I Found the 5 Best Vegetarian Frozen Dinners at Trader Joe’s

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Emily Shwake)

Frozen dinner options have come a long way — especially at Trader Joe’s. (Makes sense, considering most of us are more likely to shop the freezer section at TJ’s than other grocery stores.) The offerings at Trader Joe’s are ridiculously cheap and delicious. While I’m not saying I have frozen meals every night (I do love to cook when my schedule allows!), I do turn to them fairly regularly. So it’s a good thing that Trader Joe’s has a whole section dedicated to vegetarian frozen meals. (Because I’m a vegetarian!)

I’ve tasted and loved a bunch of them, but these five are my favorites.

(Image credit: Emily Shwake)

1. Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese, $2.99 for 12 ounces

I like mac and cheese, but I usually find the flavor to be very one-note, so I get sick of it after a few bites. However, the Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese is bonkers good. The chile gives the dish just enough heat and flavor without making it too spicy. It’s crispy at the top and creamy throughout. The massive layer of cheese bubbles as it comes out of the microwave. It’s the perfect portion to satisfy my hunger without making me feel stuffed.

(Image credit: Emily Shwake)

2. Cauliflower Gnocchi, $2.69 for 12 ounces

I was pretty skeptical the first time I popped this in the microwave. Turns out, I shouldn’t have been! The Cauliflower Gnocchi is very chewy and undoubtedly tastes more like cauliflower than potatoes, but not in a bad way at all. Pan-searing them will apparently give them a crispy texture — however I’m personally averse to doing any cooking when I’m eating frozen food, no matter how simple. I’ll mix in some pesto or red sauce and I’ve got an easy dinner that provides a heaping serving of veggies.

(Image credit: Emily Shwake)

3. Mildly Spiced Organic Vegetable Burritos, $2.69 for two

If you’re someone who has a tough time eating enough vegetables, you have to try the Mildly Spiced Organic Vegetable Burritos. They’re literally packed with veggies, but you can’t taste any of them. They have a taste and texture that’s so much like shredded pork, I actually had to check the wrapper to make sure I didn’t buy the wrong ones. The only thing I don’t love is that the burritos don’t always defrost evenly in the microwave (that problem can surely be solved by sticking them in the oven instead).

(Image credit: Emily Shwake)

4. Roasted Vegetable Pizza, $4.49

I never really understood the point of frozen pizza — just order Domino’s if the craving strikes! But then I met this frozen pizza. I can personally confirm that this veggie pizza makes for a delicious late-night snack. The whole thing is really well-balanced and not messy at all. The cheese is rich and plentiful. The portobello mushrooms, eggplant, onions, and peppers are soft and bite-sized. Usually I only eat half, so I leave the rest in the fridge for morning munchies.

(Image credit: Emily Shwake)

5. Channa Masala, $2.29 for 10 ounces

Channa Masala is a classic both in Indian cuisine and Trader Joe’s. It has been in their freezers for many years now, which is impressive considering how many other favorites have disappeared over time. It’s spicy, but has a tangy sweetness that balances it out. The chickpeas are soft, yet still have a bite to them. It’s pretty filling on its own, although it also pairs nicely with TJ’s garlic naan.

What are your favorite vegetarian frozen meals at Trader Joe’s? Leave your nominations in the comments below.