Instagram Is Divided Over Trader Joe's Vegetable Biryani

While some of us might always be in the mood for a hearty, flavorful meal from an authentic Indian restaurant, most of us probably can't afford to dine like that every day. So people who still crave it every night of the week might turn to a grocery store. Trader Joe's apparently wants to be that store. TJ's has a wide selection of easy-to-make frozen Indian meals that can be prepared from the comfort of their own home. The grocery store has been known to carry Paneer Tikka Masala With Spinach Rice and Butter Chicken With Basmati Rice, which can easily be prepared in the microwave, as well as shelf-stable pouches of Tikka Vegetables, Dal, and Lentils, and even its own brand of Tandori Naan to add on the side – all of which were reviewed by Thrillist contributor Khushbu Shah in 2020.

Indian food is known to be pretty vegetarian friendly, and many of Trader Joe's Indian meals are similarly meat-free, with some of its items even being labeled completely vegan. However, although vegan Trader Joe's fans are probably happy to have more items to choose from, not all of these meals have been a hit with every shopper. Khushbu Shah pointed to the brand's vegan Vegetable Biryani frozen meal as an example of a "strong buy," calling it "flavorful and comforting." However, more recently, the product has sparked mixed feelings online.

Some shoppers found Trader Joe's Vegetable Biryani soggy

Trader Joe's Vegetable Biryani, per the back of the packaging, contains lima beans, peas, and veggie-based dumplings, all seasoned with Indian spices and served over rice. The Instagram account @mrs_traderjoes posted a less-than-stellar review of the meal on social media, giving it a rating of just five out of 10. While they said they normally "love a convenient vegan frozen dinner," they found this option disappointing and said that "the veggie dumplings were subpar." Moreover, @mrs_traderjoes explained, "They had a soggy crouton texture, which I didn't love. I enjoyed the taste of the entire meal but I really couldn't get past the texture." The user's final verdict: "This isn't the worst frozen meal that I've had but I won't be repurchasing." 

Some of their followers seemed to agree that the vegetable biryani was not among the top tier of Trader Joe's offerings. Instagram user @rasu.khalil declared, "This is terrible," before commending the lamb vindaloo and fiery chicken curry instead. Another follower felt that "soggy isn't it." However, some dissenting opinions chimed in, expressing love for the veggie biryani. Follower @rebeccagirouard said, "This one is one of my favs haha. So much flavor packed in here," while another fan recommended spicing it up with hot sauce. People's final verdicts might partly have to do with their starting expectations. Even Khushbu Shah qualified their praise by saying, "For a microwave dinner, it's easy to do worse than this" (via Thrillist).