This viral Jennifer Aniston salad is made with quinoa instead of bulgar to keep it gluten-free. The quinoa is mixed with crunchy cucumber, pistachios, creamy feta cheese, chickpeas, and fresh herbs all tossed in a vibrant lemon olive oil dressing. Enjoy it for a quick light and healthy lunch, dinner, or snack.
Since salads are my thing, I had to try my version of the viral Jennifer Aniston Salad that became very popular on TikTok this year. Like any viral recipe, there are many reasons why it was so popular. Here are a few reasons why:
What Makes The Jennifer Aniston Salad Viral-Worthy?
- Easy to make – in about 10 minutes or less!
- Healthy, fresh, vibrant, crunchy and so satisfying.
- Protein-rich, plant-based ingredients
- Great for meal prep since it stores so well.
So Why Is This Called The “Jennifer Aniston Salad”?
Jennifer Aniston is renowned for her commitment to a healthy lifestyle, which naturally piques everyone’s curiosity about her diet. When she revealed her salad recipe, it instantly became a sensation, with fans eager to try the dish that contributes to her fabulous look.
Initially, the salad gained fame as the daily lunch choice of Jennifer Aniston and her co-stars, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, during their 10-year stint on the iconic TV show “Friends.” However, in a recent interview, Jennifer clarified that their actual go-to was her twist on a healthy Cobb salad, comprising mixed greens, egg whites, turkey bacon, chickpeas, and occasionally some pecorino cheese, all tossed in a simple vinaigrette.
Meanwhile, another favorite of Jennifer’s, a delightful tabbouleh-style salad, has also captured the public’s attention, going viral for its popularity. This salad bears a resemblance to the kale quinoa salad that has become a beloved recipe among many of you.
I’ve prepared this Jennifer Aniston Salad many times, and its appeal never gets old – it’s truly that delicious!
- What Makes The Jennifer Aniston Salad Viral-Worthy?
- So Why Is This Called The “Jennifer Aniston Salad”?
- How To Make The Jennifer Aniston Salad
- How To Cook Quinoa
- Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Storage And Make Ahead Tips
- More Healthy Salads To Try:
- Viral Jennifer Aniston Salad
My take on the Jennifer Aniston Salad features a few more ingredients than many of my simpler recipes, but rest assured, each component is essential to creating this extraordinary salad. The preparation involves minimal chopping, as most ingredients require just assembling rather than extensive cutting. Here’s what you’ll need to make it.
- Quinoa – fluffy, cooked quinoa – about 2 cups. Any type works, you can also use cooked bulgar if you do not need to keep this recipe gluten-free. I like to make my quinoa a couple of days in advance or use pre-cooked quinoa as a shortcut from the store.
- Chickpeas – 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas. I used low sodium.
- Cucumber – English cucumber works best since it contains fewer seeds, but any cucumber will work.
- Red onion – I love the punchy flavor and color of the red onion in this salad recipe. Shallots also work great!
- Pistachios – shelled pistachios add a nice nutty, crunchy salty element. You can chop them or keep them whole.
- Feta cheese – crumbled, salty, creamy feta cheese. I like to crumble my own to avoid the caking agent they put in most crumbled cheeses but any will work.
- Herbs – mint, parsley, and dill add so many nutrients to this quinoa salad as well as vibrant flavors and color.
- Golden raisins – add a nice sweet flavor that pairs so well with the other ingredients. You could also use dried cranberries or even chopped dates.
- Kalamata olives – I love the briny salty taste the olives give this salad recipe. Now, this is my addition but it elevates the flavors very well.
- Dressing – extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper. A super simple vinaigrette that ties everything together.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of recipe ingredients, instructions, and nutrition.
How To Make The Jennifer Aniston Salad
This Jennifer Aniston Salad comes together quickly in just a few easy steps. Here is how to make it.
Step one: prep the ingredients by chopping all of the veggies and herbs, drain and rinse the chickpeas, and cook the quinoa (which you can do a few days in advance). Then add all of the ingredients to a large bowl.
Step two: Mix up the dressing by adding all of the dressing ingredients to a mason jar fitted with a lid. Shake it well to emulsify.
Step three: Dress and toss the salad. Pour the dressing evenly over the salad and toss everything together.
Step four: Serve immediately or chill and serve later.
How To Cook Quinoa
Cooking quinoa, especially if you are planning to use it in this Jen Aniston salad is very easy. Most package instructions are pretty clear (1 cup dry, rinsed quinoa to 2 cups stock or water). You can cook it on the stovetop – by bringing the quinoa with the water or stock to a boil, then simmer until it is fluffy, which takes about 10-15 minutes.
My new favorite foolproof way to cook quinoa is in the instant pot, in under 10 minutes. Either way works. Once it is done, fluff it with a fork, and let it cool before storing or using it in a salad. You can do this step a few days in advance as well. See the make-ahead instructions below.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Quinoa – I opted to use cooked quinoa as the salad base of this salad but you can use cooked bulgar (not gluten-free), farro (not gluten-free), or cooked brown rice. It is best to cook the grain you are using in advance and let it cool before combining it with the rest of the ingredients.
- Veggies – I love the combination of veggies in this Jennifer Aniston Salad recipe but you could also add other veggies like carrots, tomatoes, scallions, celery, or bell peppers.
- Herbs – the combination of parsley, mint, and dill are so incredible in this salad but you could also use cilantro or even basil instead.
- Nuts – I used pistachios, but chopped almonds cashews, or pecans would also be delicious.
- Cheese – feta cheese is perfect for this salad but crumbled goat cheese also works.
- Protein – using chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) in this salad makes it a plant-based recipe that is protein-rich and so good for you. But you could also add shredded chicken, salmon, or tuna to increase the protein for an even more nutritious and satisfying, complete meal.
- Dressing – this simple lemon olive oil vinaigrette dressing is one of the signature elements that Jen added to this salad. If you want to change it up a bit you could add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar (just replace half of the lemon juice with the vinegar). Maple syrup also works in place of the honey.
- Make it vegan – Use vegan crumbled cheese or skip the cheese altogether. Replace the honey with maple syrup.
Here are the tools you will need to make this easy salad recipe:
Storage And Make Ahead Tips
Storing this salad – one of the best traits of this salad made popular by Jennifer Aniston is that you can easily store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Give it a good toss to redistribute all of the flavors before you enjoy it.
Make ahead: This viral salad recipe comes together very quickly but here are a few ways to make it ahead of time:
- Cook the quinoa a few days in advance, let it cool completely then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before using it.
- Mix up the dressing and store it in a mason jar fitted with a lid for up to 2 days before making the salad.
- You can also make the salad and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator before you serve it. As noted above.
Note: I would not cut the herbs ahead of time since they are the most flavorful when you cut them.
Yes, the Jennifer Aniston quinoa salad is typically very healthy, made with protein-rich quinoa, cucumber, mint, feta, and other fresh ingredients. It is packed with vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein.
The calories in this salad will vary based on the ingredients you use and the serving size. But, based on this version of the recipe, there are about 400 calories in one serving.
As I mentioned earlier, this recipe is my version of Jen’s popular quinoa salad. Her version has the following ingredients: cooked bulgar, cucumber, feta, mint, parsley, pistachios, garbanzo beans, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.
More Healthy Salads To Try:
- Must Make Chopped Kale Salad With Quinoa
- Viral Cucumber Pepper Salad
- Cucumber Radish Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Kale Chickpea Caesar Salad
Did you try this Jennifer Aniston Salad Recipe? If you did, then please leave a rating and comment below. I would love to hear how yours turned out!Print