A Taste Test of Trader Joe’s Salads


Would you believe I had had eleven salads for lunch today? We did a taste test of eleven Trader Joe’s Salads and I can’t wait to share our finds!

A Taste Test of Trader Joe's Salads

If you have a Trader Joe’s near you then you are likely very familiar with their amazing Trader Joe’s salads. They are freshly made every day and the variety is amazing. I have my favorites and realized I had only tried a few of the salads. So I thought it might be fun to try eleven of them and share our recommendations!

I only ate a portion of each Trader Joe’s Salad (not 11 total salads!). We had so much fun and overall, the salads were really good. But there were certainly some surprises.

Taste Test of 11 Trader Joe’s Salads

Did you know there are 530 Trader Joe’s stores? They are in all but eight states in the US. The state with the most number of Trader Joe’s locations in the US is California, with 190 locations, which is 35% of all Trader Joe’s locations in America. Can you guess where the first Trader Joe’s store is located? Pasadena, which is where I live!

I took a photo of the salad section at Trader Joe’s just so you could see their selection! I would estimate they have about twenty-five different kinds.

Trader Joe's salads

How did we pick eleven? The wonderful gal at Trader Joe’s made a recommendation and suggested we try these eleven. One tip we learned is that the most popular salads are on the bottom row. Also, the higher-end salads, which are relatively new, are on the top shelf.

Here are the eleven salads we picked. You can clearly see the labels to see which ones were selected. Do you see your favorite?

To prepare for the taste test we opened up all of the packages, tossed about half of each salad and cut out the label so we would be able to tell them apart.

A Taste Test of Trader Joe's Salads

Here is a better view of the eleven Trader Joe’s salads we included in our taste test.

A Taste Test of Trader Joe's Salads 7

List of the 11 Trader Joe’s Salads

Kale & Edamame Salad

Waldorf Salad

Lemon Chicken & Arugula Salad

Crunchy Slaw with Chicken

Crisp Pasadena Salad

Breast and Caesar Dressing.

Super Spinach Salad

Mexicali Salad

Baby Spinach and Greens Salad

Salad with BBQ Flavored Chicken

Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad

A Taste Test of Trader Joe's Salads 8

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My team tasted the salads and we each put all eleven salads on two plates!

A Taste Test of Trader Joe's Salads 6

Can I just say, this was one of my most favorite lunches ever!

Tasting 11 Trader Joe's Salads

Trader Joe’s Salads Taste Test Results

We tasted them all and here are the results! Three of us voted, and the total possible points were 30. The total score is shown on each picture. Where did your favorite salad rank?

The salads are listed from most favorite to least favorite. I included descriptions of the salad and our comments during the tasting.

Our Favorites (from most favorite to least favorite)

Trader Joe's Lemon Chicken and Arugula Salad

Lemon Chicken & Arugula Salad with couscous and red quinoa, seasoned white chicken meat, and a spicy roasted red pepper dressing.

“This salad was our favorite and the biggest issue was that we wanted more!. It’s refreshing and the dressing is a tiny bit spicy and delicious.”

Trader Joe's Baby Spinach and Greens Salad

Baby spinach and Greens Salad with blue cheese, candied pecans, and cranberries with raspberry vinaigrette.

“This is a classic and always a go-to salad. The Raspberry Vinaigrette is tangy, the nuts are sweet, and the blue cheese is savory. A perfect combination!”

Trader Joe's Caesar Salad with Chicken

Caesar Salad with Chicken Breast and Caesar Dressing.

“Another classic and you can’t go wrong. The dressing is very good, just the right flavor.”

Trader Joe's Salad with BBQ Flavored Chicken

Salad with BBQ Flavored Chicken with lettuce, BBQ flavored chicken, black beans, Monterey jack cheese, tortilla strips, BBQ sauce, and ranch dressing.

“Two of us really liked this salad and would definitely buy it again. It’s a classic barbecue chicken salad.”

Trader Joe's Super Spinach Salad

Super Spinach Salad contains carrots, cranberries, chickpeas, edamame, pumpkin seeds, and a carrot ginger miso dressing.

“This was the only vegan salad. The dressing is really thick but it is good. Very refreshing salad.”

Trader Joe's Mexicali Salad

Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken contains white chicken meat, mixed greens, corn, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, pepitas and asiago cheese with a jalapeno caesar dressing.

“This is a great Southwest salad with a nice twist.”

Trader Joe's Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad

Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad with White Chicken Meat with sunflower seeds, cranberries, and a sweet and spicy vinaigrette.

“This crunchy salad is a nice change. Two of us loved the kale and it was a little on the sweet side.”

Trader Joe's Crunchy Slaw with Chicken, Noodles and Peanut Dressing

Crunchy Slaw with Chicken, Crispy Noodles & Peanut Dressing.

“This salad was good although the dressing didn’t taste much like peanuts.”

Trader Joe's Crisp Pasadena Salad with Chicken

Crisp Pasadena Salad with Chicken with a mix of romaine and iceberg lettuce, grilled chicken breast, toasted almonds, rice noodles, sesame seeds, and a dressing to die for.

“The Pasadena Salad should have ranked in the very top. But unfortunately, the lettuce was very brown and only the white core. We ended up replacing the salad with our own lettuce and it was much better.”

Trader Joe's Waldorf Salad with Chicken

Waldorf Salad with grilled white chicken meat and brown sugar maple dressing.

“This salad was very sweet, but we liked the apples and grapes.”

Trader Joe's Kale and Edamame Salad

Kale & Edamame Salad with sweetened dried cranberries, grape tomatoes, almonds, scallions, and a lemon herb dressing.

“This salad was disappointing, and the edamame was mushy. It was our least favorite.”

This was so much fun! I loved this “lunch” and I hope this taste test helps you next time you are staring at the assortment of salads at Trader Joe’s.

A Taste Test of Trader Joe's Salads

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A Taste Test of Trader Joe's Salads

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  1. I loved the salad taste tests from Trader Joes! Thank you for the pics and list of ingredients along with the favs.

    Going to have to make a trip to Trader Joes and pick several up!

  2. Very interesting! I always wonder how they tasted when I shop at ours near Rochester NY. I prefer fresh salads and feared they weren’t and also I like to see the chicken visible. Thanks for a good blog post.

  3. This was a great idea, and I’m so glad you shared! I always get overwhelmed by all the salads at Trader Joe’s, and now I have a list that I want to try. We finally got a Trader Joe’s here in Greensboro, NC about two years ago. It’s not very near me, but it’s right around the corner from my son’s house, so now I can visit two of my loves in the same trip, lol!

  4. I love reading your reviews about food, decorating etc. Thank you for sharing .. you are truly talented. Reading your emails and links to the items on Amazon are inspiring me to update things in our home. Thank you!

  5. I loved your taste test of the TJ salads! I am a regular shopper for many years and love that they have added so many salad choices. However many of these I have not tired. Several of the ones I usually buy you didn’t try so now I have new choices, hurray! Thank you and I love this blog.

  6. My favorite is the Crisp Pasadena. I remember Trader Joe’s when it opened in Pasadena on Colorado and sold wine.
    Love the store, flowers, food and always a new find.

  7. What a fun taste test! My favorite is the Pasadena Salad, although I’ve also had to replace some of the lettuce.
    I’m one of TJ’s biggest fans. I started shopping there years ago when the only TJ’s in the country was the one on Arroyo Pkwy in Pasadena. I’d say they’ve done well!

  8. I remember my first TJ’s in Pasadena, 1987, was on Rosemead near Del Mar Blvd. nearby where we lived at the time. Tiny little store but they sure had great buys everywhere. Think the store then moved to Huntington Dr near Rosemead behind a Ski Chalet store, almost didn’t know they were there! My fav salads is the Waldorf and Shrimp & Surimi, Walt likes Mexican Style Corn & Quinoa, though he doesn’t even know what quinoa is, lol.

  9. I love Trader Joe’s salads, what a fun post…..you tried a few that I haven’t ever had, I will have to give them a try. Thanks for your taste test!!

  10. I love this Idea! Each year I have a fall luncheon for a bunch of woman called my fall harvest get together to bring on fall! I do a few special things for these ladies! If you don’t mind I think I’ll add this to our party! Great Idea!

  11. Hi Leslie,
    First off, you are fabulous! I love your blog, your style, your homes and your charming authenticity….you’re a real person and a joy to follow.
    I love Trader Joe’s and doing this taste test of their salads was really great! I’m definitely going to get some of your top picks and give them a try….they will be a great lunch option or dinner with some crusty bread on a hot summer night.

  12. I can’t believe the Chinese Chicken Salad wasn’t in the top 11. That has been my favorite salad for 20 years! Good article

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