The pros: Trader Joe’s Lemon Basil Pasta Salad is new to the refrigerate aisle and is vast improvement over some of the grab and go food items.
The cons: Mine only had a tiny wedge of lemon. If you are planning on eating this for lunch, then be ready for the fact this bowl is 500 calories. If you need to mix the ingredients, you’ll want to reach for a bigger bowl.
The verdict: In previous posts about the refrigerated aisle, I have long complained that so many of the grab and go options are vastly underwhelming. Some left me wondering why they remained on the shelves for so long.
Regardless, it seems that the refrigerated case is getting some solid options. Recently, I tried the Banh Mi Noodle Bowl which is a solid addition. This too seems like a solid option with some minor reservations.
First off, the Banh Mi Bowl has dressing and needs to be mixed. Those elements lead to a flavorful combination. This on the other hand is bland. It did not have much flavor of lemon or basil This pasta salad needs to be mixed, but there was no room spared to do so. Unless you want entire mouthfuls of spinach or cheese, you may still need an additional bowl.
Also, the wedge of lemon to add some acidity to this was pretty tiny. While they included a slice of a lemon, I’m pretty sure they got at least dozen slices out of that same lemon. I ended up adding more lemon to mine. That’s fine when you are at home, but if you are taking this to work it is something to consider.
Now, pasta salad falls into one of two varieties: with mayo and without. This is clearly the without. Now, a pasta salad without mayo should have the tang from the vinaigrette. Here, it seemed like it was leaning on the minimal acidity from the lemon provided and small amount of vinaigrette. The vinaigrette seemed to provide more oil than vinegar and the basil flavor was a bit underwhelming.
The pasta as firm enough as not to be al dente or mushy. There was plenty of asiago cheese, shredded spinach, and peas in mine. As for the zucchini, mine did not seem to have much of it. I really had to look for it. I wasn’t tasting much in the way of zucchini either.
For $4.49, this isn’t a terrible pasta salad, but does not reach great either. I think with a little bit of doctoring up the ingredients at home you can absolutely have something special here. Everything seems very fresh, just way more bland than it should be. It would be more ideal as a shared side than a lunch. It’s nice to see so many nice new options in the refrigerated aisle.
Here is the visual run down of what you get if you buy this product:
The package of Trader Joe’s Lemon Basil Pasta Salad:
The nutritional information and the ingredients:
Out of the package you get:
Would I buy this again? Trader Joe’s Lemon Basil Pasta salad seems like something that would work better as a shared side to bring to a picnic than to sit and eat as a meal. This is only a maybe from me in terms of buying this again because it is just a bit too plain for me.
Want to see more items I’ve reviewed from Trader Joe’s? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!