The #1 Copycat Recipes Website

Salads

You lucky devil. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host, Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. See if Todd has hacked your favorite salads here. New recipes added every week.

Products: 124 of 25
Show: 24
  • Not rated yet
    Wolfgang Puck Chinois Chicken Salad

    This iconic Chinese chicken salad, born at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois restaurant in Santa Monica, California, can also be found on menus at other Puck dining rooms, including Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and Wolfgang Puck Player’s Locker, both in Las Vegas.

    It's a decades-old secret recipe that is often imitated but never duplicated since no knockoff I've found includes all the ingredients necessary to create the signature taste. In my underground lab, I sat down with my “to-go” salad (dressing on the side, of course) and meticulously deconstructed it by separating all the ingredients into small bowls. After working for about 45 minutes with the tweezers, I had separate piles of napa cabbage, various greens including frisée, radicchio, shredded carrot, and another shredded root vegetable that I have yet to see anyone include in their so-called “hack”: daikon radish.

    In my Wolfgang Puck Chinois Chicken Salad recipe below I’ll show you how to make the perfect blend of greens (including another secret ingredient that recipes miss), and the ultimate way to clone the famous dressing. I’ve also got easy hacks for perfect candied sesame cashews and crunchy wontons to sprinkle on top, plus I’m including a handful of step photos to ensure that your salad comes out perfect.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Chick-fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad & Creamy Salsa Dressing

    If you didn’t know this salad came from Chick-fil-A you could easily be fooled into thinking it was a much more expensive salad from a casual chain like T.G.I. Friday’s or Chili’s. The bed of greens is built with crisp romaine, green leaf, and red leaf lettuce, and without a speck of tasteless iceberg in sight. On top of that are ingredients you don’t associate with fast food, like grilled corn, black beans, roasted peppers, spicy chili lime pepitas, and crunchy tortilla chips. Everything works great together, and now I can show you how to make all of it for a spot-on home hack.

    Chick-fil-A knows chicken, so of course the spicy chicken served on top of the salad is delicious. We can easily clone it by marinating chicken fillets in a special spicy brine for a few hours to infuse it with flavor and juiciness, then grilling it, chilling it, and slicing it thin.

    The biggest star of the salad is the secret recipe that kitchen cloners have requested most: the creamy salsa dressing. To make your own version roast some peppers, mix those with the other ingredients in a blender until the dressing is smooth and creamy, and you’ll get a bright, spicy dressing that perfectly duplicates the one served on the Chick-Fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad, or any other home-crafted salads in your future.

    Hungry for more Chick-Fil-A? Find my clones for their famous chicken sandwich, mac & cheese, and more here.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Original Chopped Salad

    Menu Description: "Chopped lettuce, basil, salami, chilled roast turkey breast, diced tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese tossed in our herb-mustard Parmesan vinaigrette topped with scallions."

    It's the delicious herb-mustard Parmesan vinaigrette that makes this salad so good. And since freshly made dressings are way better than anything you'll buy in a store, here's a great recipe for vinaigrette that you can use either on the CPK Original chopped salad here, or on any salad you assemble with ingredients on hand. After heating up these vinaigrette ingredients for a couple of minutes, let the mixture cool, and then drizzle a thin stream of olive oil into the dressing as you blend it with an electric mixer on high speed. This will create an emulsion to thicken the vinaigrette and hold all the ingredients together even as the dressing chills.

    Try more of my CPK copycat recipes for appetizers, soups, and pizza here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.82 (votes: 17)
    Outback Steakhouse Blue Cheese Chopped Salad

    This cheesy little number is one of the most popular side salad choices at America's favorite steakhouse chain. Cinnamon Pecans and fried angel hair pasta are tossed with salad greens and a delicious sweet and sour blue cheese vinaigrette. The crunchy angel hair pasta pieces are made by first boiling 24 sticks of uncooked pasta for half of the usual cooking time. When the pasta is cool, fry it in a bit of oil until light brown and crispy. The cinnamon pecans are easily candied in a small saucepan with a few basic ingredients. 

    My Outback Steakhouse Blue Cheese Chopped Salad recipe here makes two large salad servings, which will require only half of the dressing. This way, if you want to serve more salads you can easily double up on the other ingredients, and you'll have just the right amount of dressing for a couple more servings.

    I've cloned a ton of famous dishes from Outback Steakhouse. See if I hacked your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    California Pizza Kitchen The Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

    Menu Description: "Chopped lettuce, black beans, sweet corn, jicama, cilantro, basil, crispy corn tortilla strips, and Monterey Jack cheese tossed together in our herb ranch dressing. Topped with chopped BBQ chicken breast, diced tomatoes and scallions."

    It was probably the popularity of CPK's BBQ chicken pizza that inspired this twist on the original chopped salad. I think the herb ranch dressing that's made here is much better than any ranch dressing you can buy in bottles in your local supermarket, but you can still choose to use one of those on this salad to speed things up, if you prefer. You might also consider substituting ingredients listed here for lower-fat ingredients, such as low-fat mayonnaise, sour cream and fat-free milk. As with any clone, consider this formula as your springboard into a custom dish that suits your own specs.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.71 (votes: 101)
    Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "Crisp Oriental greens topped with chunks of crunchy Chicken Fingers, toasted almonds and crispy rice noodles tossed in a light Oriental vinaigrette."

    Applebee's 60-item menu is revised twice a year. That means about 40 percent of the entire menu changes on a regular basis. The other 60 percent are items that are found on menus in all of the Applebee's restaurants, and seldom ever change. One item that has been on the menu for some time now is this Oriental Chicken salad, which is considered one of the restaurant's signature items. My Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad recipe below makes one dinner-size salad and can be easily doubled or quadrupled for additional servings. This recipe comes from the third book, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes, but the dressing has been improved to more closely match the current dressing served at the restaurant.

    Want more Applebee's? See if I hacked your favorites here

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)
    California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Thai Crunch Salad

    Menu Description: "Shredded napa cabbage, chilled grilled chicken breast, julienne cucumbers, edamame, crispy wontons, peanuts, cilantro, julienne carrots, red cabbage and scallions tossed with a lime-cilantro dressing. Topped with crispy rice sticks and Thai peanut dressing."

    You can plan ahead for this delicious copycat CPK Thai Crunch salad recipe by first grilling the chicken and chilling it, then preparing the cilantro-lime dressing and the peanut sauce in advance. The menu description says that the salad is topped with "crispy rice sticks," but they look to me like crispy bean threads, cooked in a flash when dropped into hot oil for a few seconds. The crispy wontons are made from frying thinly sliced wonton wrappers in the same hot oil. For the edamame (soybeans), look in the frozen food section, and if they're still in their pods, be sure to take them out before measuring and tossing them into the salad. Once you've got everything chilled and chopped, building each dish is a breeze, and you'll have four huge dinner-size salads that will each be enough for an entire meal.

    I've cloned a ton of dishes from California Pizza Kitchen. See if I hacked your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)
    Applebee's Santa Fe Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "Grilled chipotle chicken breast with guacamole and sour cream on a bed of greens tossed with two cheeses, pico de gallo, tortilla strips and our Mexi-ranch dressing."

    Follow my Applebee's Santa Fe Salad recipe below to create a robust chipotle marinade that fills your chicken fillets with flavor. As you wait for the chicken to marinate, you have plenty of time to throw together the Mexi-ranch dressing and fresh pico de gallo. Now most of the work is done, and you're standing in front of the gate to salad heaven. When you're ready to enter, simply grill the chicken, assemble your salads and open wide.

    You should know that if you don't have buttermilk for the dressing, and don't want to buy a whole carton to use just a single tablespoon, simply substitute regular milk. You'll find ground chipotle pepper where all the spices are stocked in the market: I use McCormick. If you can't track down ground chipotle, use ground cayenne pepper. Just be sure to measure roughly half the amount, since cayenne packs more heat than chipotle.

    Find more recipes of your favorite Applebee's dishes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    T.G.I. Friday's Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "Pecan-crusted chicken, served sliced and chilled on salad greens tossed with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, topped with mandarin oranges, sweet-glazed pecans, celery, dried cranberries and bleu cheese."

    With dried cranberries, mandarin orange wedges, bleu cheese, pecan-crusted chicken breast, and a delicious sweet and sour balsamic vinaigrette, it's no wonder this salad is the top pick at one of America's first casual dining chains. And don't be intimidated by all the ingredients. The dressing is a cakewalk since you pour everything except the garlic into a blender. The pecan-crusted chicken is a simple breading process, and the chicken cooks up in a snap. You'll be spending most of your time at the chopping block as you hack pecans into little pieces and get the lettuce, garlic and celery ready. I've designed my T.G.I. Friday's Pecan Crusted Chicken Salad recipe to serve four, but if there are only two of you, you can easily cut it in half.

    Find more yummy T.G.I. Friday's copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad

    Menu Description: "Fajita-marinated chicken, corn relish, mixed cheese, cilantro, diced tomato and crispy tortilla strips. Garnished with a chipotle-ranch drizzle and cheese quesadilla wedges. Served with our citrus-balsamic dressing."

    I'm a happy camper on a Saturday afternoon when diving into one of these big salads, served up with a Presidente Margarita to help relieve my hangover from a Friday night hoo-ha. For the last several years, this has been the go-to salad when you're dining at Chili's. The chicken marinade is delicious, the corn relish is a great touch, and the citrus-balsamic vinaigrette totally rocks. And where else can you get a salad that includes slices of cheese quesadilla on the side? I love it. If you're a fan of the original, my 4-serving Chili's Quesadilla Explosion salad recipe will bring it home.

    Craving more of your favorite dishes from Chili's? See if I hacked your favorites here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur

    Read more
  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 12)
    Applebee's Low-Fat Asian Chicken Salad

    As the seasons change so does the menu, at this popular 1064-unit casual restaurant chain. You'll find this item in the "Low-Fat and Fabulous" column of the Applebee's menu during the summer months, where it's been a favorite since 1997.  

    As with any salad, the waistline violator is the traditionally fat-filled dressing that's drizzled in gobs over the top of very healthy greens. A tablespoon of dressing is usually around 10-12 grams of fat each. So if we can just figure out a cool way to make the dressing fat-free, we're well on our way to making huge salad—four of them to be exact—with only 12 grams of fat on the entire plate. In my Applebee's Asian Chicken Salad recipe below, most of those grams come from the chicken breast, while the crunchy chow mein noodles pick up the rest. Just be sure to plan ahead when you make this one. The chicken should marinate for a few hours if you want it to taste like the original. Get ready for some big, meal-size salads.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size–1 salad
    Total Servings–4
    Calories per serving–575
    Fat per serving–12g

    Make more of your favorite Applebee's dishes at home with my recipes here.

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Not rated yet
    Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "Breast of chicken basted with BBQ sauce & topped with Cheddar cheese, tomato, fresh avocado, and black beans. Served with Ranch dressing & garlic cheese bread."

    In 1969, Gerald Kingen bought a beat-up 30-year old bar called Red Robin in Seattle across the road from the University of Washington. The pub did a booming business with the college and local crowd, but in 1973 building officials gave their opinion of the bar: either fix it up or shut it down. Jerry not only fixed up the 1200-square-foot building, but also expanded it to three times its old size, and added a kitchen to start making food. Red Robin soon became popular for its wide selection of gourmet burgers in addition to the designer cocktails. Jerry says wanted to create a chain of restaurants that would be recognized as "the adult McDonald's and poor man's Trader Vic's."

    Use my Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad recipe below to re-create the chain's signature salad. All the components are here, including a recipe for crispy onion straws.

    See if I hacked your favorite burgers from Red Robin here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.93 (votes: 14)
    Applebee's Low-Fat Blackened Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "Our non-fat Honey Mustard dressing and non-fat Cheddar/Mozzarella blend give this Blackened Chicken Salad the same great taste as our original with less than 5 grams of fat."

    Applebee's original Blackened Chicken Salad quickly became a favorite, encouraging this popular full-service chain to create a low-fat version of the delish dish. Since most of the fat in the original comes from the tasty honey mustard dressing, this version creates a dressing that tastes just as good, yet has not a single gram of fat. Combine that with fresh lettuce, shredded carrot, a little egg white, non-fat shredded cheese, and a delicious Cajun spice blend which generously coats grilled chicken, and you have a majorly munchable salad which is incredibly easy on the waistline. Who says you need gobs of fat to create a tasty meal?

    Click here for more of my Applebee's copycat recipes. 

    Nutrition facts
    Serving size–1 salad
    Total serving–2
    Calories per serving–420
    Fat per serving–5 g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

     
    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Wendy's Garden Sensations Mandarin Chicken Salad & Sesame Dressing

    Of the four salads on Wendy's new Garden Sensations menu, this is the one that gets all the cloning requests. It's the sesame dressing that everyone's nuts about. The formula below gives you a nice 1 1/2 cups of the delicious stuff, so it'll fit perfectly into a standard dressing cruet. Once you've got your dressing made, building the rest of the salad is a breeze.

    Check out my other Wendy's clone recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 12)
    Ruby Tuesday Apple Salad

    Mosey on over to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday and you'll find this sweet, creamy apple salad somewhere down at the end. It's a simple recipe to clone with just nine ingredients, and it makes a great side for any casual cookout, picnic, reunion, or mandatory boring office party. Dried cranberries rehydrate to add notes of concentrated sweetness, and the celery and chopped pecans contribute extra crunch. You'll need two kinds of apples—one green and one red. Plan ahead on this one so that you can let the salad sit for several hours before you serve it. It tastes much better after a good fridge nap. My Ruby Tuesday Apple Salad recipe yields enough for 6 servings, but it can easily be doubled or quadrupled to fill more mouths.

    Find more tasty Ruby Tuesday clone recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.43 (votes: 14)
    KFC Potato Salad

    Here's a simple copycat recipe for KFC potato salad that's no longer sold as a side dish at America's largest fast food chicken chain. Some of the skin is left on the potatoes in the real thing, so you don't have to peel yours too thoroughly. Just be sure to chop your potatoes into cubes that are approximately 1/2-inch thick, and then let the salad marinate for at least 4 hours so that the flavors can properly develop. If you let the salad chill overnight, it tastes even better.

    Try my recipes for KFC fried chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, and many more here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.90 (votes: 10)
    McDonald's Fruit & Walnut Salad

    McDonald's enlisted Destiny's Child, Venus Williams, and Bob Greene (Oprah's trainer) to kick off its balanced lifestyles campaign in the spring of 2005, starting with this salad and the tagline "Get a fruit buzz." Most of the recipe is no big secret: two kinds of sliced apples, red seedless grapes, and low-fat vanilla yogurt. If there is a secret ingredient it's the candied walnuts which we can clone from scratch using honey, peanut oil, sugar and vanilla. Use my McDonald's Fruit and Walnut Salad recipe below to get a fruit buzz at home.

    See if I cloned more of your favorite McDonald's menu items here.
     
    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Not rated yet
    Chili's Grilled Caribbean Salad

    Menu Description: "Grilled, marinated chicken breast, mixed greens, pico de gallo, pineapple chunks, tortilla strips & honey-lime dressing."

    Larry Levine started building his chain of Chili's restaurants in Dallas in 1975. At that time, Chili's was basically a hamburger joint with a gourmet touch, dining room service and booze. Even though the menu then offered only eleven items, the restaurant was so popular that the throngs of hungry customers waited patiently in lines extending into the parking lots. This caught the eye of persuasive restaurateur Norman Brinker, who, in 1983, convinced Larry to sell his chain of Chili's restaurants, which by then had grown to a total of thirty.

    Before Norman had stepped into the picture, more than 80 percent of Chili's business was in hamburgers. Today a much larger menu reflects the current trends in food, and salads are some of the best-selling items. These days the Grilled Caribbean Salad with the tasty honey-lime dressing is the salad of choice. 

    Check out more of my copycat recipes for Chili's favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Chili's Guiltless Grill Guiltless Chicken Salad

    This salad was one of the first six selections offered when Chili's Guiltless Grill premiered on the chain's menu in 1993. You'll love the Southwestern flavors in this delicious and healthy salad clone. The marinated grilled chicken has a sweet, smoky taste, and the pico de gallo lends a nice zip to the dish. Top it all off with irresistible Southwest dressing and you'll have a meal-size salad that comes in at only 5 grams of fat.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 salad
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–558
    Fat per serving–5g

    Find more copycat recipes of your favorite dishes from Chili's here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Not rated yet
    Chili's Fajita Salad Reduced-Fat

    This big salad of mixed greens, fajita steak, pico de gallo, black beans, bell peppers, corn and guacamole comes slathered with two types of salad dressings plus fried tortilla chips, making the restaurant version a fat-filled fiesta.

    In my reduced fat Chili's Fajita Salad recipe below, the two dressings here are made fat-free, knocking the fat grams down to around a third of what you'd down in the original. There are several components here in this conversion, but this recipe makes four of the huge entree-size salads, and the results are worth the effort. This recipe clones the steak version of the salad, but you can also replace the beef with chicken.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 salad
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–591 (Original–784)
    Fat per serving–15g (Original–45g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 7)
    Hooters Pasta Salad

    Menu Description: "Rotini, cukes, tomatoes, scallions and vinaigrette dressing on the side."

    On the back of each menu at this popular dinner house chain is the "Hooters Saga"—a tongue-in-cheek tale of the restaurant's origin. The story claims that the chain's founders, referred to as "The Hooters Six," were arrested shortly after opening the first Hooters restaurant "for impersonating restauranteurs (sic). There were no indictments," the story explains. "But the stigma lingers on."

    Even though the "saga" claims the building for the first Hooters restaurant was originally going to be used as a "giant walk-in dumpster," each Hooters outlet is designed to look like a Florida beachouse. And whether it's December or July, day or night, you'll notice the trademark multicolored Christmas lights are always on.

    Since Hooters is more than just Buffalo wings and shrimp, I thought I'd hack another popular item on the menu: Hooters Pasta Salad. You'll love the tasty tri-color pasta salad tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onion, and a delicious vinaigrette. Use my version of the pink vinaigrette dressing on a variety of salads or sub sandwiches, or even as a marinade.

    Get your wing fix with my copycat recipes for the wings that made Hooter's famous here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 7)
    Applebee's Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "A masterwork of flavors. Grilled, marinated chicken breast crowns this fresh mix of delectable greens, crisp apples, rich crumbled blue cheese and sweet candied walnuts. Tossed in our tangy balsamic vinaigrette."

    Sometimes I feel like a C.S.I. To re-create this salad, I ordered several to-go and then sat down with a magnifying glass and carefully picked out each of the bits and pieces and separated them into smaller bowls. Sure, this was tedious work, but it made it easy to measure out each ingredient for the most accurate Applebee's Apple Walnut Chicken Salad recipe. 

    Next, I cooked a ton of chicken, each with different versions of the marinade, until I found the one that worked. The smoky marinade for the chicken here is basically a brine that adds just the right amount of saltiness and flavor through osmosis, so be sure not to let the chicken soak longer than specified. Of course, the lead performer in any salad is the dressing, since it is responsible for much of what you taste. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette is delicious with honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, and tarragon in there. You can make an easy emulsion out of it with a hand mixer. The best part is that you'll end up with leftover vinaigrette that you can use to make a couple more meal-size salads, and then some. Case closed.

    Find more of my salad knock-off recipes here. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.69 (votes: 13)
    Applebee's Grilled Shrimp 'N Spinach Salad

    Menu Description: "Fresh spinach tossed with tomatoes, red peppers, onions, almonds and topped with grilled shrimp. Served with bacon vinaigrette."

    Here's another great vinaigrette from Applebee's—a perfectly sweet and sour concoction packed with bits of real bacon. Medium shrimp are sprinkled with a secret seasoning blend, then grilled and arranged on top of the two large dinner-size salads this recipe yields. You can also split these up to serve four smaller side salads. There will be extra vinaigrette, so by adding a bit more spinach, you can even stretch this recipe to serve six when that couple who never calls ahead shows up unexpectedly on your stoop at chow time.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Chick-fil-A Carrot and Raisin Salad

    The secret to cloning Chick Fil-A's popular carrot raisin salad lies in proper carrot shredding technique. A standard shredder, like the type you might use to shred a hunk of cheddar cheese, creates a coarse shred that makes the salad taste much too "carroty." Instead, find yourself the type of fine shredder that is often used for Parmesan cheese. Sure, it'll take a little more elbow grease to reduce 5 or 6 carrots to ultra thin strips, but I guarantee you'll end up with a superior finished product that will help you forget all about the extra effort.

    Try more of my Chick-Fil-A copycat recipes, like their famous chicken sandwich here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
Products: 124 of 25
Show: 24

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

  • Not rated yet
    Wolfgang Puck Chinois Chicken Salad

    This iconic Chinese chicken salad, born at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois restaurant in Santa Monica, California, can also be found on menus at other Puck dining rooms, including Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and Wolfgang Puck Player’s Locker, both in Las Vegas.

    It's a decades-old secret recipe that is often imitated but never duplicated since no knockoff I've found includes all the ingredients necessary to create the signature taste. In my underground lab, I sat down with my “to-go” salad (dressing on the side, of course) and meticulously deconstructed it by separating all the ingredients into small bowls. After working for about 45 minutes with the tweezers, I had separate piles of napa cabbage, various greens including frisée, radicchio, shredded carrot, and another shredded root vegetable that I have yet to see anyone include in their so-called “hack”: daikon radish.

    In my Wolfgang Puck Chinois Chicken Salad recipe below I’ll show you how to make the perfect blend of greens (including another secret ingredient that recipes miss), and the ultimate way to clone the famous dressing. I’ve also got easy hacks for perfect candied sesame cashews and crunchy wontons to sprinkle on top, plus I’m including a handful of step photos to ensure that your salad comes out perfect.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Chick-fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad & Creamy Salsa Dressing

    If you didn’t know this salad came from Chick-fil-A you could easily be fooled into thinking it was a much more expensive salad from a casual chain like T.G.I. Friday’s or Chili’s. The bed of greens is built with crisp romaine, green leaf, and red leaf lettuce, and without a speck of tasteless iceberg in sight. On top of that are ingredients you don’t associate with fast food, like grilled corn, black beans, roasted peppers, spicy chili lime pepitas, and crunchy tortilla chips. Everything works great together, and now I can show you how to make all of it for a spot-on home hack.

    Chick-fil-A knows chicken, so of course the spicy chicken served on top of the salad is delicious. We can easily clone it by marinating chicken fillets in a special spicy brine for a few hours to infuse it with flavor and juiciness, then grilling it, chilling it, and slicing it thin.

    The biggest star of the salad is the secret recipe that kitchen cloners have requested most: the creamy salsa dressing. To make your own version roast some peppers, mix those with the other ingredients in a blender until the dressing is smooth and creamy, and you’ll get a bright, spicy dressing that perfectly duplicates the one served on the Chick-Fil-A Spicy Southwest Salad, or any other home-crafted salads in your future.

    Hungry for more Chick-Fil-A? Find my clones for their famous chicken sandwich, mac & cheese, and more here.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Chili's Guiltless Grill Guiltless Chicken Salad

    This salad was one of the first six selections offered when Chili's Guiltless Grill premiered on the chain's menu in 1993. You'll love the Southwestern flavors in this delicious and healthy salad clone. The marinated grilled chicken has a sweet, smoky taste, and the pico de gallo lends a nice zip to the dish. Top it all off with irresistible Southwest dressing and you'll have a meal-size salad that comes in at only 5 grams of fat.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 salad
    Total servings–2
    Calories per serving–558
    Fat per serving–5g

    Find more copycat recipes of your favorite dishes from Chili's here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 12)
    Ruby Tuesday Apple Salad

    Mosey on over to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday and you'll find this sweet, creamy apple salad somewhere down at the end. It's a simple recipe to clone with just nine ingredients, and it makes a great side for any casual cookout, picnic, reunion, or mandatory boring office party. Dried cranberries rehydrate to add notes of concentrated sweetness, and the celery and chopped pecans contribute extra crunch. You'll need two kinds of apples—one green and one red. Plan ahead on this one so that you can let the salad sit for several hours before you serve it. It tastes much better after a good fridge nap. My Ruby Tuesday Apple Salad recipe yields enough for 6 servings, but it can easily be doubled or quadrupled to fill more mouths.

    Find more tasty Ruby Tuesday clone recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Not rated yet
    Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "Breast of chicken basted with BBQ sauce & topped with Cheddar cheese, tomato, fresh avocado, and black beans. Served with Ranch dressing & garlic cheese bread."

    In 1969, Gerald Kingen bought a beat-up 30-year old bar called Red Robin in Seattle across the road from the University of Washington. The pub did a booming business with the college and local crowd, but in 1973 building officials gave their opinion of the bar: either fix it up or shut it down. Jerry not only fixed up the 1200-square-foot building, but also expanded it to three times its old size, and added a kitchen to start making food. Red Robin soon became popular for its wide selection of gourmet burgers in addition to the designer cocktails. Jerry says wanted to create a chain of restaurants that would be recognized as "the adult McDonald's and poor man's Trader Vic's."

    Use my Red Robin BBQ Chicken Salad recipe below to re-create the chain's signature salad. All the components are here, including a recipe for crispy onion straws.

    See if I hacked your favorite burgers from Red Robin here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    California Pizza Kitchen The Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

    Menu Description: "Chopped lettuce, black beans, sweet corn, jicama, cilantro, basil, crispy corn tortilla strips, and Monterey Jack cheese tossed together in our herb ranch dressing. Topped with chopped BBQ chicken breast, diced tomatoes and scallions."

    It was probably the popularity of CPK's BBQ chicken pizza that inspired this twist on the original chopped salad. I think the herb ranch dressing that's made here is much better than any ranch dressing you can buy in bottles in your local supermarket, but you can still choose to use one of those on this salad to speed things up, if you prefer. You might also consider substituting ingredients listed here for lower-fat ingredients, such as low-fat mayonnaise, sour cream and fat-free milk. As with any clone, consider this formula as your springboard into a custom dish that suits your own specs.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.93 (votes: 14)
    Applebee's Low-Fat Blackened Chicken Salad

    Menu Description: "Our non-fat Honey Mustard dressing and non-fat Cheddar/Mozzarella blend give this Blackened Chicken Salad the same great taste as our original with less than 5 grams of fat."

    Applebee's original Blackened Chicken Salad quickly became a favorite, encouraging this popular full-service chain to create a low-fat version of the delish dish. Since most of the fat in the original comes from the tasty honey mustard dressing, this version creates a dressing that tastes just as good, yet has not a single gram of fat. Combine that with fresh lettuce, shredded carrot, a little egg white, non-fat shredded cheese, and a delicious Cajun spice blend which generously coats grilled chicken, and you have a majorly munchable salad which is incredibly easy on the waistline. Who says you need gobs of fat to create a tasty meal?

    Click here for more of my Applebee's copycat recipes. 

    Nutrition facts
    Serving size–1 salad
    Total serving–2
    Calories per serving–420
    Fat per serving–5 g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

     
    Read more
  • Score: 4.69 (votes: 13)
    Applebee's Grilled Shrimp 'N Spinach Salad

    Menu Description: "Fresh spinach tossed with tomatoes, red peppers, onions, almonds and topped with grilled shrimp. Served with bacon vinaigrette."

    Here's another great vinaigrette from Applebee's—a perfectly sweet and sour concoction packed with bits of real bacon. Medium shrimp are sprinkled with a secret seasoning blend, then grilled and arranged on top of the two large dinner-size salads this recipe yields. You can also split these up to serve four smaller side salads. There will be extra vinaigrette, so by adding a bit more spinach, you can even stretch this recipe to serve six when that couple who never calls ahead shows up unexpectedly on your stoop at chow time.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Original Chopped Salad

    Menu Description: "Chopped lettuce, basil, salami, chilled roast turkey breast, diced tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese tossed in our herb-mustard Parmesan vinaigrette topped with scallions."

    It's the delicious herb-mustard Parmesan vinaigrette that makes this salad so good. And since freshly made dressings are way better than anything you'll buy in a store, here's a great recipe for vinaigrette that you can use either on the CPK Original chopped salad here, or on any salad you assemble with ingredients on hand. After heating up these vinaigrette ingredients for a couple of minutes, let the mixture cool, and then drizzle a thin stream of olive oil into the dressing as you blend it with an electric mixer on high speed. This will create an emulsion to thicken the vinaigrette and hold all the ingredients together even as the dressing chills.

    Try more of my CPK copycat recipes for appetizers, soups, and pizza here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Not rated yet
    KFC Potato Salad Fat-Free

    Sure, KFC's potato salad is good, but have you ever wondered why they don't sell a fat-free version? It really wouldn't be so tough to substitute fat-free mayo for the regular stuff, then just sweeten it up with some sweet pickle relish and sugar. Throw a few spices in there, some bits of veggies, and the recipe might look something like this.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–5.6 ounces
    Total servings–8
    Calories per serving–90 (Original–230)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–14g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)
    California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Thai Crunch Salad

    Menu Description: "Shredded napa cabbage, chilled grilled chicken breast, julienne cucumbers, edamame, crispy wontons, peanuts, cilantro, julienne carrots, red cabbage and scallions tossed with a lime-cilantro dressing. Topped with crispy rice sticks and Thai peanut dressing."

    You can plan ahead for this delicious copycat CPK Thai Crunch salad recipe by first grilling the chicken and chilling it, then preparing the cilantro-lime dressing and the peanut sauce in advance. The menu description says that the salad is topped with "crispy rice sticks," but they look to me like crispy bean threads, cooked in a flash when dropped into hot oil for a few seconds. The crispy wontons are made from frying thinly sliced wonton wrappers in the same hot oil. For the edamame (soybeans), look in the frozen food section, and if they're still in their pods, be sure to take them out before measuring and tossing them into the salad. Once you've got everything chilled and chopped, building each dish is a breeze, and you'll have four huge dinner-size salads that will each be enough for an entire meal.

    I've cloned a ton of dishes from California Pizza Kitchen. See if I hacked your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.43 (votes: 14)
    KFC Potato Salad

    Here's a simple copycat recipe for KFC potato salad that's no longer sold as a side dish at America's largest fast food chicken chain. Some of the skin is left on the potatoes in the real thing, so you don't have to peel yours too thoroughly. Just be sure to chop your potatoes into cubes that are approximately 1/2-inch thick, and then let the salad marinate for at least 4 hours so that the flavors can properly develop. If you let the salad chill overnight, it tastes even better.

    Try my recipes for KFC fried chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, and many more here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.82 (votes: 17)
    Outback Steakhouse Blue Cheese Chopped Salad

    This cheesy little number is one of the most popular side salad choices at America's favorite steakhouse chain. Cinnamon Pecans and fried angel hair pasta are tossed with salad greens and a delicious sweet and sour blue cheese vinaigrette. The crunchy angel hair pasta pieces are made by first boiling 24 sticks of uncooked pasta for half of the usual cooking time. When the pasta is cool, fry it in a bit of oil until light brown and crispy. The cinnamon pecans are easily candied in a small saucepan with a few basic ingredients. 

    My Outback Steakhouse Blue Cheese Chopped Salad recipe here makes two large salad servings, which will require only half of the dressing. This way, if you want to serve more salads you can easily double up on the other ingredients, and you'll have just the right amount of dressing for a couple more servings.

    I've cloned a ton of famous dishes from Outback Steakhouse. See if I hacked your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 7)
    Hooters Pasta Salad

    Menu Description: "Rotini, cukes, tomatoes, scallions and vinaigrette dressing on the side."

    On the back of each menu at this popular dinner house chain is the "Hooters Saga"—a tongue-in-cheek tale of the restaurant's origin. The story claims that the chain's founders, referred to as "The Hooters Six," were arrested shortly after opening the first Hooters restaurant "for impersonating restauranteurs (sic). There were no indictments," the story explains. "But the stigma lingers on."

    Even though the "saga" claims the building for the first Hooters restaurant was originally going to be used as a "giant walk-in dumpster," each Hooters outlet is designed to look like a Florida beachouse. And whether it's December or July, day or night, you'll notice the trademark multicolored Christmas lights are always on.

    Since Hooters is more than just Buffalo wings and shrimp, I thought I'd hack another popular item on the menu: Hooters Pasta Salad. You'll love the tasty tri-color pasta salad tossed with tomatoes, cucumbers, and green onion, and a delicious vinaigrette. Use my version of the pink vinaigrette dressing on a variety of salads or sub sandwiches, or even as a marinade.

    Get your wing fix with my copycat recipes for the wings that made Hooter's famous here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
  • Score: 4.90 (votes: 10)
    McDonald's Fruit & Walnut Salad

    McDonald's enlisted Destiny's Child, Venus Williams, and Bob Greene (Oprah's trainer) to kick off its balanced lifestyles campaign in the spring of 2005, starting with this salad and the tagline "Get a fruit buzz." Most of the recipe is no big secret: two kinds of sliced apples, red seedless grapes, and low-fat vanilla yogurt. If there is a secret ingredient it's the candied walnuts which we can clone from scratch using honey, peanut oil, sugar and vanilla. Use my McDonald's Fruit and Walnut Salad recipe below to get a fruit buzz at home.

    See if I cloned more of your favorite McDonald's menu items here.
     
    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

    Read more
Never miss a secret
Subscribe to Todd Wilbur’s newsletter and be the first to know what’s free and what’s new!
I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

What's Hot