Trader Joe’s Ratatouille Bites Review

Trader Joe's Ratatouille Bites

It’s probably safe to say that here in the United States, a lot of people know the term ratatouille from the Pixar movie rather than the actual food that the film was named after. But Trader Joe’s is looking to change that with the Trader Joe’s Ratatouille Bites, which give this classic dish a bit of a makeover. Yes, making a feature-length animated film is definitely one way to raise awareness about a type of food, but there’s also what we’ll call that the “jalapeño popper effect.” You know, to earn the affection of the masses in the States, just throw on some breading and fry it up — we go bonkers for that stuff!

Basically, these bites combine chunks of eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes, then add some tomato paste and garlic. The resulting mash is rolled up in breadcrumbs to give them a tasty breading. That sounds like something we’d be into!

According to the box, you can fry these in an air fryer, or bake them in an oven. Now, we know we’re going to get some pushback for this, but we still don’t have an air fryer in the Freezer Meal Frenzy office. Which, of course, means we’re using the conventional oven today.

We did find the suggested cook time of eight to eleven minutes to be a little inadequate. We let these bake for the full eleven minutes and found our bites to be a little bit cold in the middle. So we popped them back in for a few extra minutes, which seemed to do the trick. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions straight off the box, check out the package scans at the bottom of this review.)

Trader Joe's Ratatouille Bites

These aren’t super complicated, but the simplicity works in their favor. You’ve got that fresh cooked veggie flavor, surrounded by a tasty breading.

And the veggies are pretty good. The flavor is definitely on the earthier side, likely a result of the eggplant and zucchini, but that’s not a bad thing. And the tomato paste brings some “fun” to the combination, though the portion size isn’t enormous or anything. It’s more there as a flavor-enhancer rather than the centerpiece of the appetizer.

And we’d say the same thing about the garlic. Some frozen meals use garlic to cover up the blandness of the meal; but well-portioned foods use garlic as an enhancer. Here, you have the latter — the appetizers are already good, but the garlic just underscores that goodness.

These really aren’t super bad in the calorie department. If you eat the recommended serving size of three pieces, you’ll be consuming 130 calories and 400 mg of sodium. If you eat the whole box in a serving (there should be 12 pieces), you’re up to 400 calories and 1,210 mg of sodium. Those calories aren’t super bad for a fried appetizer, but that sodium level is pretty high for full-dozen-eaters.

The Trader Joe’s Ratatouille Bites are a pretty decent snack for folks who like their appetizers fried but also filled with vegetables. We enjoyed what we tasted today, though we’re not sure we’d go out of our way to have these again. They’re not super filling based on how much sodium they have, which makes them more of a once-in-a-while kind of appetizer rather than an all-the-time one, but we’d say they’re still worth trying.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen appetizer, check out our package scans below.

Trader Joe's Ratatouille Bites
Trader Joe's Ratatouille Bites
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