If you've had your mind on lighter or colder dining options lately, rest easy knowing you're not alone. With swimsuit season in full swing many of us have had our minds on meals that will leave us feeling full, but not looking it. A well-balanced salad is often the perfect choice.
All ten of these Phoenix salads are full of flavor, texture, and, in many cases, protein. If you ever thought the salad section of a menu isn't worth your while, prepare to have your mind changed.
See also: An Homage to the Classic Caesar Salad
Evil Princess Thai Chicken Salad La Grande Orange
Some things are worth braving the daunting parking situation at La Grande Orange. Case in point, the Evil Princess Thai Chicken Salad. This ready-made meal features crisp lettuce, minced white meat chicken, lemon grass, peanuts, bell pepper, peanuts and a light Thai dressing. With a slight kick and strong flavor the Evil Princess is the last minute lunch of choice for curbside dinners who like to grab n' go green.
Mozzarella Salad Pane Bianco
When it comes to caprese salads, we're of the mindset that simple is better. And luckily, Pane Bianco seems to agree. The restaurant's Mozzarella Salad includes just a handful of high-quality ingredients: freshly-made mozzarella cheese, basil, and thick-cut tomatoes. A touch of olive oil, salt, and pepper is all the help those three ingredients need to becomes a satisfying dish with clean, fresh flavors.
Red Goat Salad The Main Ingredient
For those who dream of strawberry fields forever there's no better salad than the field greens with strawberries at The Main Ingredient. The Red Goat salad is served with a generous dose of whole and half-cut strawberries, mixed greens, goat cheese, pistachios, and a light vinaigrette. Unlike many over-the-top menus, the Red Goat formula is simple: The strawberries keep it sweet while the nuts and cheese keep satisfying, making a summer salad is anything but "Bah."
Kale Caesar Salad Original ChopShop Co.
Original ChopShop Co. is one of our go-to places for healthy eats; all three locations have a menu full of fresh dining options. One of our tried-and-true favorites is the Kale Ceasar Salad, which blends both kale and romaine lettuce with campari tomatoes, croutons, and Parmesan cheese. The dressing is far from your traditional Ceasar dressing: a light but tangy lemon dijon vinnagrette.
Ensalada Cortada Gallo Blanco
Chef Doug Robson makes it easy to veg-out at Gallo Blanco thanks to the Ensalada Cortada, offered on the restaurant's all-day menu. In addition to a bed of chopped kale and red and white cabbage, this salad includes egg, avocado, Zamorano cheese, corn nuts, crunchy peas, Yulu seeds, and diced tomato. The whole thing is dressed in a light ranch vinaigrette to make for a meal that's flavorful but not overly filling.
Sunflower Market Salad The Herb Box
Flower children who favor a little more than dandelions in their day-to-day diet might do well to order the Sunflower Market Salad at The Herb Box. This lunch-only dinning option features romaine, frisee, goat cheese, bits of bacon, whole dried strawberries and blueberries, sunflower seeds, balsamic vinaigrette and a topping a blackened chicken. The Sunflower Market salad keeps it light while still giving you enough energy to pedal through the rest of the afternoon.
Pleah Beef Salad Reathrey Sekong
If you're looking for a salad that won't make you feel like you're eating rabbit food then you'll want the Pleah Beef Salad at Reathrey Sekong. This central Phoenix Cambodian restaurant serves a salad that blends citrus-cured beef with crunchy peppers and sprigs fresh cilantro. The blend of tart and fresh flavors makes this salad a perfect dish for summer and since the main ingredient is beef, not lettuce, you know you'll be fueled for the rest of your day.
Beet Salad Luci's Healthy Marketplace
What this beet salad lacks in "Killer Tofu" it makes up for with killer flavor. Luci's Healthy Marketplace makes an otherwise earthy root vegetable more enticing by tossing together just the right balance of ingredients including a mix of chopped red and gold beets, sweet onions, feta cheese (a nice change of pace from the usual goat cheese combo), field greens, and a light vinaigrette. At last there's a vegetable option that's as good for your body as it is your taste buds.
Stetson Chopped Salad Cowboy Ciao
It's hard to say whether you should credit this salad to the restaurant from which it originated, Cowboy Ciao, or to the chef who created it, Bernie Kantak. Many associate the Stetson Chop with the Scottsdale restaurant where it first appeared, though you should know that you can also find it -- under a slightly different name, "The Original Chopped Salad" -- at Kantak's two current restaurants, Citizen Public House and The Gladly. At all three places you'll find an addicting blend of dried corn, couscous, smoked salmon, asiago, pepitas, tomatoes, arugula, and currants that's all dressed with a buttermilk pesto dressing. We think it's the perfect balance of textures and tastes that's made this perhaps the most famous salad in town.
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The Mediterranean Phoenix Public Market Cafe
Maybe the reason we love The Mediterranean at Phoenix Public Market Cafe so much is because it's a twist on the more traditional Greek salad you find almost everywhere. This salad gives added substance and protein with a heavy dose of garbanzo beans, plus shaved red onion, spinach, olives, red bell pepper, feta, the optional addition of chicken for $3 extra, and, a slightly sweet by contrast, sherry vinaigrette. Going Greek never required so little hazing.