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May 25, 2008 01:05 PM

Favorite fast-food or fast-casual salad?

Hi Chowhounds,

I am interested in finding out what people's favorite salads are from any national fast food chain (Burger King, Wendys, etc. etc.) or fast casual chain (Qdoba, Panera Bread, etc. etc.). What are your favorites and why do you like it. Hopefully this will help people like me who wants to get in the habit of eating out but eating healthy!

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  1. Not a salad per se, but at Jack in the Box, get the teriyaki bowl w/o rice and double veggies - I also get the sauce on the side as they usually drench it and it's laden w/ sugar, so I either use it sparingly or add soy sauce.

    Baja Fresh or La Salsa salads w/o the cheese or tortilla strips, w/ chicken or shrimp and salsa smothered on top.

    At Wendy's, get a plain baked potato topped w/ a plain grilled chicken breast.

    At Taco Bell, get off the Fresco menu - salad w/ salsa and double grilled chicken.

    Koo Koo Roo - chicken, steamed veggies, butternut squash (sometimes available)

    Subway does salads w/ grilled chicken breasts as well and offers fat free ranch dressing, as well as Italian.

    As a general rule, order dressings on the side, leave off cheese (it's usually processed crap anyway), and use light condiments such as salsa. Also consider paying to double the serving of protein, which is often skimpy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Emme

      When I go to Wendy's, I skip all the burgers, order the plain baked potato and the small chili (note: do not order the "chili stuffed potato" - you get way less chili for the same price). I scoop out most of the flesh of the potato, and load it up with the chili. This removes a lot of the starchy calories from the spud, and adds fibre and protein. I'll confess I do mix in a little of the sour cream as well, but I'm trying to do low-carb, not low fat.

    2. Years ago I loved the ceasar salad at Corner Bakery in Chicago, mind you it is actually much healthier to get a six piece nugget from McDonalds! I stay away from salads at those places now*~

      1. i love the salads at Culvers. Chicken cashew or chicken/blue/cheese/pecan, but of course they're no where near low-fat. calorie count on the cashew one isn't too bad for a meal. wendy's are pretty good, when they have them. panera, you can customize it anyway you want. yesterday i had a strawberry/blueberry salad (their Poppyseed one) w/ chicken, add avocado and side of balsamic vinaigrette. not too fond of their fat free dressings b/c they taste so sweet.

        1. I enjoy McDonald's Asian salad, which I think is a level above their standard burger offerings in quality of ingredients. You can make it relatively low-fat by choosing the grilled chicken option and going light on the dressing. Ingredients include mandarin oranges and edame.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Emm

            I was driving from Boston to Detroit for a funeral and discovered McD's asian salad w grilled chicken. It was a pleasant surprise to get such a good quality salad on the NY Turnpike. Very good ginger dressing, too.

            1. re: Emm

              That one is good. I like the Southwestern one as well. Grilled chicken and not too much dressing.....

            2. Baja Fresh's "Baja Ensalada" with chicken, hold the queso fresco. Really good, piled high with freshly grilled chicken.