Kitchn Love Letters

The 3-Ingredient Trader Joe’s Lunch I Cannot Stop Eating

updated Jul 15, 2020
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Credit: Meghan Splawn

Despite being a remote, work-from-home employee for more than five years, I’m still the laziest lunch maker. The kitchen — well-stocked with fridge and pantry staples — is just steps away from my office, but most days I end up with a snack plate of cheese and crackers that would delight a kindergartener. That was until recently, when some research led me down a Trader Joe’s meal prep rabbit hole that landed me at my new favorite lunch.

With just three ingredients and less than five minutes of prep, I have a simple desk lunch that is super satisfying and makes me feel like a responsible adult. Plus, this lunch salad formula is infinitely adaptable, which keeps things interesting so I’m not eating the same exact thing week after week.

Credit: Meghan Splawn

My Formula for a Perfect Trader Joe’s Lunch Salad

Here’s the formula for my favorite three-ingredient lunch salad: sliced turkey + salad kit + crunchy vegetable.

Grab a package of sliced smoked turkey breast, a salad kit, and a crunchy vegetable. Starting with a salad kit means there’s very little chopping involved (and I don’t have to buy a bunch of different produce), while adding a crunchy vegetable makes the kit feel fresher and the crunch keeps me coming back for more.

I always return to the formula of a salad kit, crunchy vegetables, and lunch meat because it feels like a lazy genius lunch and it is delicious. I don’t have to do a ton of thinking or prep, and I can get three (if not four) lunches out of less than $10 in ingredients. Plus if I get bored with one salad kit, this lunch formula is easy to change up.

There are so many different combinations, but I happen love the Peanut and Crispy Noodle Salad Kit because it comes with a spicy peanut dressing, plus a bag of snap peas (I chop them before adding to my salad). You could buy Persian cucumbers, baby carrots, or even radishes to pair with this salad kit and it would be equally delicious (and keep you interested in salad for lunch). You could also grab a package of Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix and a bottle of the Green Goddess Dressing instead of the crunchy veg.

I typically mix up the whole salad kit (save for the crisp noodles and dressing), chopped turkey, and chopped snap peas on Monday during my lunch hour and then dress individual salads for the next few days. Depending on my hunger, one salad kit plus turkey lasts me three to four lunch days. Depending on where you live, these ingredients come in just under $10 — not bad for almost a work week’s worth of lunches.

Do you have a secret lunch formula that keeps you fueled?

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.