Is it any wonder that I could use a salad?
As fun as it would be to subsist on nothing but all of those aforementioned treats, plus any cookie butter confections and other assorted TJ's goodies, well, that's just not how it works. You need veggies, and in the hot hot heat and humidty of summer, some nights nothing but a cool, crisp, flavorful salad will do.
toasted quinoa - man, that's a great addition, much better than any crouton. The itty quinoa bits (of which there are plenty) add a crispy, toasty, slightly nutty munch than makes a tasty accomplice to the rest of the kale, etc. The lemon vinaigrette is okay - somewhat light, a little citrusy, with a slight sweet tartness that plays off the natural veggie flavors well enough - but isn't terribly memorable, either. Of course, I say this as a non fan of most salad dressings, so take my opinion for whatever it may be worth. There's also a small package of pepitas and cranberries that add some textural variance and flavor, but it'd be nice to have more of them, especially the cranberries.
We're both fans, although strangely, me more than the wifey for once. Not tht she hated it, by any stretch. The first time we dined on it, she expressed some of her fullest love she could for a consumable good (non ice cream division). After the second...more of a "meh" reaction. Maybe it's because we knew what to expect. Regardless, Sandy said she'd probably still pick up the kale quinoa salad for a few lunches here and there, giving it a 3.5 overall. Me? it deserves better than that in my humble opinion. Not quite perfect (seriously, more cranberries, please) but I'll grade a little higher to give it the score I think it deserves.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Kale Quinoa Salad: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons