Okay, Trader Joe's, I've just about had enough. I already loved you, and then you went ahead and moved into the neighborhood, sending my feelings for you soaring. My go-to gang of cult favorites (Chocolate Croissants; Tarte d'Alsace) quickly found company with new friends (Cultured Salted Butter; Zhoug Sauce), and my constant exploration of your well-stocked aisles continue to yield amazing finds.
My latest obsession? The ABC + K Slaw. Now I must say, I'm not a huge consumer of these ready-made salads and sandwiches that sit alongside the bagged greens (which I do always get), but the cheerful color and promise of an orange poppy seed dressing drew me right in. The layered salad is housed in a clear pint(ish)-sized container, and inside you'll find the raw ABC + K components: apple, beet, carrot, and kale.
It's quite difficult to eat right out of the container, so I'd recommend transferring it to a bowl large enough to toss with the delicious vinaigrette. I was initially surprised at the sheer volume of its contents (it's packed in pretty tightly); I was doubly shocked at my ability to finish it all. The cold, crunchy veg and fruit were exactly what I needed to refresh my palate, which at the time, was overloaded with all of the holiday roasts, heavy sides, and rich treats. This salad was the antidote I didn't realize my lunchtime routine needed.
At $4.49 a pop, it is definitely on the more affordable end of salad options available in New York City. But if you think about what actually goes into this salad, that $4.49 can seem like a pretty penny (especially if you have it multiple times a week, a frequency I very nearly hit). If you have a shredding or julienne disc attachment on your food processor, or even just a good ol' fashioned box grater, this salad can easily be yours for well under that amount (just save the beet grating for last to prevent everything from going pink!). Buying apples, beets, carrots, and kale bunches whole, and then pre-portioning them out truly feels like you're winning that meal-planning game. (By the way, this slaw is just super with the addition of creamy avocado wedges and grilled chicken breast.)
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As for the orange poppy seed dressing, I still haven't cracked the code (working on it), but this crunchy slaw takes well to vinaigrettes of all sorts. I especially love it with a zingy Yogurt Dressing, replacing the lemon zest and juice with orange zest and juice. I also like to take an Asian turn with our site's very popular No-Frills Miso Dressing.
Thank you, Trader Joe's, for always giving me inspiring new lunch ideas. I'll still pick up the original ABC + K Slaw in a pinch, but I'm so grateful to know I can recreate an even more affordable, flexible version whenever I want it at home—with the help of my grater.
Do you have a favorite Trader Joe's product you lean on for easy lunches? Let us know below!