Jennifer Aniston Quinoa Salad (Famous Viral Recipe!)

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Kayla Berman

Jennifer Aniston’s Quinoa Salad took the internet by storm for good reason! Made with quinoa, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, pistachios, fresh herbs, and a simple lemon vinaigrette … this flavorful and crunchy salad is one of the best I’ve ever had. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats … this lettuce-less salad is just as nutritious as it is delicious. Perfect for a healthy dinner, lunch, or meal prep!

This post is sponsored by Success Rice but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Wellness by Kay possible!

Love this viral recipe? You’re sure to love some other viral salads too. Like my take on the TikTok Raw Carrot Salad.

Close up shot of a spoonful of the Jennifer Aniston Salad

What is the Jennifer Aniston Salad?

This salad went viral all over social media for being the salad that Jennifer Aniston ate on the set of friends for ten years. The internet went crazy for it! Because who wouldn’t want the salad that Jennifer (and maybe Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow) ate!?!

However, after some investigating and word from Jen herself, she actually did not eat this salad everyday while filming the hit sitcom. She instead ate a Cobb salad of sorts. This news was slightly disappointing – but honestly I am not mad because the world needed to know about this salad. It is SO dang good!

Also do not worry! This recipe is still a Jennifer Aniston salad. She had posted the recipe on her Instagram years ago and called it her “perfect salad.” She did use bulgur wheat in her original recipe, but the internet seems to have changed it along the way to include quinoa instead! Either works for me.

The Jennifer Aniston chickpea salad is a tabbouleh inspired dish. Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern herb salad featuring loads of fresh parsley, mint, lemon, and bulgur wheat. She added some other tasty ingredients like crunchy pistachios, crisp cucumber, and salty feta cheese.

Looking for more recipes that the internet became obsessed with? Stop by my Gigi Hadid Spicy Vodka Pasta or Joe & The Juice Tunacado Copycat Sandwich next.

Quinoa salad with chickpeas, feta cheese, pistachios, red onion, and fresh herbs

Why You’ll Love This Jennifer Aniston Quinoa Salad

I absolutely LOVE this recipe! When I saw it being made all over the internet I knew it looked good and thought I would like it, but dang it surprised me. It is even better than it looks!

I know for a fact that I will be coming back to this one again and again and again. I’m sure you will too for all the reasons below, it is:

  • Nutritious & Delicious: It is not often I find a recipe that strikes the exact balance between nutritious and delicious. However, the Jennifer Aniston Quinoa Salad strikes it perfectly! It is jam packed with both flavor and nutrition. You’ve got tons of plant-based protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats all from a recipe you won’t be able to stop eating. It’s truly a diamond in the rough!
  • Super Easy: This quick and easy recipe requires 3 simple steps. Prepare the quinoa, chop the ingredients, and make the dressing. Then combine. That’s it!
  • Perfect for Meal Prep: You know what is the best part about this salad? It gets better with age! That cannot be said for most recipes, especially salads … but this lettuce-less one has lasting power. You’ll find the flavors to be best on day 2 or 3!
  • Unique: I mean who would think that quinoa, pistachios, feta cheese, and fresh mint go together excellently? Not me!! Top it all off with a maple mustard lemon vinaigrette and this recipe is a uniquely delicious salad that will truly blow your socks off.
Jen Aniston Quinoa Salad ingredients in a mixing bowl before combining

Ingredients & Substitutions

Quinoa Salad Ingredients

This famous salad went viral on social media for good reason! It is loaded with fresh, flavorful, and unique ingredients. They come together to make a salad that strikes the perfect balance between nutritious and delicious.

  • Quinoa: The base of this lettuce-free, gluten free salad is quinoa! I used Success Boil-In-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa for a quick, mess-free preparation of the whole grain. It makes prepping this healthy salad SO easy.
  • Garbanzo Beans: Garbanzo beans (a.k.a chickpeas) add a great boost of plant-based protein to this salad.
  • Feta Cheese: I always love adding salty, tangy feta cheese to a salad! It just puts such a delicious flavor in each and every bite.
  • Pistachios: Chopped pistachios are probably my favorite ingredient in this delicious salad. They are just SO yummy … and a unique addition that I will now be adding to my salads for years to come.
  • Cucumber: Cucumber adds perfect crispy, crunchy freshness here. I like to use English cucumbers because they are typically seedless and I find the texture to be better!
  • Red Onion: Red onion adds a nice bite and zing of flavor to this salad. I also love the pop of bright purple color that the chopped onion adds. Read on to my Expert Tips section to see how I like to mellow the strong flavor of raw onion a bit!
  • Fresh Herbs: The fresh herbs are absolutely key here! Parsley and mint add incredible flavor that you simply cannot skip.
Jennifer Aniston Salad ingredients measured out on a white surface

Salad Dressing Ingredients

This Jen Aniston salad is dressed with a very basic vinaigrette! It is actually the same one I use in my popular Warm Brussels Sprout Salad.

  • Olive Oil: The base of this vinaigrette is extra virgin olive oil. Make sure to use one of high quality for the best results!
  • Lemon: I pretty much never prepare salad dressing without fresh lemon juice. It’s just the best!
  • Pure Maple Syrup: The original Jen salad recipe does not have any sweetener in its dressing, but I like to add a touch of pure maple syrup to add some sweetness. I think it balances and complements all the salty flavors in this salad beautifully!
  • Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard is also a personal addition of mine. It adds a strong, slightly spicy flavor and a bit of creaminess too.
  • Salt & Pepper: Lastly, season the dressing to your personal preference with salt and black pepper.
Simple lemon vinaigrette ingredients measured out on a white surface

Equipment Needed

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How To Make The Jennifer Aniston Salad

This viral recipe is quite easy to make! It comes together in just about 4 steps: chop ingredients, cook quinoa, mix salad dressing, and combine.

Plus it can all be accomplished in just about 30 minutes!

Step 1: Prepare the Success Boil-In-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa according to the package directions. Set aside. I recommend placing the cooked quinoa in the fridge or freezer once cooked to chill before combining with the other salad ingredients.

Step 2: Prepare the lemon vinaigrette. Add the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, pure maple syrup, and dijon mustard to a small jar or mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Step 3: Combine salad ingredients. Next to a large bowl add the cooked Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, feta cheese, pistachios, red onion, fresh mint, and fresh parsley. Pour the lemon vinaigrette on top. Toss to combine.

Step 4: Serve and enjoy! I recommend chilling for 30 minutes before if you can.

Optional Variations & Dietary Adaptations

I think this recipe truly is a perfect salad as is! But as always .. there is room for you to make substitutions or additions to meet your personal preferences or needs.

  • Cheese: I think crumbled feta works so well in this viral salad recipe. However, you could really use any cheese that you’d like. Goat cheese would be the best replacement in my opinion!
  • Nuts & Seeds: I love the nice crunch and subtle sweetness that pistachios add here. They are such a fun ingredient! But feel free to swap in anything similar that you have on hand – cashews, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds would all work.
  • Add Lettuce: Salads sans lettuce are my favorite – like my Zesty Quinoa & Black Bean Salad or Burrata Caprese Salad! It typically means more flavor and lasting power. However, that does not mean that lettuce would not be a nice touch here. Feel free to add it! Perhaps some nutritious mixed greens or crisp romaine.
  • Switch The Beans: Garbanzo beans could easily be swapped with any other bean! I think cannellini beans would be best.
  • Herbs: While I do not recommend leaving the fresh herbs out of this easy salad recipe entirely, I do think you could use different ones. Use whichever is your favorite … fresh dill, fresh basil, etc.
  • Grain: Any grain would work in place of the quinoa here! Farro, bulgur wheat (what is used in the actual salad), brown rice, or even Israeli couscous. Like in my Mediterranean Chickpea Couscous Salad.
Jen Aniston quinoa chickpea salad

Expert Tips

Cook and cool quinoa first! When preparing this tasty salad, I like to prepare the quinoa first to give it time to properly cool before assembling the salad. Then while I am chopping the veggies and mixing the dressing I place the cooked quinoa in the fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process. It works like a charm!

Remove the raw onion bite! I personally have a love-hate relationship with raw red onion. I think it is a tasty, often vital, salad ingredient … but it also can be too strong of a flavor that ruins a dish for me. SO I always use my raw red onion trick! Simply chop, dice, or slice the red onion as needed and then place in cool water for 10-15 minutes. This removes that sharp bite and leaves a more enjoyable taste in its place!

Chop finely! I find chopped salads to be the best kind of salad there is. While this famous salad does not have “chopped” in the name, I still recommend chopping all of the ingredients finely – cucumber, red onion, pistachios, fresh herbs. This ensures you get the delicious flavor from each ingredient in every single bite! If you are interested in some actual chopped salads – check out my Mediterranean Chopped Salad or Italian Grinder Chopped Salad.

Fresh and high quality ingredients! This tip can be applied to any recipe you ever make. The higher quality ingredients you use will typically lead to better results. However, I think this is even more important in a fresh veggie salad like this one. Make sure to use high quality extra virgin olive oil and feta cheese and vegetables and herbs in their prime.

Use Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa! This will help your quinoa salad come together in a snap. The quinoa takes just 10 minutes to cook and turns out perfectly fluffy every time. Plus it is the perfect portion for this recipe.

Jennifer Aniston Salad in a bowl with feta cheese, pistachios, and a box of Success Rice Quinoa on the side

Serving Suggestions

There are countless wonderful ways to serve Jennifer Aniston’s salad! Here are my ideas:

Storing Suggestions

You can store this celebrity salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

I actually think it is most ideal after 1 day in the fridge. It will be perfectly chilled and the flavors will have had the chance to really develop! Then the salad will slowly lose its freshness and crispness over the days, but it still keeps excellently. Especially for a salad.

To keep your salad as best as possible for as long as possible you could store the dressing and all other ingredients separately. Then dress as you go!

Alternatively, for a fun and useful storage method you can use mason jars, probably 3 or 4. Add dressing and then layer the salad ingredients from heartiest on the bottom to least hearty on top! I would start with the quinoa and chickpeas and end with the fresh herbs and cucumber. This way the most vulnerable ingredients won’t get soggy! Plus you’ll have pre-portioned servings.

Quinoa salad with chickpeas, feta cheese, pistachios, and fresh herbs

FAQs

Can I meal prep this recipe?

Absolutely! This grain salad is truly the perfect recipe to prepare ahead of time.

Since this salad has no lettuce and mainly hearty ingredients it actually keeps extremely well. It may even be better a day or two later because all the flavors can really develop.

Check out my storing suggestions above to see tips for maintaining the salad’s maximum freshness!

Is the Jennifer Aniston Quinoa Salad healthy?

I am not a dietician or nutritionist, but yes in my opinion this salad is a very healthy option. It is loaded with good-for-you ingredients!

Quinoa is actually not a whole grain, but a seed. It’s got fiber, protein, zinc, and even antioxidants! It is also gluten free with vitamins and minerals.

Chickpeas have great health benefits too! The high protein legume is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber too.

Not to mention you get tons of healthy fats from the pistachios and extra virgin olive oil in this salad.
Overall I think it is both nutritious and delicious! It is well balanced and makes for a satisfying meal.

Jennifer Aniston Tabbouleh-Style Salad before combining

Related Recipes

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Connect With Me!

If you make this Jennifer Aniston Salad recipe or any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on Instagram so I can see and share your recreations.

Spoonful of the Jennifer Aniston Friends Salad

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Jennifer Aniston Quinoa Salad (Famous Viral Recipe!)

Jennifer Aniston’s Quinoa Salad took the internet by storm for good reason! Made with quinoa, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, pistachios, fresh herbs, and a simple lemon vinaigrette … this flavorful and crunchy salad is one of the best I’ve ever had. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fats … this lettuce-less salad is just as nutritious as it is delicious. Perfect for a healthy dinner, lunch, or meal prep!

  • Author: Kayla Berman
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 34 Servings 1x
  • Category: Salad

Ingredients

Scale

Quinoa Salad

  • 1 bag Success Boil-In-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa, or 1 heaping cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. First prepare the Success Boil-In-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa according to the package directions. Set aside. I recommend placing in the fridge or freezer once cooked to chill before combining with the other salad ingredients.
  2. Then prepare the lemon vinaigrette. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, pure maple syrup, and dijon mustard to a small jar or mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Next to a large mixing bowl add the cooked Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, feta cheese, pistachios, red onion, fresh mint, and fresh parsley. Pour the lemon vinaigrette on top. Toss to combine.
  4. Serve and enjoy! I recommend chilling for 30 minutes before if you can.

Keywords: Jennifer Aniston Salad, Jennifer Aniston Quinoa Salad, Jennifer Aniston Salad Recipe, Jen Aniston Salad, Jennifer Anistons Salad, Jennifer Aniston Chickpea Salad, Friends Salad

This post may contain affiliate links, which if a product is purchased through I may recieve a small compensation. I only recommend products I love and use in my life and cooking! Thank you for supporting wellnessbykay.

4 Comments

  1. Kelly Henderson

    I have made this many, many times. Its so good! 😋 I’ve never made the dressing with maple syrup or Dijon Mustard. I’ll have to give it a try, sometime. One of my favorite salads. 🥗

  2. I made this salad Tonite..all I can say is yummy.yummy. I did add some chopped fresh mint from my herb garden..the dressing was very good..thank you for such a healthy salad..so very lite and refreshing

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