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 it should come as no surprise that when I discovered the Jennifer Aniston salad, it was an immediate “I must make this now” situation.
You see, I was watching an excessive number of YouTube videos (anyone else obsessed with Vogue’s celebrity makeup tutorials?) when I saw a video recommended for me titled something along the lines of “I ate like the Friends cast for a day.” A “what I ate in a day” video combined with an iconic TV show? Intrigued is an understatement. In the video, I watched as the creator made this delicious-looking bulgur salad and reported that this was what Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow ate together for lunch every day on set for 10 years. I’m not sure I’ve ever committed to anything for that long, so obviously this salad had to be good. I’m never going to turn down the chance to try a new recipe—especially one that came from Jennifer Aniston herself.
As I scoured the internet for an exact recipe, I learned that this salad was not in fact the one the Friends actors ate for 10 years (that, allegedly, was a doctored up Cobb salad). This salad, now known as the Jennifer Aniston salad, was what she shared when she did a takeover for Living Proof in 2015 showcasing a day in her life, including her meals. Regardless, that didn’t deter me from trying this at home, and here’s how you can too.
How to make the Jennifer Aniston salad
Assembling the salad is pretty straightforward. I used this recipe and its measurements, 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 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 here. 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, 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 first bite, I was genuinely impressed. I would never have thought of pairing pistachios and mint together in a salad, but both flavors worked really well together. The veggies gave a nice crunch, and the simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil kept the salad feeling fresh and light. I ended up having seconds and then a few more bites after because it was just that good. I know this wasn’t the exact salad that the cast of Friends ate for 10 years, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t eat it every day for lunch.
I was originally interested in making this salad because not only did it seem super easy, but it’s also a filling, plant-based 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. Plus, if you want to make it completely vegan, you can omit the feta or use a plant-based cheese instead.
What I really loved about this salad (aside from the fact that Jennifer Aniston eats it) is that it is completely customizable. While I love all the ingredients as is, I could also switch out the bulgur for a different grain, add additional spices, or throw in some more veggies. Given how easy it is to make ahead of time, it also makes for a great meal prep dish to add to your weekly rotation.
The final verdict
It truly makes me wonder if the secret to Jennifer Aniston’s glowing success is healthy hacks like throwing together this salad. While I don’t think eating this salad daily or even weekly is going to turn me into her, a girl can dream, right? Regardless, I am definitely recommending this salad to everyone I know for an easy, nutrient-dense, meal prep recipe.