Trader Joe’s is no stranger to slaw based salads, so their new all-slaw salad might be unprecedented but isn’t a surprise. Like their broccoli slaw, and Chinese chicken salads before it, Trader Joe’s Rainbow Slaw Salad is a big pile of shredded veggies. What’s different about this version is the riot of colors and flavors at play.
|What it is:||Lots of veggie slaw|
|Price:||$3.49 for an 11 oz. tub|
|Worth it:||Yes – healthy and refreshing|
Slaw has always been the laziest form of salad. Unlike some of Trader Joe’s rather well thought through salads – like the very pretty Grain Country salad – a slaw salad doesn’t have to worry about presentation or what to layer where or even freshness of produce, a slaw salad just runs everything through an industrial dicer and dumps the resulting shreds into a single, undifferentiated pile. Like “dump pies“, the result might well be tasty, but they don’t really impress anyone.
However, Trader Joe’s Rainbow Slaw Salad bucks this slaw trend. By combining a variety of colorful and tasty produce Trader Joe’s has produced a slaw salad that’s actually worth talking about.
Take one look at the Rainbow Slaw Salad and you’ll immediately notice two things – one, that this is a lot of slaw we’re looking at, and two, that it really is very colorful. At the very least, we can say that Trader Joe’s has fully delivered on the “rainbow” and “slaw” parts of the salad. In this case, the myriad of bright colors comes from the many colorful veggies that go into this really massively vegatatious salad. Said vegetables include cabbage, sweet onions, kale, celery, mustard greens, corn kernels, and every color of carrot from the aptly named Carrots of Many Colors. All julienned up together, the result is a truly rainbow-hued mix that ranges from pale yellow, through greens, yellow and reds to vivid purple.
Very nice to look at – but what about the taste? Is that also nice? Well, yes – I suppose. The Rainbow Slaw Salad tastes good in so far as it tastes very healthsome and nutritious – you can really taste the vitamins and nutrients in each vegetable packed bite. To balance out the all vegetables/all the time approach, TJ’s has also seeded the salad with finely chopped bits of tart green apple, which pop up here and there to inject a bit of sweetness.
The honey herb dressing – a sort of sweet, seasoned vinaigrette, helps to add a lot of life to the salad – perking up the greens with a light zestiness that does a good job heightening the natural flavors of the mix rather than masking them. As I chewed away at mouthful after mouthful, I couldn’t help but feel like I was appreciating the subtle sweetness and inherent flavor of these so often sidelined vegetables in a whole new light. If there’s one thing this salad does well, it’s letting wholesome veggies speak for themselves.
On the other hand, it’s certainly not the most delicious Trader Joe’s salad I’ve ever had. In fact, if I’m being honest, it doesn’t even rank in the top 50%. Placed back to back with the Bacon and Spinach salad, or even the Arugula and Pimento Salad, Rainbow Slaw just feels incomplete. While I liked what it was doing, if I was hungry for slaw and vinagraette, I’d be far more likely to pick up Trader Joe’s Honey-Glazed Miso Salmon Salad which does a lot of the same things, just a little better.
Would I Recommend It: Yes, it certainly makes for a good side.
Would I Buy It Again: Sure, if I wanted to add some veggies to a meaty entree.
Final Synopsis: A healthy and light veggie salad.
I don’t usually go trawling the Trader Joe’s produce aisle for products to review, unless I see something particularly eye catching – like a cruciferous crunch or some kale sprouts – and to be honest I wasn’t planning on reviewing Trader Joe’s Organic Carrots of Many Colors when I bought them.
Two things changed, however. One, I noticed that Trader Joe went ahead and inserted the classic conjunction-article pair “and the” into the product name, which by itself is crazy enough to write about, but more importantly, two, I really liked them.
I know – I’m as surprised as you are! After all, aren’t we just talking about carrots here? Regardless of the fact that there are some with different colors, aren’t they all just basically carrots? Isn’t this just another, somewhat feeble, marketing gimmick to try and move root vegetables? Well yes and no. Yes, because yes – despite some very subtle taste differences, these carrots are all functionally the same. But also no because, as I discovered, a plate of colorful carrots is actually more enjoyable to eat.
First of all, yes this bag really does contain carrots of many colors – from pale yellow through a range of oranges, to red and purple. If this spectrum of carrot colors comes as a surprise to you, then you may be even more surprised to know that for the vast majority of the existence of the carrot, orange was in the minority. It’s only in the modern age that orange overtook every other color for carrot supremacy, a change that is directly linked to the reign of William of Orange in 16th century Europe. You can educate yourself more at the online World Carrot Museum (and I certainly urge you to), or read my summary way back on the Trader Joe’s Beet and Purple Carrot Juice post. TL;DR version: his name was “Orange” so let’s make orange carrots.
These various colors of carrots don’t actually correlate to any difference in taste, and only very subtle variations in nutritional content. What they do provide, however, is a really stunning medley of colors.
The external colors of these carrots is striking enough – but once you’ve skinned them each carrot becomes even more startlingly vivid. The pale yellow carrots become brilliant yellow, the red carrots are as bright as strawberries, and the purple carrots reveal not just a deep regal purple, but also a core of pale yellow that runs the length. Sliced and diced on my chopping board, ready to be added to a hearty soup, the carrots really did look better. Even if the taste was indistinguishable they livened up the dish, and made the prep process more fun – qualities of presentation that were just as enjoyable as the taste of the food.
Will these carrots change the way you think about carrots in general? No. But it will change the way you look at them.
Would I Recommend Them: Yes – why limit yourself to boring carrots?
Would I Buy Them Again: I would. I really liked the flair they lent to the presentation.
Final Synopsis: Taste like regular carrots, but look like a million bucks.
Goddamn beets got me again. After enjoying my marinated beet salad so much I thought I’d pull a Jesus and turn the other cheek, try and welcome all beets back into my life. Unfortunately, Jesus has once again out done me, for I simply cannot forgive what these beets have done to me.
I might be being a little unfair toward beets – the purple carrots can’t be totally blameless here. Purple carrots are just carrots that happen to be purple – nothing more exotic than that. In fact, before the reign of William of Orange in the 16th century it was more outlandish to see an orange carrot than a purple, red, yellow or white carrot. Allegedly, as part of a great ploy, the farmers of the Netherlands teamed up to produce nothing but orange carrots as to pay tribute to their king, thereby establishing orange as the standard color for the last 500 plus years. Pretty good tribute guys!
To return to the subject at hand, this ungodly combination was the worst thing I have drank in recent memory. I hope this blog goes somewhat toward testifying my openness to even the strangest foods and my willingness to consume anything food like, because I assure you this is the case. This beet juice simply affirmed all my worst fears and suspicions about Satan’s vegetable – all the horrible taste of drinking the liquid canned beets come in, combined with a cloying, lingering flavor that simply will not leave your tongue alone. I’m afraid I found this one simply undrinkable, and I don’t say that as a knee-jerk reaction. I am proud to say that I managed to give it my level best and fight my way through an entire glass, though it was consumed in small sips with generous periods of walk-it-off time in between. I could do no better, and was relieved when I was finished with it. Wasting food was deeply ingrained in me as a sin, but I will dump this muck into a gutter and laugh at it’s demise.
That said, the juice is good for you. It’s phenomenal for you in fact – so chock full of Vitamin A, C, Iron and Calcium that if you drank it daily you would all but explode in a thunderous shock wave of healthy energy. I’m sure there are beet fans and health fanatics alike who embrace this product as an exciting new way to drink their favorite vegetable. I don’t care, and will do my best to avoid having my eye line accidentally cross sight of another bottle ever again.
Beets – you got me again! Damn you beeeeeeets!
Would I Recommend It: Uh, like no.
Would I Buy It Again: It’s hard to imagine a situation so dire that I would be compelled to.
Final Synopsis: Beets are monsters and they should all be destroyed.