Years ago, I used to order Wendy’s salads fairly often. That was in the dark time before I became aware of the wonderful, fiber-rich elixir that is Wendy’s Chili. Sometimes in the years since, I would look at Wendy’s menu to see what new salads it had come out with, strawberry-this and arugula-that, would say, “hmm, interesting,” and go back to devouring my piping hot concoction of beany bliss.
But it just came out with a Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad, and I’ve always had a positive impression of Cobb salad; it’s the kind of salad I think I would like to order in a diner if I could ever resist ordering pancakes in a diner. I’ve always felt that hard-boiled eggs don’t get nearly enough recognition for how nutritious and tasty they are, and this is a good usage of them. I had this salad twice: once with bacon and once without. I would tell you why this happened, but it’s more fun to leave it a mystery — let’s just say mistakes were made.
This salad, which Wendy’s PR claims to have spent copious time and energy developing, includes grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, chopped tomatoes, crispy fried onions, diced egg, ranch dressing, and Wendy’s signature lettuce blend. It also has cheese shreds, which the press release does not name, but they’re in there. The only thing that’s a little surprising here is the crispy fried onions, which are not a typical Cobb salad ingredient, but they do add a welcome bit of crunch.
Normally I’m pretty stingy with dressing on my salads to keep the calorie count down, but here, I was pretty liberal with the ranch because I know that’s part of the experience. See what I endure in the name of science? The result was about as indulgent as you can get while still technically eating salad.
The tomatoes tasted nice and fresh, which was an excellent start. The applewood smoked bacon is absolutely delicious and good in all the ways that bacon should be, but you don’t get that much of it, so it makes less of a difference to the end product than I thought it would. What does matter, and it matters a lot, is the chicken. It’s moist without being slimy and pleasantly salty without being over-seasoned. And Wendy’s gives you A LOT of chicken; I kept finding pieces hiding among the lettuce long after I thought I had finished all of it. Now, is this the same grilled chicken Wendy’s currently uses for all its salads? Probably, but if so, it’s a lot better than I remember from when I ate the salads a lot.
The only ingredient that doesn’t really work here is the cheese. The ranch and the eggs steal the show as the “fatty” components, leaving the bland cheese with nothing to do.
I probably won’t order it again soon, but that’s because, after this one little dalliance, I remain in a committed relationship with Wendy’s Chili; otherwise, I probably would. It’s nothing exciting, but it’s a reliable classic done right.
Purchased Price: $7.99
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Salad w/ranch dressing) 680 calories, 50 grams of fat, 12.5 grams of saturated fat, 270 milligrams of cholesterol, 1340 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.