grocery shopping extraordinary. The equally inventive and appetizing products infuse a sense of fun and discovery into this otherwise mundane task. Plus, the brand has really upped its vegan selection, offering everything from vegan mac and cheese to its own plant-based meats and cheeses.
When you shop at Trader Joe’s, you’re immediately hit with vibes of the current season, and autumn is when this tiki-themed grocer pulls out all the stops. With all the fall-themed gatherings and Friendsgivings in planning mode, Trader Joe’s ensures all parties are as festive as its seasonal displays. Here is everything you need to host a vegan fall-themed party with just one trip to Trader Joe’s.
Setting the ambiance
Before planning the menu, we have to think of decor. While Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer as many non-food sundry items as other conventional grocers, what it does offer shouldn’t be glanced over on your way to pick up a box of Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s.
This time of year, you can always rely on an outside or entryway display of pumpkins and squashes. Pick up one or two larger gourds for your own doorstep and a few interesting-looking squashes to place on your dining table or coffee tables. Complete the look with a couple of bouquets of flowers and strategically placed candles around your home and in the guest bathroom.
The Honeycrisp Scented Apple Candle is a refreshing fragrance that is perfect for those already tired of pumpkin spice everything. A bottle of Apple Cider Foaming Hand Soap is a complementary touch. And there’s always the spicy-scented Cinnamon Broom to add a subtle yet alluring fragrance to any room.
Vegan drinks at Trader Joe’s
The type of event and menu should guide your gathering’s beverage selection, but Trader Joe’s stocks vegan options for any type of event from a kid’s party to an adult-only dinner. For those who aren’t old enough or choose not to partake in alcohol, try the Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage or Non-Dairy Oat Beverage Maple Flavor. Both are tasty served hot or cold, and both can be spiked with either cold brew or something stronger. Bottled Ginger Beers are also crowd favorites.
For alcoholic options, the universal Charles Shaw brand of wine is vegan. While not top-shelf by any means, it’s an affordable option for fall sangrias. More finessed wine brands like La Sonriente Garnacha, Vola, and Vilenas Chilenas are also vegan. For beer, JosephsBrau, Drive Thru Red Beer, and others are solid options. If you’re perusing the aisles and a bottle intrigues you, just run it by barnivore.com to ensure it’s completely plant-based. This comprehensive database contains more than 56,000 alcohol entries and offers a handy search option so you can quickly check any kind of beer, wine, or liquor you’re interested in purchasing. VegNews also has convenient vegan wine and beer guides for quick reference.
Decorations complete and refreshers in mind, let’s move on to the food.
13 party-ready vegan appetizers at Trader Joe’s
1 Lentil Feta Bruschetta Dip
Sampling is back at Trader Joe’s, and the team is getting creative with vegan options. This three-ingredient dip combines the brand’s Bruschetta Sauce with cubed vegan feta and packaged steamed lentils for a protein-packed appetizer that’s just begging for a toasty pita chip. We’d never think to combine these products together, but it definitely works.
2 Cheesy Spicy Soyrizo Dip
For those who love a good cream cheese-based dip, this one’s for you. Brown Trader Joe’s Soyrizo in a non-stick pan then add a tub of vegan cream cheese. Loosen the consistency by adding a few splashes of non-dairy milk then stir until you’ve got a well-combined, thick dip. Turn off the heat and add an optional can of drained diced tomatoes or pico de gallo. Serve this indulgent, slightly spicy spread warm with Trader Joe’s plantain or tortilla chips.
3 Vegan Pigs in a Blanket
Some parties just call for something nostalgic and familiar, and vegan pigs in a blanket never fail to delight. Like many pop-can doughs, Trader Joe’s crescent rolls are vegan. Use them to wrap TJ’s vegan hot dogs (or pieces of vegan hot dogs), then spray the dough lightly with olive oil spray and sprinkle with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, then serve warm with spicy dijon mustard or other appetizing TJ’s-branded condiments.
4 Pumpkin Dip
Mix a tub of Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese with a tablespoon of canned pumpkin purée and a tablespoon of maple syrup for a sweet dip. Serve with sliced apples and pears, jicama sticks, plantain chips, or Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s.
5 Cheesy Pesto Crescent Rolls
For a more sophisticated finger food that doesn’t involve mini vegan hot dogs, give this easy appetizer a go. Roll out each crescent triangle and slice in half length-wise to create two long triangles. Spread each with Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto then carefully roll into a tiny crescent. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Serve on a platter garnished with fresh rosemary.
Rose Bruno Bailey
6 Mini Lox Bagels
Hosting a brunch? Delight your guests with these New York-worthy mini lox bagels. Schmear Trader Joe’s toasted mini bagels with Vegan Salmonesque Spread and garnish with capers and fresh dill. Pair the meal with sparkling white wine or champagne.
7 Baked BBQ Jackfruit Sliders
For a heartier app that could suffice as a meal, make sliders. We were inspired by a friend who made these with Trader Joe’s biscuits, but because this product isn’t vegan, we improvised using crescent roll dough. Buttery and flaky, this works just as well. Instead of creating triangles, you’ll need to cut circles out of the rolled-out dough. Top with the grocer’s packaged jackfruit (warmed in the microwave for one minute), leaving about a one-quarter-inch perimeter. Seal with another circle of dough by pressing the edges of the top and bottom together. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes and serve hot.
8 Falafel Platter
Create a heat-and-eat appetizer spread with just a few exceptional TJ’s products. Air-fry or bake a package of Trader Joe’s Dill Pickle Mini Falafel and serve on a board with Vegan Tzatziki Dip, an array of hummus, warmed pita bread, and Quinoa Stuffed Dolmas.
9 Mediterranean Charcuterie
In lieu of a vegan cheese board, try this lightened-up version. Drain canned olives and marinated artichokes and arrange on a platter alongside Trader Joe’s Vegan Feta, Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Hummus, warmed pita, and assorted vegetable sticks (carrots, jicama, celery, and pepper strips are great). Everyone loves a good grazing platter.
A canapé is simply a small hors d’oeuvres that can be enjoyed in one bite, traditionally served on a round cracker or pastry. While classically served at soirees and fancier events, they don’t have to be fussy. Take a Trader Joe’s Pita Cracker, slather with Trader Joe’s Garlic Spread and Dip, then top with a radish slice and a leaf of fresh parsley.
11 Vegan Buffalo Mini Potato Bites
This hearty appetizer is made for football Sundays. Toss mini potatoes in a bit of olive oil and bake in a 350-degree oven until fork-tender. Cut each in half and carefully scoop out some of the potatoes to create a well. Place the scooped-out potato into a bowl with a scoop of Trader Joe’s Vegan Buffalo Dip and mix. Scoop this filling into each carved-out potato, top with dairy-free Trader Joe’s mozzarella shreds, and bake once more for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve with vegan ranch for dipping.
12 Go frozen
Those truly adverse to cooking can rely on TJ’s frozen section for a throw-together gathering. Crowd-pleasers include vegetable spring rolls, mini vegetable samosas, and Thai vegetable gyoza. All pair well with Trader Joe’s Gyoza dipping sauce.
Rose Bruno Bailey
13 Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Chocolate-covered strawberries always taste better when you make them yourself, probably due to the fact that you can control the quality of chocolate and the freshness of the strawberries. Melt Trader Joe’s Semi-sweet Chocolate Chunks in a microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Continue microwaving and stirring in 10-second intervals until completely melted. Dip washed and dried strawberries into the bowl of chocolate and place on a wax paper-lined surface for the chocolate to harden. Dessert is done.