Bonus: All of them can be found in the freezer section (AKA they have a super-long shelf life and are brilliant for quick-fix meals)!

Karla Walsh
March 01, 2021
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Getty Images / Cliff Hawkins

We're nearly 51 weeks into this global pandemic. If you're anything like us, during that time, you've played around with sourdough starters, homemade hot cocoa bombs, jarcuterie, egg pockets, THE baked feta pasta and even frozen sweet potatoes. But despite our love for home cooking, some days we are simply ov👏er👏 it👏 and in the mood to support our local restaurants.

One cuisine that's on repeat for many EatingWell editors? Indian cuisine! Infused with warm spices and featuring many dishes jam-packed with vegetables, it's one of our go-to comfort foods. So we were delighted to be reminded of the Indian-inspired dishes available at Trader Joe's on the latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe's podcast.

On the 26-minute deep-dive that also taught us the crew member's top 10 favorite frozen foods at Trader Joe's, Tara Miller, marketing director, and Matt Sloan, vice president of marketing, chatted with Mary Ann, the category manager for frozen at Trader Joe's, about the best Indian-inspired items on ice. Since they're all found in the freezer section, we can all stock up on a couple of each and have flavorful meals just minutes away.

Food is "such a great way for people to be able to travel without having to travel," Miller says during the podcast, and we couldn't agree more.

The 7 Best Indian-Inspired Foods at Trader Joe's, According to Employees

1. Garlic Naan

Miller's whole family loves the Garlic Naan from TJ's. Toast up one of these garlic-scented flatbreads to dunk in the entrees, or use it as a wrap as the crew members suggest in this fusion falafel recipe. (190 calories, 3 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs per naan)

2. Butter Chicken

Paired with basmati rice, this saucy chicken dinner gets its richness from just a splash of cream and a tiny bit of butter. Ginger, garlic and tomatoes are the prevailing flavors, and it makes for a very well-balanced meal if you pair this frozen dinner with a veggie-rich side, like our Indian-Spiced Cauliflower & Chickpea Salad. (270 calories, 6 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs per package)

3. Mini Vegetable Samosas

These veggie samosas are "a great appetizer to start with," Mary Ann says. The triangular-shaped pastry pockets are filled with turmeric-seasoned carrots, lentils, onions, peas and potatoes. (160 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs per 4-piece serving)

4. Fiery Chicken Curry

This spicy chicken curry is the best option for spice lovers, Mary Ann says. Built on a base of turmeric-spiced basmati rice, this frozen dinner features white meat chicken in a coconut milk and tomato sauce that's seasoned with garlic, tamarind paste, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, ginger, cumin, red chili powder and other zesty elements. (360 calories, 13 grams of fat, 23 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbs per package)

5. Paratha

Paratha is a top pick among Miller's family. "One of the favorites in our house is something we accidentally bought on one shopping trip," she says. "Now it's purchased on most of the shopping trips, which is the Paratha. The flatbread is made with wheat flour, cow's milk and buffalo milk, and swirled into a spiral pattern before being baked. (120 calories, 3½ grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs per half paratha)

6. Palak Paneer

Another great vegetarian choice, we're already dreaming about dressing up this spinach and paneer cheese entree with Padma Lakshmi's homemade chili crisp. (250 calories, 19 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs per half-package serving)

7. Channa Masala

Channa masala has one of the shortest ingredient lists of the bunch, but that doesn't mean it's short on flavor. This light vegetarian frozen dinner stars chickpeas and onions swimming in a tomato sauce flavored with turmeric, mango, garlic, cilantro and bay. We've been known to scoop this up with naan, but now that we know this recipe for Channa Masala Tomato Soup exists (a combo of Trader Joe's Organic Low Sodium Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup, this masala, plus paratha for dunking), we can't imagine eating it any other way. (180 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 19 grams of carbs per half-package serving)