I Tried The Viral Jennifer Aniston Salad—Here Are My Thoughts

jennifer aniston salad"
jennifer aniston salad
Graphics by: Kirra Wallace
Graphics by: Kirra Wallace

As a regular content consumer, I’ll admit that I’m easily influenced by most products on the internet. And when it comes to convenient, nutritious recipes splashed across my feeds, you bet I’m writing down the ingredients and running to the nearest grocery store. So when I discovered the Jennifer Aniston salad that she apparently had for lunch on the set of Friends every day for 10 years, it was an immediate “I must make this now” situation.

As I scoured the internet for an exact recipe, I learned that the viral salad was not the real one the Friends actor ate. In an interview with ELLE in 2022, Aniston set the record straight once and for all: “It looks like a delicious salad, but that’s not the one I had on Friends,” she told the magazine. How this below recipe went viral as Jennifer Aniston’s go-to salad is hard to tell. According to Courtney Cox’s Los Angeles Times interview, the salad they ate every day on set was actually a “doctored up” Cobb salad with turkey bacon, chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, garbanzo beans, and so on. Whether or not this is the actual salad Jennifer Aniston ate every day for 10 years or not, it has gone viral for its deliciousness, ease, and health benefits, so I wanted to try it too. Check out the recipes and my reaction below.

Source: Eating Bird Food

How to Make the Viral “Jennifer Aniston Salad

Assembling the salad is pretty straightforward. I used this recipe, but there are plenty of variations online. First, cook your bulgur according to the package directions (bulgur is a hearty whole grain with a texture similar to rice). From my personal experience, bulgur can be hard to track down at the grocery store, so I think that any other whole grain such as quinoa, brown rice, or farro would work well. While the bulgur is cooking, chop your red onion, mini cucumbers, mint, parsley, and pistachios. Once the bulgur is finished and cooled, it’s just a matter of throwing all the prepared ingredients together, and topping it with a can of drained chickpeas, feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss the salad together, and there you have it! 

My Review as a Registered Dietician

Upon the first bite, I was genuinely impressed. I would have never thought of pairing pistachios and mint together in a salad, but both flavors work really well together. The veggies give a nice crunch, and the simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil keeps the salad feeling fresh and light. I ended up having seconds and then a few more bites after because it was just that good. While it’s not the exact Jennifer Aniston salad, I‘d still eat it every day for lunch. Not only is it super easy to make, but it’s also a filling, plant-forward meal. The veggies and bulgur pack a fibrous punch, the olive oil and pistachios provide heart-healthy fats, and the chickpeas make a great plant-based protein source.

What I really love about this salad is that it is completely customizable. While I love all the ingredients as is, I could switch out the bulgur for a different grain, add additional spices, or throw in some more veggies. If you want to make it completely vegan, you can omit the feta or use a plant-based cheese instead. Given how quick and easy it is to put together, it also makes for a solid meal prep dish to add to your weekly rotation. While eating this salad daily isn’t going to get me any closer to being in Jennifer Aniston’s orbit, a girl can dream. Regardless, I’m recommending this salad to everyone I know as an easy, nutrient-dense, meal prep recipe.