Copycat Culver’s Chicken Cashew Salad


Copycat Culver’s Chicken Cashew Salad is a quick and filling salad recipe. Simple and delicious. 


Every time I hit the trail I look forward to seeing a few familiar faces that help distract and get me through a tough (torturous, even? In this heat anyway!) run.

First up is the older couple I can usually expect about 3/4 miles in. Always walking one ahead of the other, the woman will give me a grin while her mate waves from behind in one slow arc from his elbow, like a rainbow signaling relief. Nearly 1 mile done!


I can always count on the older gentleman riding his bike at breakneck speeds 1/4 mile later wearing, wait for it, a wrestling singlet with, cough, nothing underneath, for a chuckle to distract me from the sweat that’s generally pouring down my chin at that point.


Jazzy power walker lady in her cute visor and walkman gives me an encouraging, I know you’re dying, sweetie, but just keep going! smile near the end of my journey, while the runner’s wave I exchange with a guy I’ve seen lose 100+ pounds over the past couple of years totally inspires me to push through the last 1/4 mile, which is uphill in both directions. With 15 feet of snow on the ground even in the summertime…

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Similarly, there’s nothing that helps get me through a long day quite like knowing dinner isn’t going to be complicated or take a long time to prepare, and that it will be utterly delicious and satisfying to boot.


I almost always have the ingredients on hand to make Copycat Culver’s Chicken Cashew Salad which literally takes, like, two minutes to put together once you cook a chicken breast to perch on top.

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Chicken Cashew Salad is my favorite salad from Culver’s, a Midwestern fast-food chain, which I get anytime I’m on the road. Or craving cheese. They have the best cheese.


I make it home a lot for lunch, and it couldn’t be easier to toss together. Just saute or grill a chicken breast then place it on a bed of lettuce studded with sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, cashew halves, and freshly grated cheddar cheese in any amount you like. No measurements needed in this non-recipe, recipe!


The absolute best part is the freshly grated cheddar cheese that gets sprinkled on top. Freshly grated cheddah is silky, creamy, and smooth, and pairs beautifully with the salty cashews, and sweet cherry tomatoes. Definitely skip the pre-shredded stuff!


Copycat Culver’s Chicken Cashew Salad

serves 1 or more


Copycat Culver's Chicken Cashew Salad is a quick and filling salad recipe. Simple and delicious.


  • Chicken breasts (plan on 1 per person)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped (plan for 4 cups per person)
  • Cucumber slices
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cashew halves
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette, or your dressing of choice


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, or a grill to high. Brush chicken breasts on both sides with extra virgin olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
  2. In the meantime, divide lettuce between plates. Top with cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, cashew halves, cheddar cheese, and the cooked chicken.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


I like to dress this salad with a hit of fruity Raspberry Vinaigrette for a nice flavor contrast. A little seems to go a long way.


Bonus points go to this salad for being nearly no-heat required. Still avoiding the oven like the plague over here!


Do you name fellow exercisers on the trail or at the gym?

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  1. Erica W 07.26.2012

    There is a lady on my 3.7 mile hike that pushes her 1 1/2 year old in a stroller and carries her 3 year old on her back in a pack…I call her super mom. She’s there every time but never smiles at me even though I have a goofy “you’re the woman” smile on my face. Go figure.

  2. Trisha 07.26.2012

    You know why Culver’s has the best cheese, right? Because it started right here in good ol’ Wisco! The chicken cashew salad is my favorite on-the-go “healthy” option but I normally go to Culver’s when I’m craving something bad for me. ;)
    I don’t have a consistent schedule which means I don’t walk or jog at the same time daily, thus not seeing the same people every day, but I do know the names of ALL the dogs in the neighborhood. The owners/my neighbors? Not a clue…

    • Lindsey 07.26.2012

      Haha! So true! I know the dog’s names too… & not the owners… oops!

  3. Kate 07.26.2012

    I work out at a Farrel’s location in Minnesota and with common names we just add descriptions like “5am Amy”, “Amy guns”, “little Amy” and the like. If I don’t know someone’s name I’ll give the class time and then the general area on the mat that they work out at.. “He’s a 7am-er, front corner…” It’s almost always the same week after week!

  4. Kristina 07.26.2012

    Oh my goodness I love Culver’s and I’ve ordered that salad many times – and with raspberry vinaigrette too! Great minds think alike. :)

    Sorry I spelled your name wrong earlier when I emailed you. I hate it when people spell mine with a “Ch” – you’d think I’d pay more attention to other people’s spellings! (Must’ve been reading too much gossip about the Twilight couple.)

  5. Katelyn 07.26.2012

    Um, HI HELLO. This looks easy and I look happy. College apartment kitchen holla at meeeeee

  6. Darien 07.26.2012

    i hugely miss culvers after my two year stint in nebraska while in the air force. that custard…oh, my lord, that custard.

  7. I kind of name people at the gym…but more like give them apt descriptions.

    Such as: “rather attractive bald man”
    “lady who could benchpress me”
    “cute old man who’s always walking on the treadmill”
    “Girl who’s biceps I really, really want”

    The list is getting pretty extensive nowadays. :-)

  8. Nora Lee 07.26.2012

    I don’t always name people I see on the trail or gym but I certainly recognize them a lot! After awhile, I try to initiate a knowing nod that isn’t usually reciprocated…I have named one guy at the gym, though, “hat guy.” Original, I know. He always wears a beanie when working out which sort of baffles me, so of course I spend my time on the treadmill creating theories as to why he wears it. He has long hair so maybe he wears a beanie to keep it from flying everywhere but he’s too self-conscious to rock a pony? Maybe he has no hair so he wears a beanie with fake hair attached to the bottom? I may never know…

  9. Mandy 07.26.2012

    Ooh, that salad looks delicious! I’m a west-coaster, so I’ve never heard of Culvers, but if this is the type of food they’re serving, I’ll have to check them out the next time I’m in the midwest!

  10. That chicken looks amazing! Makes me hungry!

  11. Teresa 07.26.2012

    You are so right about the Culver’s salad — the cheddar is the best part. As a Friday treat, I like to get a Butter burger (no cheese or mayo) and a side salad, which still has that glorious cheddar. Better than French fries, I think.

    There is definitely a group of us “regulars” on the High Trestle Trail on weeknights. The boombox guy is probably the most well-known — he rides with a boombox in his bike basket, blasting Bob Segar or Neil Diamond. He rides back and forth on the trail all the time.

  12. Kaelin 07.26.2012

    Haha! I love your comments about the fellow-sweaty people that you get to know on your runs. I don’t get to be out on trails, but run the same streets in town, so I often see the same people in their yards or on the road with me. Whenever I come across a new worker-outer (yup, its a word), I imagine their story in my head. Are they back into a routine after an injury? Training for a race? Or the master gardner whose yard is pristine. It keeps me very distracted! Especially in this heat….. I am sure we will be complaining about the windchill soon enough.

  13. Jane 07.26.2012

    I LOVE this salad at Culver’s. And now I’m wondering why it never occurred to me to try and make it at home! Yay! Thanks!

  14. You need to give me photography lesson. Your photos just get more gorgeous every day. ;)

  15. Jv 07.26.2012

    I laughed out loud b/c my mom always talks about “the shirtless man” — such a fun description if you ask me.

  16. Amanda 07.26.2012

    I still need to try Culvers! Every time we pass it Taylor always sighs like we’re missing something, haha. My old cardio kickboxing instructor was nicknamed “Barbie” because she was Barbie. Blonde hair, blue eyes, perfect body, always had a smile on her face, cute as a button! Is salad for dessert forbidden?

  17. Chicken and cashews are such a good combination. This looks like a great salad!

  18. Okay, so now you are going to get me to eat healthier at Culver’s. On the rare occasion that I go, I have to eat a burger. I always say I’m going to try something else, but never do. Now I HAVE to… then I’ll make the copycat at home. It looks so yummy and easy. Thank you!

  19. Emily 07.27.2012

    My mom and I always work out together and not only have we named people (Sweaty Guy – wears full on sweatsuits but leaves his long hair down – what?!…seriously FLINGS sweat across the gym – avoid treadmills near him!…Tiny Steps…Uphill TV Guy…) but for one guy in particular, who is very handsome but always looks SO MAD and just walks circle after circle around the tiny track, we have given him a complete backstory! Where he works (bank, but he wanted to be a forest ranger – now feels held down by The Man), what kind of pets he has (2 golden retrievers, King and Chief), why he goes to the gym (knee injury from hiking), favorite music (Tom Petty), etc.

  20. Lauren T 07.27.2012

    I saw this recipe on your facebook last night, and instantly got a craving for the salad. Unfortunately I didn’t have the right ingredients and there wasn’t a Culver’s near by, so I got a grilled chicken salad at McD’s instead…not the same…not even close *sigh* Next time I’ll just have to stop being lazy and get the ingredients to make it :)

  21. Becky 07.27.2012

    I LOVE Culver’s salad…it’s one of the “nicer” restaurants we have in our small town. On another note, I ran for awhile last summer (but had to stop due to horrifying plantar faciitis), and there was this couple who would walk the same loop that I ran on. They’d come together, but he would walk in one direction and she’d walk in the other direction with her friends. Hmmm. Thankfully, he wasn’t wearing a wrestling singlet, though. Ew.

  22. Looks awesome!! My husband always talks about Culvers but I’ve never been. May next time we’re in Iowa.

  23. So delicious! I love salads with chicken on!

  24. Lyndsey 07.27.2012

    This is my favorite salad from Culvers too – and they used to put black olives in it – soooo yummy!!!

  25. kelsey 07.27.2012

    we tried those chicken breasts last week, and they are so good! i’d love to hear more about how you choose your healthy meats (what restrictions you follow).

  26. I am the same way with my runs! This salad looks so much better than the one from Culvers!

  27. Chastity 02.15.2013

    Simply Delicious!

  28. […] is what makes Copycat Culver’s Chicken Cashew Salad so good. Just lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, cashews, and fresh cheddar cheese. Make sure to use […]

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