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A fast-food salad you’ll want to make at home

FARGO – As every new year starts, many of us tell ourselves we’re going to eat healthier – we’ll make homemade meals and stop hitting the drive-thru to shove french fries down our chubby throats.

But then reality sets in, work gets busy, the kids need rides all over town and you just don’t have it in you to plan and make another meal.

You stand in line at the fast-food restaurant feeling like a failure. You look at the healthy options and you know you should choose one of them, but they just make you sad.

That’s why I was so excited to find my new healthy favorite at Chick-fil-A. I know we don’t have a Chick-fil-A here in Fargo-Moorhead yet, but at least when I travel I can find something I want without the calories and fat I don’t need.

It’s called the Superfood Side and it’s made with kale, broccolini, nuts and dried cranberries then topped with a maple vinaigrette dressing. An 8-ounce portion is 190 calories with 9 grams of fat.

Much better than a medium-sized order of fries with 370 calories and 19 grams of fat.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have a burger and fries every day of the week (and twice on Sunday). But if I have to eat salad, this is the one I want.

It’s so much better than most fast-food side salads which consist of freezing cold iceberg lettuce, a couple slivers of carrot, one tomato wedge and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. Pair it with a healthy chicken sandwich and you have a nice meal.

Given that I’m not in the position to go to Chick-fil-A every day (even if we did have one in town), I figured I’d look into making this in my own kitchen.

I was happy to see it’s about as easy a recipe as you’ll find. This one is from Mommy’s Home Cooking, and I found it just as good as the restaurant version.

If you add a little grilled chicken and maybe a small roll, this could be dinner. The fast food can wait for another day.

Kale Broccolini Superfood Salad


4 cups kale, loosely chopped or torn

1 bunch broccolini or broccolette chopped

1/2 cup dried cherries

Roasted nuts, to your taste (I used slivered almonds)


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste


Put kale, broccolini, cherries and nuts in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour desired amount onto salad. Enjoy!

Recipe from “Mommy’s Home Cooking”


Other healthy fast food options

One cannot live by salad alone. But you know that burgers and fries aren’t the best option. How can you eat at fast food places and not be stuck always eating a salad? Here are five healthy meal choices WebMD recommends. (Visit the site to see the complete list.)

Chili-topped Baked Potato – Wendy’s

The key with this one is how you order. You won’t find a chili-topped baked potato on the menu, so order a plain baked potato and a small chili. It will fill you up and it’s only 460 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Grilled Chicken Breast with Mashed Potatoes and Corn-on-the-Cob – KFC

Unlike that feeling you get after eating some salads – “okay, the salad was good, where’s the meal?” – this combination feels like a rib-sticking full meal at only 460 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Southwest Salad and Fruit and Yogurt Parfait – McDonald's

Both high in fiber and protein, the McDonald’s salad has gotten positive reviews. Pair it with the parfait for a little taste of something sweet, and you’ll be consuming about 480 calories and 11 grams of fat.

Veggie Burger and Side Salad – Burger King

Some people steer away from veggie burgers because they fear it tastes like vegetables or – at the very least – not like beef. But if you go into eating a veggie burger with the understanding that it tastes more nutty than veggie-like you might just enjoy it. Not to mention, the condiments (but no mayo) and bun are just like a regular burger so you might not notice a big difference. Paired with a side salad, it’s 450 calories and about 12 grams of fat.

Veggie Delight Sandwich and Vegetable Soup – Subway

You had to know Subway would be on the list. The fast-food chain has a lot of healthy options. One of the healthiest is the Veggie Delight sandwich with soup for 360 calories and 3 grams of fat.