Taste Testing Three Trader Joe’s Dishes: Vegetarian Edition

Happy Virgo Season!

It’s time for another Trader Joe’s taste test. This time it’s a vegetarian edition. Here are three packaged dishes I tried this week and my thoughts.

Mini Vegetable Samosas (Frozen Section):

These are a Yay! The samosas filled with a slightly spicy mix of peas, carrots, potatoes, lentils, onions. And the wrappers crisp reasonable well in the oven. I didn’t see any Indian chutneys at Trader Joe’s, so I paired the samosas with their Creamy Cucumber and Yogurt Dip.

The yogurt dip is also a yay. It’s a liquidy base with shaved slices of cucumber. When Trader Joe’s has frozen falafel (please tell me they did’t discontinue them!) I like to pair them together. I would definitely repurchase these again soon.

Tikka Vegatables Pouch (Shelf-stable pantry)

A display of these new Tikka Vegetables & Daal meal pouches caught my eye near the entrance. I’ve tried curries in pouches and cans that tasted really good so I had high hopes. Vegetable korma and paneer tikka masala are two of my favorite dishes that I order each time I see them on a menu; I was hoping this would be my go-to creamy, flavorful vegetable curry.

But alas.

I have to be honest with you, I did not like this dish. It wasn’t inedible but had an icky one-note flavor I soon tired of eating. Instead of buying these pouches, I will stick to their frozen entrees like garlic naan, paneer tikka masala and palek paneer.

Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower (Frozen Section)

This meal is an overall Yay. Since there’s really no protein, I consider it more like a side dish. I think it cost around $5 which seems fair for the portion size when thinking of it as a side dish.

The breaded cauliflower pieces crisp up well in the oven. However, the cauliflower inside becomes very soft. I sauced portions upon serving hoping the cauliflower wouldn’t become soggy quite as quickly.

The sauce doesn’t taste like Kung Pao sauce but I did enjoy the sesame-heavy flavor. Even though the cauliflower does get soggy quickly (any leftovers are definitely going to be soggy), I enjoyed this meal. The tempura fried flavor adds a treat flavor that makes the dish satisfying even when the texture gets lost.

I would eat this again, but am not rushing to purchase it again.

I’m looking for new vegetarian dishes to try at Trader Joe’s. The jackfruit curry is a new favorite. Feel free to share your Yays and Nays in the comments. 

More Trader Joe’s Taste Test Posts:


  1. Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

    I love it when you do taste tests! I would love to find something similar to the cauliflower in my local grocery store.

    • Jeni

      I have to admit, I haven’t seen it other places, but cauliflower “wings” are becoming so popular I wouldn’t be surprised if it was elsewhere.

  2. katie

    The green chili Mac and cheese is a yay for me, although the portion size is a bummer. one tray is a little too much for me, but definitely not something I want to share. I love the Mac and cheese balls, its a pick-me up treat for sure.

    • Jeni

      I haven’t tried either but those sound good. I really like their plain frozen mac so will have to try these.

  3. Beth Ann Chiles

    The cauliflower looks yummy but I would want it to not be mushy as well. Hmmm. Maybe they can improve on their recipe and figure out a way to keep it a little bit more solid. Every time I read one of your Trader Joe’s posts I wish we had one that was closer than downtown Asheville which is kind of a pain to get to. Someday….

  4. Donna Hup

    I wish I had a Trader Joe’s closer. That tempura cauliflower looks good! I make “wings” with cauliflower. It’s super tasty.

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