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The Jennifer Aniston Salad combines bulgur wheat, cucumbers, chickpeas, feta cheese, red onion, fresh herbs, and pistachios – all tossed with a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. It’s fresh, filling, and fantastic!
What is The Jennifer Aniston Salad?
If you spend anytime on social media these days, the Jennifer Aniston Salad is trending – and for good reason – it’s delicious! The story goes that this is a salad that Jennifer and some of the other cast members of the show Friends had eaten every day for 10+ years.
This simple salad reminds me of a tabouli (or tabbouleh) salad – with cooked bulgur wheat and fresh parsley and mint – plus this recipe has diced cucumbers, red onion, canned chickpeas, crumbled feta cheese, and chopped pistachios for a salty crunch in every bite.
Why You’ll Love The Jennifer Aniston Salad
- This salad is easy, delicious, and healthy – and we can totally see why Jennifer enjoys it so much!
- It’s made from simple ingredients that you might already have on hand in your pantry and fridge.
- This salad is perfect for meal planning as it doesn’t get soggy in the fridge. And, I think the salad tastes even better on the second day as the flavors have a chance to meld.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Bulgur Wheat – We used Bob’s Red Mill red bulgur wheat – a fine, quick-cooking bulgur grain that has a slightly darker color than the white/golden bulgar. You can use any type of bulgur in this salad – fine, medium or coarse – just note that the medium or coarse versions will take longer to cook and have a chewier texture.
- Fresh Herbs – Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley and fresh mint are both key flavors in this salad. Sorry – You can’t swap in dried parsley and mint…it won’t be the same.
- Cucumbers – Choose the small, Persian cucumbers that are often sold in packages of four or five in the produce section of your supermarket. If you can’t find those, the long English cucumbers – sold individually shrinkwrapped – are another good option.
- Chickpeas – Also called garbanzo beans, the canned variety is easiest to use and totally fine for this recipe. If you want to cook dried chickpeas, that’s fine too – just plan to cook them ahead of time and chill before adding to the salad.
- Red Onion – This is the ideal onion variety for salads because it has a more mellow flavor than other varieties. If your red onion smells especially pungent as you dice it, soak it in cool water while you prep the other ingredients.
- Feta Cheese – Crumbled feta adds a nice, salty flavor to the salad as well as a creamy texture in each bite. If you aren’t a fan of feta, you could swap in goat cheese or a Mexican Cotija cheese.
- Pistachios – Coarsely chop roasted and salted pistachios for this salad.
- Lemon & Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This easy salad needs nothing more than fresh lemon juice and olive oil for a dressing.
- Salt & Pepper – Don’t forget to season the salad – it really helps enhance the flavors of all of the ingredients.
- This is a salad that can easily be enhanced with other ingredients to suit your tastes and preferences.
- You could add in halved cherry or grape tomatoes (just note that the tomatoes will add extra moisture to the salad), fresh corn kernels, diced cooked chicken, other fresh herbs, different nuts, or even other canned beans.
- Some of the recipes online suggest dried cranberries or sun-dried tomatoes which would definitely add some intense but complementary flavors to the salad.
- If you want a more pronounced dressing, try adding some of our Lemon Vinaigrette or a White Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- You can also swap in other grains for the bulgur. Farro, quinoa, pearl barley, or Israeli couscous are other options.
Special Tools Needed
- Sharp knife (for all that chopping) and cutting board
- Large mixing bowl
- Lemon juicer
Tips & Tricks
Soak the raw onion in water, or water with some lemon juice. This mellows the sharp raw flavor.
How do I make The Jennifer Aniston Salad?
- Cook the bulgur wheat according to package instructions. Let cool while preparing the rest of the salad.
- Place chopped onion in cool water to soak. Drain before adding to the salad.
- Chop and measure out the rest of the ingredients.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Taste for seasonings – adding more salt and pepper to taste as needed. Add more lemon juice and oil if you’d like.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled. Add extra feta cheese on top when serving if you’d like.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance can I make this salad? For best results, up to a day in advance.
How do I store the leftovers? Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
How long will this salad last in the refrigerator? Up to three or four days for best flavor and texture.
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The Jennifer Aniston Salad
3 1/2 cups cooked bulgur wheat (we started with 1 cup uncooked red bulgur (Bob’s Red Mill brand) and cooked it in two cups water)
3 mini cucumbers (2 cups after quartering and slicing)
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped red onion, soaked for 10 minutes in cool water then drained.
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
2 cups chickpeas, drained (Note: 14.5 ounce can will yield less than two cups. You can add less, or buy a larger can to measure out 2 cups)
Juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta, plus more for serving
- Cook the red bulgur wheat according to package instructions. Pour out on to a platter to cool. Fluff with a fork.
- Place chopped onion in cool water to take some of the bite out of the onion, then drain.
- Prepare all other ingredients and toss in a large bowl with the cooked bulgur wheat and the drained onion.
- Serve with additional feta cheese over each portion if you’d like.
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As mentioned in the post above, this salad is very forgiving. Feel free to swap in different cooked grains, other vegetables and fresh herbs, different nuts, etc.
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