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What’s in Famous Dave’s Chicken Caeser Salad?

In this new series, “Eating out: What’s in it?” we will be going over how you can figure out for yourself if something is unhealthy. Today we are taking a trip to Famous Dave’s.


1. Check the Menu

In more and more urban and developed cities, some nutrition information is being publicly displayed on the menu. Look for numbers or symbols next to the menu item.

  • “S/M 480/750 cal”     — this could be found right after a shake, indicating that the small size is 480 calories, while a medium is 750.
  • “GF,” “V,” or “DF”     — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy free)
  • “0g trans fat”     –there is a negligible amount of trans fat in the food


These indicators are convenient and effective ways of narrowing down choices.


2. Go Online

If you are eating at a chain restaurant, you can almost guarantee they will have the nutritional info on their websites. Some even have ingredients, and most include a common allergen guide.

In this case we have an extensive amount of information online for all of Famous Dave’s products.


  1. Go to their website
  2. On the main menu select “Menu and Locations”
  3. Scroll down and click “Dine in Menu”
  4. Near the bottom of page and you will find a link that says “Nutrition and Ingredients
  5. There you will find PDF documents of the nutrients, ingredients, and allergens in each of their menu items


Summaries- Nutrition:

  • 730 calories per serving (1 order)

See also: Who Decides What a Serving Size is, Anyway?

  • 55g of protein, 1960mg of sodium, and 180mg of cholesterol

The protein content is not bad for a salad; however, this contains roughly 2/3 of the recommended amount of daily cholesterol, and roughly is the amount of sodium that is recommended to be consumed per day.


As far as sodium goes, this would be considered near the “healthy daily maximum.”


  • 25g of carbohydrates, 7g of which is sugar and 6g of which is fiber

This would be bread strips.

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts

  • 48g of fat, 10g of which is saturated, and 1 gram trans fat

Surprisingly, this salad contains trans fats. Most of the fat comes from the cheese and dressing.
Our approximate macro breakdown: 59% fat, 11% carbs, 30% protein.

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?



Wheat, milk, soy, and eggs.


Summaries- Ingredients

I divided the ingredients up into a layout that is hopefully easier to understand.

Some ingredients are not in blue, those in black I’m not counting to avoid listing items twice.


  1. Hearts of romaine lettuce
  2. Parmesan cheese
    1. milk
    2. salt
    3. cheese cultures
    4. enzymes
  3. Yellow Pullman bread
    1. enriched unbleached flour
      1. wheat flour
      2. malted barley flour
      3. niacin
      4. reduced iron"[Iron] prepared by reacting ground ferric oxide with hydrog... More
      5. thiamine mononitrate
      6. riboflavin
      7. folic acid
    2. water
    3. high fructose corn syrup
    4. yeast
    5. contains less than 2% of each of the following
      1. wheat gluten
      2. soybean oil
      3. salt
      4. calcium propionate (preservative)
      5. calcium sulfate
      6. calcium peroxide
      7. sodium stearoyl lactylate
      8. spice blend
        1. yellow corn flour
        2. spice oils
          1. turmeric
          2. annatto
        3. sunflower oil
      9. microcrystalline celluloseCellulose is a compound that gives plant cells their rigidit... More
      10. L-cysteine hydrochloride anhydrous
      11. ascorbic acidAnother name for vitamin c. (added as a dough conditioner)
      12. corn starch
      13. enzymes
      14. dicalcium phosphate
      15. sodium acid pyrophosphateAlso known as disodium phosphate, it is a leavening agent, s... More
      16. sodium bicarbonate
      17. monocalcium phosphateIt is a leavening agent because it produces CO2 when it reac... More
      18. azodicarbonamide
      19. high oleic canola oil
    6. 60/40 butter blend
      1. butter
      2. liquid soybean oil
      3. partially hydrogenated soybean oil
      4. pasteurized skim milk
      5. water
      6. salt
      7. soy lecithin"Food grade lecithin is a complex mixture of substances deri... More
      8. vegetable mono and diglycerides
      9. sodium benzoate added as a preservative
      10. artificial flavor
      11. vitamin A palmitate added
      12. colored with beta carotene
    7. garlic powder
    8. spices
    9. dehydrated garlic
    10. dehydrated carrots
    11. dehydrated red bell peppers
    12. dehydrated onion
    13. sesame seed
    14. citric acid"Citric acid is the compound 2-hydroxy-1,2,3-propanetricarbo... More
    15. parsley
    16. orange peel
    17. turmeric
    18. lemon peel
    19. celery
    20. cornstarch
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Parsley flakes
  6. Grilled chicken breast
    1. USDA Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless
    2. Marinade
      1. water
      2. vinegar
      3. high fructose corn syrup
      4. salt
      5. modified tapioca starch
      6. dehydrated garlic
      7. soybean oil
      8. lemon juice concentrate
      9. dehydrated carrots
      10. xanthan gum"The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
      11. dehydrated onion
      12. onion powder
      13. propylene glycol alginate
      14. dehydrated red bell peppers
      15. citric acid
      16. color
        1. caramel
        2. beta carotene
        3. carrot extractives
      17. spices
      18. calcium disodium EDTA {used to protect flavor}
      19. cottonseed oil
  7. Caeser dressing
    1. Soybean Oil
    2. Water
    3. Parmesan Cheese
      1. Part-Skim Milk
      2. Cheese CultureThis refers to a culture of cells- keeping things like yeast... More
      3. Salt
      4. Enzymes
    4. Corn Vinegar
    5. Distilled Vinegar
    6. Egg Yolks
    7. Salt
    8. Apple Cider Vinegar
    9. Sugar
    10. Worcestershire Sauce Concentrate
      1. Distilled Vinegar
      2. Molasses
      3. Corn Syrup
      4. Water
      5. Salt
      6. Caramel Color
      7. Garlic Powder
      8. Sugar
      9. Spices
      10. Tamarind
      11. NaturalThis term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More Flavor
      12. Sulfiting Agent
    11. Lemon Juice Concentrate
    12. Natural Cheese Flavor
      1. Parmesan Cheese
        1. Cultured Milk
        2. Salt
        3. Enzymes
      2. Water
      3. Disodium Phosphate
      4. Enzymes
    13. Spices
    14. Monosodium Glutamate
    15. Garlic Powder
    16. Citric Acid
    17. Potassium Sorbate
    18. Sodium Benzoate
    19. Preservatives
    20. Xanthan Gum
    21. Maltodextrin
    22. Onion Powder
    23. Hydrolyzed Protein
      1. Soy
      2. Wheat Gluten
    24. Calcium Disodium EDTA to protect flavor




  • Be wary of the corn syrup used.
  • Know that “mono and diglicerides” may contain trans fats, as well as partially hydrogenated oils
  • There are a couple of flavorings
  • Lots of added sugars and salt
  • This salad has MSG
  • Be aware of preservatives used like sulfiting agents, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, calcium propionate, and so on
  • If you haven’t heard of it, file powder is an herb
  • Lastly, if you are unfamiliar with xanthan or guar gum, they are harmless thickeners


Be careful. This salad has more than meets the eye.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients


Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.


Thanks for reading!





Famous Dave’s. Menu and Locations. 2017. Accessed 28 February 2017.

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