In a world where life is increasingly predictably unpredictable, it is nice to fall back on the reliably predictable. Some might say boring. I say dependable. That's what lunch is supposed to be. If not terribly exciting, something decently delicious that will power you through the rest of the day.
I picked this up on one of those days where I was too lazy to cook. I've found that with TJ's salads, the relatively safe sounding choices have never let me down. Go too exotic and bad things can happen.
Never mind that there's a crazy amount of fat for a salad...such is the case for most packaged salads. It has a nice lettuce mix though that may "vary by season." Cool beans.
I kind of expected this salad to merely suffice as food, but wow it was surprisingly good. Not amazing where it's a "treat yo self" food (for me, y'all know that category includes pickle chips and speculoos ice cream among other things), but solidly good where I could have it for lunch regularly and not be sick of it.
Let's talk about the important parts of a salad...
1) Textural variety - This salad has it. Crisp greens, crunchy green beans, a firm cheddar, grilled chicken, juicy grape tomatoes, and eggs. I'm not a fan of hardboiled eggs normally, but somehow it works here.
2) Size - Perhaps this is not much coming from a petite-sized person, but I found this to be a decently-sized portion. At 11 oz, it is bigger than most of the standard TJ's salads, and it didn't leave me starving 2 hours later.
3) Dressing - This dressing makes this salad. Nothing too exotic, just a typical Dijon-based dressing that every TV chef wants you to DIY. Lemon, oil, and Dijon as the emulsifier. Simple yet so effective with the ever-so-slight creaminess, a slight tang from the lemon, and herbiness. I've been trying to replicate this dressing since.
4) Overall Freshness - I'm thinking harvest refers to the freshness and bounty of the fall season, rather than cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Which is great because who wants a pumpkin spice salad..ew.
This has been my go-to salad and grab-n-go lunch pick for the past couple of weeks. It's comparable to if not better than any salad you might get from a casual fast food place AND cheaper at $4.49 per box. Definitely better than the school/work cafeteria, and a decently healthy pick for that period of moderation you might consider before the holiday season where we give thanks by stuffing our faces.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Harvest Salad with Grilled Chicken. Reliable, healthy enough, fresh-tasting, and decently filling. 8 out of 10.