I’ll admit I was very excited when I first saw Trader Joe’s Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets. Sure, there’s the obvious reason why – they’re insane. I can see someone going out and frying up a bunch of broccoli in palm oil – maybe an unhinged zealot misinterpreting a Biblical passage or a space alien taking its best guess at replicating human behavior – but to then go out and try and sell those fried florets? That’s downright brazen.
As I say though, that’s not the main reason I got excited when I saw these. The main reason is that I had high hopes they might be a healthy, maybe even tasty, alternative to my potato chip cravings. Alas, this isn’t the case. While the broccoli florets are tasty, in their own fashion, they are by no means healthy.
Let’s examine both of these surprising facts.
Tasty? Yes, definitely tasty – for a given value of tasty at least. The first thing to keep in mind is that these fried broccoli florets have exactly three ingredients – broccoli, palm oil and salt. If you buy these, you should expect them to taste like broccoli, and I certainly was. If you enjoy the taste of broccoli, you’ll find it we’ll preserved here – not at all depleted or ruined by the frying process. As for salt, there’s only a dash, to the tune of only 55mg of sodium (2% your daily value) for the entire bag. Trader Joe’s is content to let the hale, hearty taste of the broccoli speak for itself, and it does.
Taken alone this basic taste wouldn’t be very interesting, but the eponymous “crispy crunch” greatly helps it along. Each floret is dry, crunchy and enjoyable in it’s own right as an interesting texture experience – with a light taste and a mellow, green aftertaste. It’s not the taste sensation of the year, but if these florets were anywhere near as healthy as broccoli, they would be plenty tasty enough to justify a regular purchase as a healthful snack food replacement. That brings us to our second fact.
Healthy? Not at all. Our little 1.4 ounce (40 gram) bag of broccoli may only have 220 calories, but 130 of those calories, more than half, are from fat. That’s 15 grams of fat total, for 23% of your daily value. Of that 6 grams are saturated fat – 30% of your daily total! Shocking for broccoli, I’d say.
Let’s compare that to an equal serving of Trader Joe’s Kettle Cooked Olive Oil Potato Chips. 40 grams of that has only 200 calories and 10 grams of fat. Leaps and bounds healthier! The only real advantage they have over potoato chips is that the broccoli retains its nutrients, packing in a pretty decent amount of vitamin C, along with some vitamin A, calcium, and iron.
Without the health factor, there’s no reason to pick up these fried broccoli florets. They taste good enough – but not good enough to warrant that level of fat, when simple raw broccoli florets dipped in a little ranch dressing is not only healthier but far tastier to boot.
Would I Recommend Them: No real reason to.
Would I Buy Them Again: I can’t imagine I will.
Final Synopsis: Fried broccoli that is less healthy and less good tasting than the raw stuff by a wide margin.