When I need to teach dance classes, I often have to have dinner inbetween classes at the dance studio. Of course, I don’t want to have a heavy meal when I still have to dance for hours straight after eating, so often I will eat a salad. For me variation is the key to enjoying my meals, so sometimes, when I have enough time, I make my own salad. On other days I am even lucky to have time to run into the supermarket, so then I will buy a premade salad. I think it’s fair to say that I have tried all of the salads Albert Heijn and Lidl (the supermarkets near me) offer.
One of my favorites is still the salad with pasta, mozzarella, tomatoes and balsamic dressing. As it happens, both Albert Heijn and Lidl sell this salad, with what seems like almost exactly the same ingredients. I decided to compare them, to see if there was a difference.
From the outside, they look about the same. The bowls are almost the same size (450 grams (Albert Heijn) and 400 grams (Lidl) total weight) and the package is made with the same design of a clear plastic bowl with a wrapper around it. Both have a separately packed balsamic dressing and sliced almonds in plastic bags. Which were quite hard to open in both salads by the way. The one from the Lidl has an inserted tray where the mozzarella sits. The Albert Heijn salad doesn’t have this and the mozzarella is already in the salad there.
If I compare the taste of both salads, I must say the one from Lidl is my favorite. The mozzarella from Albert Heijn is very soft (maybe because it is in the same bowl as all of the other ingredients?), whereas the mozzarella from the Lidl is more firm. I like the last version more personally. Something comparable about the mozzarella is the size of the balls. For me, they are too big, so in both salads I tore them in half. The dressing from the Lidl is sweeter than the one from Albert Heijn. The Albert Heijn dressing tastes more acidic like balsamic vinegar and the Lidl dressing is more like a dressing. What I dislike about the Albert Heijn pasta is that it is super soft and it falls apart easily. In the Lidl salad, the pasta feels like it is a bit less cooked, thus more firm again, like the mozzarella. The salad, tomatoes and almonds are of course comparable in both salads. So taste-wise, The Lidl salad wins.
Albert Heijn costs 3,99, Lidl 3.49 euros. So Lidl is a little cheaper than Albert Heijn by 50 cents. Albert Heijn has 770 calories and the Lidl has 516 calories. The amount of calories in the Albert Heijn salad was shocking to me (and to many others on the internet as I found out later after doing some research)! I don’t want my salad to have this much calories, I want it to be a light meal. How is this difference in calories possible? What is different in the ingredients? I found out that the discrepancy is mostly caused by the calories in the mozzarella and the dressing of course, since tomatoes and salad usually have the same amount of calories no matter where you buy them. Again, looking at both the price and calories, the Lidl salad seems the best option.
If I have the choice to go to Lidl for my salad, I would definetely get the mozzarella salad there from now on. I like the taste better, it is a little bit cheaper and it has a more proportional amount of calories. There is nothing wrong with the Albert Heijn salad, but I would choose a different salad there from now on, because they sell other salads that hold fewer calories. And if I have the time, I will be making my own, fresh salad of course, which is always the best option!
What’s your opinion about these meal salads from supermarkets? Which one is your favorite?