Fast Salads of Yore

Posted Sat, 02/11/12


During my recent search through the Appetizing Muse uber-archives for dishes to include in the Recipes-on-a-Budget Cookbook, I found several old postings about my fast-food salad experiences.


Some of the entries are rather old (2003), while others are more recent. Apparently, I was sampling different fast-food salads that were heavily advertised at the time.


The oldest entry was dated May 31, 2003 (re: McDonalds):


Friday night I happened by one of the new premium salads from McDonalds and was suitably impressed. I had the Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad, which came with Newman's Own Ranch Dressing. For a price tag of $3.99, I felt there should be more chicken (there were only about six pieces of chicken, slender and short). Yet the meat was tender and juicy, unlike most chicken breast meat (which is typically as dry as sawdust). The salad also contained bacon bits, romaine lettuce, fresh spinach leaves, grated cheddar cheese, rings of purple onion and thinly sliced carrots. Not bad, but I still think it would have been perfect with more chicken. Read more >

There was also mention of a salad from Wendy's in July 2003:


Today my fast-food salad circle was complete after lunching on Wendy's Southwestern Chicken variety. My adventure stops here, even if there are other fast-food restaurants offering "special" salads. There is a running undercurrent to all of the salads I have tried: lots of lettuce filler and little other substance. Wendy's salad did not fare much better than it's predecessors. The price of $4.19 hardly covered a bowl full of lettuce, nine tidbits of chicken, three cherry tomatoes and little else. The dressing was vile (Wendy's version of Caesar); I almost threw the whole lot out. Read more >

More from July 2003 (Jack-in-the-Box):


I've tried my third fast-food salad, and it's the worst of the lot so far. Today's lunch consisted of Southwestern Chicken Salad from Jack-in-the-Box. Nothing ever compares to the sumptuous photographs at the drive-up order menu, but the salad was a huge disappointment nonetheless. Promises of spicy kernel corn, beans and chicken were prominent in the advertisement, but the reality was a skimpy bit of chicken, about a teaspoon of kernel corn and no beans whatsoever. The meal was basically a big plastic plate full of lettuce with two thin slices of purple onion. It was the least enjoyable of the fast-food salads I have tried of late. Read more >

Subway made an iffy impression in May 2004:


This afternoon my husband and I went to Subway for lunch, where I decided to try their relatively new salad meal. I ordered the Grilled Chicken & Baby Spinach meal. I was not overly surprised to see the skimpy quantity of meat and some of the other included ingredients: garlic-toasted almonds and bacon. The salad cost $5.39. If the price tag is not a rip-off, I don't know what is. Read more >

I've since had more salads from eateries of convenience, of course, the best of which has been the taco salad from Arctic Circle.


Although I'm not certain it qualifies as a bona-fide salad, taco fixings are plentiful and the edible shell is tasty (if not a tad unhealthy). As with most fast-food salads, lettuce is in abundance but Arctic Circle does not skimp on other ingredients. However, I still bemoan the excessive price tag of $4.99.


To this day, I still prefer making my own salad variations at home. It costs much less, and I'm able to control the amount of fixings with each serving.


Blog Tags: Salads


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