14 Frozen Dinners Made With The Highest Quality Ingredients

Frozen lasagna in metal tray
Frozen lasagna in metal tray - Natalie Rocfort Shigetomi/Shutterstock

Frozen dinners have long been controversial. These shelf-stable items are a go-to when you need a convenient, tasty, affordable meal. Often, though, that flavor and affordability can come from manufacturers using cheaper ingredients and filling their dinners with sodium, saturated fats, and added sugar, and some of the most popular frozen dinners out there may not be the best for you. Luckily, that's not always the case. There are some food producers out there who work hard to make their frozen dinners with the highest-quality ingredients possible and offer them at a reasonable price.

As knowledge about food and nutrition has increased, and tastes have moved toward wholesome, healthy meals, frozen dinner makers have responded. These days, you'll find plenty of frozen dinners with healthy ingredients like sweet potato, chickpeas, lean protein, and kale, offering you nutritional bang for your buck. These same dinners are often made with well-sourced, organic, antibiotic-free ingredients with traceable origins, giving you confidence in the standard of your food. In this article, we focused on frozen meals made from recognizable ingredients that scream quality, with limited or no additives or preservatives and with loads of whole foods, resulting in a delicious dinner.

Read more: 10 Frozen Foods You Should Always Buy At Aldi

Trader Joe's Chicken Burrito Bowl
Trader Joe's Chicken Burrito Bowl - Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's pays a lot of attention to what goes in its frozen dinners. The retailer's private-label meals are held to strict standards and are made without any artificial flavors or preservatives or genetically modified ingredients, and with only the best items TJ's can find. All of this work shows up beautifully in its Chicken Burrito Bowl. This easy frozen dinner is a must for folks who want a high-quality meal, with its ingredients list composed of recognizable terms and providing loads of nutritious items in every bite.

In each chicken burrito bowl, there's a combination of brown rice and quinoa, white meat chicken, and a host of vegetables. The brown rice and quinoa are particularly attractive here, as they offer a carbohydrate source that won't spike your blood sugar as much as white rice might. The combination of these two carbs, veggies, and black beans gives this burrito bowl a huge amount of fiber, covering almost a third of your daily value. It's also full of protein, has no added sugars, and doesn't have an unreasonable amount of sodium for a frozen dinner. Sounds like a winner to us.

SmartMade Mediterranean-Style Chicken Bowl
SmartMade Mediterranean-Style Chicken Bowl - Kraft Heinz Foods

The SmartMade by Smart Ones line is a great choice if you want something affordable but made well. These frozen dinners are made by Kraft Heinz Foods, and while the company is the king of convenience, here it understands that not all customers want highly processed options. As a result, each SmartMade frozen dinner is made with real ingredients and puts an emphasis on providing a healthy meal that still hits the spot.

SmartMade's Mediterranean-Style Chicken Bowl is a great example of this. This meal stuffs roasted artichokes, onions, bell peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes into each bowl, with nutritious chickpeas and kale coming along for the ride. Its chicken content, made with real grilled white meat chicken, gives it a hefty dose of protein, packing 20 grams into its 255-gram serving size. Instead of using rice, this Mediterranean-style chicken bowl opts for quinoa, which contributes to its protein content and also provides a boost of minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Topping it all off is a sprinkling of briny feta cheese. We don't know about you, but we're pretty hungry now!

Amy's low-sodium Mexican Casserole Bowl
Amy's low-sodium Mexican Casserole Bowl - Amy's Kitchen

One of the biggest problems with frozen dinners is that they're often loaded with sodium, with the salt helping to add flavor that should be provided by good ingredients. Amy's Kitchen is clearly well aware of this, and the company seeks to address it with its Light in Sodium Mexican Casserole Bowl. Each of these bowls has a moderate 370 milligrams of sodium and instead get their punch from an abundance of organic ingredients, with organic corn and black beans providing pops of color and flavor. The black beans also give each bowl a good boost of fiber, with 6 grams in every serving. Spices, garlic, and cilantro, meanwhile, brighten everything up and give taste without loads of salt.

You'll find the same quality across all of Amy's Kitchen's frozen meals. The idea for the company was born when founder Andy couldn't find any organic vegetarian pre-made meals at the local grocery store while his partner, Rachel, was pregnant with daughter Amy, the namesake of the company. They set about making their own line of quality frozen meals that still tasted good, and decades later, the company has an impressive line of nutritious options.

Chef Bombay Chicken Tikka Masala
Chef Bombay Chicken Tikka Masala - Chef Bombay

If you've ever had a frozen curry, you'll know how terrible they can be. Tasteless, dry pieces of chicken floating in an overly fatty, salty, artificial-tasting sauce, and rice that has the consistency of kitty litter ... yuck. Luckily, Chef Bombay does things a little differently. The Canada-based company was founded by Anis and Noorudin Jiwani, with Anis being a former dietitian who clearly understands the importance of quality fare. As such, the company's foods are made with quality in mind, with its natural ingredients carefully selected and made with environmentally friendly production processes, and its items frozen at peak freshness.

All of this shows in Chef Bombay's Tikka Masala. This meal has a refreshingly short ingredients list, with every item listed being something you could buy at your local store. A generous amount of chicken gives this meal an impressive 23 grams of protein, with its thick sauce made not with emulsifiers and thickeners but with plain old yogurt. This yogurt does more than keep things creamy: It also gives you a further boost of protein and contributes to this dish's potassium content.

‌Planet Based Foods Taquitos
‌Planet Based Foods Taquitos - Planet Based Foods

We tend to think of frozen dinners as boring, slightly sloppy affairs, served in rigid plastic trays. That's not always the case — frozen dinners come in loads of different shapes and sizes and slot into a range of world cuisines. Planet Based Foods' Taquitos Original with Cheese are evidence of this, with the frozen meal serving up delicious, crispy vegan taquitos from a food producer that works hard to deliver tasty food made with one key quality ingredient: hemp.

Yep, that's right. These taquitos use hemp crumble as their filling, stuffing them with a healthy, protein-rich, sustainable, and ethically grown ingredient. Hemp may be associated with garish '70s clothing, but its nutritional benefits are undeniable. As a food, it's rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants, as well as fiber, which benefits your digestive system. This makes it a welcome component of these taquitos, a food which can often be pretty unhealthy and made with basic ingredients that may not be super high in quality. If you're worried about these taquitos tasting grassy, though, don't: The inclusion of vegan pepper jack cheese keeps them spicy and moreish, and the hard shell makes them perfect for dipping into your sauce of choice. ‌

Sweet Earth Curry Tiger
Sweet Earth Curry Tiger - Nestlé

Finding a frozen curry that isn't bogged down in gloopy, dripping sauce can be tough, which is why we love Sweet Earth's Curry Tiger. This frozen dinner takes a novel approach to curry bowls and, instead of leaving its ingredients swimming around in salty liquid, lightly adorns them with a spiced coating. Those ingredients are also fully vegan and bursting with quality. In each bowl, you get a mishmash of green lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, and loads of vegetables, with curry seitan providing the meaty element. All of it adds up to a protein- and fiber-rich delight.

Sweet Earth's food philosophy has quality in mind. The brand champions a mindful approach to sourcing and making food and seeks to fill its items with the best plant-based items possible. This shows in the items chosen to make this curry bowl, which individually have their own nutritional benefits. Lentils, for instance, pack a lot of punch for such little legumes and are full of compounds called polyphenols, which have been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect and a potentially protective impact on your brain health. ‌

Tattooed Chef Buddha Bowl
Tattooed Chef Buddha Bowl - Tattooed Chef

While the concept of a fresh, wholesome Buddha bowl doesn't exactly mesh with the vibe of a frozen dinner, somehow Tattooed Chef has managed it. The food company has made a meal that looks like it's positively bursting with goodness and quality, with an ingredients list that has no unnecessary additions and a lot of familiar-looking, non-scientific-sounding items. In each Tattooed Chef Buddha Bowl, chickpeas and sweet potatoes hang out with a few generous handfuls of riced cauliflower and a hefty sprinkling of kale. The whole thing is covered in a coating of tahini sauce.

While we like a lot of things about this Buddha bowl, it's probably the kale we're most excited about here. Kale is a superfood, known as such because of its incredible nutritional content. The leafy vegetable is bursting with vitamins, including vitamin A, C, K, and folate, and it's also packed with fiber. Although Tattooed Chef's Buddha Bowls may be hard to find, due to beginning a bankruptcy process in 2023, a cryptic group of Instagram posts from the company in May 2024 indicated that these items would return to shelves — so keep an eye out. ‌

Deep Indian Kitchen Chickpea Masala
Deep Indian Kitchen Chickpea Masala - Deep Indian Kitchen

Anyone who knows Indian cuisine well will know that there's an almost infinite amount of vegetarian and plant-based curries to choose from. If you want one of these curries at your own convenience, Deep Indian Kitchen's Chickpea Masala is the way to go. Deep Indian Kitchen makes its frozen dinners with fresh, high-quality ingredients, and the family-run business' meals follow handed-down recipes, meaning that what arrives on your table is about as simple and wholesome as it gets.

In this chickpea masala, a generous amount of chickpeas contributes to a whopping 14 grams of fiber per serving. These chickpeas are also full of amino acids and have loads of vitamins and minerals, and their low glycemic index means that they can help to keep your blood sugar in check. We also love the twist on classic basmati rice that Deep Indian Kitchen takes with its chickpea masala. Instead of plain white rice, it combines its chickpeas with spinach rice, with the green-flecked grains feeling nutritious and healthy and contributing to your vegetables for the day. It's an added bonus that unlike some other frozen curries, Deep Indian Kitchen's Chickpea Masala is low in saturated fat, providing just 1 gram per serving.

Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai
Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai - Saffron Road

Pad thai is a firm favorite, but when it comes in frozen form, it can often be pretty questionable. The dish relies on the fresh flavors of good ingredients for it to truly pop, and a lot of those suffer when they're frozen — but Saffron Road Vegetable Pad Thai is an exception. This frozen dinner skips the use of any preservatives or additives and instead is composed of a modest list of recognizable ingredients. It also avoids the excessive use of sugars and salt to deliver flavor and manages to keep its added sugar and sodium content lower than some other options out there.

It's clear that Saffron Road invests a lot in its products, and the company's mission of creating ethical world cuisine with premium ingredients is on display in this frozen dinner. We're also pleased to see tofu as its primary protein source. Tofu is a nutritional powerhouse, providing not just protein but healthy polyunsaturated fats and loads of vitamins and minerals. This pad thai also uses non-GMO tofu, providing added peace of mind about its healthiness.

Evol Chicken Enchilada Bake
Evol Chicken Enchilada Bake - Evol

Evol is a company that cares about its output. With "love" baked into its very name (read it backwards, y'all), you can be assured that it really makes an effort to deliver quality products. Each Evol meal is made with antibiotic-free meat and no artificial colors or flavors, and Evol also ensures that its packaging is recyclable. Oh, and did we mention that its products taste good?

If you need any more proof, check out its Chicken Enchilada Bake. This frozen dinner just screams quality, containing all-natural ingredients and a host of whole foods. Its black beans and corn provide it with a boost of vitamins and fiber (6 grams, to be precise), while its antibiotic-free chicken gives the bowl 20 grams of protein. The meal is also totally gluten-free and is topped with a smothering of cheddar cheese and enchilada sauce. Customers have pointed out how fresh this frozen dinner tastes, which is the ultimate compliment for something you store in your deep freeze. Consider us sold.

Simek's Meat Lasagna
Simek's Meat Lasagna - Simek's

Frozen lasagna is easy to come by, but finding a quality version can be tough. This quintessential freezer meal is often made with an overabundance of sloppy sauce, pasta sheets that are barely there, and a filling that tastes vaguely chemical. Simek's Meat Lasagna, however, manages to avoid all of these things. This lasagna is made in accordance with Simek's food philosophy, which places the use of quality ingredients at the forefront and seeks to deploy them in frozen meals that are comforting and homely. We're not gonna say no to that combo.

Take one look at this meat lasagna's ingredients list, and you'll see what we mean. It's made from a host of all-natural items, with no preservatives to be seen anywhere. Its layers of seasoned ground beef also give it a boost of protein, as well as some serious flavor. Perhaps most pleasing is that its nutrition label reflects the simplicity of its ingredients, and Simek's attempts to keep things simple and fresh. Unlike a lot of other frozen lasagnas, Simek's Meat Lasagna delivers a fairly modest fat content, and while each piece is still fairly salty (at 830 milligrams per serving), you can do worse.

Trader Joe's Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza
Trader Joe's Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza - Trader Joe's

Frozen pizza has an incredibly poor reputation, and we can understand why. More often than not, frozen pizzas are as thin as cardboard and taste like it, too, and are made with ingredients that feel like they've been found on the factory floor. This is something that Trader Joe's is actively trying to fight against with its Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza. This pizza is a breath of fresh air: Instead of being piled high with cheap, salty pieces of pepperoni and questionable ham slices, it's topped with handfuls of roasted zucchini, eggplant, red onion, and red and yellow peppers. It's as colorful as it is nutritious, and it's pretty tasty, too.

As you'd probably expect from its name, this pizza is made with solely organic ingredients, right down to the flour that makes its dough. It's worth remembering that organic produce is subject to pretty rigorous food checks, meaning that food manufacturers are generally keeping a keen eye on their ingredients (which means, essentially, that you're more likely to get the good stuff). We also love how clear Trader Joe's is with the origins of this pizza's toppings, with the process they undergo to top each slice clearly detailed on its website.

SmartMade Roasted Turkey & Vegetables
SmartMade Roasted Turkey & Vegetables - Kraft Heinz

Roasted turkey and vegetables make a reliable meal: Hearty, filling, and nutritious, it works well as a winter warmer or a light summer dinner. When it's frozen, though, this food combo can go seriously wrong, with the turkey turning dry, the vegetables turning mushy, and any sauce used to tie them together ending up gloopy and gluey.

This isn't the case with SmartMade's Roasted Turkey & Vegetables. This frozen dinner is made with an all-star cast of natural ingredients and pairs its lean turkey breast with super-nutritious sweet potatoes and green beans. The sweet potatoes in this meal make a great alternative to regular potatoes, appealing not only on a visual level with their lurid orange tones but also on a nutritional one. Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants and provide a serious vitamin A content, giving this frozen dinner an astonishing 370% of the daily value for the vitamin. All that vitamin A is important for your eye health and helps to keep your immune system ticking along. Customers have also noted how tasty this frozen dinner is and how its meat tastes real, juicy, and fresh.

Sweet Earth General Tso's Tofu
Sweet Earth General Tso's Tofu - Nestlé

General Tso's chicken hits the spot every time, but you're probably not going to be surprised to hear that it's not consistently high in quality. Even if the place you're ordering from is using good ingredients, too often the chicken ends up smothered in thick, gloopy batter, and an equally thick, gloopy sauce, filled with liberal pours of sugar. Sweet Earth's General Tso's Tofu takes a different approach. Here, healthy tofu pieces are lightly coated with sauce and accompanied by nutritious broccoli and brown rice, giving you a frozen dinner that still tastes wholesome and high-quality, while not blowing your added sugar allowance out of the water.

We're particularly big fans of Sweet Earth's decision to use brown rice in this frozen dinner. The brown rice boosts the meal's fiber content and makes each bowl more protein-rich. Brown rice is also a great source of B vitamins and phosphorus, with even more phosphorus, as well as manganese and calcium, provided by the tofu. All of these ingredients are added using Sweet Earth's considered approach to food sourcing and production, ensuring quality in every bite.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal