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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Trader Joe's Vegan Taco Salad Kit

If you're gonna be one thing, you should be efficient. 

So, in that spirit, why not roll Meatless Monday into Taco Tuesday? Especially because, in our house, Mondays are breakfast for dinner night, and more often than not that means bacon, and you don't ever ever ever mess with bacon. Ever. Find someone who disagrees with that - even some vegetarians and vegans wouldn't

So in the spirit of efficiency (not one of my usual traits), let's get down to Trader Joe's Vegan Taco Salad Kit. 

I'm pretty sure this *has* to be new. My lovely bride and I scan the salad kit section every single time, as pretty much any salad kit we've ever bought from TJ's has been a hit. We love salads and tacos and naturally taco salad, and while carnivorous we don't mind vegan options either, so we would've bought this long ago if it ever showed up on the radar previously. 

Digging in, there's some pretty basic stuff here. The mixed salad base is the exact same basic mix seen everywhere for salad - romaine, red cabbage, green cabbage, shredded carrot. It's a classic for a reason - it works. Will it inspire you? Likely not, but it will fill you and serve as an adequate base for the real draw - all the fixin's. 

There's a small baggie of crispy purple tortilla shreds, with emphasis on small. Between my wife and I, who ate this for lunch, we got maybe 10 shreds each. That's not a lot for something purporting to be a five serving bag. Nonetheless they were crispy and tortilla-y so it works. The pico was a a touch spicy and added some nice components to the meal that made it a bit more festive and lively. Kinda funny how something basic like corn and black beans can do that, but there it is, with little touches of cilantro and jalapeno. Delish. And the jalapeno ranch was a hit too - the "flow" seemed a bit off as it was a bit more ploppy than pour-y but once mixed in it didn't matter. it added another little kick with a smooth cool creaminess than kinda helped meld everything together. 

And then, chipotle seitan. Wheat masquerading as seasoned ground beef. How's that gonna work?

A bite of seitan by itself makes it pretty obvious it's not ground beef. The flavor is there but the meaty gristle isn't. It's also a touch, well, grainy, obviously. By itself, I'd say it's not wonderful but isn't revolting either. Mix it in with everything else here, though? It works, wonderfully. The taste shines through and any texture issues get masked well by everything else. I'll give it a pass for sure. 

Overall, both my wife and I tremendously enjoyed the salad. Everything about it screamed "taco salad!" and we weren't missing anything - there was no "oh this could use some cheese" or missing any common-to-us protein sources or any dairy or anything. It's remarkably good, and I have a feeling we'll be sharing a bag for a quick, easy, healthyish lunch quite a few times coming up. The kit cost $5.49 and is well worth it in my opinion - just a few more tortilla shreds and a bit more of the ranch though, please. Otherwise, quadruple thumbs up here.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Vegan Taco Salad Kit: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

 

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