Trader Joe’s Vegan Tikka Masala Review

Trader Joes Vegan Tikka Masala box
Trader Joes Vegan Tikka Masala box

Trader Joe’s Vegan Tikka Masala Review – I seem to be on a bit of an Indian bender lately. I love Indian food for the most part and I have a lot of good Indian restaurants around me that we frequent.

I always love a good chicken Tikka Masala. I love it pretty spicy. The heat and the complexity of the flavors are what I really like. Trader Joe’s has a boatload of Indian food in the frozen section as well as the fridge section and in cans and jars. There seems to be a never-ending parade of new products.

Trader Joes Vegan Tikka Masala frozen
Trader Joe’s Vegan Tikka Masala frozen

What you might not know is that Tikka Masala may not have originated in India, but in Scotland at an Indian restaurant. Either way, it has taken off like Kung Pao chicken around the world.

Seems to be from a certain country but has been co-opted by another. Tikka Masala is a very popular food in Great Britain and the USA. As many of you know, a large percentage of Indians are vegetarians. So, this vegan version of Tikka Masala has been around for a while and has passed the test of time which is critical at Trader Joe’s as many of you know things come and go pretty quickly.

The vegan “meat” bits seem to be made out of wheat gluten and soy protein for the most part. Tikka Masala is generally a cream, tomatoey curry sauce. Tomatoes are a different ingredient from most curries in India and it adds just the right flavor profile making it a little more interesting.

But I was very curious to try the Vegan version of this Tikka Masala for lunch the other day. I’m not a vegan, but I am an adventurous eater and I know that Trader Joe’s attracts a lot of vegans because of the high amount of vegan food they sell.

Trader Joes Vegan Tikka Masala cooked
Trader Joes Vegan Tikka Masala cooked

This is pretty standard fare for Trader Joe’s. Something with meat (or fake meat in this case) and some rice or something on the other side of the plate. You pop it in the microwave and presto it’s done in a couple of minutes. Normally, I would bring something like this to work and supplement it with another side dish like those spicy pumpkin samosas I just reviewed. Once it’s cooled off a little just dig in. The rice has some flavor, but honestly, once you put the Tikka Masala on it you’ll never taste it.

Final Verdict:

The bad news is I didn’t really care for the fake meat chunks. I did like the Tikka Masala sauce. The fake meat chunks had a weird texture and a rubber flavor that was a little off putting. The sauce helps cover it all up. The rice was good. The spice level was good if a little weak.

It was very easy to make but just popping it in the microwave, which I really appreciate. But based on the weird texture of the fake meat, I probably won’t buy this again. But if you are vegan and don’t care, this might be perfect for you.

I am going to give it 5 Bells because I really didn’t care for the fake meat texture and flavor.


vegan tikka: vegan meat substitute (water, vital wheat gluten, soy protein isolate, canola oil, onions, yeast extract, modified vegetable gum, malted barley extract, onion powder, sugar, garlic powder, ancient grain flour [khorasan wheat, amaranth, millet, quinoa], natural flavors, potato starch, sea salt, vinegar, spices, pea protein, carrot fiber, beetroot fiber), tomatoes, onions, water, coconut milk (coconut milk, water, gum arabic), canola oil, spices, cashews, garlic, salt, sugar, lemon juice, oleoresin of paprika (for color), fenugreek leaves, turmeric (for color), cilantro, vinegar, mango powder. cumin flavored basmati rice: water, basmati rice, canola oil, spices.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 tray (269 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 390
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 17.00g 22%
Saturated Fat 4.500g 23%
Trans Fat 0.000g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 800mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 49.00g 18%
Dietary Fiber 2.0g 7%
Sugars 3.00g
Protein 12.00g
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 2.20mg 12%
Potassium 390mg 8%
* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  1. Steve,

    5 bells not bad! I am not vegan but my wife is (mostly) vegan and she likes this one a lot. I will stick to the real thing or even better the fiery chicken curry you reviewed before. Yum!!!



  2. I love Indian food. I’ve been a vegan for 38 years and I’m thrilled by all the vegan options available now. I’m usually happy with TJ’s products, but not their Tikka Masala. The spices were non-existent and it was tasteless and bland. I also found what looked like a couple of hairs in the sauce and threw out most of it. I still have a Vegetable Biryani (also vegan) in the freezer. Hopefully it’s not such a disappointment.

  3. I’m not vegan but adventurous as well when it comes to food. I can’t tolerate things too spicy so found the Vegan Tikka Masala flavorful and found the chunks of vegan bits balanced itself well with the dish. I buy this again.

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