I don’t know about you, but every New Year, I always plan on eating out less and cooking healthier meals. It’s the most basic new years resolution, but if you’re on the same train as me, I figured I’d make it easier on all of us and round up a list of the best salads you can make at home. All of these are inspired by popular fast food choices, and most of them are super easy to make. Plus, you can double the recipes and meal prep so you have lunches and dinners throughout the week. Oh, and if you have any restaurant-inspired copycat recipes of salads not listed below, drop them in the comments and I’ll add them here. Happy eating!
Chick-Fil-A Market Salad
This is one of my go-to’s at Chick-Fil-A when I’m not in the mood for nuggets and fries. It’s super filling and takes less than a half hour to whip up (not too long if you look at how many ingredients there are). The recipe calls for chicken breast, spring mix, spices, nuts, and a bunch of fruits and veggies, but you can always swap the ingredients out with other items you like more – or leave things out. That’s the beauty of recreating copycat food items at home. When you order it at the restaurant, you can choose from grilled chicken strips, a grilled chicken filet, crispy nuggets, or a spicy grilled chicken filet. The directions here have you cook the chicken breast on a skillet, but you can fry it, bake it, or do whatever your heart desires.
See full Chick-Fil-A Market Salad Recipe
Chipotle Steak Salad
A salad at Chipotle is pretty much a burrito bowl if you swap the rice for more greens. But nonetheless, it’s a delicious and healthier alternative and pretty simple to make at home. It’s just a bit time consuming (1hr 20 min to be exact) because you have to make the marinade and let the steak sit for a bit. To make it even more complicated – but 10x more delicious – you can make the marinade with dried ancho chiles instead of ancho chile powder. You have to soak them, cook them on a skillet, and throw them in a food processor, so it’s a whole thing. But if you’ve got time, it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
See full Chipotle Steak Salad Recipe
Olive Garden Salad
Whipping up the Olive Garden signature salad is a must when you’ve got any kind of pasta dish on the menu. It’s also a great pairing with soup, bread, or grilled chicken. Heck, some nights I’ve eaten this all on its own. It takes just around 20 minutes to recreate (mostly due to chopping up the veggies), but it’s worth every second because it really does taste like the restaurant’s version. The main ingredients include
See full Olive Garden Salad
Panera Bread Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken
If you’re looking for a healthier salad, this copycat recipe from Panera Bread is a great option, especially for keto/low-carb diets. There are a ton of flavorful toppings, so it’s by no means a typical “boring” salad. It takes a bit longer to prepare than some of the others on this list because the recipe calls for homemade pickled onions and dressing, and of course you have to account for chopping up all the toppings for the actual salad. But it’s worth following to a T – this recipe makes an even better bowl than the one you can order at Panera.
See full Green Goddess Cobb Salad Recipe
Chick-Fil-A Cobb Salad
Raise your hand if you think this salad is the star of the Chick-Fil-A menu. The Cobb Salad is bomb, and you will not regret making this one at home. One, because it’s way cheaper to whip this up in your kitchen and two, you’ll have leftovers (maybe, no promises). If you’re not familiar with the beloved fast food salad, it features a bed of romaine lettuce and spring mix topped with:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Shredded carrots
- Shredded red cabbage
The recipe linked below gives you instructions on how to make honey mustard dressing, but you can use any kind you’d like (ranch is always 10/10).
See full Chick-Fil-A Cobb Salad Recipe
Wendy’s Taco Salad Recipe
If you’re a fan of Wendy’s chili, you’ll love this taco salad recipe. The copykat.com version of the taco salad features the restaurant’s homemade chili on top of a bed of lettuce and Doritos. Then it’s topped with Cheddar cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and salsa – but feel free to swap/add any other toppings that sound good. This is an awesome recipe to make at the beginning of the week because you can make extras and have chili one night and taco salad another.
See full Wendy’s Taco Salad Recipe
Suddenly Salad Classic
Okay, so this isn’t a real salad, per say. But it is a eyes-roll-in-the-back-of-your-head kind of pasta salad. In just 10 minutes, you can whip together the creamiest, richest side dish that’s perfect for any cookout, get together, or burger night. Plus, it’s super cheap to make with ingredients like spiral pasta (or shells if you’re feeling frisky), carrots, frozen peas, mayo, Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix, bacon bits, and onion powder. You can always buy pre-packaged bacon bits, but I swear it’s worth the extra effort if you buy fresh bacon and fry it up yourself.
See full Suddenly Salad Classic
Chicken Salad Chick
This is another nontraditional salad recipe, but everyone needs a good chicken salad on hand for busy weeks. This only takes about a half hour to put together and can be made a few ways. The recipe we have below instructs you on how to poach the chicken, but I’ve found that it works just as well if you cook the chicken in an Instant Pot or crock pot and then shred it. Otherwise, you just mix the additional ingredients (mayo, celery, salt, pepper, ranch dressing mix) in with the chicken, and you’ve got yourself lunch for the next few days. The recipe also calls for bread and sandwich toppings, but if you’re not into that, I love eating chicken salad with crackers or on top of a bed of spinach.
See full Chicken Salad Chick Recipe