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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Trader Joe's Plantain Croutons

As a young kid if I were to be at a restaurant with a salad bar, here's precisely what my plate would look like if given the chance: piles of shredded cheese. A couple cucumber slices. Maybe some sliced bell peppers. Handfuls of bacon bits, even more so if those little generic red tinged Bacos or even worse, generic Bacos. A couple of those mini cookies or muffins that are always there. And a tiny piece of lettuce to let my mom know that I, indeed, had made a grown up salad. 

And croutons. Hills and mountain ranges of croutons. 

I mean, what kid doesn't like croutons? My kids love them and call them "crunchers" or "crunchies" or "munchies" or whatever else pops in their head. They eat them by the handful, happily. generally speaking, croutons are classic, and it's really hard to mess with classics. You gotta be fearless. 

Fearlessly indeed, here's Trader Joe's Plantain Croutons. 

What the what? Imagine the classic basic garlic crouton, and instead of the crunchy, bready bite, it's the starchy banana/potato crossover that's been popping up more and more at TJ's. Plantains are the next mango or cookie butter (and they pair well with both!). 

The croutons themselves are far tinier than most of their carby counterparts, and it's for good reason. Whereas regular croutons are still quite crunchy, there's still the softer toasty touch that make them manageably munchable for most. They can afford to be the size they are. It's not quite the case here. These plantain nibs are denser, cruncher, much harder to chew through. Use caution with small kids (between size and density, they're potential choking hazards) or expensive dental work. It's not enough to be offputting to me, but it's absolutely noticeable if you're craving the reliable comfort vibe of a regular ol' crouton. 

Aside from that, it's straight up crouton. There's plenty of garlic - more than expected, my grandma (rest her soul) would appreciate them - and perhaps they're a little heavy on the salt too. I'm not sure if that's just more noticeable since it's a plantain or if it's deliberate on behalf of the manufacturers because it's a plantain and so you have to counterbalance the natural sweetness and starches of a plantain. But it works. 

Gluten free and vegan. Always a plus. They're acceptable crouton-like crunchy cubes for the masses! YAYYYY! *Kermit arms*

I actually haven't had them on a salad, though they'd work well. Instead, I've had them more as a quick afternoon snack here and there. Salad, soups, etc for use, and just now typing this up I wonder if they'd work in something like a homemade Chex Mix. Gonna have to find out. Not quite double fours from my lovely bride and me. 

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Plantain Croutons: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


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