How to Make the Famous Jennifer Aniston Salad

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Everyone is talking about this viral Jennifer Aniston salad, and we can see why—it's delicious!

So no one told you life was going to be this way. Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, you eat the same salad every day…or, at least, if you’re Jennifer Aniston, that is. Bonus points if you sang that line to the theme song. You’re a true Friends fan.

As one of the most famous and beloved sitcoms in TV history, Friends has impacted global pop culture and our kitchens too. Example: The Jennifer Aniston salad we’re putting to the test today. While Ross’ mouthwatering Moistmaker sandwich may be the most iconic recipe from the show, it’s Jennifer Aniston’s real-life favorite salad is the recipe that’s currently blowing up social media.

Keep reading to learn more about the legend behind the viral Jennifer Aniston salad recipe, how to make it, and our tips for making the recipe even better.

What Makes This Recipe So Famous?

Legend has it that Jennifer Aniston (and subsequently Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, once they tried it) ate the same salad on the set of Friends for 10 years straight. In a 2010 Los Angeles Times article, Courtney Cox revealed the salad as one of her favorite rituals during her time filming the sitcom.

“It was a Cobb salad that Jennifer doctored up with turkey bacon and garbanzo beans and I don’t know what,” she explained. “She just has a way with food, which really helps. Because if you’re going to eat the same salad every day for 10 years, it’d better be a good salad, right?”

Years later, Jennifer herself elaborated on the recipe during a takeover of the company Living Proof’s Instagram account. She described her perfect salad as, “bulgur, cucumbers, parsley, mint, red onion, garbanzo beans, feta cheese and pistachios.”

While it’s debatable if this is actually the same recipe as the one she enjoyed with her BFFs during her tenure on Friends or a variation, the internet seems to agree unanimously that this salad is healthy, well-balanced, bursting with fresh ingredients, and, importantly, does not taste like feet.

How to Make Jennifer Aniston’s Friends Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bulgur wheat, cooked (about 1 cup uncooked)
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped (about 1 English cucumber)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced (about 1 small onion)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked turkey bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Yield: serves 6 entree portions (or 10-12 side servings)

Directions

Step 1: Cook the Bulgur

Jennifer Aniston Salad bulgarLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a saucepan, cook the bulgur according to the package directions. Once fully cooked, transfer to a bowl and let cool. (This is another Mediterranean bulgur salad we love.)

Step 2: Cook the Turkey Bacon

Jennifer Aniston Salad turkey baconLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a frying pan, cook the turkey bacon until crisp. Remove, let cool, then roughly chop.

Editor’s Note: This is the one ingredient discrepancy between the 2010 Courtney Cox interview and Jen’s Instagram takeover. We decided to add it to our recipe to marry the two recipes together and loved the savory, salty flavor it lent the recipe. However, feel free to omit if you would like to keep the recipe vegetarian.

Step 3: Chop Everything “Real Nice”

Jennifer Aniston Salad Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Chop, slice, and dice (or julienne if you please) the remaining salad ingredients and arrange them on a cutting board.

Step 4: Make the Dressing

Jennifer Aniston Salad dressingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper—just as you would for any homemade vinaigrette.

Step 5: Toss and Serve

Jennifer Aniston Salad Lauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Combine the ingredients together in a serving bowl and toss to combine with the dressing. Serve immediately.

Editor’s Note: We enjoyed this salad at room temperature and also chilled after two days in the fridge. It’s a great recipe to meal prep for lunches or to make ahead for busy weeknight dinners. Try these salad prep tips for the best results.

How to Make This Salad Even Better

Jennifer Aniston Salad 042222 Toh 09 Lauren HabermehlLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Full disclosure: We’re obsessed. After devouring the first batch, I immediately made a second batch to enjoy for lunch all week long. I can see why the women of Friends munched on this salad recipe daily for a decade. It’s light, refreshing, tastes healthy, and is ultra-filling too.

However, one must ask themselves, could this salad be any more delicious?! The answer is: yes!

Here are our tips and suggestions for taking the original Jennifer Aniston salad recipe to the next level.

  • Change up the grains: If you don’t keep bulgur stocked in your pantry or want to make a gluten-free Jennifer Aniston salad, feel free to swap the bulgur for an equal amount of cooked quinoa or brown rice. Farro or barley would be other tasty (but not gluten-free) grains to try.
  • Add lean protein: Between the chickpeas, turkey bacon, and bulgur, this salad is actually pretty stacked with protein. However, if you’re looking to add another healthy dose of protein, we could see grilled chicken breasts, shrimp skewers, or sliced marinated flank steak tasting great with this wholesome salad recipe.
  • Add odds and ends: Don’t be afraid to deviate from the ingredients. Reach into the depths of your pantry and toss in a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, or even dried cranberries. The thing we love most about this Jennifer Aniston salad recipe is it’s easy to adapt and build upon.
  • Roast the chickpeas: For a little extra crunch, we recommend roasting your chickpeas. It’s an easy way to add even more texture and another layer of flavor to this sensational salad.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.