Top 15 Best Things to Buy at Costco: Plant-Based Edition

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Wondering what to buy at Costco if you’re aiming for a healthy, plant-based diet? These 15 vegan Costco finds can help you stock up the healthy, budget-friendly way.

Did you know that Costco can offer you a wealth of wholesome plant-based food staples at a significant savings? Yep, in fact half of the world’s cashews–a cornerstone food in my pantry–are sold at Costco! This big box store is one of my favorite grocery stores, and I make the journey to my local Costco several times a year to stock up on a few of my favorite foods. Not only do they sell everything, Costco also runs great deals when you buy frequently used items in bulk. One of the things that I love most about Costco is that they have a 14% markup rule. That means they refuse to mark up any item more than 14% of what they originally paid for it. If you are interested in shopping at Costco but don’t have a membership, you can always tag along with a friend or neighbor with a membership. 

Costco is a wholesale seller and the second largest retailer in the United States, behind Walmart. Wholesalers are typically the middlemen when goods are sold; however, Costco broke the chain and decided to sell directly to consumers, which makes things cheaper for customers. While they may be famous for their enormous muffins and giant bags of chips, Costco also offers a wide variety of organic and plant-based products. A lot of the products sold by Costco are Kirkland brand (Costco’s private label brand). 

Costco also has a sustainability pledge. Costco’s webpage says, “For Costco to thrive, the world must thrive—we are committed to doing our part.” Some of Costco’s current sustainability practices include LED upgrades, skylight insulation, and electric ovens. They are also piloting electric tractors, yard trucks, and bakery ovens; and evaluating the feasibility of installing electric vehicle charging stations for members. 

I’m sharing some of my favorite plant-based Costco products in these categories: produce/refrigerated, frozen, beverages, snacks, and pantry foods. I always have these staples on hand for cooking and snacking. Remember to make sure you appropriately store your Costco items that come in bulk size to avoid food waste. Prices noted below reflect the recent prices collected during a survey at Costco. These may change over time and location. Have fun shopping! 

Top 15 Best Things to Buy at Costco: Vegan Edition 

Note: Prices noted below reflect the recent prices collected during a survey at Costco. These may change over time and location. 

Produce and Refrigerated Foods

1. Organic Bananas

Price: $2.49

Costco runs a great deal on bananas, which make the perfect addition to smoothies, yogurt parfaits, and baked goods. To avoid food waste, pick out green bunches and use them up before they become overripe; you can freeze them to use in smoothies and bread later. 

2. Organic Hummus

Price: $5.99

Who can live without hummus? This classic hummus is a great staple to stock in your fridge to use on sandwiches, with pita or chips, to top salads and grain bowls, or as a quick snack with veggies. 

3. Baby Spinach

Price: $4.99

I love getting a Costco pack of spinach to use in salads, green smoothies, cauliflower lasagna, and pasta. Green leafy vegetables, rich in essential nutrients, are an important part of your healthy plant-based diet, too. 

Frozen Foods

4. Frozen Blueberries

Price $8.59

This large bag of frozen blueberries is an essential element in my freezer! When fresh blueberries are out of season, I turn to frozen berries. Berries have been found to be beneficial for brain health. I like to add them to smoothies, overnight oats, yogurt parfait, chia pudding, salads, grain bowls, and more! 

5. Frozen Veggie Mix

Price $10.99

This classic frozen veggie mix is ideal for keeping on hand for a variety of dishes, especially when fresh is not available. No chopping or dicing required! You can use these vegetables as a side dish, or add it to soups, stir-fries, curries, grain bowls, and fajitas.

Drinks

6. Kombucha

Price: $12.99 (case)

If you love to sip on kombucha as much as I do, you know how pricey it can be! That’s why I love this Costco Kombucha, which is such a great deal. Plus, those live bacteria can help foster gut microbiome diversity. 

Snacks

7. Multi-grain Tortilla Chips

Price: $5.99

This large bag of multi grain tortilla chips, which is packed with whole wheat and seeds, is perfect for snacking and entertaining. I like to serve them with my homemade hummus or fresh salsa. Keep leftovers fresh by sealing the bag. 

Pantry Foods

8. Canned Peaches

Price: $12.89 (8 pack)

I always stock canned peaches in my pantry. Sure, fresh are the best, but they are only available for such a short time. Canned is next best! Canned peaches can be a great start to so many dishes: Gingered Pancakes with Peach Topping, Peach Olive Oil Cobbler, and a Peach Yogurt Parfait, for starters. You’ll find that when you have canned peaches on hand, the sky is the limit–you can add them to smoothies, salads, cereals, and more.

9. Applesauce

Price: $12.99 (case)

You will always find applesauce in my pantry, as it’s such a healthy, convenient snack, and also a great baking ingredient. You can use applesauce in baked goods, such as bars, cookies, cakes, and breads. I love that this applesauce has no sugar added—the only ingredients are water, apples, and vitamin C.

10. Dave’s Killer Bread

Price: $9.49

If you’re looking for a good deal on hearty, delicious, whole grain & seed bread, look no further than Dave’s Killer Bread by the two-pack at Costco. Rich in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, this whole grain bread is a great family-friendly choice for sandwiches, avocado toast, stuffing, and beyond. Store one loaf in the freezer to avoid food wastage. 

11. Almond Butter

Price: $11.99

Almond butter is always in my pantry. It’s our go-to for toast, crackers, sandwiches, and cooking. My Apple Oatmeal with Quinoa and Almonds is one of our favorite healthy recipes featuring almond butter. You can also use almond butter as a dip for fresh fruit, veggies, and tortilla chips. Yum!

12. Old Fashioned Quaker Oats

Price: $12.79

Oats are a necessary addition to your Costco shopping list. There are so many health benefits for including oats in your diet, including lower heart disease risk and better digestion. Sure, you can make the most amazing porridge and overnight oats, but they are also good added to baked goods, vegan meatballs, and side dishes. Even homemade dog biscuits!

13. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Price: $17.99

I recommend extra virgin olive oil as your number one healthy cooking oil in the kitchen. You can use it for sautéing, grilling, and roasting veggies, pasta dishes, salad dressings, and even desserts, like my Peach Crisp. Remember to keep your olive oil out of direct light and use it up quickly to preserve its flavor and nutrition.

14. Canned Black Beans

Price: $8.79 (case)

Black beans are one of the most versatile foods you can stock in your kitchen. Rich in protein, fibers, essential vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals, research shows you should be including more pulses like black beans in your diet. Just open and dump canned black beans into grain bowls, salads, wraps, tacos, casseroles, side dishes, shepherd’s pie and more! 

15. Whole Raw Cashews

Price: $8.79

Cashews are a treasure for a plant-based kitchen! Sure, these earthy nuts are good in trail mix, baked goods, oats, and salads, but did you know that you can turn cashews into the best ever cashew cheese or cashew Parmesan cheese in minutes? Yep! You should always keep a big bag of cashews on hand. Plus, tree nuts like cashews are good for keeping your heart healthy. 

 

For more shopping guides, check out: 

Learn more about planning a budget-friendly, plant-based diet here:

Written by Brittany Mackey, dietetic intern, with Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN

 

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