Taste Test: Trader Joe’s Zesty Nacho Kale Chips

There’s something not quite right about this healthy snack
Jane Bruce

The problems with Trader Joe’s Zesty Nacho-flavored kale chips start right on the bag. While the flavor advertised leads you to believe that there might be actual cheese involved, or at least cheese flavor, the ingredient list is as follows: kale, cashews, sunflower seeds, carrot, bell pepper, onion, chipotle, and garlic powders, apple cider vinegar, and salt. If there was meant to be a degree of cheesiness in here, our taste testers couldn’t find any.

That would all be well and good if the flavor itself was worthwhile, but unfortunately our panel couldn’t find much to get behind. The only flavor that you really get is a strange bitterness that covers any natural flavor that the kale itself might have brought to the party, and in our bag there were very few complete pieces; most had been broken up into tiny shreds. The nuts in the coating give it an odd, if still-crispy texture, but there’s no discernible flavor from the cashews, either. It’s a bit "zesty" from the vinegar, and you can taste carrot, but the flavorings don’t really come together into a cohesive whole. We would have liked to have gotten a little bit more of a spicy kick from the chipotle, and a little more salt would have helped as well.

These kale chips cost $3.99, and thanks to the nuts there are 9 grams of fat in each 1-ounce serving. That said, these are very healthy, but are no replacement for any other type of chip out there.


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