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Monday, January 6, 2020

Trader Joe's Peanut and Crispy Noodle Salad Kit

Supposedly the whole point of a salad is to eat something light and healthy, right? Get a nice array of yummy, nutritious veggies in your system, like all those leafy greens your PCP is always telling you about. Salads are great. Salads are fun.

But the whole point of a salad isn't being healthy.

Nah, you're talking to a guy who lives in Pittsburgh, and you see what we do to salads here? That's a tame one.

Right, it's what goes on top that counts. Know anybody that actually really enjoys just eating plain romaine? Nah. I ate raw naked spinach for a while and you should have seen all the looks I got...and to be clear, it was the spinach that was laid bare, not myself. Nobody wants to see that.

Here's a perfect example: Trader Joe's Peanut and Crispy Noodle Salad Kit. Sounds great. Sounds...I don't know, as enticing as a salad can get? TJ's even emphasizes the fix-in's as the selling point in the name, which is a good thing if you look at the components.

I mean, just look. The whole base of the salad is the 100% routine, boring , generic cabbage/romaine/carrot mix that I swear makes up 95% of salads. It's like a stock photo come to life. Booooor-ing. Nothing wrong with it per se, except it is what it is which is all it's ever gonna be. Snooze.

So how can liven it up? Chopped peanuts? Well, okay...except those are kinda boring too. Nothing wrong, but nothing right. It's like a rerun watched too many times.

But then....crispy rice noodles! And peanut and lime dressing! Maybe there will be something worth writing home about here.

First off: the noodles. For some reason I expected chow mein type noodles, which was a completely flawed assumption on many levels. Instead, these are light, airy, tiny, airpopped Styrofoam-ish rice noodles that are remarkably crispy and crunchy for their size. There's not much taste to them by themselves, so naturally they absorb the flavor of whatever they're nearby, which really oughtta be...

The dressing. Almost every salad comes to the dressing. This peanut-lime take is pretty darn tasty. My lovely bride wanted to drench every inch of her salad with it and guzzle the rest from the packet...fortunately I stopped her. We've made similar sauces at home with peanut butter and soy sauce, but there's more here. Some different spices, and the Thai lime leaves are a real nice touch. I'm sold. It's another dressing that needs to be sold by itself, and there needs to be more of it in the salad if only we didn't have to squabble over the last few drips.

Pretty decent salad overall. Sandy and I had it as a lighter dinner the other night and were both pretty happy. It's not a bad deal at $3.99 and if you're looking for a new salad mix in this New Year, it might be tough to top this.

 Bottom line: Trader Joe's Peanut and Crispy Noodle Salad Kit: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. Thanks for recommending this salad. We had it last night with some roasted chicken and really liked it. The textures are interesting, and the dressing has a little kick. Will put this into the rotation.

  2. Is this as candy sweet as the regular trader joes peanut salad dressing?

    1. I've never tried the regular peanut salad dressing, but I don't like sweet flavors much. This didn't taste very sweet to me. But I guess you'll have to try it yourself...


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