Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Trader Joe's Mango Jicama Slaw

Ugh. Beets. All that talk from the South Jersey Rodgers Family department of the blog has got me sick. I hate beets. Just....no. Beets are one of very few things I will not place into my mouth on purpose. Some people say beets taste like dirt; I say they literally taste a lot like something that can look like dirt but is far more foul. But...beet juice? Dehydrated beet chips? No. No. Hellz no. I don't care about Nathan's ambivalence towards them - I can't imagine even being friendly with them. If I saw a beet walking down the street, I'd cross to other side. Just thinking about them makes my stomach churn...

...so maybe I need me some jicama. That's what you can use with an upset stomach, right? Not sure what jicama really is? You can read about it straight up here...

...or stop by your local TJ's for a tub of the brand new Trader Joe's Mango Jicama Slaw. It'll set you back five bucks, which is maybe a tick high if just looking at cost of base ingredients - a couple handfuls of jicama, cabbage, mango with a smattering of cilantro - but at least it's all made and ready to go in the refrigerated section near produce.

And it's worth it, too. We somehow neglected to take a pic of it, but the 12 ounces made one very healhty bowlful size which Sandy, a friend of ours, and I were able to get several helpings out of each. The slaw is very fresh, crispy and juicy, with the shredded jicama and cabbage kinda blending somewhat together into one flavor. I'm sure if I paid a little more attention I could have picked up on it a little bit more, but regardless, the two of them serve as an excellent platform for the other flavors, notably the sweet, tropical mango and all that herby cilantro. There's a smidge too much cilantro, in my opinion, as it kinda took over some bites, but in all, this is a very fresh, simple, clean tasting summer slaw.

There's also a dressing packet included with what's called a "lime mango vinaigrette" though it's this kinda weird orangey glop. As with anytime a dressing is involved, I'll make it known I'm not a huge salad dressing guy. And it only kinda works here. I'll pin it on the vinegar here - really, between lime, mango, and some kick from crushed red peppers, a decently strong vinegar flavor is not the one I wish to taste. Seems like because of the vinegar, at times the dressing seemed a little spicier than it actually was. The dressing just interfered too much with an otherwise simple, natural flavor vibe. A squeeze or two of lime, or a sprinkle of chili powder would have been perfect (or a little of both), but altogether as it was, the dressing was just too much and we both preferred our slaw without it.

Otherwise, an absolute winner in our book. I'm feeling inspired by this slaw to try and make my own - better sharpen them kitchen knives, I guess. But for the convenience, and something a little different to go alongside (or on top of) some grilled chicken or fish, or for a little cookout side, it's not a bad deal. Sandy's main complaint is also the dressing - really, with something a little better, we could be talking pantheon here - but we're just going to have to settle for being really, really good.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mango Jicama Slaw: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. How spicy is the dressing? This seems like something that my three-year-old daughter would enjoy, but she does not particularly care for spicy foods.

    1. Skip the dressing for her, then - we also have young kids and they happily ate it without the dressing. It's spicier than most, I'd say.

  2. I really wanted to love this...! But yeah the salad dressing was a no-go and compared to other TJs prepared salads for $5 this was a lot of cabbage.
    I tasted the dressing and threw it out, instead i used a quick vinegrette with lime juice.
    I love cilantro but for those who don't this would be a pass

  3. They should had sold in the bigger bags with the other salads instead of this container. Although I'm not sure how the mango will last before it spoils. The $5 price tag seems too high and I think this might not stick around too long

  4. Looks yummy. You need to try their broccoli kale slaw next. It's lovely.

  5. I LOVE THIS SALAD! Of course, some may prefer a different dressing (the one it comes with is a little spicy, sweet, and has sugar and canola oil in it).

    I usually open it up to remove the dressing packet, dig a "well" in the middle of the veggies and then pour it in, replace the lid and shake it shake it shake it.

    If you let it sit for a while, it will absorb the dressing and the cabbage will soften, but even if you eat it right away, it's great - crunchy, sweet, with a lovely cilantro accent.

    While it's not the best choice, this is a great meal or side, and it can serve 1-4 persons.

    Also great on seafood or fish tacos, and on reubens.