I Tried Trader Joe’s New Brussels Sprout Tortilla Chips

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

As I rolled my cart through the snack section of Trader Joe’s, a bag of tortilla chips caught my eye. The bright green packaging was simple, clean, and dare I say… beautiful. The front included three illustrated shapes rendered in dark lines of green which served as windows into what was inside. Are those shapes what I think? Why yes! Those are Brussels sprouts.

By now, we’re all used to food staples being paired with other foods to create a new-yet-familiar flavor profile to an eating experience. Brussels sprouts tortilla chips, though? I remember recoiling the first time I tried tortilla chips with lime flavor, but that’s old-hat compared to tortilla chips that now feature quinoa, sweet potato, and, in a dark part of our history, pumpkin spice.

Trader Joe’s Tortilla Chips Seasoned with Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Onion, Parsley sounds a mouthful but one to enjoy munching on, potentially. I imagined these going well with some of the other fall flavors lounging in my kitchen, so I picked up a bag.

After checkout, I wondered how Brussels sprout-y these would be, since, upon first glance, it seems like the bitter vegetable will feature prominently. Like… Trader Joe’s really wants you to know that there are Brussels sprouts in this bag. In addition to the fact that the only thing illustrated on the packaging is the fall veggie, the back reads, in part:

(Image credit: Joseph Lamour)

“When did it become cool to like Brussels Sprouts — to actually like the flavor of Brussels Sprouts? Brassica oleracea is having a moment — an extended moment, to be sure. We got to thinking about how often we talk about Brussels Sprouts, about how they taste (and we like that taste.)”

(Emphasis theirs, as you can see.)

I Tried Trader Joe’s New Brussels Sprout Tortilla Chips

After I got home, I took out a super-simple onion dip I had on hand, opened the bag, and got ready to be socked in the face with a fully ripened stalk of fall flavor.

I was not.

First, the aroma wafting from the inside of the bag was telling: these chips smelled, to me, like a normal bag of corn tortilla chips. Looked like them too. Corn tends to always be in the driver’s seat when it comes to odor, so I shrugged it off and bit into one of them without any dip.

Super-crunchy, well-seasoned, and of a welcome thickness. Tasty? Absolutely. I’m still eating them as I write, with a bowl of dip by my side. Are they Brussels sprout-y? No.

(Image credit: Joseph Lamour)

These tortilla chips taste like fancier versions of your standard Mission and Tostitos store-bought staples. The addition of garlic, onion, and parsley make the chips distinct, but as someone who concentrates a lot on packaging, the fact there are 14 separate mentions of Brussels sprouts on the packaging misled me.

Don’t get me wrong, these taste good. However, I struggled so much to even get a hint of the Brussels sprout flavor that I bit into a raw Brussels sprout in my fridge to see if my palate had forsaken me.

Still unsatisfied, I made every person I saw in the last 24 hours taste one of these chips and give me a review. Generally, they got the bitterness of the veggie, like I did, but not too much else. (My favorite review? My father, who said, “Wow, these taste just like tortilla chips.”)

Bottom line: these chips are great. And at $2.69, inexpensively elegant enough to buy. I’ll be caramelizing some onions to go with my dip and these chips, and everything will be gone by sunrise, I wager. I suggest you tamp down your expectation of how distinct any certain flavor will be if you plan on doing the same.