Monday is usually the day when I do my supermarket roundups and get ready for weekly meals. Today I had an AHA! Moment when I came across the Kale Chips at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
Have you heard? The ubiquitous Kale is like the newest superfood of the moment, the flavor of the month, and just about the “bee’s knees” right now when it comes to healthy eating and health benefits. Everybody has a recipe, every restaurant in town (hi-lo, you name it) has added it to their menu. Oprah loves it, Dr. Oz loves it, la Gwyneth loves it… you get the idea. It’s been around forever, but now you can pretty much find it prominently displayed at your local supermarket.
So of course the natural thing is for it to start evolving into snack friendly stuff, like cheesy Kale Chips. They may not ever be able to replace our addiction to las potato chips (I swear Sabritas has it right when they say ‘A que no puedes comer sólo una’) or to those Cheetos things, but being the culinary curious person that I am, pues I decided to conduct my very own non-scientific taste test.
Ahi les va el DISCLOSURE statement (God I hate doing this! but I will comply) pa’ que luego no anden diciendo que no soy totally transparent al respecto: This blog post is made totally on behalf of my very ‘exigente’ palate and taste buds. I shop frequently at Whole Foods (probably more than I should) and Trader Joe’s (because who doesn’t?) and Big Saver (porque son buenos bonitos y baratos) and have not been compensated in any way, shape or form by any of these companies for my very humble opinion.
The two items selected are the Alive and Radiant “Kale Krunch” at Whole Foods and the Trader Joe’s cheesy Kale Chips (Zesty Nacho).
While technically it’s the same product, the Whole Foods Alive & Radiant Kale Krunch will run you about a buck more in price, although it is .2 ounces bigger, so it says on the bag.
However, if I were choosing one just based on the design, I would immediately reach for the Trader Joe’s bag, if only because of the cool, comic book inspired look and feel of the package. But we’re not going on looks alone, so I opened each bag and tried them.
The Kale Krunch (Whole Foods) looks much cheesier and brighter, while the Trader Joe’s chips look more “kale-like” and darker green.
I tried the Trader Joe’s first and found them interesting, crunchy and salty. Not bad, although think it left a little bit of a vinegar aftertaste, something not quite cheesy, not a bad aftertaste but just something that lingered a little bit. Then I drank water (to cleanse the palate, muy scientific, según yo) and then I tried the Kale Krunch, which was a bit more flavorful, cheesy and had a nutty aftertaste which I liked. They were equally as crunchy, quite good.
A look at the nutritional values makes for relevant “food for thought” as the Kale Krunch has less calories (100 per serving) and fat, por muy poquito.
Nutritional Values chart for Kale Krunch at Whole Foods.
Nutritional Values chart for Trader Joe’s Kale Chips.
So my verdict is: Both are good snack options depending on taste and budget. If you have 5 bucks for a relatively small bag (2.2 oz is not that plentiful, it can go by in a quick sitting) I would go for the Whole Foods Kale Krunch. But the Trader Joe’s are good too, nomás que no me encantaron, pero they’ll do the trick for a snack if you want to calm down your me quiero atragantar una bolsa de papitas ahorita moment…
All in all I was quite surprised that these brands could come up with an alternative to the potato chip bag with a veggie that nobody cared about a few years ago. So with that in mind, maybe I should try my own Kale Chip recipe, a ver que invento.
Of course, then I stop by Big Saver, where the prices are good and the veggies are fresh (that should be their new slogan) and get a bunch of fresh Kale, which only sets me back a whopping $0.79 cents! Not bad at all, huh?
(Y por favor, ALGUIEN ME PUEDE DECIR ¿Cómo se dice KALE en español? Google translate no me convence con su ‘col rizada’.)
Fresh Kale at Big Saver Market retails for 79 cents.