Trader Joe’s Layered Beef Tostada Review

Trader Joe's Layered Beef Tostada

Occasionally, Trader Joe’s will release an item that causes division amongst its most loyal customers. This division sometimes ripples out to forums like reddit, as well as websites that cover frozen food. We try to stay out of the drama here at Freezer Meal Frenzy, which is why we’ve been hesitant to pick a side on the Trader Joe’s Layered Beef Tostada. Passion was running high over the summer of 2022 when this was first released.

But now it’s the fall season and we have to assume that tempers have cooled. So it might be the time to finally take a bite out of the Trader Joe’s Layered Beef Tostada and see what it’s all about. We hope we don’t upset anyone, but we’re going to give our honest opinion here. If we end up stirring the pot, we’re sure we’ll read about it in the comments section.

Anyway, the box gives three different methods for cooking this, oven, air fryer, and stovetop. The preferred method is the conventional oven, so that’s what we decided to go with today. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions straight off the box, check out our package scans at the bottom of this review.)

Trader Joe's Layered Beef Tostada

Now, people have been comparing this to the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza, which is part of why there’s so much controversy surrounding this. See, the Mexican Pizza is a beloved item from Taco Bell that tends to come and go with the seasons. With a Trader Joe’s replacement, people would have something to hold them over during the Mexican Pizza’s off-season.

So this tostada has some big shoes to fill. Now, we’re going to be honest here: We’ve actually never had the Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell. While we do dabble in Taco Bell’s menu from time to time, we can’t say that we’re enthusiasts. We prefer our food frozen rather than picked up at a drive-thru. (We suppose we just blew our chances at remaining non-controversial with that last statement…)

Anyway, the general concept here is that you’ve got two layers of tortillas with a bunch of mashed beans in the middle, then a whole bunch of toppings. Because so much of the marketing focuses on those toppings, we’re going to start our review by going in the opposite direction. So let’s look under the hood and see what the filling is all about.

Trader Joe's Layered Beef Tostada

As you can see, this is a blend of ground beef and mashed-up pinto beans. While that’s a decent recipe for a filling, we found this stuff to be surprisingly runny and watery. The ground beef has a decent texture, and the pinto bean mash is a good flavor to build a meal like this on top of; we just don’t think TJ’s completely nailed it. There’s supposedly also some enchilada sauce inside, which is maybe why it’s so watery, but we don’t think that sauce adds much to the flavor here, so it’s a strange choice.

When cooked in the oven, the tortilla gets a little crispy around the edges, but it mostly stays soft in the middle. People recommend using an air fryer or toaster oven if you really want to get a crispy tortilla, but we were fine with the consistency we got in the oven, to be honest.

Now let’s talk about those toppings. First and foremost, this is absolutely loaded up with cheese. In fact, we can think of several pizza manufacturers who could learn a great deal from this tostado. The blend here is cheddar and Monterey Jack, which is a good combo for this particular meal.

And then you’ve got tomatoes, green onions, and black olives on top of it all. A lot of people find the portion size of these ingredients to be unsatisfactory, especially the olives. Personally, we’re really not fans of olives at Freezer Meal Frenzy, so we don’t really care that the portion is scant here. But if you’re in this for the olives, well, we can definitely see how this might be disappointing.

This tostado contains 460 calories and 830 mg of sodium. Both of those numbers are kind of high, especially since this tostada isn’t very big. On the other hand, the bean filling is hearty enough that this is surprisingly filling. We definitely didn’t feel like snacking after finishing what was on our plate.

In the end, we really liked the Trader Joe’s Layered Beef Tostada. There’s definitely some room for improvement, as TJ’s needs to work on the filling component, but we were ultimately satisfied by this frozen food. If Trader Joe’s ends up revising this one in the future, we’d be more than happy to give it another go.

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

Trader Joe's Layered Beef Tostada
Trader Joe's Layered Beef Tostada
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x