9 Frozen Trader Joe’s Vegan Entrées We’re Adding to Our Shopping Carts

Last-minute meals that don’t skimp on flavor.

March 31, 2023
Photo by Julia Gartland

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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).

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

Photo by Trader Joe's

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.

What's your favorite vegan option at Trader Joe's? Let us know in the comments below!
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The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • shoopee
  • Patty
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Joey Skladany

Written by: Joey Skladany

Writer/Editor, Personality, Author of 'Basic Bitchen'


shoopee April 16, 2023
How viable are these if you don't have a microwave or air fryer?
MacGuffin April 16, 2023
Do them in the oven.
Patty April 15, 2023
Love the vegan tikka masala and the veggie gyoza. The gyoza are packed with flavor and good steamed or pan fried…even a quick heat in the microwave!
MacGuffin April 15, 2023
The gyoza are fantastic. One of my friends sometimes leaves her kids with me and they love them. I'll be getting a chest freezer soon and plan to always have them on hand.
I'm in the process of devouring the Buffalo-Style Chickenless Wings--excellent.
MacGuffin April 14, 2023
The Beefless Bulgogi is better if, after preparing, it's put in a pot with some water, then heated until it forms a sauce. Delicious on short-grain brown rice but I wish the flavor were a bit more intense.
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