I Tried the 3-Ingredient Aldi Lunch the Internet Can’t Stop Raving About — And It’s My New Favorite

published Apr 14, 2023
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Aldi lunch salad with sliced breaded chicken breast on top.
Credit: Mara Weinraub

Inspiration can come from anywhere, which is great for me because when it comes to lunch I look for it everywhere: at the grocery store, in the style section, and on social media. (If it’s a relatively low lift, I’m adding bonus points to my non-existent lunch scoreboard.) Which is why I was excited to see this three-ingredient Aldi lunch come across my news feed.

I first learned about it a few weeks ago when I saw a post about it in an Aldi-themed Facebook group. A member posted a photo of three Aldi groceries and a stop-your-scrolling-worthy caption: “My 2-year-old and I share this salad once a week. She eats all hers then wants my big bowl, every time!” 

Credit: Mara Weinraub

As an avid Aldi fan, I immediately recognized the RBC, the affectionate acronym for the grocer’s beloved Red Bag Chicken, in the photo. The other two items — the Little Salad Bar Asian Chopped Salad Kit and Lunch Buddies Mandarin Orange Fruit Cups — weren’t really on my radar. I’ve definitely noticed this salad kit before, but I hadn’t tried it yet.

Facebook can be a convincing place: Thousands of people liked this post and hundreds commented, sharing their love for this combo. I didn’t really need the reassurance from these strangers — a practically ready-made meal I can slide into my lunch rotation? Sign me up! — but it didn’t hurt either. Next thing I knew, I was at a nearby Aldi scouring the shelves for these three very specific items. Days later, it was time to test the three-ingredient lunch.

Credit: Mara Weinraub

What You Should Know About Aldi’s 3-Ingredient Lunch

While the original poster heats the chicken in the air fryer, I chose to take the oven route (mainly because I don’t own an air fryer). Like too many weekdays, I didn’t realize how late it was when I decided to start making my lunch, so by the time the chicken was done — a chill 35 minutes later — I was famished. (I made it a point to start this whole process earlier on day two.) 

I had pre-drained the oranges while waiting for the oven to preheat and just let them sit in the strainer and divvied up one serving’s worth of roughage (one cup) and the suggested amount of mix-ins and dressing. Normally, I’d just eyeball everything to my hunger level, but the comments said this is a filling lunch. And, in the name of fair play, I wanted the taste test to stay true to the portions on the packages. All that was left was to slice the chicken and enjoy.

Credit: Mara Weinraub

My Honest Review of Aldi’s 3-Ingredient Lunch

I’ve eaten this souped-up salad for lunch two days in a row and I fully intend to make it a tic-tac-toe. Each component is both essential and adds excitement. The chicken is, well, THAT chicken. It’s moist, texturally on point, and coated generously in a breading that is lightly seasoned (a real team player, to keep this metaphor going). 

Like all great salad kits (and seasoning blends), this one sneaks several individually sound ingredients — red and green cabbage, carrots, kale, romaine, kale, sliced almonds, wonton strips — into one stellar package. You get a variety of vegetal crisp and satisfying crunch drizzled in a truly delightful dressing, courtesy of its soy sauce base. It’s the MVP: Most Versatile Player.

And those mandarin oranges. The bite of sweet citrus is the contrast that elevates this bowl from amateur hour to power lunch. Never again will I overlook these fruit cups!

The following day, I diced the chicken and mixed it into the salad as the original poster recommends. I’d eat both again, but if I had to pick I prefer the chicken sliced into strips and layered on top of the salad mandarin mix because it looks nice plated, but more importantly because the breading adheres better to the chicken — style and substance! (Paul Hollywood would be proud.)

Credit: Mara Weinraub

One final note: Some commenters pointed out that the RBC has gotten more expensive in recent years. While that is absolutely true (it’s now $7.99 for four fillets), when I factored in the price of the fillets plus the salad kit ($2.99 for 3.5 servings) and mandarin oranges ($2.39 for four cups), the total cost per lunch came out to $3.45. The math nerd in me does wish the salad was an even four servings. But even so, where I live, a lunch like this for under $3.50 is a BIG win!

Have you tried this three-ingredient Aldi lunch? Tell us about it in the comments below.