Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

The last time I ordered a salad from Wendy's was last summer. Remember the "I'm a Lettuce Snob" post? Since that bad experience, I've stayed away from Wendy's salads. I just don't like salad that's mostly white core garbage and so watery that you need to pour out an inch of water before you dress it. 

But I heard that Wendy's had "reinvented" their salad line up and a friend told me she'd tried one and enjoyed it. So, being fair, I decided to give it a second chance. 

I ordered the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad and high hopes for a delicious experience. I took pictures to record the adventure (and for your viewing pleasure).

I picked up my salad at the Wendy's near my house - just 3 miles down the road. So when I got it home it was only a few minutes old. The condensation accumulating on the inside of the container was expected since the chicken was hot and put on the top of a cold salad.


Opening the top wasn't encouraging. The whole thing looked a bit pale. But I lifted the chicken and found the blue cheese crumbled underneath (slightly melted, unfortunately) and also found the diced apple and dried cranberries hidden under the chicken too.


While I was waiting in line at the drive thru at Wendy's they had several signs advertising their "Reinvented Salads" and the claims that the romaine lettuce was hand torn for freshness. I was hopeful. But unfortunately that hope was dashed.  Yep, I'm still a lettuce snob so I always have to pick through a store-bought salad and take out the white stuff. I hate the white hard core of lettuce, it belongs in the composting heap, not on my plate!  I believe I received less white core than I did in my last Wendy's salad and it's about equal with what I get from McDonald's salad, but still....

The Wendy's website claims: "nine different types of fresh salad mix greens" --- yes, there were some spring mix greens in there, but the majority was romaine with a few greens sprinkled on top for appearances sake. I also noticed how wet the greens were. The lettuce had obviously been washed, but apparently they forgot to dry the leaves before creating the salad. So everything was pretty damp - thankfully not wet enough to have a pool of standing water in the bottom of the bowl like before, but wet enough that the dressing didn't have a fighting chance.

And hand torn? Yeah right. Look at those blade marks on that white core crap. That was hand torn with a dull knife and hacked at by an amateur. And the good pieces of lettuce that remained were cut too small for salad servings.


Once the salad was tossed and mixed together with the dressing added, it looked pretty delicious. The dressing was in a tiny packet, so they gave me two and I used both of them. But since the lettuce leaves were so wet, the dressing was highly diluted. The chicken was slightly dry but tasted fine. The apples were crisp and delicious and the nuts and cranberries were delicious too.


When I got the end of the salad the leaves were so soaked and wet that I couldn't finish the last of it. I picked out the chicken, apple and other toppings and left the soggy lettuce behind.

Just a side note about the excess water on Wendy's salads. This isn't an isolated incident for me. I've been to several different Wendy's locations and tried salads several times over the years. Every single time I have issues with wet lettuce leaves. It seems to be a chain-wide problem that could easily be fixed if only they received the right training on how to properly prepare lettuce leaves (like... drying them after you wash 'em?).


The nutritional stats aren't horrible on this salad. You might want to swap out the dressing for your own, lower-calorie version. I suspect the bulk of the sugar content comes from the fruit. The cranberries are most likely sweetened, so you're getting added sugar from those.  But you're getting 38g protein which is outstanding for WLS folks.

The Verdict:  I won't be ordering another Wendy's salad anytime soon. The flavor was good, but the sogginess is something I just can't get past.


  1. I seriously love this salad and have never experienced any sogginess, the flavor combinations are ridiculously intense. If they get rid of this salad I would be extremely sad and I would probably never go back haha... :(

  2. I work at Wendy's. The lettuce is "hand torn" but only in the large pieces (like for on the sandwiches and stuff) but for the salads we use a weird chopping device to cut it up. Also, at our restaurant we do let our leaves dry, but I don't believe that that is procedure everywhere..
    Just a little insight from an employee.
    Also, it's 10 times better without the blue cheese in my opinion! (:


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