Trader Joe’s Frozen Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower Flavor Hack

by | Jun 16, 2022

making trader joes frozen cauliflower meal taste better

Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower (Hack for Extra Flavor)

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I was craving Chinese food. I didn’t feel like making a huge meal or ordering calorie-heavy delivery, so I reached into our deep freezer for one of my favorite Trader Joe’s frozen meals – their Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower. We almost always have one of these on hand. It makes a great main dish if you add rice and veggies, but it’s also fantastic appetizer, snack and side dish.

By itself, it’s good for a quick frozen meal. But with a few tweaks and special ingredients, it can be “WOW” – and you don’t even have to make a sauce from scratch – just add a few extra flavors for some oomph. It’s pretty guilt-free when it comes to calories – with these hacks it comes in about 170 calories per cup (six cups per bag).


  • Author: Meaghan Thomas
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 people 1x
  • Category: appetizers, vegetarian
  • Method: baking, stovetop
  • Cuisine: Chinese




  1. Preheat oven to 450 and drop the packet of their Kung Pao Sauce in a bowl of hot water to defrost. Cut the frozen cauliflower into smaller bite-sized pieces (it makes a big difference with texture and sauce vs cauliflower ratio).
  2. Place cauliflower in one layer on a lightly greased baking sheet, bake for 20-25 minutes. I like it crispier, so sometimes I cook it little longer.
  3. Toast sesame seeds, Sichuan peppers and whole cumin seeds in a small pan (no oil) on “medium” for about a minute, stirring, careful no not burn. Remove from heat, set aside.
  4. Squeeze sauce from the bag into a large saucepan, set to warm on low. Add organic Chinese 5 Spice, onion granules, garlic powder, ginger powder, chili sauce (optional), rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir to combine. Add in a little cornstarch at a time to thicken it to your liking. Cook on low heat until cauliflower is done.
  5. Add toasted spices to the sauce and toss in cauliflower to coat. Serve and sprinkle with (optional) chopped peanuts.



  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 170

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