Jennifer Aniston Salad Recipe

One bite of the viral Jennifer Aniston Salad and you’ll be hooked! It was the actress’ top choice for lunch during her time on Friends for good reason – it’s easy to make, loaded with healthy grains and veggies, and perfect for meal prep.

What’s the Jennifer Aniston Salad?

Have you been scrolling through versions of this viral Jennifer Aniston Salad on social media lately? It went viral for good reason! It’s said that the Friends star ate this salad every day for 10 years while she was on set.

So, I set out to try it for myself!

While it’s said that she made her version with bulgar, I couldn’t find it in the store. So, I substituted in some quinoa.

I also added in a bit more lemon juice than the original recipe called for, since I thought that it needed a bit more tang and flavor.

The third change I made was to soak the red onion in cold water first, before adding it to the salad. This helps to tame down the onion… especially beneficial if you’re eating this for an office lunch. I mean, no one wants dragon breath haunting them for the rest of the day.

The verdict?

Every bite is fresh and filling thanks to the layers of grains, fresh vegetables, herbs, pistachios, and feta cheese. Similar to this Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh Salad, everything is chopped small and tastes delightfully fresh.

The best part is it lasts all week long!

What’s in the Jennifer Aniston salad?

In an interview with People, Jennifer Aniston described this as the “perfect salad”. She makes it with a mix of bulgar wheat, cucumbers, parsley, mint, red onion, chickpeas, feta, and pistachios, but my inspired version uses slightly different ingredients:

  • Quinoa – Or stick to the original and use bulgur wheat (cook it just like rice).
  • Red onion
  • Cucumber
  • Parsley and mint – Fresh herbs are best.
  • Pistachios – Feel free to use chopped almonds instead or swap the nuts for pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
  • Chickpeas – Keep it simple with canned chickpeas or make instant pot chickpeas.
  • Feta cheese
  • Lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Ingredients for Jennifer Aniston Salad labeled on tray.

How to make the Jennifer Aniston salad

Cook the quinoa on the stove or in the Instant Pot first. Fluff it with a fork when it’s done and leave it to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Dice the red onion and toss it in a bowl of cold water. This only takes 10 minutes and will tame the sharp flavor of the raw onion.

Next, make the simple dressing. Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Set it aside.

Now you can assemble the salad. Toss the cooled quinoa, red onion, cucumber, parsley, mint, pistachios, chickpeas, and dressing together in a large bowl. Add more lemon juice, salt, or pepper as needed, then enjoy!

Ingredients for salad in bowl.

Tips and tricks

  • Always rinse your quinoa! The natural coating on the outside of the grains (called saponin) will make your quinoa gummy and taste bitter. Rinse it off to make perfectly fluffy and delicious quinoa every time.
  • To rinse quinoa, pour it into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  • Make sure the cooked quinoa or bulgur is cold before you assemble the salad or else the heat will soften the vegetables. Save time by cooking the grains 1 or 2 days ahead of time and storing them in an airtight container in the fridge until it’s time to assemble.
  • There’s plenty of room for more veggies, different dressings, and protein options here. Keep scrolling for my add-in suggestions!

Customize it:

Don’t feel like you need to follow this recipe to a tee. Customize it with any substitutions or additions you like, such as:

  • Different grains – Like farro or brown rice.
  • Grain free – Swap the quinoa and bulgur for cauliflower rice.
  • Add more or different vegetables – Like cherry tomatoes, edamame, green peas, and avocado.
  • Use a more elaborate dressing – This green goddess dressing and Italian dressing would pair very well.
  • Different herbs – Swap the mint and parsley for cilantro or basil instead.
  • Add protein – Make the salad extra filling by tossing in hard boiled eggs, cooked ground turkey, shredded chicken, or shrimp.

How long does it last?

  • The assembled salad will last for 5 days when kept in an airtight container in the fridge.

But really… Did Jennifer Aniston eat the same salad for 10 years?

Most likely, the rumors surrounding this are untrue. It’s said that the cast of Friends would eat lunch together every day for 10 years. In some reports, it’s said that she enjoyed a Cobb salad with chickpeas and bacon. This recipe most likely came to be because in a past interview with People, Jennifer Aniston described the ingredients here as some of her favorites in a “perfect salad”.

Overhead close up of prepared Jennifer Aniston Salad in green bowl.

If you loved this Jennifer Aniston Salad recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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Jennifer Aniston Salad Recipe

Overhead shot of prepared Jennifer Aniston Salad in green bowl.

Jennifer Aniston Salad

One bite of the viral Jennifer Aniston Salad and you’ll be hooked! It was the actress’ top choice for lunch during her time on Friends for good reason – it’s easy to make, loaded with healthy grains and veggies, and perfect for meal prep.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (or bulgur wheat, uncooked)
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ small red onion (diced)
  • 1 ½ cups cucumber (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas ( drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup feta (cubed )
  • Juice of 2 lemons (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain quinoa. Add quinoa, water and a pinch of salt to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add minced red onion to a bowl of cold water and let soak for 10-minutes, drain. This helps to tame down the onion.
  • Juice the lemons into a large bowl. Add olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the cooled quinoa, red onion, cucumber, parsley, mint, pistachios, and chickpeas. Toss to combine and season with additional salt and pepper and lemon juice, to taste.

Notes

Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Small Pot
Large Bowl

Nutrition

Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 571mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1056IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 167mg | Iron: 4mg

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