Almost a quarter of the frozen section at TJ’s is dedicated exclusively to their frozen pastas. From potato gnocchi to macaroni cheese and everything in between, Trader Joe’s offers a wide range of primarily Italian-inspired pastas that make easy, quick lunches or dinners.
Types of Frozen Pasta At Trader Joe’s
Some of the most popular frozen pastas available at Trader Joe’s include:
- Cheese Filled Fiocchetti with Pink Sauce – $3.99
- Penne Arrabbiata – $2.99
- Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi – $3.49
- Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe – $3.99
- Breaded Fried Ravioli – $3.99
- Rigatoni alla Contadina – $4.49
- Gnocchi al Gorgonzola – $3.49
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Butter & Sage – $3.79
- Fettuccine Alfredo – $3.99
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken – $5.49
- Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes – $3.49
- Ricotta & Spinach Filled Ravioli – $3.99
- Outside In Stuffed Gnocchi – $2.99
- Harvest Spaghetti Squash Spirals – $3.99
- Gnocchi alla Sorrentina – $2.99
- Mushroom Ravioli with Mushroom Truffle Sauce – $3.49
- Linguine with Clam Sauce – $2.99
Frozen Macaroni & Cheese
While it’s typically talked about in a slightly different category than other frozen pastas, Trader Joe’s also offers a wide selection of frozen macaroni and cheese meals. Their Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese has been around for almost twenty years, and never seems to lose its popularity. At just $2.99, this hearty, homemade-style mac and cheese can easily feed two people.
Trader Joe’s also has many other mac and cheese offerings, such as their Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese, French Onion Macaroni & Cheese, and their Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese.
Not only does Trader Joe’s have a massive selection of frozen pasta meals–they also have many dry pastas, including quite a few organic options.
Some of Trader Joe’s dry pasta options include:
- Organic Trofie Pasta
- Organic Italian Cascatelli Pasta
- Organic Fusilli Corti Bucati Pasta
- Pappardelle Pasta
- Organic Italian Artisan Gigli Pasta
My Review of Trader Joe’s Frozen Pasta
Browsing through the Trader Joe’s frozen pasta aisle, I decided to grab three different varieties to try at home–Rigatoni alla Contadina, Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes, and some classic Fettuccine Alfredo.
Each of these pasta meals are priced below $5 and contain about three servings per package (according to the bag).
Trader Giotto’s Fettuccine Alfredo
Growing up, fettuccine alfredo was always my favorite thing to order at an Italian restaurant. I honestly hadn’t eaten it in years, so I was excited to try this frozen version to see how it measures up to my memories.
Ingredients & Nutrition
Each bag of Trader Giotto’s Fettuccine Alfredo contains water, durum wheat semolina, pasteurized eggs, salt, cream, hard grating cheese, vegetable rennet, Lysozyme (derived from egg whites), butter, wheat flour, nutmeg, and white pepper.
Despite the photo featured on the front of the bag, this pasta doesn’t actually come seasoned with any basil.
In one serving of this pasta, you get 250 calories from 12 grams of fat, 50 mg of cholesterol, 410 mg of sodium, 24 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of protein.
This pasta contains both gluten and dairy products, so it is neither gluten free or vegan. That said, it’s 100% vegetarian.
According to the bag, this pasta can be prepared by placing the contents into a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and heating it all over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
However, I ended up having to adjust the instructions a bit to make it work. First off, I used bone broth instead of water, and I also found that after only two minutes, the frozen pasta had barely begun to defrost.
I left the pasta in the pan with the lid on for about 4-5 minutes before stirring. At that point, the clumps of pasta were still stuck together, but the sauce chips had mostly melted.
By the end of the process, I had to heat the pasta over medium-low heat for about ten minutes before the pasta was completely softened and everything was fully defrosted and heated.
Alternatively, this pasta can also be prepared in the microwave.
Here’s what everything looked like when I first put it into the pan (I only used half the bag)…
I also ended up deciding to throw in some chopped up Trader Joe’s Applewood Smoked Salami for extra flavor and protein.
This is what everything looked like after about five minutes…
To top it off, I added a sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper, but I found that it didn’t need any other seasonings or salt beyond that.
Overall, I was super happy with this pasta. The flavor is spot on–cheesy, salty, and savory. If anything, I’d say it could be slightly less salty, but I never felt distracted or put off by the saltiness.
Based on ease of preparation, price, flavor, and a relatively clean recipe, I wouldn’t mind eating this pasta again.
If you’re a fan of fettuccine alfredo, I would definitely recommend trying this Trader Joe’s version.
Trader Joe’s Rigatoni alla Contadina
I grabbed this bag of Rigatoni alla Contadina because I like the fact that it has veggies in it. Peas and asparagus are both super nutritious, so it seemed like a healthier option when compared to some of the other frozen pasta meals at Trader Joe’s.
Ingredients & Nutrition
This frozen pasta contains water, durum wheat semolina (flour), asparagus, pasteurized milk, broccoli, pasteurized cream, green peas, leeks, hard cheese, onions, sunflower oil, nonfat milk powder, rice starch, butter, garlic, garlic powder, salt, chives, parsley, black pepper, and nutmeg.
In each serving (about 1 frozen cup), you’ll be eating 190 calories from 5 grams of fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, 210 mg of sodium, 29 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.
Because it contains wheat flour and dairy products, this pasta is neither vegan or gluten free. However, it is entirely vegetarian.
Following the bag’s instructions, I placed the pasta, veggies, and frozen sauce chips into a skillet. Instead of water, I used bone broth, and I also only prepared half the bag.
Like with the Fettuccine Alfredo I reviewed above, I found that the cooking instructions featured on the bag underestimated the time it actually took to heat this pasta up. The bag recommends heating it over medium heat for just 7 minutes. But on my stove, I found that the pasta was hardly thawed or softened by then.
I left the pasta covered on medium heat for about five minutes before stirring everything together. I replaced the lid after that and let it heat over a low temperature for five more minutes to get the pasta to fully soften. If I had taken it off the heat sooner than that, there would have been some lingering hard bits of pasta that I wasn’t excited about biting into.
If you’d prefer to heat up your rigatoni in the microwave, go for it! The bag features some super easy microwave cooking instructions.
Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed by this pasta.
It tasted okay (not great, just okay), but my big complaint is that the veggies were flavorless and tough. Like… really tough. The asparagus was hardly even edible because of how fibrous and chewy it was. On the other end of the spectrum, the broccoli was so mushy that it more or less completely dissolved into the sauce.
The only decent part of this pasta was the rigatoni and the peas. But like I said, the flavor of the sauce doesn’t do enough to bring it all together as a meal.
As the second-most expensive frozen pasta at Trader Joe’s right now, I expected a lot more from this stuff. For me, it’s a hard pass.
Trader Giotto’s Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes
Finally, I tried the Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes. As a huge fan of anything involving pesto, I had high hopes for this pasta.
Ingredients & Nutrition
Each bag of Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes contains water, durum wheat semolina, egg, salt, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, sunflower seed oil, hard grating cheese, cashews, garlic, cilantro, salt, black pepper, and flavoring.
It’s important to note that this pasta contains nuts (which is common for pesto), as well as eggs, dairy, and wheat. It is unfortunately not gluten free, nut free, or vegan.
You’re probably noticing a theme here that not many Trader Joe’s frozen pasta meals are gluten free or vegan.
Most of Trader Joe’s frozen pastas have the same prep instructions–either heat it up in a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of water for 5-7 minutes, or pop into the microwave in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for about 7 minutes, stirring midway through.
I’m a stove top fan myself, so I threw this pasta into my favorite skillet with a tablespoon of bone broth and set it all over medium heat.
As with the other pastas I reviewed above, I found that this one also needed a few extra minutes to heat all the way through.
Here’s what everything looked like when I first put it into the pan…
Of the three pasta varieties I tried this week, this one is definitely my favorite.
The pesto and tomatoes are both flavorful and taste like they were quite fresh upon being frozen. The pasta is also a great texture. It’s a really simple meal, but it checks all the right boxes when it comes to flavor, texture, and its ability to hit the spot.
If you’re a fan of pesto pasta, I would highly recommend trying this Linguine with Pesto & Tomatoes from Trader Joe’s next time you go shopping.