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Favorite fast-food or fast-casual salad?

tom82 May 25, 2008 01:05 PM

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. Emme RE: tom82 May 25, 2008 02:07 PM

    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
      KevinB RE: Emme May 25, 2008 03:17 PM

      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.

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      Kam7185 RE: tom82 May 25, 2008 04:45 PM

      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*~

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        NirvRush RE: tom82 May 26, 2008 06:22 AM

        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.

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          Emm RE: tom82 May 26, 2008 07:07 AM

          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
            three of us RE: Emm May 27, 2008 09:07 AM

            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
              libgirl2 RE: Emm May 27, 2008 01:18 PM

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

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              Oh Robin RE: tom82 May 26, 2008 08:31 AM

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

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                starbucksbrew RE: tom82 May 26, 2008 06:27 PM

                We have a regional fast-casual chain in Florida called Crispers that has great salads (and soups, sandwiches, and flatbreads, for that matter). My favorite is the summer salad with turkey, sugared pecans, strawberries, apples, and mandarin oranges, with honey lime dressing, on either romaine or spinach. It comes with gorgonzola cheese, but I substitute the cheddar/jack mix. So good . . .

                Other favorites are the tomato/mozzarella/focaccia salad and caesar salad at Panera.

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                  NickyPicky RE: tom82 May 27, 2008 12:24 AM

                  I have been lucky with the Asian Chicken Salads from Jack in the Box.

                  They give you the option of grilled chicken strips, Crispy fried Chicken strips or spicy chicken nuggets that are served in a separate container from the chilled greens. Also....you are given a small parcel containing Asian salad dressing, little crispy fried won ton strips and a small envelope of sliced almonds. Since you assemble it yourself you have control over the fat/calories consumed.

                  I also enjoy their Chicken Fajita Pita sandwich.....I usually request extra lettuce and tomato. For fast food it is reasonably tasty and healthy.

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