Salads have become synonymous with healthy food—and usually for a good reason! They can be an efficient way to get lots of nutrient-dense veggies with a healthy dose of protein. However, if you’re serving your salad the way many chain restaurants do, often under a bed of fried chicken, drenched in ranch dressing or with no sense of reasonable portion sizes, then you’re not doing your waistline any favors. Case in point: These eight fat-loaded salads, which make a 530-calorie McDonald’s Big Mac look like a lean cuisine.
CHEESECAKE FACTORY CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD
We’re guessing that this salad is served in a trough, because we’re a little baffled as to how else a simple mix of lettuce, dressing, cheese, chicken and croutons could add up to such an eye-popping calorie count. Without the chicken? You’re still chowing down 1280 calories.
CHILI’S QUESADILLA EXPLOSION SALAD
Let’s be real: This dish is barely a salad. It’s essentially a cheese quesadilla topped with lettuce and salad fixings, including chicken, an ancho-chile ranch sauce, crispy tortilla strips and more cheese. The result? Nearly a day’s worth of calories and 96 g of fat.
CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN THAI CRUNCH SALAD
The same ingredients that give CPK’s dish that satisfying crunch (namely wontons, rice sticks and Thai peanut dressing) are the same things that contribute to its stunning calorie count.
RUBY TUESDAY CAROLINA CHICKEN SALAD
It’s safe to assume that anything prepared “southern-style” won’t skimp on the fat or calories. Accordingly, this menu item, which boasts southern-style chicken, bacon and cheese, carries more calories than two Big Macs, as well as 68 g of fat.
CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN ORIGINAL BBQ CHICKEN CHOPPED SALAD
You could eat half of a roast chicken and consume fewer calories than you’re getting with this ranch-dressed explosion of barbecue meat and veggies. Opting to add the avocado? Your grand calorie total shoots to 1250.
T.G.I. FRIDAYS PECAN CRUSTED CHICKEN SALAD
This unassuming chicken and mixed-greens combo will set you back more than 1,000 calories. And, while it offers a hefty dose of protein, it also overloads you with sodium.
CHILI’S BONELESS BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD
Packing more calories than 20 McDonald’s chicken nuggets, this salad, which combines buffalo chicken, blue cheese and ranch dressing, will also load you up with two days’ worth of sodium.
MACARONI GRILL CHICKEN FLORENTINE
Despite sounding healthy, this chicken and spinach salad has somehow racked up more calories than many of Macaroni Grill’s classic Italian dishes, including its chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, and chicken marsala.