Better Than Trader Joe’s Kale and Edamame Bistro Salad

by Dorothy Reinhold on May 17, 2012

Print This Post Print This Post Better Than Trader Joes's Kale and Edamame Bistro Salad |

This is the tale of the teenager who became besotted with Trader Joe’s prepared, packaged Kale and Edamame Bistro Salad, and the mom who was going broke buying them for her, at $4 a pop.

It’s a simple story, involving a grown woman fully aware that of all the addictions in the world, a love of kale salad was, shall we admit, the best possible one to have. Ever.

Trader Joe's Kale & Edamame Bistro Salad | ShockinglyDelicious.comIn fact, rather than calling it an addiction, the mom might better term it a good eating habit, and leave it at that.

But the wallet doesn’t lie, and $12 a week in packaged kale salads was just not, uh, cutting it (pause for a polite laugh).

Not to mention the plastics involved in the individual packaging, and the special trip to TJ’s, etc.  And the fact that the teenager, who knows what she likes, doesn’t really like the lemon dressing that comes packaged with the salad, so discards it like so much useless detritus.

So the mom, a kale lover herself and handy with a knife, set out to not only duplicate the TJ’s salad, but while she was at it, better it. She chiffonaded Tuscan kale, not only because she likes saying the word chiffonade, but because it helps to tenderize kale to cut the pieces smaller. She chiffonaded (again!) fresh mint and basil to give the salad a fragrance and a lift, she tossed in Craisins for a sweet touch, carrot shreds for color, and garbanzos and edamame for protein and texture. And she dressed it simply, in lemon juice and olive oil, with a pinch o’ this and that to bring it all together.

Voila, my darling teenager. Your better, cheaper, prettier, more ecologically sound salad awaits!Better Than Trader Joes's Kale and Edamame Bistro Salad |

Recipe: Kale, Cranberry, Chickpea, Edamame Salad (aka Better than Trader Joe’s Kale Salad)

Summary: Refreshing raw kale salad sweetened with cranberries, enlivened with basil and mint, and nutritionally amped up with edamame and chickpeas, for a super side or entree salad. This version is even better than the Trader Joe’s Kale and Edamame Bistro Salad!



  • 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 4 cups finely chopped Tuscan kale, ribs removed (this is about 4 ounces of kale)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries (such as Craisins) soaked in boiling water to hydrate
  • 1 cup edamame beans, cooked and cooled
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • A few carrot shreds (if you have them, for color)
  • Garnish: Cherry Tomatoes


  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a large salad bowl and whisk until combined.
  2. Into the bowl throw the kale (which you have cut into a chiffonade size), chickpeas, cranberries and edamame. Mince a handful of mint and a handful of basil leaves and toss them in, along with some carrot shreds, if available.
  3. Toss salad well to combine, and garnish with cherry tomatoes.
  4. Serves 6 as a side salad, or 2-3 as a main dish for kooky kale-lovers.

Quick notes

Nuts: The TJ’s salad has slivered almonds in it, as well. I didn’t put any in because this salad holds up well in the refrigerator as leftovers (dressed), and I didn’t want the nuts to become soggy. If you like them, feel free to sprinkle it with slivered almonds at serving time. If you don’t like them, don’t. See? These decisions are simple!

Preparation time: 15 minutes (chopping)
Cooking time: 5 minutes (to hydrate the cranberries)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 6 as a side salad, 2-3 as a main dish salad
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 

Here’s what it looks like when a reader made it

Kale salad with tomatoes on top in a white bowl photo by Katherine WangKatherine Wang made this, and said her family really liked it. “Used hazelnut instead of almonds due to food allergies. Easy to make. Will make again!”

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda January 26, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I found this recipe from FitSugar. Needless to say I made this salad immediately and it is delicious. I’m excited to see how it tastes tomorrow after it’s been marinating in the lemon dressing.


Dorothy January 26, 2013 at 8:38 pm

So glad! I love this one!


twitter_stacyannj October 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

I found your recipe because I picked one of TJ’s salads up for lunch on my way into work today. It sounded delicious. Looked healthy enough. But as I was shaking it to spread the dressing around, I saw it’s actually 500 calories when you add the dressing and 300 (!!!) of those are from fat. So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw that you use a vinaigrette to dress your version. I can’t wait to try your the recipe!


Sprigs of Rosemary October 12, 2012 at 8:10 am

Yep, this is lunch today. I don’t have any endamame but I do have everything else. What a great story. I wish someone hadn’t told me that kale was a super food; now I get to feel noble about loving it!


Tanye August 19, 2012 at 11:02 am

I made this and added fresh blueberries, chopped red onion, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, and sliced cashews


Dorothy August 20, 2012 at 7:16 am

Your additions sound great!


Jeanette August 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I just made this tonight and it was delicious.

I added some finely diced red onion and also sprinkled feta cheese on top.

Great salad.


Dorothy August 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Love your additions! Glad you enjoyed it!


kristy @ gastronomical sovereignty July 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

this salad has me giddy! I adore the crap outta kale and made into a salad = good. always good. 🙂

thank you for sharing with Fresh Foods Wednesday – hope to see you back next week!

p.s. if you don’t mind linking back to us in your post, that would be wonderful darling…xo!


Lula Mae Broadway June 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Thank you couldn’t remember ingredients of original and this post was so helpful. Just made this – added TJ’s shaved dry toasted almonds and a very small amount of minced shallots which really took it up a notch. Never would have thought of the mint on my own. Thanks much.


Ashlea May 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Made this twice and it’s just amazing! Hubby even devours it and asked to make it again. Thanks for sharing!


Dorothy May 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Twice, huh? That sounds like me!


Lisa May 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Made this for dinner – did not have almonds but tossed in some pignoli nuts for crunch. Loved it – thanks!!


Dorothy May 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I’m a big fan of toasted pine nuts! Great idea.


Faye Levy May 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Great story, great recipe, great photo. Bravo to you! I like your flexibility–carrot shreds if you have them, slivered almonds if you want. If I don’t care about duplicating Trader Joe’s, do you think it would still be good with romaine added (since it’s cheaper than kale)?


Dorothy May 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I absolutely think you can sub crisp romaine if you have it! Go for it.


Vicky May 21, 2012 at 6:18 am

Sounds delicious., Love the combination of flavors!


Priscilla@ShesCookin May 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Love the story behind this (totally) better than Trader Joe’s salad 🙂


Dorothy May 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Thank you, Priscilla!


sippitysup May 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm



cookingrookie May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I just saw this on RecipeNewZ. Wonderful salad. I love Trader Joe’s, and if you say it’s even better, then it’s a must try :-). Thanks for sharing!


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