Trader Joe’s Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust Review

Trader Joe's Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust

It’s a chilly spring day today (at least here in Minnesota), so a toasty warm empanada seems like it would really hit the spot. Thankfully, we’ve got the Trader Joe’s Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust waiting for us in the freezer. What a perfect day to try these!

It’s been a long time since we’ve actually reviewed a frozen empanada here at Freezer Meal Frenzy. In fact, if our math is right, it’s been almost four years. (Then again, our review staff is hardly qualified to be mathematicians.)

Anyway, we’re going to have to cook these before we try them, obviously. The package lists instructions for both the conventional oven and air fryer. We actually don’t have an air fryer in the Freezer Meal Frenzy office, which always seems like an oversight when we review something with air fryer instructions. So we’re going with the conventional oven today.

We should point out here that these come two in a box, and those are sealed together in a single inner bag. When we pulled our empanadas out of the bag, they were frozen together (probably a result of transporting these in a car with the heat turned all the way up, then tossed into the freezer once they’d started thawing just a little bit).

But once we got these unstuck from each other, we just tossed them onto a baking sheet, preheated our oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and popped these suckers into the oven. We did stumble upon one review for these empanadas before we finished cooking ours, so we were prepared for the 20-to-25-minute cook time to be not quite sufficient to heat these all the way through. We ended up cooking ours for about 28 minutes. (You can read the full cooking instructions straight off the box by scrolling down to the bottom of this review).

Trader Joe's Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust

Now, cassava is a starchy tube vegetable, so it’s not something we would have thought to make a crust out of. But having tried these TJ’s empanadas, we have to say that it does work. The outsides of our crust ended up a little bit crispy, while the insides ended up soft. There’s also a little bit of a starchy aftertaste, but otherwise this is a pretty convincing crust.

The filling here is mostly ricotta cheese, with some onions, spinach, and mozzarella to round things out. It’s a decent filling, but it feels a little bit like something is missing. We want to say this needs a good dipping sauce, but we can’t think of a sauce off the tops of our heads that we’d want to dip this in. As is, we’re left feeling just a little bit unsatisfied. Our meat-eating staffers thought that some ground beef would have been good here (though our vegetarian staffers enthusiastically shot down that idea).

The box lists a single empanada as a serving size, even though they aren’t wrapped individually. If you eat just one, you’re looking at 190 calories and 490 mg of sodium. If you eat both, you’re up to 370 calories and 990 mg of sodium. While the sodium level is a bit high, the calorie count isn’t too bad, even for double-empanada-eating folks.

The Trader Joe’s Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust are decent-tasting, but they do feel like they’re missing something. We mean that flavor-wise, mostly, but these are also not as filling as we hoped they’d be. With a root-vegetable-based crust and a meatless interior, these do seem to lack the oomph that would really make our tummies feel satisfied. These aren’t bad; we just think we could probably fill our bellies with something with a little more substance.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for these frozen empanadas, check out our package scan below.

Trader Joe's Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x