Carl’s Jr. introduced two new “indulgent” salad options on Wednesday and will begin promoting them next week with commercials featuring actress Jenny McCarthy.

The new items include the Cranberry Apple Walnut Grilled Chicken salad, which returns to the menu just as McDonald’s is phasing out its fruit-and-walnut salad — though company officials say the move is unrelated.

New to the Carl’s Jr. menu, however, is the BBQ Ranch Grilled Chicken salad with tortilla strips, black beans, corn, fresh salsa, ranch dressing, Memphis BBQ sauce, shredded cheese and grilled chicken on a bed of mixed spring and iceberg lettuces.

Both salads are available as entrees and priced around $5, according to parent company CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., based in Carpinteria, Calif. The two salads join the existing Original Grilled Chicken Salad on the menu.

“Carl’s Jr. built its reputation serving up big, indulgent burgers and we’ve taken the same approach with our new line of grilled chicken salads,” said Brad Haley, CKE’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “We loaded them up with so many flavorful ingredients — like marinated grilled chicken, crisp apples, candied walnuts and feta cheese — that you won’t feel like you’re making a sacrifice to eat a little lighter.”

Carl’s Jr. and sister brand Hardee’s are known for their marketing efforts typically centered around curvaceous celebrity models or actresses. When the Cranberry Apple salad first joined the menu in 2009, for example, it was promoted by reality TV celeb Kim Kardashian.

This salad promotion is no exception. McCarthy’s commercial, titled “Forget You’re Eating Salad,” was developed by Los Angeles- and Amsterdam-based 72andSunny and will begin airing in select markets on June 24.

“I’m excited to be the new Carl’s Jr. salad babe,” said McCarthy in a statement. “I’m loving all the ingredients in their new salad. Each bite is scrumptious and a little nutty. Reminds me of a few exes I’ve dated.”

CKE operates or franchises 1,369 Carl’s Jr. and 1,944 Hardee’s locations in 42 states and 28 foreign countries and U.S. territories worldwide.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout