Fast Food Review: Mandarin Chicken Salad from Wendy’s

I went out at lunch the other day to try a new place to eat, only to find out that the place I had intended to go to isn’t there anymore.  I had a few choices surrounding me, but I settled on Wendy’s.  I wanted to get something new (to me), healthy and fresh, so I decided on one of their Garden Sensation Salads…the Mandarin Chicken Salad.

Mandarin Chicken Salad from Wendy's

Mandarin Chicken Salad from Wendy's

Described by Wendy’s as:

A masterpiece of Asian tastes and textures thats sure to please.  With succulent mandarin oranges, crunchy sliced almonds and crispy noodles on fresh, crisp greens-all topped with a warm, sliced Grilled chicken fillet.  It’s unforgettable!

I don’t know if I would say that this salad is “unforgettable”, but it does stand out among the fast food salads I’ve had in the past.  As Wendy’s states, the salad is served with a warm grilled chicken breast.  You can see the steam collect inside of the container:

Mandarin Chicken Salad from Wendy's (covered)

The warm chicken provided a foggy salad lid

The basics of this salad are three key ingredients:  The lettuce- fresh and is a nice blend of crisp romaine and iceberg along with a “leafy” spring mix (contains 5 or more of the following: “Red Oak, Red Romaine, Red Mustard, Granada, Lolla Rosa, Brunia, Red Bibb, Radina.) The mandarin oranges- sweet, juicy and plentiful and the grilled chicken breast- your typical grilled chicken breast, moist and served sliced and warm on top of your salad.

Leafy spring blend, sweet mandarin oranges, warm grilled chicken breast slices

Leafy spring blend, sweet mandarin oranges, warm grilled chicken breast slices

I think the thing that really makes this salad stand out are the packs of add-ons that come with it.  Sliced roasted almonds and Crispy Noodles.  You may find almonds on some of the other salads out there, but the crispy noodles are similar to mini chow-mein noodles and proved to be what stood out as a unique twist.  Both the almonds and crispy noodles add crunch to the salad and helped give the entire meal that little extra something. The dressing of choice is an Oriental Sesame dressing that  has a nice tangy rich flavor.

Mandarin Chicken Salad Toppings

Dress it up: Roasted Almonds, Oriental Sesame Dressing and Crispy Noodles

The downfall of this salad, and without doing the research first, is that it’s not as calorie/fat friendly as I had hoped. By adding all of the extras you rack up 520 calories and a hefty 25 grams of fat. Removing the extras will give this salad a paltry 180 calories and 2 grams of fat.  It would be tough to eat it sans a sprinkling of at least some of the toppings so if you want the extra taste and textures, add them.  This salad has a taste and flair all of its own and if it looks like something you’d like, it should be worth your $4.99.

Mandarin Chicken Salad from Wendy's with all the toppings

Mandarin Chicken Salad with all the toppings

Pros: Good size, filling salad. Condiments add a nice crunch to the salad. Unique taste.

Cons: 25 grams of fat when adding all the toppings.

Taste: 7.75/10
Value: 7.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.75/10
Price: $4.99

Overall GrubGrade: 7.75/10

More Info: Wendys.com
Nutrition Facts:
Calories – 540
Total Fat – 25 grams
Saturated Fat – 3 grams
Carbs – 50 grams
Cholesterol – 65 milligrams
Sodium – 1260 milligrams
Sugars – 31 grams
Dietary Fiber – 5 grams
Protein – 31 grams

7 comments on “Fast Food Review: Mandarin Chicken Salad from Wendy’s

  1. maxchain says:

    Ooh, that’s what I like to see–a hearty medley of lettuce! Better yet, the almonds are optional! The fast food side salad junkie and the nut hater in me are anxious to step it up to one of these.

  2. SkippyMom says:

    They always get you with the really yummy stuff lol…still it looks good.

  3. Yum Yucky says:

    I never even bothered to consider this, but it actually looks good an the calorie count is decent. Wendy’s should thank you – I’m going to pick one up.

  4. Marvo says:

    I have a thing for fast food salads with mandarin oranges. Jack in the Box has/had one that I order when I don’t want burgers.

  5. Matt says:

    I’ve had this before and its not amazing but on the other hand wendys lettuce is not bruised like a lot of fast food places. Am I the only one who seems its a little politically incorrect to refer to the dressing as oriental? Its 2009, our president is black. As an ASIAN person I think wendys needs to reword their dressing with the politically correct term ASIAN not oriental.

  6. rob says:

    I used to get this but their Chicken Caesar Salad with the Caesar dressing is too healthy to pass up.

    The add ons definitely provide a lot of appeal to the Mandarin salad and you would have to have iron will power not to use them.

  7. ratbuddy says:

    Matt, seriously?? Is Oriental somehow offensive now?

    Ugh.