Feb 2, 2024

Review: Trader Joe's - Chicken Shawarma Bowl

Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Bowl packaging.

Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Bowl is a frozen meal that features basmati rice topped with red bell pepper, spinach, pickled red onion, diced shawarma-style-seasoned chicken, and a creamy garlic sauce.

A 11.3-oz bowl cost me $3.99.

In typical frozen food fashion, the rice seemed to be fairly starch-free at the surface and lacked any sort of tackiness. This would normally be a problem with a more watery sauce but the fat in the garlic sauce helped it and the other seasoning to stick to the grains of rice.

Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Bowl next to a quarter.

The chunks of chicken were tender, meaty, and juicy with a seasoned flavor that pushed a bit more of an Indian-type flavor rather than Middle Eastern flavor that shawarma brings to mind. While both cuisines incorporate similar spices, the seasoning here was infused throughout the entire bowl rather than mostly in the meat, which brought to mind a mixed rice like biryani over a more separated shawarma bowl. There was also a light bit of spicy heat to go around.

Playing into that the bell peppers and pickled onions lost a lot a lot of flavor and texture as they basically braised during heating. I'd expect the pickled onions in particular to exhibit a bit of crunch and acidity to counterbalance the richer components.

A forkful of Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Bowl.

The spinach faired a bit better as I could still taste it but it also came in fairly small bits.

Additionally, as I was called upon to stir everything together halfway through the heating process, all the garlic sauce was also mixed into everything. This left a slightly creamy, slightly tangy, and slightly garlicky undercurrent to everything rather than a punchier but more occasional sauce. Ideally, the sauce would come in its own packet for you to squeeze on after heating.

Another forkful of Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Bowl.

Taken altogether, Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Bowl was enjoyable with flavor throughout and decent textures but with a bit more separation between the ingredients, it would have been a lot more interesting. Still, I would get it again as a biryani-adjacent dish but it wouldn't satisfy a shawarma craving for me.

Nutritional Info - Trader Joe's Chicken Shawarma Bowl (320g)
Calories - 400
Fat - 12g (Saturated Fat - 3.5g)
Sodium - 720mg
Carbs - 52g (Sugar - 3g)
Protein - 20g

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