The frozen Trader Joe's meal vegetarians have been missing

Frozen vegetarian meals don't always live up to expectations, so we're always thrilled when a good one is brought to our attention. In this case, that option is from Trader Joe's in the form of their frozen Channa Masala meal. Channa Masala itself is a classic dish from India. Also spelled chana masala, this veggie-forward dish is essentially a chickpea curry (via Indian Healthy Recipes). The dish is simmered until it creates a gravy-like masala sauce of tomatoes, onion, and spices. The 10-ounce frozen food box sells for $2.29 at Trader Joe's.

The dish cooks up to have a thicker texture, similar to chili, and has a medium level of spice (via Brand Eating). On describing the taste one commenter to a review on Eating at Joes notes, "I love the Trader Joe's Channa Masala. I definitely like it more than the foil pack versions and even like it more than the two Indian fast food places in my area. And unlike the channa from the Indian fast food places near me — the TJ's one doesn't upset my stomach or give me intestinal distress after."

But what really makes this meal a winner is how you can kick it up a notch.

Customize your Channa Masala with these cooking tips

The Trader Joe's blog is an excellent source of recipe inspiration, and in this case it doesn't disappoint. Our mouths are watering over a fusion including tomato red pepper soup. Simply combine a box Organic Low Sodium Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup and some cooked-from-frozen Channa Masala and garnish. You can also add a dollop of sour cream and fresh herbs.

For a heartier meal, consider the classic Cornish Pasty with a twist (via Trader Joe's). Known for containing meat and potatoes, pasty fillings are really only limited by your imagination. An incredibly simple upgrade, just combine two cooked boxes of Channa Masala and wrap in pre-made pie crusts. Brush the tops with egg whites and cook for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. 

The versatility of this dish provides the frozen meal that vegetarians have been missing, with multiple simple possibilities to eat and enjoy.