Trader Joe’s Chicken Parmigiana with Marinara Sauce Review

Trader Joe's Chicken Parmigiana with Marinara Sauce Review

With the Trader Joe’s Chicken Parmigiana with Marinara Sauce, we’re allowing ourselves to break the rules a little bit. See, we typically focus exclusively on frozen foods, but this meal isn’t frozen. No, you’ll find this in the refrigerated section at Trader Joe’s rather than the freezer. However, it just looks too darn tasty to pass up, so we decided to review it anyway. If you need more justification than the delicious appearance, then note that if you don’t cook it by the “use by” date, you’ll need to stick it in the freezer, thus it becomes a frozen food.

Also, this isn’t the first time we’ve done something like this. We did publish reviews for the Trader Joe’s Meat Lasagna and the Archer Farms Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese, both of which were delicious refrigerator finds.

Anyway, let’s break some rules and check this out!

First of all, you can cook this either in the oven or in the microwave. We opted for the oven here, as we felt it would be the better option. Even though this meal isn’t frozen, it still does take a good long while to heat all the way through. You also have to transfer it to a different container, as the one it comes in isn’t oven-safe.

Trader Joe's Chicken Parmigiana with Marinara Sauce Review

Of course, the microwave option is pretty quick, and the package can be microwaved so you don’t have to fuss around with additional containers. So if you just want to save time and dishes, the microwave is the better option. (To see the full cooking instructions, check out our package scan at the bottom of this review.)

As the centerpiece of this meal, you’d think Trader Joe’s would be extra choosey about the chicken here. However, this chicken just isn’t very good. It’s dry to the point of being almost chalky in places, and it’s virtually flavorless through and through. However, the folks at Trader Joe’s worked really hard to make sure the chicken was absolutely surrounded by deliciousness, so the quality of the chicken doesn’t necessarily need to be a turnoff here.

First off, the chicken was dipped in egg and coated with Panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. That creates a delicious breading with a great consistency. The parmesan has such a strong flavor that it does a lot to make up for the blandness of the chicken.

Next up, it’s covered in marinara sauce, and there’s a bit of gooey mozzarella cheese to top it all off. The sauce has that tomatoey sweetness that contrasts nicely against the parmesan, and the mozzarella is a great topper that just adds a little something extra. It’s nice to fork a bite of this and watch a bit of cheese stretch as you pull a single bite away from the rest of the meal.

Trader Joe's Chicken Parmigiana with Marinara Sauce Review

According to the packaging, there are two servings here. That’s probably fair, as this package contains two pieces of chicken, and each is pretty substantial in size. The package also suggests serving this over a pasta of some sort (we think a simple angel hair pasta would be a great complement to this). One person could eat both in a sitting, but that doesn’t mean it’s recommended. If you stick with half the package, you’re looking at 300 calories (70 from fat) and 690 mg of sodium, which is perfectly reasonable. If you eat the whole thing at once, however, you’re up to 600 calories (140 from fat) and 1,380 mg of sodium. While it’s not as bad as, say, a 2,000-calorie Devour pizza, it’ also not on the lighter side.

The Trader Joe’s Chicken Parmigiana with Marinara Sauce left us with some mixed feelings. While all of the extras — the breading, sauce, and cheese — are great, the meat itself is lower in quality than we’d expect from Trader Joe’s. And this is where we think this meal will divide people: some won’t care that the chicken isn’t great because the rest of the meal more than makes up for it, while others will be too disappointed by the chicken to enjoy this at all. We’re in the former group, but we can’t really blame anyone for joining the latter.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this Trader Joe’s refrigerated meal, check out our package scan below.

Trader Joe's Chicken Parmigiana with Marinara Sauce Review