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The Suburbanite
  • Critics cupboard: Lean Cuisine Salad Additions

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  • Lean Cuisine Salad Additions
    Microwaveable dishes for topping lettuce
    Asian-style chicken flavor
    7 1/4-oz. box
    $3-$4
    Jennifer Mastroianni
    I have enormous respect for Nestle’s Lean Cuisine brand, the venerable leader in healthful, low-calorie entrees.
    But boy, did they blow it with their new Salad Additions. To assemble this meal kit, you must first microwave a pouch of meat and veggies for 21⁄2 minutes, and place a frozen dressing packet in warm water until it thaws. From there, top your own lettuce with the pouch’s 1⁄2 cup chicken and unseasoned blend of edamame, broccoli, pineapple, and carrots. Then drizzle on the dressing and sprinkle on the kit’s pouch of crispy Asian noodles.
    Steaming bland veggies on cold lettuce? Not for me. Nor do I want to work that hard for lunch. However, the Asian dressing is so tasty, I wish they’d bottle and sell it.
    Saimi Bergmann 
    Isn’t the aim of convenience food to be ... well, convenient? And quick? Salad Additions is neither.
    This isn’t a grab-and-go. This is a grab-and-stop — to cut up lettuce, put it in a bag, and find a plate or bowl.  
    It may sound odd, but the cold lettuce topped with hot vegetables topped with cold dressing really works. It’s a beautiful, colorful plate of food and the sesame dressing is delicious. I was disappointed in the chicken — about half the pieces were either blubbery or mushy. The crispy “noodles,” which add crunch but not much flavor, are not rice noodles, so this isn’t for the gluten-free crowd.
    I might buy it again if it was on sale and I had a coupon. But $4 (and you still have to buy the lettuce) is too much.