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Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls – Lentil & Potato Snack

Trader Joe's Crunchy Curls

Nothing says snack food like lentils!

If there’s one thing Trader Joe’s is good at, it’s making me do a double take. Case in point, Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls, a bag of puffed up, curly snack thing that blends seamlessly into the endless wall of junk food until you notice it the bag tacks on “A Tasty Lentil & Potato Snack!”

Double take.

The first thing I’ll say is, I really wish they had made these into chips instead of crunchy spiral snack tubes, because there is no easy way to say “crunchy, spiral snack tube” in the English language. Let’s agree to call them “curlicues” right up front and get on with things.

So, TJ’s, why make a lentil and potato curlicue snack? Are there not plenty of crunchy snack options around? Is America not the land where you can walk down a 60′ long, triple-tiered aisle of snack chips every time you go to the supermarket? The land of the mighty Dorito, undulating Ruffle and tubular Pringle? Do you really think a bland looking, lentil and potato based thing that just happens to be a spiral is going to be able to stand it’s ground in the face of Cheetos, Funyuns, Bugles, Fritos, et al.?

Before we condemn these lentil-based curlicues with a thunderous cry of “Unnecessary!”, let’s look a bit closer. Notice, if you will, that Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls are both gluten free and vegan. It goes without saying that gluten free, vegan snack foods are few and far between in this world. Try a Google search for the term and have fun choosing from all three options you get. I have vegan friends, I feel for their plight. I know it must be hard to maintain your resolute moral bearing while guys like me stroll around stuffing their mouths with tender beast flesh, sauteed mushrooms, moist, flaky croissants, etc. A gluten-free, vegan snack crunchy, salty snack just answered a lot of people’s prayers.

The big question, of course, is if it’s actually worth buying. Unfortunately, these curlicues left me flat. The taste isn’t the problem – they’re salty enough to scratch that salty food craving but not so salty that you’re rushing for your glass of water. The lentil/potato flavor is palatable if uninteresting with that long, starchy aftertaste – basically similar to munching down on a few Lays at once. The thing that disappointed me was how hard and crunchy the curlicues were. I know “crunchy” is right there in the title, but this snack combines “crunchy” with “hard”. Because of the thickness of each curly cue, each bite is like a fresh assault on a fortified compound. You don’t have to worry about mindlessly munching these down – pop a handful in your mouth and you’ll be busy for a minute or so.

In the end, however, that’s quibbling. If you’re in the market for vegan / gluten-free chips, these are basically fine. You won’t hate them, and they’ll hold up in your hummus dip. If you’re under no such strictures, however, there isn’t much reason to prefer these over anything else in the aisle.


Break Down:

Would I Recommend Them: Only if you’re on a vegan / gluten-free diet.

Would I Buy Them Again: Barring a major lifestyle change, no.

Final Synopsis: A good snack food – for being vegan and gluten-free.

Trader Joe's Crunchy Curls - Nutrition Facts

Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls – Nutrition Facts

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6 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls – Lentil & Potato Snack”

  1. lauren says:

    I’m neither vegan nor gluten-intolerant — full-blown carnivore, actually — and I happen to love Crunchy Curls! I think the flavor is great — not so fluorescent in appearance and taste (Cheeto status), but enough flavor and crunch to add ‘interest’. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading your review of them, especially your bit about what the heck do we call them? I’ve taken to calling them the “potato lentil snack” or “potato lentil crackers” though yes, they aren’t exactly crackers, but it’s certainly easier this way. I saw you mention dipping them in hummus and now I can’t wait to see what that tastes like. Thanks for this!

  2. Alan says:

    These things are deceptively addictive, if that lightly-salted crunchy potato flavor is what you hunger for! I used to be a fan of Pirate’s Booty’s Tings, before they modified the recipe to make it low-sodium and accidentally made them bland. I’m glad I found my way into a bag of the Crunchy Curls, because they have just the right amount of salt for me. But I guess different people have different taste buds; to each their own, I suppose.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I must chime in too – I am not bounded by either of the dietary restrictions this snack caters to, but I LOVE these things! I agree, Alan, they are deceptively addictive. My hubby and I can go thru an entire bag in one sitting. Hhhhhhh… We call them simply, Lentil Curls. Granted, our 3 year old has a bit of a time getting her mouth to say “curls,” but when she does, she enjoys 3-4 little curls herself. 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    I ate the bag over three days, terrible headache 30 min later each time. Too bad, I liked getting them stuck on the end of my tongue!

  5. Mike Kalena says:

    Sadly these curls are no longer gluten free. It’s a shame as they are delicious. I hope they switch back to being GF.

  6. Chris says:

    Your jaw must be atrophied or your teeth made of mush. The crunchiness is just right with these things, as is the spiral shape. The unique shape crunchiness and nutrition (high protein and low fat compared to chips) are exactly the reason to add a new crunchy snack to the chips aisle.

    Everyone reading this, don’t believe this lame review. This snack is great, even if you’re not vegan. With the added nutrition of lentils, they’re a little more satisfying, more like real food.

    If it takes you a minute to chew a handful, please see a dentist or get your salivary glands checked.


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