11 Favorite Salads in Metro Phoenix

Citrus salad with honey, watercress, hazelnuts at Bink's Midtown
Citrus salad with honey, watercress, hazelnuts at Bink's Midtown
Buchanan

Summer is just weeks away, which means it's panic time for those of us who packed on the lbs. over the winter. Yes, of course, we should've seen this coming, and what the hell happened to that exercise regimen we felt so enthusiastic about back in January? Now there's no place to run and certainly no place to hide, so we're going to look like mastodons in swimwear unless we start eating salads -- and little else -- ASAP.

See also: -- Arizona Farmer + Chef Connection Conference on June 10 at Desert Botanical Garden -- Three Greens That Will Dress Up Your Next Salad

Of course, vanity isn't the only reason to eat a simple, appealing salad built around fruits or veggies, but it's a bigger motivator than health or longevity any day of the week. Here are 11 gorgeous, imaginative salads to get us through the summer, most of them making use of fresh, local ingredients, most created by the city's most popular chefs. Dig in. This stuff is almost guilt-free.

Melon salad at MSK
Melon salad at MSK
Buchanan

Melon Salad at Market Street Kitchen

Southern food specialist Matt Taylor recently added this cool, clean melon salad to his menu at MSK, and it's so much more than the sum of its parts -- which are cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew strewn with arugula and mint, dressed with mustard-laced, sweet tea vinaigrette and dusted with grated foie gras torchon. Sweet, juicy, and bright-tasting, it possesses the sharpness of arugula plus a hint of buttery richness from the foie gras. You'll want to eat three at a pop, and why not? It's just melon salad ($12).

Shaved Fennel and Pink Grapefruit salad at Rancho Pinot
Shaved Fennel and Pink Grapefruit salad at Rancho Pinot
Buchanan

Shaved Fennel and Pink Grapefruit Salad at Rancho Pinot

As longtime sourcer of local, seasonal ingredients, chef-owner Chrysa Robertson puts together some of the prettiest and best salads in town. Her abiding (and admittedly borrowed) philosophy -- "make it look like it just fell from the tree" -- means every plate looks simple and natural, never over-wrought or contrived. Move from winter's vaguely Caesar-like Tuscan Kale (lightened with escarole, bolstered with crunchy, torn, grilled croutons and tossed in anchovy-less, lemon-pecorino dressing, $11) to early spring's Shaved Fennel and Pink Grapefruit (with avocado, radish, dry-cured Moroccan olives, Parmesan and lemon-olive oil, $12) to summer's elegant Shaved Summer Squash and Burrata (with basil, Marcona almonds, and olive vinaigrette, $12). And the good news: You can eat at the bar, where you won't feel guilty about making a light meal of salads and equally fine appetizers.



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