After that last disaster of a salad, I took a vow of salad-lessness. But there's something about spring that makes me crave the freshness and the newness of life that can only be found in a salad, so I took the route of exposure therapy. Which meant a good five minutes in front of the salad section at TJ's before landing on a "safe choice." In my defense, 5 minutes is still shorter than the time it would take me to decide on what to order at a restaurant. Forreals. Husband cannot stand that.
What a horrifying amount of fat for a "healthy" salad. I mean...50% of your daily total fat intake??
The box is kind of deceiving. They've actually packed in quite a bit of lettuce, a handful of tomatoes and mozzarella balls, olives, and some pine nuts into this baby. I dumped it into my medium-sized mixing bowl and was surprised to see this salad fill it to capacity. I only used a little bit of the packaged dressing, partially because of the fat content but also because I still had balsamic vinaigrette in my fridge that needed to be eaten.
This salad was as "filling" as a salad can get due to the sheer quantity of greens (A would wholeheartedly disagree because "how can a salad ever fill your stomach?"). I liked the variety of greens - your typical spring mix with some romaine hearts for crunch. The dressing had a hint of dijon mustard in it, which made it taste more like a legitimate made-from-scratch dressing rather than one that has been sitting on a shelf for weeks. Actually, it tasted quite close to the dressing I make at home. Overall, this salad had everything that suits my flavor profile. Saltiness from the olives. Creamy softness from the cheese. Sweetness from the tomatoes. Acidity and slight bitterness from the dressing. Crunch from the pine nuts and romaine. And I wasn't starving an hour later (though I needed a snack about three hours later).
Somehow this salad has 11g of protein in it from just the cheese and nuts. Go figure. Chicken or other protein not included, but this salad would be accommodating just the same. Not too shabby for $3.99. Cheaper than a McDonald's salad and still more delicious.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Mozzarella and Tomato Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette. A safe, meatless but fresh choice. 8 out of 10.