June 20, 2024

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I Tried Every Trader Joe’s Salad Kit. Here’s How I Rank The Top 10.


I wasn’t always a salad kit girly. In fact, I despised salad kits up until, like, three years ago. I mean, come on, I can only eat a Caesar salad as an actual meal so many days a week. Plus, ranch and vinaigrette dressings can get a little stale day in and day out. Then I switched from grocery shopping at my local supermarket chain to Trader Joe’s, and now salad kits are my favorite lunch food.

If you’ve yet to experience the wonder that is Trader Joe’s (you have not lived!), allow me to set the scene. Nestled in the produce section, amidst the prepackaged veggie medleys, are shelves adorned with a variety of salad kits. These kits are not your run-of-the-mill offerings found at other major retailers.

TJ’s has a Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit with an avocado dressing (um, yum), elote-inspired salads, and even vegan kits with vegan ranch. I’ve taste-tested my fair share of TJ’s salad kits. Not all of them are winners, but they’re all pretty dang good if you’re in a pinch or not in the mood to cook.

Ahead, I’ve gathered my definitive ranking of Trader Joe’s top 10 salad kits listed in ascending order. I’ve also included extra toppings and types of protein I sometimes add. See where your favorite TJ’s salad kit falls in my ranked list below.

10. Lemony Arugula Basil Salad Kit

To each their own, but this salad kit falls flat for me. The few times I’ve gotten it, I’ve had to add other greens because there wasn’t enough arugula. I didn’t like the flavor combo of carrots and roasted almonds, thus putting too much pressure on the Parmesan to salvage the salad. (Let’s be honest: Parmesan only tastes good on Caesar salad.) The basil lemon vinaigrette is delicious, but I’d rather buy it by the bottle.

9. Miso Crunch Chopped Salad Kit

Inside this salad kit, you’ll find green and red cabbage, carrots, kale, cashews, sesame seeds, and chow mein noodles. Fans of sesame and miso will eat up this kit — and squeeze every last drop of dressing. It’s not TJ’s most health-conscious salad, but it’s a fun change up from your typical Caesar or ranch-adjacent kits.

8. Elote Chopped Salad Kit

I’ll probably catch flack for this, but I didn’t think TJ’s Elote Chopped Salad Kit lived up to its hype. That isn’t to say it isn’t flavorful because it is, but it didn’t blow my taste buds away. If you like TJ’s Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit and can handle a little kick, this might be the perfect salad mix for you.It’s a little high in sodium and saturated fat, so if you’re trying to limit those types of foods, you may want to steer clear. TJ’s recommends adding avocado for potassium and shrimp for protein.

7. BBQ & Black Pepper Toscano Chopped Salad Kit

Another hot take: TJ’s BBQ & Black Pepper Toscano Chopped Salad Kit is not the best. I should preface that by admitting kale and my digestive system aren’t friends, and because the leafy green is so prominent in this salad, I’m not a huge fan. It has a rather crunchy base with its shredded carrots, broccoli stalk, and cabbage. The addition of cornbread croutons also doesn’t tickle my palette. I will say however, the Toscano cheese and BBQ dressing is the shining star in this kit.

6. Buffalo Ranch Chopped Salad Kit

Fire up the barbie! TJ’s Buffalo Ranch Chopped Salad Kit is the perfect bed for grilled chicken, tofu, or steak — or you can eat it as is! The salad itself is a combo of green cabbage, lettuce, celery, kale, carrots, and cauliflower stalks. And what would a buffalo ranch salad be without blue cheese crumbles? This kit may be seasonally offered, so here’s hoping it makes the cut for summer 2024.

5. Harvest Apple Salad Kit

The only reason I’m not ranking this salad kit higher is because you can only get it during the fall months. That said, TJ’s Harvest Apple Salad Kit is one of my favorite ways to get into the fall spirit when it’s still blistering hot outside during September. In addition to the spring mix (composed of 15 different greens), the salad includes cheddar cheese, dried apple chips, and pecans. Top it off with a drizzle of the included apple-flavored dressing, and you’ve got yourself the flavors of fall all in one bite!

4. Organic Cesar Salad Kit

Whether it’s the side or main dish, you can never go wrong with a Caesar salad. Now, you may be wondering why you should schlep to TJ’s for arguably the most widely produced salad kit on the market. All TJ’s ingredients are organically sourced, so you can chomp away knowing you’re getting a healthier Caesar than other grocery store versions. Toss in grilled chicken breast, savory shrimp, or steak for protein.

3. Vegan Ranch Crunch Salad Kit

While ingredients come individually packaged in TJ’s salad kits, that doesn’t always make them vegan. This salad kit has no cheese and its creamy ranch dressing is soy-based, so party your vegan taste buds away. Topics include crispy fried onions and roasted sunflower kernels. If you think your salad could benefit from a bit of a kick, TJ’s suggests adding spicy sriracha-flavored tofu and edamame.

2. Organic Mediterranean Style Salad Kit

Craving something light for dinner? In five minutes, you can have a Mediterranean-inspired salad made of lettuce, shredded broccoli stalks, crisp radicchio, seasoned flatbread strips, roasted chickpeas, dried tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese. The olive oil, red wine vinegar-based dressing boasts subtle notes of basil, oregano, and garlic. I personally like adding TJ’s Grilled Balsamic Vinegar & Rosemary Chicken (and sliced raw almonds), but the store recommends serving alongside tuna.

1. Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit

TJ’s Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit has been a fixture in my lunch rotation for years now — I’m utterly, absolutely obsessed. It packs a big punch of flavor between the pepitas, tortilla strips, cotija cheese, and spicy avocado dressing (which is not spicy at all, by the way). The salad is a mixture of green cabbage, carrots, radishes, green onions, cilantro, and chopped lettuce. I often add a handful of spinach and protein such as salmon, chicken, or taco meat to stretch the salad over two days.



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