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I Tasted 5 Trader Joe’s Frozen Pasta and This One Was My Favorite

December 11, 2023

As a busy woman who gets too tired by the end of the day to attempt to cook dinner, I live off of easy-to-make meals. Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite grocery stores to shop at because of its variety of quick meals, including the ones in their freezer section. The stocked selection of frozen foods brings a great opportunity for various meals during the week. And because there’s such a wide selection, I never get bored of trying new things. An item I always shop for is some sort of Trader Joe’s frozen pasta. There are a ton of different ones to choose from; some I’d buy in bulk, others I’d leave back on the freezer shelf. Out of the six Trader Joe’s frozen pasta options I’ve had so far, there is one that I’ll definitely be buying over and over again.

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5. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Coming in last is the butternut squash mac and cheese. As someone whose personality trait is “autumn,” I was really hoping to like this one, thinking the squash would harmonize with the cheese for a flavorful taste.

However, after heating this up, I found the dish to be a little bland, with the sauce turning clumpy and dry as opposed to smooth and creamy. My expectations were not met, and I was left disappointed, unsatisfied, and hungry.

4. Fettuccine Alfredo

Heat this Trader Joe’s frozen pasta in a skillet, and it cooks into a creamy, rich dish. I could eat the whole bag in one sitting if I tried. However, the reason why it ranks lower than other kinds of pasta is that you need to inhale the fettuccine alfredo while it’s still hot. The minute it starts to cool down, the cheese congeals and clings onto the pasta, becoming very dry. Reheating doesn’t help, either, as the oil seeps into the bottom of the dish. Maybe just eat this straight out of the saute pan when it’s ready.

3. Cauliflower Gnocchi

For the longest time, it’s that I could not cook this Trader Joe’s frozen pasta properly. The bag the cauliflower gnocchi comes in says you can boil or microwave them, which I have tried both and do not recommend. The best option is to cook them on the stovetop. When I eventually got the hang of it, I would sauté the little pillows with butter and let the outside crisp up, creating a nice crunchy texture. Depending on how I’m feeling that day, I’ll eat them as is (they’re that good), or dress them up with some sauce. I’d say this is a good healthier alternative to other pasta.

2. Reduced Guilt Macaroni and Cheese

All the perks of a comfort dish, but with less of the “guilt.” I actually prefer this over many frozen mac and cheese dishes, and I take my mac and cheese very seriously! It’s simple to throw in the microwave. When it’s done, mix it around to get a cheesy and tasty macaroni and cheese entree (or side, but I eat the whole thing, no problem). The whole thing clocks in at 270 calories and 15 grams of protein. My only dilemma is that I’m disappointed when I finish it. To make it more filling, you can always throw a veggie or extra protein into the mix and it becomes even more satisfying.

1. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

The champion of the Trader Joe’s frozen pasta competition goes to the sweet potato gnocchi with butter and sage. This meal is easy to make; put a bit of water into the saucepan and cover it with a lid so the gnocchi can cook. The flavor from the sage and butter creates a sauce that I could scoop up with a spoon and eat on its own. It’s loaded with flavor, but not too strong where it takes away from the soft sweet potato. I am also very full after one serving, so this bag makes for a great meal at least twice in one busy week. And it’s going to be so good the first time you’ll be excited to eat it again the next day!

Read next: The 6 Best Trader Joe’s Soups Worth Buying, Says Dietitian

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