Fast Food Review: New Orchard Chicken Salad Sub from Subway

Anyone who has been a follower of GrubGrade for a while knows it is no secret that we really like the Arby’s Pecan Chicken Salad Market Fresh Sandwich. When they stopped selling it, we went to extensive measures to try to find it, including driving to local Arby’s restaurants to see if they still had it (see the video where Ryan is hunting for the Pecan Chicken Salad Market Fresh Sandwich from Arby’s). We also tried making our own version (see our post: Homemade: Eat Your Heart Out Arby’s).  When we heard that Subway was coming out with the Orchard Chicken Salad Sub (available for a limited time only), we thought that this could possibly be a good alternative to the “MIA” Arby’s version.
 
Described by Subway:
Looking for a NEW summer flavor?  Try the NEW Orchard Chicken Salad sub.  Flavorful chunks of tender chicken, crunchy celery, sweet red apples, golden raisins, cranberries, light creamy mayo and your choice of crisp veggies, all on  fresh baked bread.  So taste-tacular!
I was obviously eager to try this sub to see how it compares to the exceptional Arby’s version, so keep in mind that Subway has a big mountain to climb here.  My six inch sub was ordered on a wheat roll, and I added lettuce and tomato as it shows in the promo pic.  Normally I wouldn’t add tomato to a chicken salad sandwich but I figured I would follow the advertised product as close as possible.  As is the norm with Subway rolls, the wheat sub roll was baked in-house so it was, as typical, soft and fresh.  My initial impression with the chicken salad is that on first glance, the pieces of fruit don’t stand out as much as they show in the promo picture; the same holds true for the taste. 
All of the ingredients are cut smaller than I would prefer.   The fruit that is advertised as red apples, golden raisins and cranberries, appear to be more like a mixture of fruit cocktail (I could’ve sworn I had chunks of pear in mine).  There also isn’t an overabundance of fruit.  You might get one piece in each bite if you are lucky.  If there is celery, it isn’t noticable because it lacks that familiar crunch you’d expect.  The added lettuce and tomato only take away even more from the flavor of the chicken salad (as I mentioned before, I added these because of the promo pic).  I’m spending so much time talking about everything but the chicken here.  The reason…cut too small, not a lot of flavor and just not enough of it.   Overall, the chicken salad is sadly quite bland.  I am glad that I ordered a 6″ inch ($3.79) as I don’t know if I could have managed a footlong of this sandwich.
In conclusion, the Subway Orchard Chicken Salad Sub falls flat and there is truly no comparison to the Arby’s Pecan Chicken Salad Sandwich.  Of course, the value of the $5.00 footlong might be enough to reel you in as a return customer.  The chicken salad isn’t horrible,  it just lacks flavor and suffers from having too much stiff competition… I mean think about it, I’m sure a lot of you have a great chicken salad recipe of your own that blows Subway out of the water.  The only thing saving  this from getting a “poor” rating is that you can try your best to flavor it up with customization.  After all, shouldn’t chicken salad be able to stand alone?

Pros: Freedom of customization. $5.00 for a footlong is a decent deal. Just 370 calories and 8 grams of fat for a 6".

Cons: On the bland side, fruit doesn't really stand out. Not very filling for a 6 inch.

Taste: 5.25/10
Value: 6.75/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Price: 3.79 for 6" and $5.00 for footlong

Overall GrubGrade: 5.25 (Mediocre)

More Info: Subway.com
Nutrition Facts:
Orchard Chicken Salad Sub (6 inch)
Calories – 370
Fat – 8 grams
Saturated Fat – 1.5 grams
Cholesterol – 40 milligrams
Sodium – 660 milligrams
Carbs – 55 grams
Sugars – 13 grams
Dietary Fiber – 6 grams
Protein – 20 grams

60 comments on “Fast Food Review: New Orchard Chicken Salad Sub from Subway

  1. skippymom says:

    Too bad. Well at least I am not missing anything – and I made chicken salad last night with all the good chunky fruit/celery in it. Much better.

  2. Rosemary says:

    Just awful!

  3. Joy says:

    I don’t know where you got yours, but I thought mine was delicious and I love the Arby’s. It doesn’t compare to Arbys, but with the lower calorie and fat content I thought it was well worth the price. I get them quite often.

    • William says:

      I have to say I literally just finished a foot long sub of this new flavor and I think I got more fruit then chicken. I also noticed that compared to the volume you get when you order tuna, the quantity of product placed on the sub over-all was meager. I would have thought that you would get twice as much as was applied to my wheat roll. I did also choose to add the lettuce and tomato as well as light onions, salt and pepper (my usual combination of veggies). However, with such a small portion of the chicken salad being on the foot long the only thing I tasted at all was the veggies I added plus the sweetnes from the fruit of the salad. The ‘crunchy celeray’ was not crunchy at all, if they even mixed it into the salad! One final word, there was something that came out quite brittle, similar to chewing a bone when eating fish. I had to evacuate it from my mouth after taking a large bite and chomping down on it roughly, thank god it was also at the end of my eating, but the scoops on that side of the sandwhich came from the bottom of the previous barrel, while the rest of the sandwhich had been made from a fresh barrel. If I order this again, I will demand the sandwhich be given an adequate amount of the salad, without an additional cost. I’m not going to pay for extra ‘meat’ when the salad is comprised of only 20-30% actual meat.

  4. jay says:

    It sucks probably because they use reduced fat mayo which is terrible.

    • Ryan says:

      Agreed jay. I think among other things the reduced fat mayo would kill the overall taste of chicken salad. I understand the low cal and low fat are big draws but they sacrifice the taste in the process. I say just go full fat mayo and run an extra 3 miles to make yourself feel better. :)

      • jay says:

        Plus, If you are trying to eat low fat and calories I don’t think you should be eating chicken salad. You shouldn’t be eating be eating Subway in general. Just because Jared was on a starvation diet and lost weight doesn’t make it diet food. 370 calories for 6 inches which will have you starving 20 minutes later. yum.

  5. Ryan says:

    And don’t forget the Chick-fil-A version…no fruit…it’s not quite the missing Arby’s sandwich but it’s still a tasty item.

    http://www.grubgrade.com/2009/11/22/fast-food-review-chicken-salad-sandwich-from-chick-fil-a/

    • Linda says:

      I tried it last night and it was ok. Thought some of it had pieces of chicken or fruit that were actually frozen. As far as Chick-fil-A goes, I wish we could get one in the Rochester NY area. They are great.

  6. Rosemary says:

    Chick-fil-A is the very best!

  7. Justin's brother says:

    Terrible as I stated before.
    The first time in my life that Subway failed me and if I had eaten this in the store I would have seriously considered asking for my money back.
    The Arby’s and Tropical Smoothie versions of this sandwich are far superior.

  8. Evan says:

    Arby’s chicken salad reigns supreme because of it’s freshness and simplicity. It’s chicken, mayonnaise, pecans, apples, and raisins all freshly cut and prepared every day. That’s it. Why can’t someone replicate this?!

  9. Darwin G says:

    It’s bland… Like everything else at Subway. Can’t complain too much because it at least has some fruit and texture. You’re not getting much better with their spongey “Oven Roasted Chicken Breast.”

  10. Jen says:

    I have to disagree. I thought it was pretty delicious. I added lettuce, red onion, and salt and pepper to mine and it was a pretty perfect balance. Any more fruit would have overwhelmed it and made it way too sweet.

    • Elley says:

      I just had a 1/2 of one. It isn’t the best that I have had that would be Bruggers (so far) but it was ok. I did taste the celery…SMILE. I noticed you mentioned Arby’s will have to take a longer walk and try theirs.

  11. Justin says:

    Grubgrade guy, I completely agree with you!

    Where were the nuts!

  12. Heather says:

    @Evan-I actually did try to duplicate the Arby’s Pecan Chicken Salad and it came out pretty close:

    http://www.grubgrade.com/2009/09/03/homemade-eat-your-heart-out-arbys/

  13. Katie Ann says:

    I’d swear the sandwich I ate last night had pineapple in it. Chopped nuts would have gone a long way. The apples and celery were almost completely unnoticeable from being so mushy, though I definitely tasted the cranberries, which I liked. The orchard chicken salad is no where near as bland as their other chicken salad, and is at least a new and different taste from the rest of Subway’s fillings.

    • Heather says:

      The fruit in mine had the consistency of fruit cocktail so if that is what they are using, pineapple would most likely be in it. I’ve never had their other chicken salad, so I can’t really compare them.

  14. The fruit and mayo mix really throws me off, I can’t say I would ever have any interest in this even if it was free..just seems so wrong.

    • Meg says:

      I used to think the same thing about pineapple on pizza…then I finally tried it and I LOVE it…

  15. Cory Snyder says:

    I had the exact same reaction!! Not terrible, just bland. It didn’t really taste like anything.

  16. Betty says:

    Yes, Arby’s was delish & so fattening.
    I love the Orchard chicken, mine was loaded with crisp apples & juicy raisins. Of course, I don’t know who would put tomato & cheese on it. That would ruin it for me.

    • Heather says:

      I definitely agree about the cheese. They asked me if I wanted any and I said “no thank you”. Why would you even ask to put cheese on a chicken salad sandwich?

      • Ryan says:

        This reminds me of a friend of mine from Liberia. His first ever visit to Subway he orders a meatball sub…they ask him what he wants on it…he says “um, ham”…”turkey”….”cheese”…etc etc as he continues to add the most ridiculous toppings to the once simple meatball sub. It was a disaster…and he loved every bite of it. Gross.

      • Why would you not want cheese on a chicken salad sandwich?

        • Ryan says:

          Cheese on a Chicken Salad sandwich? That’s just weird to me. To each their own though. I eat peanut butter and honey sandwiches and I’ve been called weird for that. Not weird at all to me.

          • tracylee says:

            My favorite sandwich at an independent deli here in town was a grilled chicken salad sandwich. Simple chicken salad with lemon pepper, provolone cheese, honey mustard on the bread, then grilled like a grilled cheese sandwich – absolute heaven. I had to restrain myself from ordering more than one a week!

  17. caitlin says:

    all the ingredients for the salad come frozen, which explains the fruit cocktail texture of the apples. they each come in plastic bags which we have to cut slits into and squeeze all the liquid out of. pretty gross.

  18. Meg says:

    I LOVED this sandwich. I ordered mine on Italian bread, added lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, and avocado. I’m Addicted to it, so I’m making my own here at home. (as cheap as Subway is lately, it’s still more than I wanna spend).

    Maybe California has a fresher selection?

  19. Samantha says:

    I agree with meg. I LOVED this sandwich. so much in fact that i went back 2 days in a row. lol and it also inspired me to look for my own recipe and make it at home so that i can have it more often. and i do think that maybe certain subways have a fresher selection than others.. you obviously missed out.. I ordered mine on Italian bread as well, only the only topping i got was cucumbers. it was AMAZING.. sorry about your luck? and who eats nasty sliced up iceburg lettuce anyways? gross.. not to mention the soggy tomato slices.. stick to just the chicken salad and cucumbers, which are a great summer selection. and you might feel a little differently

  20. Samantha says:

    OH! and i also got swiss cheese on it as well.

  21. I don’t eat fruit. Not voluntarily, anyway. I generally have to force myself to eat it. That being said, when I saw the new Orchard Chicken Salad behind the glass at my local Subway over the weekend, I decided to be adventurous and give it a try, despite the fruit content. I fell in love with it. Here’s what I got (and what I’ve gotten pretty much every day since then):

    * Footlong 9-Grain Honey Oat, Toasted
    * Orchard Chicken Salad
    * American Cheese
    * Lettuce
    * Black olive
    * A little pickle
    * A little onion
    * Sweet Onion dressing

    I cannot rave about this combination enough. Incredible! The fruit provides just enough sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth, but not so much that it tastes like I’m eating candy. I don’t know why people complain about texture so much. This sandwich couldn’t be more perfect.

    • Ryan says:

      Yikes! I’m glad you loved your combo of ingredients but dude…American cheese and black olives on a chicken salad sandwich? That being said…it’s good to find the combination that works for you. I can’t really knock it til I try it.

    • Richard says:

      I got this same combo minus the lettuce and sweet onion. i thought it was good, just like almost everything at subway. i like subway because it’s always solid– never the best, always gonna be a little on the bland side, but still good anyways

  22. keitra says:

    The sandwich wasn’t too bad. Nothing particularly special about it. I doubt I’ll try it again. I haven’t tried Arby’s or Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches but Walmart has a great spin off in the deli section.

  23. Rodzilla says:

    I just tried it, and thought it was pretty good. Especially for being lower cal. If you look at the nutrition info, of course it’s not going to be comparable to the other chicken salad sandwiches. I thought it had a good level of sweetness, and I appreciated the diced chicken as opposed to shredded.

  24. carol dennin says:

    Add a little raspberry vinegar and a touch more lite mayo and it gives the sandwich the extra flavor needed. I loved it!!

    • Kelly says:

      Raspberry Vinaigrette? Now that’s a great idea!! I hadn’t been to Subway for a while until my sister told me about the New Chicken Orchard Sandwich. After I had my first one I was hooked. Yes, unfortunately it is a little bland considering it is supposed to be a Chicken Salad with fruit it. I can’t quite understand what kind of fruit they are using that allows it to be this bland? Also I didn’t see any Red apples? unless the color fades when mixed? But in all, $5 for a Foot Long Sub, you can’t beat that! Half for lunch and the other half for later!

  25. Linda says:

    Just a little off the topic but does anyone dread going into Subway because of the typical smell in there? I have people tell me it’s the smell of the bread but egads it’s disgusting.

  26. Deanne says:

    I just had one, didn’t even see this site until now. I came online to see if I could find all of the ingredients. See I kept getting bites of delicious sweet cranberries, juicy plump rasins, and bites of tasty apples, lots of chicken too… I just wanted to know if there was anything else that I missed ’cause I want to duplicate this yummy sub at home! For a fast food sandwich, and a 6″ one at that, it was good and filling! Really, what are you expecting it’s fast food!!! it’s fair and delicious for the price, size and content!

  27. Nick says:

    I just had one and thought it was delicious. The mayo was light and not overwhelming. The fruit was a nice addition. But I must comment that some of the pieces of apples did appear cold (borderline frozen. ouch!). But over all, the blend of fruit and chicken went well. Worth a second try.

  28. stephanie says:

    I liked it…just the fruit didnt stand out at all…and it just kind of tasted a little bit to bland or plain. Dont think i will get it again.

  29. BlueMoon29 says:

    I had the orchard chicken salad for the first time last Fri and thought it was great so I got another tonight without the bread, (asked for a salad) and it was delicious again. I love the sweetness from the fruit. I’m the opposite from you– I had the chicken salad at Arby’s and thought it was really bad. Never ordered it again after the first time. Interesting how different people’s tastes can be huh?

  30. Karen says:

    I really liked my the orchard chicken salad I got from subway.
    Don’t care for lots of their food but this I liked.
    You could not pay me to eat at Arby’s.
    I have never gotten food that was any good from them.

  31. Coco says:

    I really like the orchard chicken salad, but I add one squirt of their squirt-on honey mustard dressing, which is very low calorie, and adds just the right zing to the chicken salad.

    Without the honey mustard, it would still be good, just a bit more bland than I’d prefer.

  32. Elsa says:

    My coworker and I just split a foot long chicken orchard on wheat with out the cheese. This was the second time we had one. We decided to have to give it a second chance; our first experience with this sandwich was not that favorable. We went to a different location which we think might have to do with the different view we have. The taste and texture, even though the apples where a little on the soft side, was a lot better than the fist sandwich we had, just a better overall taste. We are Latinas and like some spice to our food, but we opt out of the regular jalapeños. We got back to the office and added Louisiana hot sauce and it was awesome. Definitely going back to the second location and definitely adding the hot sauce. And don’t knock it until you try it with the sauce.

  33. Cookie says:

    I love the orchard chicken salad, but it’s only exceptional when you have it on the flatbread. I only have the flatbread toasted with cheddar cheese (think cheddar cheese and apple pie) and then put the salad and extras on it. I like the lettuce, cucumber and spinach, and if the tomotoes look red and juicy, I’ll add those as well. I agree that the amount of chicken salad seems a bit meager when it’s on the bread by itself, but when you add all the fresh fixings, the final product is very filling. And at my local Subway, you can get the footlong orchard chicken salad on flatbread for $5. Nice.

  34. Ken says:

    I too love this grinder. I not only find it quite refreshing but is a great value as well. Perhaps the flavors do not punch but with provolone cheese and wheat bread it is quite good. I sometimes think we have become so conditioned with heavy amounts of salt, fat and or sugar we don’t know what real / healthy food tastes like anymore. Keep up the good work Subway!

  35. Sasha says:

    My tastebuds must suck because I actually loved the orchard chicken salad. I never tried the sandwich from Arby’s so that may be why I love it….But I find myself craving it every once in a while so I really should go find a similar recipe somewhere online.

  36. andrew says:

    Plain orchard chicken salad on honey oat, with a bit of the red wine vinegarette. delish

  37. Amy says:

    I had one of these for lunch today and I thought it tasted very good. I got a wheat roll, and for veggies I got cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, a little onion, tomato, spinach, green peppers and a little pepper. There was an adequate amount of salad, and it was a good combonation of meat and fruit. I think the cucumber and green pepper may have added to the crunch taste lacking in the celery. I would get it again though, thought it was yummy!

  38. Dee says:

    I tried it tonight after reading all the comments…on italian with cheese, but had the bread and cheese toasted first.Added lettuce, onions, black olives, pickle, mayo and salt and pepper….When ordered the lady behind the counter says you sure you want that havent sold any today…ummm is it fresh?? Yes just made it..Ok I will try it…Can’t say I taste the chicken but cranberries are tasty, now yes I would say those are pears or something..havent hit a raisin yet, but these are by far the most powerful onions I’ve had in a while and I asked for light…whew…Would I buy again..probably not….

  39. [...] made using chicken chunks, apples, golden raisins, cranberries, and celery mixed with a light mayo. Grub Grade and Brand Eating both reviewed the sandwich last year. A six-inch Orchard Chicken Salad sub has 350 [...]

  40. Sandy says:

    I love this sandwhich! I had it on flat bread with american cheese and toasted it all! I then added spinch and cucumbar.

  41. GlobalCop says:

    I totally agree with your review. I went to Subway today specifically to try this and compare it to the awesome Arby’s Chix salad.

    It was horrible. It’s actually Subway’s worst sandwich. This thing will not be around for long. I can’t imagine anyone ordering it a second time.

  42. Lulu says:

    The orchard chicken salad sub from subway is really good! try it with just vinegar, salt and pepper and no cheese if you really want 370 calories, 8 grams of fat (1/2 foot long).

  43. Sadie says:

    I added tomatos lettuce and a splash of vinegar, really enjoyed it! very dif to the taste buds lol