The infamous, viral, healthy and deliciously easy salad that Jennifer Aniston may or may not have eaten every single day for 10 years on the set while filming Friends. This (not really) Jennifer Aniston Salad made of quinoa, chickpeas, greens and feta cheese makes a great weekday lunch.
Now don’t quote me on this but back when social media started picking up, what Jennifer Aniston ate while filming Friends was a hot topic of contention. Just as the media has been fascinated by Rachel Green’s hairstyles and outfits, so was the internet by what Jennifer Aniston’s favourite salad was. Courtney Cox remembers a turkey bacon and garbanzo bean (that’s chickpea for us here in Australia!) salad that Jennifer Aniston used to make every day, a claim that has been refuted by Jennifer herself over the years. And I believe her. Here’s why …
The viral Jennifer Aniston Salad has copious amounts of raw onion, which I am assuming would be a strict no-no while shooting due to the pungency of the ingredient. I mean, if I was shooting in close proximity with other actors, I wouldn’t want my breath to smell of onion.
In 2015 when Jennifer took over a brand’s Instagram account for the day, she shared her perfect everyday salad recipe. It had chickpeas, bulghur, cucumbers, parsley, mint, red onion, feta cheese and pistachios. And that is where the legend of the infamous Jennifer Aniston Salad began. Over the years, it has been reimagined and shared across many websites. My version has a little something extra.
There is just something about viral tiktok salads that makes you want to whip out your salad bowl and toss ingredients instantly. This Not Really Jennifer Aniston Salad is no different. It is a light and refreshing Cobb salad with plenty of crunch. For those of you who need a refresher, a Cobb is an American-style garden salad consisting of chopped greens, turkey bacon or chicken, cherry tomatoes, herbs, cheese and vinaigrette.
My version, which has quickly become hugely popular in our home has garlic for that salad oomph. Something that Jennifer would not really approve of but makes the salad infinitesimally more delicious.
A can of chickpeas in the pantry and a container of cooked quinoa in the fridge form the base of this super easy, nourishing salad. Here is what you will need.
Chickpeas – Canned chickpeas are great. Just rinse and use.
Quinoa – When I cook quinoa using this recipe, I use half white and half multicolored quinoa to get a pot of fluffy mixed quinoa that works really well in salads. Not only does it look good but the red quinoa adds more texture and bite. It eliminated the glugginess that comes from just using white quinoa.
Veggies – Onion and cucumber should be chopped really fine. You don’t need to deseed the cucumber for this recipe.
Herbs – Lots of parsley and mint, chopped really fine. I often don’t add mint and the salad is just as delicious.
Cheese – Lots of sharp crumbly feta cheese is the ideal salad for this recipe.
Nuts – Toasted chopped pistachio nuts add a lovely crunch.
Dressing – The simplest of dressings, this salad requires a good amount of acidity that comes from squeezing two whole lemons. With olive oil, salt and pepper, it makes the dressing punchy and delicious.
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- 1 cup (150 g) cooked quinoa
- 1 cup (180 g) cooked chickpeas, canned or freshly cooked
- 1 (100 g) red onion, finely diced
- 2 (250 g) small cucumbers, finely diced
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1/4 cup (35 g) toasted pistachios, chopped
- 1/2 cup (100 g) crumbled feta cheese
- 2 (60 ml) small lemons, juiced, note 4
- 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
To make the dressing, add lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Add quinoa, chickpeas, onion, cucumber, parsley, mint, pistachios and feta to a large bowl. Toss and mix well.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad in the bowl. Mix well until everything is coated evenly with the dressing. Serve immediately.
- Make it vegan – Swap regular feta cheese for vegan feta cheese.
- Quinoa substitution – Quinoa can be subbed with cooked bulghur but your salad will no longer be gluten-free.
- Storage and Shelf Life – Salad can be prepped ahead by making the dressing, toasting the nuts and chopping the veggies ahead of time. Store them in separate containers until ready to use. Once mixed together, the salad keeps fresh in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Lemons – Usually, a small to medium juicy lemon yields 30ml lemon juice (15ml for each half). This recipe needs to be lemony and punchy to balance all the flavours. Thereby requiring 2 lemons (or approximately 60ml). You can try adding 45ml lemon juice first and add extra only if you feel you need it.