Jennifer Aniston Salad – Fresh and Gluten Free6 min read
The Jennifer Aniston Salad is fresh, crunchy, and packed with plant-based protein. Enjoy this light, gluten free salad as a healthy lunch or dinner.
Alternatively titled, “The One with the New Lunchtime Obsession.” 😉
I don’t know about you but anytime I hear the name “Jennifer Aniston” followed by preeetty much anything else, I’m in. If it works for Jennifer Aniston, it works for me!
That said, I recently stumbled upon a dish via TikTok that Jen once described as her “perfect salad” and couldn’t resist making it the very same day. Ding, ding, ding – we had a winner!
The Jennifer Aniston Salad is fresh, crunchy, healthy, and packed with plant-based protein. I’ve been eating it on repeat as a light lunch and protein-filled snack after a challenging workout, plus I plan on making this salad for every BBQ or potluck I host or attend from now until Labor Day.
Could this salad BE any more health goddess-esque?!
Not THAT Salad
If you’re a Friends television show fanatic then you probably know that Jennifer Aniston says she ate the same salad every day for 10 years with co-stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow while filming the series. THIS Jennifer Aniston Salad is not THAT Jennifer Aniston Salad.
The salad she ate on set was a Cobb Salad, while this one is a riff on tabbouleh. Years ago she shared a photo of it on Instagram with the caption “My perfect salad” and listed off the ingredients inside her bowl.
Celebrities — they’re just like us! 😉
What’s in the Jennifer Aniston Salad
- Quinoa: The salad Jen shared on Instagram was bulgur wheat-based but since bulgur isn’t gluten free, I swapped it with cooked quinoa instead. Quinoa is a nutrient dense seed, not a grain, and is a great source of plant-based protein, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Chicken or Vegetable Stock: I cook the quinoa in stock or broth instead of water to give it more flavor.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are high in fiber and protein. I use low-sodium canned chickpeas for convenience.
- Cucumber: I prefer dicing up an English cucumber to toss into this dish because it doesn’t need to be peeled nor seeded first. I love the fresh flavor and crunch it lends to each bite. Feel free to use regular or even persian cucumbers instead.
- Red Onion: Minced red onion adds a spicy nice crunch to the Jennifer Aniston Salad. If you’re sensitive to red onion, chopped green onion tastes great too.
- Fresh Herbs: What I love most about this quinoa salad is the inclusion of fresh parsley and mint. The fresh mint flavor, especially, really shines through. Did you know that herbs are full of antioxidants and vitamins? Bring them on!
- Pistachios: I love that Jen thought to include pistachios in this dish. The salty, satisfying crunch adds lots of flavor and protein. I think chopped walnuts, almonds, or even sunflower seeds would be fabulous alternatives if you don’t have pistachios on hand.
- Feta Cheese: Crumbled feta cheese adds tangy flavor that you can really pick out in each bite. If you’d like to keep the salad dairy free and vegan, you can use vegan feta (or leave it out). I’ve heard VioLife brand of vegan feta is amazing.
- Lemon Dressing: While Jen chose not to dress her salad, or at least didn’t mention it in her Instagram post, I think a super simple combination of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of honey brightens up the whole dish.
Great for Meal Prep
This recipe makes a TON of salad which is great because you can portion it out for easy lunches all week long. I also started lifting weights this past spring, and have been upping my protein intake. That said, I find a big scoop of Jennifer Aniston Salad makes a great post-workout snack. Love that boost of protein and nutrition!
Personally I think the quinoa and chickpea salad is totally satisfying on its own, but feel free to pair with grilled or roasted chicken, roasted or sauteed shrimp, a sizzling grilled steak, or even a sliced avocado to add healthy fats. YASS!
Fresh, crunchy, and healthy to boot, I hope you’ll give this gorgeous salad a try! Let’s get to it.
How to Make the Jennifer Aniston Salad
Start by cooking quinoa in chicken or vegetable stock until tender. Bring the stock to a boil in a pot then add the dry quinoa, turn the heat down, and then cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the stock has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. The cooking process is very similar to cooking rice. You’ll know the quinoa is done when it “pops” into what look like tiny little springs. The texture is so great.
Scoop the quinoa into a storage dish or large bowl with a lid to cool before placing into the refrigerator to chill completely. I usually do this a day ahead of time.
Once the quinoa is chilled, add all your goodies. We’ve got canned chickpeas that have been drained and rinsed, chopped pistachios, crumbled feta cheese, diced cucumber, and minced red onion.
Plus lots of chopped fresh herbs including parsley and mint. SO GOOD.
Last step is to whisk up a simple Lemon Dressing to dress the salad with. That’s just equal parts lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil whisked with a drizzle of honey, plus pinches of salt and pepper.
Drizzle however much of the lemon dressing you’d like over the quinoa salad then toss to combine. Serve right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. I hope you love this simple yet seriously stunning quinoa salad from Miss Jennifer Aniston herself! Enjoy!
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The Jennifer Aniston Salad is fresh, crunchy, and packed with protein! Enjoy this light, gluten free salad as a healthy lunch or dinner.
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1/2 small red onion, minced
- 1/2 packed cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 loosely-packed cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted salted pistachios, chopped
- 1 cup (4oz) crumbled feta cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the Lemon Dressing:
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the Lemon Dressing: Add ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid, or small bowl, then shake or whisk to combine.
- Add chicken or vegetable stock to a small saucepan over high heat then bring to a boil. Add quinoa then turn heat down to low, place a lid on top, and simmer until quinoa is tender and broth has been absorbed, 15 minutes. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork then scoop into a storage container or large mixing bowl with a lid to cool. Once cool, cover then refrigerate until chilled. Can be done a day or two ahead of time.
- Add chilled quinoa to a large mixing bowl then add remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing then toss to combine and serve, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Be sure to purchase quinoa that’s labeled “pre-rinsed”. I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa.
- The quinoa is best cooked a day ahead of time so it’s chilled and ready to be mixed with the rest of the salad ingredients on the day you want to eat.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin