Of everything I love at Trader Joe’s, I must love their salads best of all. Why? Trader Jose’s MexiCali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken is all the explanation I need offer. Dig this bad mother – it’s got it all, minced greens, corn, diced pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds), asiago cheese and of course the chili lime seasoned white chicken all tied up in a creamy jalapeno Caesar dressing. Daaaaaaamn.
Is that good? Yes, man, it’s great! Is it necessary for Trader Joe’s to have a “MexiCali” Salad when they already have the Southwest Salad? Sir, if you’re asking that question, you obviously haven’t tried these two back to back like some bloggers. The MexiCali salad blows the southwest salad away, and not just because the MexiCali salad has chicken and the Southwest salad has mere vegetables, but because the MexiCali salad is an almost ecstatic blend of savory, flavorful ingredients that really gives you something to chew on. Of course, I’m not trying to suggest an either or situation here. We need both salads! It’s my personal opinion that we need as many types of salad as 100% of the fully utilized workforce is capable of developing, though I’m willing to admit that I run toward the extreme on this issue.
What’s really nice about Trader Joe’s MexiCali Salad, what won me over, is how unique it tastes. Going into it I was expecting something exactly like the Southwest Salad, but with some chicken thrown on top. This is absolutely not the case. Not only are the ingredients unique to this salad, but with the asiago cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, pepitas and chili lime chicken the salad is practically chewy. This may sound off putting, but it’s actually tremendously delicious. Each bite puts up delicious resistance, flooding your mouth with the savory, complex tastes of rich, tangy vegetables, zesty chicken and the creaminess of the mildly spicy jalapeno infused dressing. In fact, the salad’s contents speak so well for themselves that you’ll want to go light on the dressing so you can better appreciate the actual flavors at play.
Nutritionally, you’ll have to pay a light toll for the rich flavors. Even with dressing on the salad comes to a scant 350 calories, unfortunately nearly half of those are from fat. The hearty helping of cheese (attributing to the above mentioned chewiness) is the culprit here – even without the dressing this salad still covers 20% of your daily value of fat. Of course, you’ll be getting 26 grams of protein as well, and only 27 grams of carbs (6 of those from fiber).
On a final note, whoever was in charge of composing the salad green mix went all out. Constituents include some well-known faces (romaine lettuce, green and red cabbage), but also some much less common leafy friends, such as mizuna, frisee, tatsoi, tango, lollorosso and galactic. I haven’t even heard of half of those, let alone eaten them. It may be hard to tell if you’re eating galactic or tango when they’re all mixed up in a salad, but you should feel cool knowing they’re there.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, this salad is a taste sensation.
Would I Buy It Again: Readily.
Final Synopsis: MexiCali must mean “rich and savory, protein-packed salad done right” in some language.