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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trader Joe's Southwestern Chopped Salad

It wasn't until sitting down right now to type this review that I realized that the little "look in window" on the salad bag was shaped like a cowboy boot.

Cowboys. Eating salad. Mmmmkay. Not exactly what comes to mind.

But I guess if cowboys can eat chunky salsa and even chunkier chocolate bars, well, there may be room for salad. After all, they may have a soft spot for veggie burgers, of all things.

On to the salad. It's a darn good one. With one major caveat: You gotta like cilantro - a lot. Because that's really what every single bite tasted like - sharp, biting cilantro, accentuated even a bit further by green onion. I happen to enjoy cilantro to a moderate degree, and I was beginning to get close to a breaking point. Really, a fleshy, sweet addition - think grape tomato or even roasted corn - would have helped keep it all in check.

But everything else is pretty spot on. Good, crisp greens. Mild cotija cheese. The little baggie of mix-in tortilla strips and pumpkin seeds (I hate the word pepitas, call them what they are) added good texture and crunch with a little saltiness in there. And of course, the dressing. I'm not a huge salad dressing guy, Sandy's not all that into avocados, but we both loved it. There's a slight heat to it, so it's a bit like a soupier medium guacamole, which works really well with the rest of the salad components.

If only so much of the sald weren't drowned out by those ubiquitous cilantro sprigs.

We ate our salad with some grilled chicken strips, which made a pretty fulfilling meal. Some beef or grilled steak strips would another great addition, or even some tofu or black beans for a little protein. Would also recommend tomatoes and/or corn depending on your tastes. So it's not quite a "complete salad" kit in my estimation, but it'll get you most of the way there with a little room for customization to boot. Not bad for $3.99.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Southwestern Chopped Salad: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

14 comments:

  1. I want to add in that there were not as many servings as the bag said!

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  2. I ate all of this bag except one serving in less than 2 days. oops.

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  3. I love cilantro. That's actually a selling point for me because most things never taste enough like cilantro to me.

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  4. They had a kale salad in a yellow bag with the most amazing dressing..the garnish was Parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, cranberries and perhaps other things .. I think they discontinued it but it was AMAzing

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    1. This one????
      http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article/2799

      If you're talking about this one, I agree, it was amazing! I wish they sold that dressing in bottles.

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  5. I love cilantro so this sound kind of amazing...! I'm not usually a fan of TJs dressings but this sounds unique and tasty
    I get the bagged "complete" salads once in a while for lunches- i add in some canned beans and get two good sized filling lunches!
    Ttrockwood

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    1. Ok, so i had this yesterday and you are either crazy or just crazy sensitive to cilantro!! I could taste it but certainly wasn't overwhelming or even the most prominent flavor, the cabbage really came through. The "spicy" dressing just wasn't at all, and i'm very sensitive to spice. I wasn't a big fan of the tortilla bits but the pepitas were nice for crunch. Don't think i will buy again but it was certainly tasty enough.
      Ttrockwood
      TJs sign said a serving should be one cup (some bags say a serving is three cups!)

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  6. I love cilantro and loved this salad! I've bought it twice already. FYI they were sampling it at my local TJs yesterday and saw a sign that the serving size was improperly printed on the bag or something. I didn't pay much attention to it so I'm not sure what it said.

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    1. I hope you are right about the serving size. 4 is a lot for a small bag. I see this being more of 2 servings. Can't imagine that is correct. I love this salad. Bought two bags of it already. I have 1/2 for lunch and the other 1/2 for lunch the next day.

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  7. I guess I messed up on posting my comment. I'm not allowed to buy bagged salad. My husband say's too many recalls. I would not like a lot of cilantro anyway.

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  8. Ever think it could be a cowgirl's, not cowboy's, boot on the package? It *is* salad, after all! ;)

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  9. FYI, Pepita is the Spanish word for pumpkin seed, so your request to "call them what they are" is what Treader Joe's is doing...

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  10. The sharp flavor in my salad was coming from the cotija cheese (which was I believe the Tajo variety and is far form mild (supposed to be similar to feta, mine tasted almost like blue)

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  11. SO I bought some of the thinly sliced pollo asado that TJ sells (in the raw meats section) and wound up blackening them... easy to blame my less-than-prime cooking skills, but I definitely feel the spices left on the meat were a contributor, haha.
    Anywho, I wound up cutting the chicken into strips, briefly baked/folded some small tortillas in half, and filled them with the blackened chicken and this salad after dressing it with everything in the package. Grab a wedge of lime and you're set!
    Also, I'm fosho on board with some of the other commenters. Especially as a main part of the entree, you're looking at more like two servings per bag.

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