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13 Trader Joe’s Dairy-Free Items That Actually Taste Good

June 29, 2023
Clean Plates

Those of us who avoid too much dairy probably have discovered that not all plant-based “dairy” products are created equal. Some have a weird texture, are hard to melt or have that sexy cheese pull, are loaded with chemicals and additives, or just don’t taste very good. But someone can avoid dairy, whether they are a vegan, lactose-intolerant, or just cutting back, and still find some delicious food options – and many of those options are at Trader Joe’s. These options are not only dairy-free and delicious but come RD-recommended.

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1. Organic Creamy Cashew Yogurt Alternative

Finding a plant-based yogurt option that tastes good and is good for you is not easy. It’s often expensive and disappointing. But there are some gems.

“I love the overall simple ingredients and the addition of live active cultures,” says Angie Asche MS, RD, CSSD, a nutrition expert at Centr. “The cashews along with the coconut cream create a similar texture to yogurt, making it a good alternative for individuals needing a dairy-free option.”

2. Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto

I love pesto for everything from pasta to shrimp or chicken, but traditional pesto is often not acceptable for those avoiding dairy.

“This delicious and deeply nourishing vegan basil pesto made with kale and cashews is one of my favorite Trader Joe’s items!” says Kristi Ruth RD/RDN. LDN, CNSC of Carrots & Cookies. “Cashews replace the dairy that is found in traditional pesto, while kale adds texture and a variety of essential nutrients. It’s also significantly lower in sodium than most brands of store-bought pesto.”

3. Vegan Tzatziki Dip

Tzatziki is a favorite Mediterranean condiment that is used as a spread, sauce, or dip.

“This tasty Vegan Tzatziki Dip from Trader Joe’s is made with all of the familiar flavors you’d expect from Tzatziki like garlic, lemon, and dill, but is made with dairy-free cream cheese instead of yogurt,” says Ruth.

Whether you serve it as a spread on a warm pita with falafel or with veggies, crudité style, this tzatziki dip will be the star of the show!

Related: 15 Mediterranean Foods for Effortlessly Healthy Meals

4. Hold the Dairy! Vegan Chocolate Mini Cones

Non-dairy desserts are plentiful, but not all are worth the effort. Some are great finds though and deserving of stocking up on.

“My favorite are the mini cones — and if you’re looking for a dairy-free option look no further: The Hold The Dairy coconut milk-based ice cream has a chocolate drizzle that makes it easy for our dairy-free friends to enjoy a delicious treat on those hot summer days,” says Vanessa Rissetto, RD and CEO of Culina Health.

5. Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative

Trying to recreate that smoked salmon bagel experience? Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese Alternative is a good dairy alternative for cream cheese for several reasons.

“It is entirely plant-based, making it suitable for those following a vegan or lactose-free diet. It is also free from cholesterol and lower in saturated fats compared to traditional cream cheese,” says Trista Best, RD. “Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese alternative has a smooth and creamy texture with a mildly tangy flavor, making it a versatile option for spreading on bagels, toast, or crackers. It can also be used in recipes such as vegan cheesecakes, dips, or as a creamy filling for stuffed vegetables.”

6. Vegan Buffalo Style Dip

Trader Joe’s Vegan Buffalo Style Dip is a great alternative to the traditional crowd favorite.

“Some dairy-free products make up for flavor and texture with food additives, but this product is one of my favorites due to the short ingredient list full of things you can pronounce,” says Ali Bandier, MS, RD, CDN, Registered Dietitian and founder of Senta Health.

If you are only avoiding dairy, add shredded chicken breast and bake together in the oven to add a protein boost. This also makes for a more filling snack and – you’ll find it hard to believe it’s not the real thing.

Related: 9 Healthy Trader Joe’s Dips and Spreads Nutritionists Love

7. Vegan Caesar Dressing

Caesar dressing is a crowd favorite for a reason – the crisp lettuce, crunchy croutons, and sprinkle of parmesan are a flavorful combo, but it is the iconic dressing that ties it all together.

“This dressing is a great way to replicate that flavor we love, either paired with Trader Joe’s Shredded Parmesan Cheese Alternative or the real thing,” says Bandier.

Generally speaking, says Bandier, cheeses tend to be lower in lactose the longer they are aged, and parmesan is known to be impressively low in lactose. This isn’t suitable for those who are avoiding dairy on the whole, but it is exciting news for the lactose-intolerant among us.

8. Banana and Almond Butter Protein Smoothie

Smoothies are a great one-stop meal, but they are usually loaded with dairy.

“This protein smoothie is made with almond milk and pea protein extract,” says Kim Johnson, RD and registered yoga instructor. “This protein smoothie packs 14 grams of plant-based protein.” Great for a post-workout refuel or as a snack!

9. Boursin Dairy-Free Garlic and Herbs Cheese Spread Alternative

This cheese is a perfect spread or addition to your next charcuterie board.

“It tastes just like the real thing, thick, creamy, and full of flavor,” says Johnson.

Enjoy it with crackers, warm pita bread, or add it to your sandwiches and wraps as a spread.

10. Vegan Feta Cheese Alternative

“I love feta cheese in salads or with a falafel platter, but this is a beautiful vegan alternative,” says Johnson. “This dairy-free cheese alternative is made from coconut oil, potato starch, and potato protein. Packaged as a block, in brine to develop that authentic feta flavor, you can crumble over salads or eggs, add to Mediterranean bowls, or slice it up and serve on toast with a drizzle of olive oil.”

11. Oat Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Sandwiches

Remember those ice cream sandwiches we loved as kids?

“A vegan version of the classic ice cream sandwich, with frozen oat ‘ice cream’ in between two chocolate wafers and just as much creamy goodness as the dairy alternative,” says Johnson.

12. Vegan Meatless Meat Eater’s Pizza

Yes, you can have a meaty cheesy pizza and still eat a vegan meal.

“A plant-based pizza made with vegan mozzarella style cheese and meatless pepperoni, chorizo, and Italian sausage,” says Johnson. “Pop in the oven for 14 minutes and you won’t find yourself missing out on the meat or cheese in this delicious vegan pizza.”

13. Non-Dairy Beverages

Grocery stores are catching onto the alternative milk trend, but Trader Joe’s boasts an impressive variety, including almond, hemp, oat, and even a blend of almond, cashew, and macadamia milk.

“Test these alternatives in your favorite recipes, in your morning coffee, or anywhere else you’d use regular milk,” says Bandier. “It may take some experimenting, but you may find you like the recipe better than the dairy version!”

Read next: 10 Trader Joe’s Grab-and-Go Items Nutritionists Love

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