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5 Worst Fast-Food/Chain Restaurant Salads

Yikes
Yikes
Photo by K. Latham

Granted, if you go to a fast food or chain restaurant and order a salad, you're sort of asking for it. These institutions weren't founded to provide the people of the United States with interesting combinations of healthful garden fare and the addition of dishes involving fruits and vegetables to the menu was in large part a reluctant mood to get the federal government off their asses. Some of their salads are pretty good, some are decent, and some are...well...very misguided. Here are the five worst offenders:

5. Green Burrito Taco Salad (Carl's Junior). Leaving aside the fact that "green burrito" seems like an unpalatable euphemism, this salad is not a great choice for anyone actually seeking to fulfill their RDA of vegetables. Of the components ingredients, I've highlighted the actual veggies: "Crispy, bowl-shaped tortilla shell filled with spicy, seasoned ground beef, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, shredded lettuce, refried beans, sour cream, hot sauce and fresh-made salsa. Yikes.

4. Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad (Wendy's). You know what goes great with strawberries? Nope, it's not cured pork, but that's exactly what Wendy's pairs with the fruit. Things become even more confusing with the addition of chicken, blue cheese, and sunflower seeds, which alternately render the salad sour, salty, and liable to get stuck in your teeth. Finally, in keeping with the strawberry theme, Wendy's dresses this abhorrent concoction with apple balsamic vinaigrette...wait, what?

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3. Oriental Chicken Salad (Applebee's). In a world in which we're only just now changing offensive/racist professional sports team titles, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that Applebee's gets away with describing its salad as "Oriental" (can I get an "Occidental" steak to go with it?). Assuming they are using this Euro-centric term to refer to (albeit through odious conflation) that general area know as Asia and its including peoples, I am curious then as to why "crispy chicken" was chosen as the most hallmark protein of that region. Also, you dingbats, almonds are indigenous to the Middle East and the Mediterranean, not, like, China.

2. Premium Bacon Ranch Salad (McDonald's). Similarly offensive for its misuse of pork, this salad suffers not only from the inclusion, but also the promotion, of two ingredients ("bacon" and "ranch") neither of which you would find in the garden. "You had me at bacon" is the obnoxious slogan tied to this mess of a salad. Sort of fitting, I guess, considering that word prompted me not to order it.

1. Chef Country Salad (Cracker Barrel). Cracker Barrel has transformed the traditional chef salad (which, in traditional form IMHO is pretty gross due to the inclusion of cold cuts) and added deviled eggs. Because, you know, everyone likes mayonnaise as well as dressing on their greens. And, oh for the love of God...in the description, they actually brag about using "sugar-cured ham."


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