Sometimes, when life gets busy, preparing dinner feels more like a chore than a welcome diversion from a seemingly endless to-do list. These moments are when frozen meals take center stage, alleviating the chopping, mixing, and baking associated with even the most basic recipes. With the simple click of a microwave or air fryer button, it’s possible to have a satiating, delicious entrée that’s chock-full of your favorite ingredients. How easy is that? Easier than an Ina Garten recipe, that’s for sure. (Though we forever stan.)
However, not all frozen foods are created equal. Most are tailored towards carnivores and feature meat-heavy dishes—meanwhile, most vegan alternatives are simply uninspired.
Trader Joe’s frozen food seems to always be the exception, offering an abundance of veggie-packed dishes that are big on flavor. We’ve rounded up nine of our all-time favorites so that you can always have something on standby for those long, hard days when the last thing you want to do is stand over a cutting board or stove. Check them out below.
From Our Shop
1. Vegan Pasta Bolognese Bowl, $3.49
A traditional meat sauce without the meat? Skeptics might dismiss this dish at first, but the ragù, made with wheat-based protein, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, and onions—and served on a bed of red lentil pasta—actually slaps (or whatever the kids are saying these days).
2. Vegetable Spring Rolls, $4.29
Save yourself the cost of your weekly takeout order by buying these five vegetable spring rolls for half the price. In addition to common filling ingredients like cabbage, onion, and carrots, these crunchy parcels also include kale, shredded tofu, and edamame for a fun upgrade.
3. Korean Beefless Bulgogi, $4.49
Vegans can now partake in the glory of Korean beef bulgogi with a textured soy protein that tastes like actual meat. These delicate pieces are enhanced with ingredients like soy sauce, pear purée, garlic, ginger, green onions, and sugar, making it a sweet-and-savory meal that pairs perfectly with a simple bowl of steamed rice.
4. Chickenless Crispy Tenders, $3.79
Is there anything better than a crispy chicken tender? The answer is a resounding no, unless you’re vegan. But Trader Joe’s has now gotten in on the meat-free fried chicken game with these air-fryer-friendly tenders made entirely out of soy and whole grains. They even crisp up like actual fried chicken, so they’re extra dippable with your go-to condiments.
5. Kimchi and Tofu Soup, $3.49
Spicy-tangy kimchi in a sweet-and-sour broth full of napa cabbage, radishes, red peppers, shiitake mushrooms, onions, and garlic makes this tofu soup flavorful, savory, and satisfying. It’s like experiencing the bounty of an epic vegetable garden in every bite.
6. Organic Veggie Bites, $3.69
This brown rice-based bite resembles a school cafeteria tater tot, but it’s made with vegetables like carrots, onions, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, and celery—plus crunchy sunflower seeds—for a more sophisticated side dish that can still be smothered in a pool of ketchup.
7. Chickenless Mandarin Orange Morsels, $3.79
This cult-favorite frozen entrée took a bit of a hiatus, but Trader Joe’s has re-released it due to popular demand. Yes, it imitates your favorite shopping mall dish from a certain famous panda. No, there will not be leftovers.
8. Vegetable Pad Thai, $3.49
Produced by a supplier in Thailand, this blend of rice noodles, scallions, tofu, and tamarind sauce is a true palate pleaser. Instead of the familiar addition of peanuts in pad thai, TJ’s has opted for cashews, providing a creamier, richer bite than what you may be used to.
9. Riced Cauliflower Bowl, $2.99
If you thought America’s obsession with cauliflower was over, you thought wrong—and this riced variety is proof. Topped with sweet potatoes, red onions, tofu, seasoned chickpeas, sambal oelek red chili paste, tahini, and soy sauce, the bold and flavorful bowl can be prepared as a main course or a festive side.