Salads Archives | Stephanie Dreyer


December 9, 2019

I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan. It’s my main store for my weekly shopping because of the abundance of plant-based products it offers, but this time of year, it’s also my go-to for all of its delicious holiday hacks. Their huge selection of meal helpers for making homemade-ish meals is a time saver with all of the holiday cooking and entertaining in my house.

(Homemade-ish a term I coined that means preparing a homemade meal in less than 30 minutes using prepared products from the store, such as sauces, frozen foods, or prepped produce.) During the holidays when we have so much to juggle and cook, I love a little help from the store…and Trader Joe’s is my go-to helper.

While Trader Joe’s offers lots of dinner hacks and meal solutions featuring their spreads, dips and bagged salads, today I’m focusing on the holidays—and specifically, appetizers and desserts! I go big on the meal so that’s where I can use the most help. Check your Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer because they’re always adding new seasonal products that may surprise you and become the inspiration for your next family favorite dish. Below are a few holiday hacks to inspire you!

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks for Appetizers


Small bites are easy to throw together with everything that TJ’s has to offer. These appetizer ideas are fun and easy.

Holiday Antipasto Wreath or Tree

This was a huge hit with my family last year! Choose from the assortment of marinated vegetables and olives that Trader Joe’s offers and also include raw vegetables, such as sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Secure each bite with a toothpick, arranged in a pattern.

Crispy Vegetable Pouches

Find these in the frozen section and serve with their Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing (found by the salads). I think a bag of Tempura Cauliflower would be a delicious addition to a serving platter with these pouches on them.

Meatless Meatballs with Cranberry Orange Relish

Find the meatballs in the frozen section. Serve with toothpicks for a very simple, yet elegant small bite.

Hold the Corn! Appetizers

These savory cones are the perfect handheld for a cocktail party. Serve with Trader Joe’s Gyoza Dipping Sauce or Soyaki. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks for Cocktails


Everyone loves a festive drink for the season. I’m looking forward to one of these!

Winter Wassail

This “punch” blends nicely with red wine and mulled on the stove or mix it with Prosecco for a lively party libation.

Coconut Milk Nog

This nog is the perfect mixer with Kahlua and vodka…for sipping by the fire. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks


I’m not a baker so I love to take help from the store when it comes to dessert. These are just a few ideas.

Holiday Cookie Plate

Trader Joe’s offers a variety of vegan cookies (chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip, Peppermint Joe Joes, Speculoos cookies, Soft Baked Snickerdoodles and Brownie Crisps are a few of my favorite plant-based options. For the holidays, TJ’s also has Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies and Scandinavian Tidings candies that would add a festive touch to the cookie plate.

Peppermint Marshmallow Brownies

Add flax eggs and vegan butter to TJ’s Brownie box mix and stir in peppermint marshmallows for a chocolate mint treat.

Peppermint Rice Crispy Treats

Swap the peppermint marshmallows for regular in your favorite rice crispy treat recipe. Cut into squares and dip in melted chocolate (use Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips).

Do you have a Trader Joe’s holiday hack to share? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Want more plant-based meal planning tips? Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Plant-based Meal Planning. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks


December 2, 2019

Hooray for the holidays! Tis the season of eating and drinking. Who else has a few holiday potlucks on the calendar this month? If you need help figuring out what to bring, you’re in the right place! I’ve got a round up of delicious plant-based dishes that everyone will love (omnivores included!).

First things, first: If this is your first season of holiday potlucks as a plant-powered eater, you may have some questions about how to navigate attending a potluck when you’re the only vegan. I’ve been there (and am still there!). These are a few tips that I follow any time I’m going to a potluck:

Eat something before the party.

Give yourself a small bite to tide you over through the party so that if there isn’t much to eat, you won’t be starving until you get home.

Bring a dish you love that you know will satiate you. 

This is your fail safe: you know that if there’s nothing else to eat at the party, you’ll have this one dish! You might even bring two items instead of one. I like to bring an appetizer (something I can graze on throughout the party – like vegetable sticks and a great dip) and a hearty salad.

Stick to “safe” entrees 

Instead of searching down the host or whoever brought each item to check the ingredient list, focus on dishes that are easy to identify (although more power to you if you want to track down and drill the host and guests!).

Holiday potlucks are a great opportunity to share the deliciousness of plant-based food. This is the time to bring your favorite vegan dish and share your love of it with everyone else. Go for it but keep the following guidelines in mind.

The best potluck dishes are ones that:

Taste great at room temperature

Don’t require reheating or keeping hot

Are easy to eat while talking and walking around (while holding a drink in another hand!)

Don’t use obscure ingredients 

Are familiar (Stick to whole plant-based foods and avoid the faux meats and cheeses.)

Travels well (and requires minimal assembly when you arrive at your holiday potluck)

Are visually appealing (Show stoppers are always a win and great conversation starters…”Why yes, I did bring that. Thank you so much…!!”)


The following round up of holiday potluck recipes are just a few ideas to inspire you. These are some of my go-to’s.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
Photo by Cookie & Kate


This is a healthy but flavorful choice, and depending on the recipe, can be very filling. It’s a great pick because people are eating so much junk this time of year and appreciate something healthy that is delicious. Let the colors of the season inspire the ingredients you use. Some of my top picks are:

Herbed Chickpea and Quinoa Salad by Cookie & Kate 

Brussels & Pomegranate Salad by Blissful Basil  

Pasta Salad by Well and Full 

Crowd-Pleasing Caesar Salad by Oh She Glows 

Vegan Doughnuts
Photo by Healthy Happy Life

Sweets and Treats

If you’re a sweet person, chances are that the desserts will NOT be vegan so bringing your own is a great choice for you contribution to the holiday potluck. You can’t go wrong with any of these:

Cookies: This chocolate chip cookie gets rave reviews all the time.

Donuts by Healthy Happy Life 

Holiday Bark by Sweet Simple Vegan 

Chicken Shwarma Dip
Photo by Minimalist Baker


An amazing dip, spread or hummus is a great conversation starter. Serve with tasty dippers for an easy win win. These spreads will get everyone talking:

Mushroom Pate with Crackers by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Chickpea Shawarma Dip by Minimalist Baker 

Artichoke Dip by Healthy Happy Life

Tomato and Basil Pinwheels
Photo by Minimalist Baker


These are great options for that little something you can hold and walk around with as you mingle at your holiday potluck (with cocktail in hand):

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Pinwheels by Minimalist Baker 

My Vegan Deviled Potatoes 

Garlic Stuffed Olives by The Baking Fairy 

Want more plant-based meal planning tips? Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Plant-based Meal Planning. 

Plant-based meal ideas


August 26, 2019

My Favorite Trader Joe's No Cook Meals

My girls start school this week and my son is back next Thursday so it’s back to the dinner rush in between carpools and activities! You know I’m all about a meal plan and my Batch Cook Sundays, which take me a long way in simplifying dinner time and getting meals on the table in 30-45 minutes, but there are still those days where even that planning and prep won’t cut it.

The first few weeks back to school are bananas in my house! So many BTS nights and meetings…and it seems like everything happens on the same one or two nights in the week. On evenings like those, I turn to Trader Joe’s (my favorite store) for help and I pull out of one my favorite no cook meals to get dinner on the table.

Some of my favorite no cook meals tips:

Salads in a bag are my best friend. You can change these up a dozen different ways into more than just salads. (Watch my recent FB Live on this topic with tons of recipe ideas).

Sauces and dips make for easy meals. (This FB Live video offers several meal ideas with my favorites.)

Canned beans are a quick and easy protein add, plus they add texture and heartiness to any meal.

Pre-washed and cut veggies save time and are worth the extra cost if you’re only using them every once in a while.

In my latest video, I show you 3 of my favorite no cook meals utilizing some of my favorite Trader Joe’s products. I’ve listed them all below, along with a few others. 

Taco Salad Bowl

This bowl is quick and easy using Trader Joe’s Southwest Chopped Salad:

Combine the salad kit (omit the cheese and / or replace with a dairy-free alternative) and a can of pinto or black beans, drained. Crush 4-5 tortilla chips in a bowl and and scoop a portion of the salad over the chips.

Top with your favorite salsa and chopped avocado or guacamole. 

Snack Board

You’ve got a lot of options here and none of them take more than 10-15 minutes to throw together. Choose from one of the many ideas I’ve put together here.


Mediterranean Pita Pockets

It’s Greek night with this mezze platter:

Set out Trader Joe’s Balela and Tabbouleh in bowls. Serve alongside sliced pita bread, Trader Joe’s stuffed grape leaves, olives, cucumbers, hummus and garlic sauce for everyone to make their own pocket. 


Baked Tofu Lettuce Wraps

This is another easy dinner that makes the most of a Trader Joe’s salad kit:

Cut one package of Trader Joe’s Savory Baked Tofu into bite-sized cubes. Prepare one of Trader Joe’s Asian salad kits (they have a few to choose from). Spread out several romaine leaves on a platter. Fill the leaves with the salad and top with the tofu. Serve with lime wedges.

Spiralized Noodles with Bruschetta and Olive Tapenade


Keep it fresh with extra veg power with this no cook swap for spaghetti:

Spiralize yellow squash or zucchini (or buy pre-prepared from the store). Toss with Trader Joe’s Bruschetta and Olive Tapenade. Stir in cannelinni beans. Serve alongside a simple dinner salad and sliced bread.


Watch the video below for a DIY of the first 3 recipes above:

August 19, 2019

Summer Meals

Summer is more laidback and unscheduled in my household, as I’m not shuttling the kids around as much and activities are significantly reduced. My kids are also less stressed (no homework or tests!) which means I’m less stressed.  Bedtimes also tend to be later as no one has to be up super early.

As a result, my time in the kitchen tends to be more relaxed, as I flit between enjoying the outdoors and other summer fun. It’s no surprise that summer meals tend to be some of my favorites. As I savor the last few days of the season with my kids, I want to make my time in the kitchen count and minimize my time there so I can spend more time with them outside having fun!

In my latest video, I share some easy summer meals that not only minimize the time in the kitchen, but also take advantage of the bounty of my favorite summer foods (tomatoes, anyone?!!). Plus, you’ll find that all of the recipes in this video are great for eating outdoors, taking on picnics, or packing for the beach or wherever the summer fun takes you!

Check out these easy summer meals:


  • They’re versatile! Use a lettuce wrap, flatbread, tortilla or nori sheet.
  • Easily change up your fillings a dozen different ways with some help from the store, using store-bought spreads and dips.

Pasta Salads

  • This is an easy meal pleaser. Who doesn’t love pasta?!
  • Pick your favorite noodle, add in a bean or legume and your favorite veggies.
  • Toss with your favorite salad dressing.


  • Prep these the night before.
  • Cube tofu, tempeh, seitan or veggies (mushrooms and cauliflower are my favorites).
  • Place protein or vegetables in a sealable container and add your favorite store-bought salad dressing. Marinate at least two hours or overnight.
  • Skewer when ready to grill! (Pairs well with pasta salad.)

Watch the video below for all the recipes:

June 24, 2019

bagged salads

Getting a homemade, healthy dinner on the table for my family five to six nights a week means that I take a little help from the store at least once a week. Thank goodness for Trader Joe’s! It’s the main store I shop every week and offers lots of plant-based foods and meal helpers for making homemade-ish family dinners. 

When it comes to meal helpers, bagged salads are some of my favorites.  I mix these up for lunches and dinners for my whole family with lots of success. Beyond the obvious, salad kits make savory wrap fillings, inventive pizza toppers, pasta mix-ins and more!

Watch the video below for a dozen different ways to use these bagged salads as meal helpers for fun and delicious family meals:

  • Gochujang Chop Salad Kit
  • Organic Spinach and Riced Cauliflower Salad Kit
  • Cruciferous Crunch
  • Organic Mediterranean Style Kit
  • Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit
  • Yellow Curry Chopped Salad Kit
  • Tahini, Pepita and Apricot Slaw Kit
  • Caesar Style Salad Kit

bagged salads

Gochujang Chop Salad Kit

This Korean inspired medley features a powerhouse of crunchy vegetables, including cabbage, lettuce, carrot, celery and radish. Taking a cue from the vinaigrette, the package also contains puffed brown rice and black sesame seeds, adding authentic flavor (and more crunch!) to this delightful salad mix.

Meal idea #1: Spring Rolls

Combine the salad kit and shelled, cooked edamame. Spread on rice paper and roll!

Meal idea #2: Tofu Noodle Salad

Cube a block of Trader Joe’s Extra Firm Tofu and marinate it in Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing for 20 minutes or more. Drain and cook the tofu in a medium pan until slightly golden on each side (or bake for 30 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare a package of rice or soba noodles and set aside. Combine the salad with the noodles and stir in the dressing. Toss in the tofu and serve.  

Meal idea #3: Baked Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Cut one package of Trader Joe’s Savory Baked Tofu into bite-sized cubes. Prepare the salad kit. Spread out several romaine leaves on a platter. Top with the salad and tofu. Serve with lime wedges.

Meal idea #4: Veg Sushi Bowls

Prepare jasmine or sushi rice and top with a handful of the salad greens and a cup of chopped baked tofu. Sprinkle with the add ins on the salad, the dressing and chopped avocado.


Organic Spinach and Riced Cauliflower Salad Kit

In addition to organic spinach leaves and riced cauliflower, this salad also includes roasted golden beets and California-grown almonds. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing is a perfect complement to the sweet beets and pungent cauliflower.

Meal idea #1: Quinoa Lentil Bowls

Spoon a half cup of quinoa in the bottom of the bowl. Combine one package of Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils with all of the contents of the kit (except the dressing). Spoon a portion of the lentil salad mixture on top of the quinoa and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the dressing.

Meal idea #2: Vegetable Polenta Rounds

Slice a roll of Trader Joe’s prepared polenta. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350℉ for about 10 minutes on each side until golden. Meanwhile, saute the spinach and cauliflower in a medium pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook just until the spinach is slightly wilted. Stir in the beets and almonds. Place rounds on a serving dish. Top each with a few heaping tablespoons of the vegetable mixture. Drizzle the dressing on top.

Meal idea #3: White Bean Salad Pizza

Roll out a premade whole wheat pizza dough and spread with one tablespoon of olive oil, three cloves of thinly sliced garlic and a pinch of salt. Bake at 400℉ for 10 minutes. Combine the salad kit along with one can of white beans (drained and rinsed). Top the pizza with the salad combo. Slice and serve!


Cruciferous Crunch

The complete cruciferous family is included in this crunchy blend—kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage and red cabbage. Aptly named, each bite of these raw veggies delivers a bite.

Meal idea #1: Cruciferous Crunch Chickpea Omelet

Sauté two shallots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the salad. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Meanwhile, combine one cup of water with one cup of chickpea flour to form a batter. Spoon a ladleful of the batter into an oiled medium pan. Cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Top with the greens and vegan ricotta cheese (such as Kite Hill). Fold the omelet in half.

Meal idea #2: Garlicky Greens, Beans and Pasta

Prepare a bag of Trader Joe’s Organic Italian Artisan Pasta according to the package directions (we favor the Gigli variety!). While the pasta cooks, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Sauté two minced garlic cloves until golden. Add the cruciferous blend and saute until slightly wilted. Stir in a can of white beans (drained and rinsed) and the pasta. Add the juice of one lemon, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

Meal Idea #2: Cruciferous Slawcos

Toss the slaw with your favorite salsa. Meanwhile, cook Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef with your their taco seasoning. Spoon the vegan meat into a taco shell, along with a heaping serving of slaw and more salsa. Top with sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice.


Organic Mediterranean Style Kit


Meal idea: Mediterranean pitas

Omit the cheese and combine the salad, including the dressing. Add in your favorite plant-based cheese (I love Violife’s feta). Cut a piece of pita bread in half and spread each half inside with a half of a tablespoon of hummus. Prepare 2 frozen Trader Joe’s falafel (or any falafel you love !). Scoop a half a cup of salad into each pita half and top with the falafel. 


Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit

I love this salad, complete with chopped green cabbage and romaine, cotija cheese (which I omit to keep it plant-based), roasted pepitas, tortilla strips, green onion, and cilantro. The spicy Southwest avocado dressing is light and 100% vegan.

Meal idea: Southwesthern Black Bean Burritos

Omit the cheese (I sub Follow Your Heart’s Mozzarella) and mix the salad together, along with 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans. Add sliced cherry tomatoes and scoop onto a large flour tortilla along with sliced avocado. Wrap it up and slice in half.⠀

Yellow Curry Chopped Salad Kit

This complete salad kit includes chopped Romaine, crunchy red and green cabbages, shredded carrots and green onions, IN addition to this great veggie blend, crunchy naan chips, cashew pieces and golden raisins also come in this delicious salad blend. The dressing unfortunately includes egg so I ditch that for Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce (100% plant-based) in this meal idea.

Meal idea: Yellow Curry Salad Pizza

Cube a block of tofu and toss with Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce. Roll out Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough and spread with more sauce. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Combine the Yellow Curry Chopped Salad Kit but omit the dressing and toss in 2-4 tablespoons of the yellow curry sauce instead. Spread on top of the pizza and slice! 


Tahini, Pepita and Apricot Slaw Kit

This kit includes a blend of shredded rainbow carrots, broccoli stalks, green cabbage, and kale for a crunchy slaw that is different from your typical fare. Pepitas, chopped sun-dried apricots, and a creamy tahini orange dressing make create a truly unique flavor profile for adding to your family recipes. (Note: The dressing has honey in it.)

Meal idea: Chili Slaw Dogs

Mix the slaw kit together and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare a carrot or veg dog. Place the “dog” in a bun and top with vegetarian chili. Spoon a heaping tablespoon or two of the slaw on top.


Caesar Style Salad Kit

This kits contains romaine lettuce, croutons, shredded parmesan and a vinaigrette Caesar dressing (which is 100% plant-based).

Meal idea: “Chicken” Caesar Wraps

Prepare Trader Joe’s chickenless nuggets and chop into bite size pieces. Prepare the salad kit. (Omit the cheese. I sub Follow Your Heart’s Parmesan shreds instead.) Toss in the “chicken” and scoop onto a flour tortilla. Roll and cut in half.

bagged salads

For even more meal ideas with bagged salads, download my free Salad Kit Meal Helper.

Want more meal planning help? Check out my weekly meal prep membership, Batch Cooking Club.


January 8, 2018

Have you seen the new vegan Trader Joe’s dressings? I am super excited about this trio of bright sauces! Bursting with fresh flavors and all-natural ingredients, plant lovers now have 3 ready-made options. I typically like to make my own dressings so I can control the fat and sugar, but each of these salad dressings has 0-2g in sugar and are only 20-60 calories for 2 tablespoons. They are a gift from the vegan gods!

If you have no idea what I am talking about, let me introduce you to the latest and greatest on the refrigerated produce shelf at Trader Joes:

Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing (carrot, ginger, white miso, rice vinegar, shallots) – There’s incredible flavor in this one, guaranteed to perk up anything that it dresses.

Almond Butter Tumeric Salad Dressing (lemon juice, ginger, turmeric, black pepper) – This tastes like a lightened version of a traditional peanut sauce to me.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing (avocado, green onion, cold pressed lemon juice, chives, basil, garlic) – This dressing is everything you’ll find in a traditional Green Goddess – creamy with flavorful herbs throughout.

The new vegan Trader Joes dressings are for so much more than topping salads. Try this inspired list of healthy and flavorful meal ideas #vegan #dressing

These are labeled as salad dressings, but they are so much more! As we start a new year, I am keeping things healthy this month with vegetable focused dishes that are low in calories and carbohydrates. But, I love food and am not the type to eat bowls of steamed veggies and legumes all month. I need flavor and variety, and these vegan Trader Joes dressings are a great choice for adding zest and color to your dishes. Below are a few of my favorite ways to slurp up these dressings.

Change up your favorite meals by deconstructing them! Keep them same flavors you love in lasagna, but turn them into a soup. Layer your favorite enchilada ingredients in a casserole for a change of pace. Sometimes, all you need is a change in perspective to add interest in a tried and true dish. #TuesdayTip #mealplan #mealtip #healthyeating #healthyfood #deconstructed #whattoeat #recipeplan #mealhelp #cookinghelp #cookingtip #inthekitchen

1. Vegan Bowls

The options are limitless when it comes to a vegan bowl, but these dressings will take whatever you pile into your bowl to new levels.

2. Asian Stir-Frys

Dress your wok creations with either the Carrot Ginger Miso or Almond Butter Turmeric dressings for an enlightened twist on a traditional weeknight go-to meal.

3. Grill Marinades

Marinate and grill your favorite plant proteins to change up your usual seasoning routine.

Who else is obsessed with the new vegan salad dressings at Trader Joe's? They are so much more more than salad toppers. I am using them on everything! Get all of my ideas for what to do with these flavorful gifts from the vegan gods today at my blog. Link in bio. #traderjoes #saladdressing #vegan #whatveganseat #mealideas #cookingtip #inthekitchen #healthyfood #healthyeating #recipeideas #mealplanning #whattoeat

4. Dipping Sauces

I love dipping my nori wraps in the Carrot Ginger Miso dressing, but pot stickers, spring rolls and veg sushi would be equally delicious dunked in any of these sauces.

Where else would you pour these vegan Trader Joes dressings? Head over to your local store stat, pick up a bottle (or two) and let me know!

Who else is obsessed with the new vegan salad dressings at Trader Joe's? They are so much more more than salad toppers. I am using them on everything! Get all of my ideas for what to do with these flavorful gifts from the vegan gods today at my blog. Link in bio. #traderjoes #saladdressing #vegan #whatveganseat #mealideas #cookingtip #inthekitchen #healthyfood #healthyeating #recipeideas #mealplanning #whattoeat

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