Fast Times: Burger King Garden Fresh Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Salad

Categories: Fast Times

BK Chix 043.JPG
Photo by Christina Uticone
Burger King has been advertising a new "Fresh Flavors" campaign -- perhaps you have seen the commercials, featuring late-night host Jay Leno driving into a Burger King in one of his classic cars and ordering from the walk-up counter as if it were a drive-through window. Hilarious! As fellow EOW blogger Sam Brown recently reported, Burger King is in the middle of trying to rebrand itself, recruiting big-name celebrities like Leno, David Beckham, and Salma Hayek to star in commercials for the fast food franchise that recently lost its No. 2 spot to Wendy's.

I'm always intrigued when fast food chains roll out "fresh" or "healthy" campaigns. Success varies, but it's always interesting to see how the fast food world interprets fresh food to meet the demand for healthier fare.

The new "Fresh Offers" menu includes salads, wraps, fruit smoothies, frozen coffee drinks, and chicken fingers. "Fresh" and "healthy" cannot be used interchangeably for each item on the menu, but you can order salads with grilled or crispy chicken to lighten the calorie load. I went with the Chicken, Apple, and Cranberry Salad, opting for grilled chicken atop the "seven premium lettuces, crisp apples, sweet dried cranberries, and crumbly bleu cheese" which comes with a huge packet of Ken's Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

There are two things about this salad that prevent me from expressing unbridled enthusiasm. First, the blend of "seven premium lettuces." While there were absolutely some dark, leafy greens here and there, the greens were primarily iceberg and romaine hearts -- not a problem, except that in every photo and commercial this is a very dark green salad. That said, I expect fast food restaurants to use more iceberg than they depict, so it wasn't a huge shock; there was more romaine than I anticipated, which was a nice surprise.

The truly hideous aspect of the salad was the grilled chicken -- the texture was downright unappealing. The meat was so finely textured and tightly pressed that I think it constitutes animal torture, even though the damage was inflicted post-mortem. I took two bites for the sake of reviewing, but couldn't finish the chicken. It's a shame, because the rest of the salad was delicious -- really! Big chunks of apples and bright, juicy dried cranberries were set off by a generous sprinkling of crumbly bleu cheese. The Ken's Apple Cider Vinaigrette was also yummy -- bright but not sour, and perfect alongside the fruit. The full serving of the dressing packet comes in at 210 calories, but you need far less to dress the salad so using half is an easy way to shave off about 100 calories. And since you will need to order the crispy chicken option in order to eat it, I recommend shaving off a few calories from this salad when you can.

Going for the crispy chicken is going to up the calorie count in a big way -- almost 300 calories -- but from a flavor perspective it's going to be worth it in the end. This is one of the best fast food salads I have had in awhile, so let's not ruin it with grilled chicken like I did, okay?

Nutrition Info: 520 calories, 26 g fat, 35 g protein, 100 mg cholesterol, 950 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrates, 35 g sugar



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19 comments
reuben_barton
reuben_barton

Burger King Ken's Apple Cider Vinaigrette Copycat

 

1/2 tsp Spiced Cider Apple Flavor Drink Mix powder (sugar-free  like Alpine or Mott's)

1/3 cup Vanilla Yogurt (like Dannon)

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

2 tsp Cider Vinegar

 

Add ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Mix well.U

Use on Chicken, Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad, etc.

 

Makes about 1 cup.

cgda
cgda

I've had this salad a few times now and find it delicious. The chicken does seem to vary, earlier offering were larger and more moist pieces of chicken, last couple have been kind of dry and smaller portions.

Helenafromworchester
Helenafromworchester

I kind of get Crankymadge's point about Fast Food being defined as traditional fast food here, so it's Wendy's or BK or Whataburger or Subway.

Yet there's so much good food out there that's just as fast and requires no tipping. The middle eastern places come to mind: Aladdin, Abdallah's, Fadi's. Hell, Fadi's even has drive-thru service. It's all a lot healthier, and maybe a couple bucks more.

And Asian places like Thai Spice Express, Chinese Cafe, Raja Sweets. Quick. Fast. Cheap. Healthy. Self serve. And maybe not as universal, but certainly more interesting than BKs newest lab output.

Just a thought.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

As long as you're reviewing Burger King, try the new Chef's Choice.  It was my favorite of the new "premium" burgers from the big 3.

Crankymadge
Crankymadge

this is like, what, the fourth piece in as many days about burger king?

 

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Thanks for the suggestions! I do try to throw in curveballs occasionally--supermarket fare, pre-packaged meals, etc.--so these are great. Thanks Helena!

(I've only been to Fadi's once, but I wasn't impressed. Most people seem to love it so I'll have to try it again sometime. Got a favorite location?)

That said, the BK thing is pretty major right now--lots of press, lots of new roll-outs, so I felt it was timely.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

 I went back a week and found two, this one & the piece from Sam I linked in the article.

Since BK is previewing a new menu and a new ad campaign, I think two--one focusing on each--is pretty reasonable.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Hmm.  I've only had it once, but I liked it, and I've heard my friends say they liked it also.  Maybe try it one more time?  (Or split it when you review the wraps and smoothies.)

Crankymadge
Crankymadge

 ...and the long fun piece with someone arguing the goodness of BK against Wendy's.

....and....

Geldorf72
Geldorf72

Yeah, forgot this was a column about fast food: I guess seeing that much burger king coverage lately threw me as well.Sorry princess, grab a crown next time for your effort.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

This is a regular, weekly feature specifically on Fast Food--hence the title, "Fast Times". I'm not "into" BK. I don't doodle Whoppers on my Trapper Keeper, or save the paper crowns or anything.

I'm 35. I'm not starving. The economy has nothing to do with my food choices. (I bought a $6 gallon of organic milk the other day. It had gone bad before I opened it, for the record.)

I eat fast food once a week, for this specific piece. The rest of the time I eat at real, grownup restaurants!

Geldorf72
Geldorf72

There is some good restaurant reporting in between the BK fillers and throwaways about Matzo Peeps. Maybe today's young folk are into BK what with the economy, who knows?But then again, Fatty is commenting hungrily about something called the Chef's Choice, so maybe it goes beyond the pups.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I have never been accused of robbing anyone of wood before.

BOOM!

Guest
Guest

Get off the cross Christina. Someone needs the wood.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I also have to say, I find it amazing that EOW is getting criticized for reporting on timely news (new menu, new ranking, new ad campaign). We bloggers can't make ANYONE happy, can we? xoxo

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Back in March. Hardly four in four days.

And if you're sick of reading about BK, why open BK stories? Seems simple, cranks!

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