Jennifer Aniston Salad

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Here’s how to make the viral Jennifer Aniston salad with quinoa or bulgur, cucumber, fresh herbs, pistachios, chickpeas and feta all tossed in lemon juice and olive oil.

Given my love for salads, I just had to try Jennifer Aniston’s salad that went viral on TikTok!

Some sources say she ate the salad every day for 10 years while filming the show Friends, but after a little research I found that this is actually a salad she shared while doing an Instagram takeover for the Living Proof brand. It’s no longer on Instagram, but you can still find it on the Way Back Machine (aka the best site for looking up old content). This post was from 2015 and in the caption Aniston said the salad, with bulgur, cucumbers, parsley, mint, red onion, chickpeas, feta cheese and pistachios was her “perfect salad.”

Quinoa salad on a white plate with a gold fork.

And according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the salad she ate daily on the set of Friends with her co-stars Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox, was a spruced up Cobb salad with turkey bacon and chickpeas. Sounds delish and probably similar to my vegan Cobb salad, but with turkey bacon.

Either way, after trying Jen’s tabbouleh-inspired salad I can totally see why she (and the whole internet) is obsessed. It’s not only delicious and packed with SO much flavor, but it also has the perfect amount of protein, smart carbs, healthy fats, and veggies – all the components of a good meal-sized salad.

Jen’s original version of this salad calls for bulgur wheat as the base, but when I went to make this salad for the first time I couldn’t find bulgur wheat anywhere, so I decided to make it with quinoa. It worked great and this salad is easily becoming a new staple in our house.

Quinoa salad on a white plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It has all the components of a good meal-sized salad… protein, smart carbs, healthy fats, veggies and satisfaction factor!
  • It’s light, flavorful and jam-packed with tons of fresh herbs!
  • Quick and easy to whip up – you only need 10 ingredients (plus salt + pepper) and one bowl! 
  • It holds up well in the fridge so it’s the perfect meal prep recipe. Prep this over the weekend and have lunch ready to go for the entire week!
Ingredients measured out to make the Jennifer Aniston salad: salt, pepper, mint, quinoa, chickpeas, red onion, lemon juice, pistachios, feta, parsley, cucumber and olive oil.

Ingredients Needed

  • quinoa – instead of bulgur I used white quinoa as the base. That said, you can totally use bulgur wheat or even farro as the grain in this salad. Quinoa is a good source of protein, high in fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals and naturally gluten-free. It’s also a complete protein, which means it has all nine essential amino acids including lysine… a rare find when it comes to plant-based foods.
  • cucumber – adds a nice crunch! I personally like using mini cucumbers because they don’t have large seeds.
  • fresh parsley – flat-leaf parsley and curly parsley both work well in this recipe. Make sure your bunch of parsley is washed and dried well before chopping it!
  • fresh mint – the addition of fresh mint adds so much flavor! Again, make sure your mint is washed and dried before chopping it.
  • red onion – the perfect way to add a bit of flavor and more crunch. You can use yellow onion if needed. 
  • pistachios – roasted and salted. Adds some healthy fat and more protein to this salad.
  • chickpeas – I used canned chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans) for ease, but of course, you can totally cook the chickpeas from scratch if desired. Freshly cooked beans are really delicious if you have the time.
  • feta cheese – this adds some healthy fat and such a good flavor to the salad so I wouldn’t recommend omitting it. If needed you can use vegan feta.
  • dressing – instead of an elaborate dressing, we’re using lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to add a light and refreshing flavor to the salad. 
Ingredients for Jennifer Aniston's salad combined in a bowl.

How to Make

This salad is super easy to whip up. To start, cook your quinoa according to the package (you can also follow my full tutorial on how to cook quinoa) directions until it has softened. Drain out any excess water, if needed.

In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, cucumbers, parsley, mint, red onion, pistachios, chickpeas, feta, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Taste and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Quinoa salad on a white plate with a fold fork.

Cooking Quinoa for Salad

When it comes to cooking quinoa to use for salad, it’s basically the same process as normal, but I like to make my quinoa a day in advance, let it cool and chill it in the fridge overnight and then use it for the salad the next day.

Prepping it in advance is just so the quinoa doesn’t heat up the other salad ingredients. Of course it’s fine to cook it the same day and just let it cool a bit before using. I do this all the time when I’m in a rush!

Quinoa salad in a white bowl with a parsley garnish.

Notes and Substitutions

  • Quinoa – I love this salad with quinoa, but you can totally swap it with cooked bulgur wheat or farro instead.
  • Cheese – I love the creaminess and flavor the feta adds, but you can easily swap it with another cheese. I bet goat cheese would be delicious! You can also skip the cheese altogether or use a dairy-free feta cheese if you want the salad to be vegan.
  • Avocado – Want to add a little more creaminess and healthy fat to your salad? Add in some chopped avocado.
  • Pistachios – Feel free to swap the pistachios with another nut. I bet roasted and salted almonds would be delicious. If you need this salad to be nut-free, you can totally swap the nuts for roasted sunflower seeds.
  • Protein – You can totally swap the chickpeas with a different type of protein or even add more protein to this salad. I love serving the salad alongside my apple cider vinegar chicken or air fryer chicken breast on top. It would also be delicious with baked tofu, tempeh, grilled shrimp or air fryer salmon.

How to Store

I love meal prepping this salad for lunches throughout the week! It stores so well and even tastes better the next day as the ingredients have time to soak up more of the flavors. To store, place leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

More Quinoa Recipes to Try

Be sure to check out all of my quinoa recipes as well as the full collection of salad recipes on EBF!

Jennifer Aniston Salad

5 from 91 votes
Here's how to make the viral Jennifer Aniston salad with quinoa or bulgur, cucumber, fresh herbs, pistachios, chickpeas and feta all tossed in lemon juice and olive oil.
Quinoa salad on a white plate with a gold fork.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa or bulgur wheat, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup mint, chopped
  • cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup roasted and salted pistachios, chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 lemons, juiced (about 5-6 Tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and drain quinoa. Add quinoa and water to a small pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool for 5-10 minutes. 
  • In a medium bowl, stir together cooked quinoa, cucumber, parsley, mint, red onion, pistachios, chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and feta.
    Ingredients for Jennifer Aniston's salad combined in a bowl.
  • Serve immediately or let the salad chill in the fridge a couple hours before serving.
  • Store salad in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge.

Notes

  • Feel free to use bulgur if desired. Add bulgur and water to a small pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Drain off any access water. Fluff with a fork and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 recipe Calories: 391kcal Carbohydrates: 37g Protein: 14g Fat: 21g Saturated Fat: 4g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 274mg Potassium: 317mg Fiber: 7g Sugar: 3g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: jennifer aniston salad

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    75 comments
    1. CJ Young
      June 23, 2022 AT 9:50 am

      5 stars
      I made this with the apple cider chicken, and it was delicious. I never knew how easy it is to make quinoa. I made the quinoa early in the day so it was chilled by the time I needed it.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 23, 2022 AT 1:46 pm

        Quinoa is super easy! So glad you were able to try this recipe out. Thank you for coming back to share your experience and leave a review! I appreciate it.

    2. Courtney
      June 23, 2022 AT 7:36 am

      5 stars
      Made this for my meal prep lunches this week, using tri-color quinoa. It’s delightful! I love the different textures and flavors. Perfect summer lunch.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 23, 2022 AT 11:29 am

        So glad you liked this recipe, Courtney! Thank you for leaving a comment and review, I so appreciate it!

    3. Ana
      June 21, 2022 AT 2:54 pm

      5 stars
      Awesome recipe, thanks! Well this does not make 6 servings at all, more like 2-3 for me (with a little less quinoa). I added some tofu in it for the softness but I’ll try with avocado too! I think this one is going to be on repeat, I might go for the 10 years too

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 22, 2022 AT 10:38 am

        Awesome, thank you for trying this recipe out Ana! I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment and review as well.

    4. KarenP
      June 20, 2022 AT 9:59 pm

      5 stars
      I was skeptical but tried this and I think my lunches are set for summer. Love the combination of ingredients and easy to put together. The quinoa is great here and I’ve not been a fan previously but no just no on bulgar 😂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 20, 2022 AT 11:08 pm

        That is so great to hear! I’m glad you’re enjoying this recipe. Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment and review, I so appreciate it!

    5. Kathy
      June 20, 2022 AT 5:53 pm

      5 stars
      Our family loves this!!! Sometimes we add an extra can of chickpeas and if the red onion is too strong soak the chopped onion in ice water for at least 10 minutes before adding and it will be delicious. We also make with the small gherkin cucumbers (with the green outside on and there are no seeds). A favorite!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 20, 2022 AT 11:16 pm

        That’s great, Kathy! So glad you’re enjoying this recipe. Thank you for leaving me a comment and review as well.

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