If you haven’t heard about the viral Jennifer Aniston Salad that’s been taking over social media, allow me to change that for you.
This crave-worthy salad is made with bulgur wheat, crunchy veggies, fresh herbs, chickpeas, pistachios, and feta tossed in a lemon vinaigrette.
So, why is it called the Jennifer Aniston salad? Rumor has it the queen herself ate this very salad on the set of Friends nearly every day for 10 years.
Don’t ask me how confident I am in the accuracy of this statement, because like I said—it’s mostly a rumor. That being said, we do know that Jennifer Aniston shared the recipe on Instagram back in 2015, calling it a “perfect salad.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but if Jennifer Aniston calls a dish perfect, I think we can assume it’s a winning recipe. Just my two cents.
The best salads are the ones with plenty of variation in the textures, flavors, and colors. That’s one of the reasons why the Jennifer Aniston Salad has quickly become such a cult favorite.
Bright, tangy, earthy, and salty flavors. Crunchy, soft, and creamy textures. Vibrant green, yellow, and purple colors.
It's basically a fun twist on traditional Middle Eastern tabouli and has every component of the perfect salad.
Shall we get started?
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make
- Works great for meal prep
- Light, refreshing, and perfect for the summer
- Amazing balance of flavors
- Loaded with beneficial nutrients
- Great source of protein, carbs, and healthy fats
What's in the Jennifer Aniston Salad?
Here’s a breakdown of the wholesome ingredients you’ll need for this delicious salad.
- Bulgur Wheat: This nutritious cereal grain is similar in texture to quinoa and couscous. If you can’t find bulgur wheat at the grocery store, you can use farro, quinoa, or Israeli couscous instead.
- Fresh Veggies: Diced cucumbers and red onions are the perfect crunchy and flavor additions to any salad, and this one is no exception. I like to use English cucumbers because they’re sweeter than regular cucumbers.
- Chickpeas: Canned chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. Rinse them first to cut out all the excess sodium from the canning liquid.
- Feta Cheese: This tangy, crumbly cheese tastes wonderful and adds a creamy component to the dish. You could also use goat cheese if preferred.
- Pistachios: Roasted and salted pistachios add protein, fiber, and a really nice crunch to the salad.
- Fresh Herbs: Flat-leaf parsley and mint add tons of bright, delicious flavor to this salad. Make sure to wash and dry your herbs well before chopping them.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice instantly brightens up any salad and takes it to the next level.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Use high-quality olive oil to maximize flavor and get those heart-healthy fats. Rumor has it that she ate this salad plain, but again, no one really knows. I like to add the extra virgin olive oil for some healthy fat to help absorb the fat-soluble nutrients. Plus, it tastes amazing.
How to Make the Jennifer Aniston Salad
This vibrant, refreshing salad is not only delicious—it’s easy to make. If you cook the bulgur ahead of time, you can make the salad in just a few minutes. All you have to do is follow the simple steps below.
Step 1: Cook Bulgur Wheat
In a medium pot, cook the bulgar wheat by combining dry bulgar with double the amount of water (½ cup bulgar with 1 cup water).
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Then, simmer for 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Set it aside to cool while you chose the rest of the ingredients.
Fluff it with a fork as it cools. The bulgar can be made up to a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
Note: Bulgar is soaked and not simmered in a traditional tabouli recipe. You can do it either way. I prefer to cook it.
Step 2: Chop and Mix Veggies
Chop the red onion, parsley, mint, pistachios, and cucumber, then add to a large mixing bowl. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, feta, and fluffed bulgar wheat.
It’s best to have allowed the bulgar to cool a bit but it’s okay if it’s still warm. Gently mix all of the ingredients together.
Step 3: Finish and Serve
Top with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and salt, to taste. Set aside for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to come together or enjoy right away.
Health Benefits of Bulgur Wheat
While bulgur wheat is relatively underrated in the United States, people have enjoyed it in other parts of the world for centuries in dishes like traditional tabouli.
This cereal grain is loaded with nutrients that offer tons of amazing health benefits to the body. Note that it is not gluten-free, so use quinoa or another gluten-free grain if you follow a gluten-free lifestyle.
Here are some of the most impressive health benefits of bulgur wheat:
- Has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease
- Reduces blood pressure and improves insulin resistance
- Supports a healthy digestive system and gut health
- Promotes weight loss and healthy weight management
Ways to Customize
Want to switch things up? Here are some tasty ways to customize your salad:
- Protein: Want to swap out the chickpeas or add even more protein to your salad? Chopped chicken breast and shredded rotisserie chicken both make great options.
- Veggies: If you want to incorporate more vegetables into your salad, go for it! Halved cherry tomatoes, green onions, and corn kernels would all work great.
- Sweet: Want to add a touch of sweetness? Toss in some dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate arils.
- Cheese: You can swap the feta for goat cheese or leave it out altogether to make the Jennifer Aniston salad vegan.
- Fat: For some added healthy fats and a delightfully creamy texture, toss in some avocado chunks.
- Crunch: Feel free to replace the pistachios with another crunchy component like slivered almonds, roasted sunflower seeds, or roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Dressing: While I love the simplicity of an olive oil and lemon juice combo, you can easily use any light vinaigrette you like in its place. An apple cider vinaigrette, for example, would work really well.
Say hello to your new favorite summer salad! This Jennifer Aniston Salad recipe is chock-full of delicious flavors and beneficial nutrients from ingredients like bulgur wheat, fresh vegetables, chickpeas, and feta. This recipe makes about 8 side salad servings or 4 meal-sized servings.
- ½ cup dried bulgur wheat
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup minced red onion (about ¼ of a medium red onion)
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, finely chopped (about 1 big handful)
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1 big handful)
- ½ cup shelled pistachios, rough chopped
- 2 cups diced English cucumber
- 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
- juice of 1 large lemon (at least 3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (omit if desired)
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
- In a medium pot, cook the bulgar wheat by combining dry bulgar with double the amount of water (½ cup bulgar with 1 cup water). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Set it aside to cool while you chose the rest of the ingredients. Fluff it with a fork as it cools.
- Chop the red onion, parsley, mint, pistachios, and cucumber, then add to a large mixing bowl. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, feta, and fluffed bulgar wheat. It’s best to have allowed the bulgar to cool a bit but it’s okay if it’s still warm. Gently mix all of the ingredients together.
- Top with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and salt, to taste. Set aside for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to come together or serve immediately and enjoy!
Make-Ahead: The bulgar can be made up to a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
Keywords: jennifer aniston salad, bulgur wheat salad, healthy mediterranean salad, viral salad recipe
Jennifer Aniston Salad FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most popular questions about the viral Jennifer Aniston Salad recipe:
Is the Jennifer Aniston salad healthy?
Yes! This light and refreshing salad is packed with plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
It’s simply dressed and made with whole, natural ingredients. The Jennifer Aniston Salad is naturally vegetarian and can easily be made dairy-free as well.
What is bulgur wheat?
Bulgur wheat is an ancient grain most commonly known for its role as the base of traditional tabbouleh. It’s made from cracked whole-grain wheat kernels that are parboiled, then dried.
The parboiling process makes bulgur wheat a quick grain to cook since it’s already partially cooked. It has a mild nutty flavor similar to that of quinoa or farro and is packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients.
Can you store this dish for later?
Absolutely. This salad works great as a healthy meal prep option for lunch. You can store this dish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the salad dressing separately in a jar or container for up to a week.
If everything is already combined, I recommend enjoying it within 3-4 days. Check out my guide on how to prepare make-ahead salad jars to learn the best way to stack your ingredients for optimal freshness.
More Delicious Salad Recipes You’ll Love
Looking for more amazing salad recipes for the summer? Try these next: