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Monday, October 16, 2017

Trader Joe's Curried Carrot & Cashew Dip

I think the pumpkin craze may have finally reached its apex and is starting to experience a bit of backlash. Can't put up a pumpkin review these days without at least one person remarking "I'm so sick of pumpkin!" With pumpkin spice hummuspumpkin flavored dog treats, and even pumpkin spice cough drops on the market, it's pretty clear society has reached a saturation point. Even Trader Joe's seems to have slowed down the release of new pumpkin products this year. There are definitely a few additions, but on our last TJ's run, all we saw were the same sixty items that were available last year. So we'll just take a breather...for today, anyway.

So we turn our sights to another unique orange concoction: Trader Joe's Curried Carrot & Cashew Dip

It's NOT what I expected.

Our last adventure involving a tub of Trader Joe's curried veggies was surprisingly successful in my book, as have most of our other forays into the Indian-inspired land of curry-laden culinary creations. This one...I, personally, am not nearly as enthused about.

There aren't any suggestions for how to serve this condiment. It's packaged in one of those distinctive, clear, round hummus containers. Are we to smear it on a piece of warm pita? Is it a chip dip? Or is it a marinade for meats on the grill? 

We tried it as a chip dip. Interesting. But I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again for that purpose. On bread? Okay, I can see it taking the place of hummus, but I'll take most hummus over this dip any day. Served with veggies, riced cauliflower, and chicken? Better still. But again nothing I'd crave over a "normal" condiment. 

I was expecting the curry flavor to dominate this product, but it certainly doesn't. In fact, carrot is the primary flavor coming through. It's essentially a tub of creamed carrots, with a few miscellaneous spices and vague cashew flavor throughout...not sweet. Certainly not what I was hoping for. I swear there's a strange, funky, almost mildewy essence in our tub. Sonia doesn't detect it at all.

To make matters worse, there was a single white glob of....something in our container. At first, we thought it might have been a cashew. But it wasn't. It was fairly firm, somewhat powdery, and...not at all like anything else anywhere in the tub. Sonia suggested it might be a ball of corn starch, as corn starch does indeed appear on the ingredients list. She seemed perfectly fine with that notion and proceeded to eat around the object in question. I began referring to it as "the tumor" and like any good amateur scientist decided to dissect it. Its middle looked like something in between white meat chicken and the inside of a nut of some kind, though much too large to be a single cashew. You can see it in two halves there toward the right side of the product photograph. 

I dared Sonia to eat a piece of the mystery blob—which, shockingly, she did with remarkably little coaxing. She just popped it in her mouth, shrugged, and said "it's fine."

I couldn't let her be a braver eater than I am, so I hesitantly cut a little bit with my fork and tasted it. It felt like a curd of cottage cheese and tasted completely flavorless. I still don't know what that thing was, but it grosses me out just thinking about it.

Unfazed by the incident, Sonia continued dipping various foods into the little tub and mixing it into her food. She said, "I enjoy it. What do you think?"

"I'm not feeling it," I muttered, backing away from the table.

I might have mustered two stars if not for that...wad of...stuff. One and a half stars from me. I haven't disagreed with the wife this strongly on a TJ's product in a long time. Four stars from Sonia.

Bottom line: 5.5 out of 10.


  1. I agree with you about this stuff. I wanted to love it but didn't. I wish I could come up with a creative, delicious way to mix it in or with something. I'm open to suggestions.

    1. Thank you for making me feel slightly less crazy, Beth :)

    2. I agree with you too. Bland disappointment.

  2. Maybe it would be good sandwich spread. Or maybe make Russian Porcupine Meatballs. Adding a dollop of that spread in the sauce.

  3. I actually just bought this yesterday- and am kind of baffled as to what to do with it. As a dip for some raw veggies it was a bit odd. I was definitely expecting a serious curry kick like other TJs curry products have. I'll probably just whisk the rest of it into a veggie soup but i won't buy it again.
    I can't believe you guys just around that weird blob!! Too weird i would have taken a photo and asked for my $ back -and i feel like they need to know about that kind of thing too.

  4. I tried this also. Not a huge fan of cashews but I love carrots. That's sad as a dip or whatever it's meant to be it still seemed off. I much prefer the Reduced Guilt Greek Yogurt Spinach and Kale dip. Great for crackers and great for veggies.

  5. This seems like something I'd have the wacky idea to create in a bored, weird food prep energy state. I always disappoint myself when I think I have dreamed up the next big thing in food history. Maybe Trader Joe should come to this awakening as well

  6. Yeah, I'm trying to figure out what to use this with. Tried it as a wrap spread but had to add some vegan cream cheese. May try it on some baked sweet potatoes. The soup idea sounds good.

  7. Alek- I did try a big dollop of this in making porcupine meatballs. Being European I'd heard of this recipe and I thought you might have a good idea. Turned out that it got lost in the mix. Not worth it. A sad miss for Trader Joe's.

  8. I thought this sounded so good - I was very excited to try it. For me, it bordered on boring/gross (and I usually l like this kind of thing). I actually returned it.


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