The Best Vegan Buys at Aldi

I am unashamed to say it: I am obsessed with Aldi. I’m not quite sure what I did before this strange, German grocery store chain popped into my life, but I would be lost without it now.

Aldi definitely has its quirks, like requiring a quarter to get your shopping cart (don’t worry, you get it back) or encouraging the use of reusable grocery bags by charging for their plastic and paper bags. But this mild learning curve is worth it for amount of high-quality (and often organic) vegan food you can purchase at extremely low prices.

The company has even recognized their customers’ demands for vegan-friendly foods and it inspired them to launch the Earth Grown brand of 100 percent vegan products.

When I switched from regularly shopping at Publix to Aldi, I literally slashed my grocery spending in half. Admittedly, Aldi doesn’t always have ever single item I want — and I sometimes stop off at another grocery store to grab ingredients like bok choy or garam masala — but the bulk of my purchases come from Aldi.

Read below to see what my favorite finds are at Aldi. I haven’t included some of the obviously vegan options (such as fresh produce or bags of dry beans and rice) but instead of have chosen to highlight specific products that I regularly use and think you would enjoy too.

Aldi Finds

The unique thing about Aldi is that while it has a swath of regularly available products, they also have “Aldi Finds” which are a rotating stock of products that change weekly. You can find out ahead of time in their sales paper what will be available and there are often a swath of vegan-friendly options.

My favorites:

  • Earth Grown meat alternatives (Meatless Meatballs, Chickenless Patties, Jumbo Hot Dogs)
  • Wonder Drink Kombucha (Traditional, Cherry Black Currant)
  • Simply Nature Peanut Butter Powder (Original, Chocolate)
  • Friendly Farms Non-Dairy Almond Vanilla Creamer
  • Earth Grown Vegan Mozzarella-Style Shreds
  • Burman’s Eggless Mayo-Style
  • Barissimo Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
  • Earth Grown veggie burgers (Quinoa Crunch, Black Bean Chipotle)
  • Deutsche Küche Bavarian Soft Pretzels

Pantry Basics

Aldi is the perfect place to stock up your pantry with healthy products. There’s a wealth of vegan staples like pasta, grains, beans, condiments, and breads to choose from.

My favorites:

  • Priano Gnocchi (Whole Wheat, Potato)
  • Simply Nature Organic Marinara Pasta Sauce
  • Seedtastic 21 Whole Grains & Seeds Bread
  • Earthly Grains Quick Cook Bulgur and Quinoa Blend
  • Casa Mamita Fat-Free Refried Beans
  • Pueblo Lindo Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • Fusia Green Sriracha
  • Simply Nature Vegetable Broth
  • Fusia Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce

Refrigerated and Frozen

The refrigerated section in Aldi has plenty of options, including non-dairy milks and veggie-based dips. Don’t forget to hit up the freezer aisle to grab a few bags of frozen vegetable medleys and fruit blends to keep on-hand for quick meals.

My favorites:

  • Little Salad Bar Hummus (Roasted Garlic, Classic, Roasted Red Pepper, Flavor Quartet)
  • Season’s Choice Steamed Quinoa (Fiesta, Kale)
  • Friendly Farms Almond Milk (Unsweetened Original, Chocolate)
  • Little Salad Bar Chunky Guacamole
  • Season’s Choice Asian Blend Steamed Couscous
  • Friendly Farms Coconut Milk
  • Little Salad Bar Kosher Pickle Spears

Snacks and Drinks

Have company coming over? Aldi has got you covered! Their line of snacks, with everything from nut mixes to crackers and chips, can keep your guests satisfied. Also check out their La Croix knock-off’s wide range of fun flavors.

My favorites:

  • Simply Nature Green Pea Crisps
  • Clancy’s Original Veggie Straws
  • Fit and Active 100 Calorie Almond and Walnut Snack Packs
  • PurAqua Belle Vie Sparkling Water (Cherry Lime, Blackberry Cucumber, Lemon)
  • Simply Nature Fruit Strips (Strawberry, Raspberry)
  • Clancy’s Pretzel Slims (Original, Everything)

Desserts and Baking

Whether it’s for a school bake sale or just because you’re craving something sweet, Aldi’s baking ingredient section is well-stocked with what you require. Sweeteners, like stevia and fair trade cane sugar, are available and displayed next to a variety of flours and seeds for all your baking needs.

My favorites:

  • Moser Roth Chocolate (Sea Salt, Orange Almond)
  • Simply Nature Chia Seeds
  • Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
  • Simply Nature Flax Seeds
  • Simply Nature Light Agave Nectar

The Best Vegan Buys at Your Local Asian Market

It’s always an adventure to visit an international grocery store. To see packages without a trace of English on them, or to find products you’ve never heard of. But sometimes, it can be just as overwhelming as it is fun.

Thankfully, in Birmingham, we have several Asian markets to choose from. My personal favorite is about the size of your average supermarket and dwarfs the competition. While I love how many options they offer, the first few times I visited, I would purchase only one or two items because I was equal parts overwhelmed by the amount of products and a little nervous to buy a grocery cart full of totally new things.

But one of the main reasons to visit an Asian market, besides just expanding your culinary horizons, is that they provide a huge range of familiar vegan-friendly products at a fraction of the prices found at regular grocery stores. This means you can happily fill your fridge, and pantry with wholesome, cheap foods during your next shopping trip.

Below are some of my favorite vegan food finds at Asian markets:

Tofu

A staple for the many Asian cuisines, you can find just about every type of tofu imaginable in the refrigerated section. Soft, silken, firm, extra firm, baked, fried, puffed, you name it, they probably have it. I usually buy the firm tofu, which rings in at around $2.50 per container and has 19 ounces of tofu. That’s about one and a half times the amount of tofu, for two-thirds of the price at a regular grocery store.

Jackfruit

This past year has seen jackfruit grow in popularity, with recipes popping up everywhere using it as a meat-substitute. And while you can purchase it already seasoned and prepared in most health food stores, you can get the canned stuff for significantly cheaper and customize it as you wish. At my local store, the jackfruit is in the canned fruits section near the coconut milk. Be sure to get the canned jackfruit in brine and not in syrup. Each can has about two servings (at least for the amount Peter and I eat) and rings in around $1.49 a piece. Then you can easily shred the jackfruit and dress is up for tacos, a baked potato topper, or whatever your little vegan heart desires.

Soymilk

Be warned, when buying soymilk at an Asian market, don’t be expecting the thin product from brands like Silk. Their non-dairy drink is very thick in comparison, with a much richer mouth-feel. It’s not something I would use for cooking or drinking straight, but a dollop in a mug of coffee does wonders, and it can make very moist baked goods. If you like the thick texture, most markets have adorable individual-size cartons, usually in fun flavors like chocolate or strawberry.

Meat Alternatives

It never ceases to amaze me how vast (and bizarre) the vegan meat alternatives are in my Asian market. In the frozen section is a collection featuring the likes of vegan ham tubes (see above), seitan shaped like an entire chicken, bite-size shrimp, tuna steaks, and more. In the canned section, you can find mock meats like duck or chicken, which are eerily similar, down to the lightly dimpled skin texture impressed upon the wheat gluten. And while I don’t eat meat alternatives all the time, sometimes it’s a nice change of pace, especially when serving omnivores who would prefer something closer to “the real deal.”

Sauces, Oils, and Vinegars

The majority of Asian grocery stores have an entire aisle dedicated to oils, vinegars, and various sauces or condiments. You can get cheaper versions of many commonplace products like oils (olive, canola, sesame) and vinegars (white, rice, apple cider). For sauces, if you’re like me and cook Asian food a lot, you can get huge bottles of soy sauce, sambal oelek, and sweet chili sauce for a serious bargain. And this is my favorite part of the store, not just because of the nice price points, but because there’s a world of new flavors to discover in the condiments aisle. Besides products that contain fish or oyster sauce, most are vegan-friendly. Try out a new chili paste, curry sauce, or new stir-fry base with dinner tonight. You might just find a new favorite.