Budget Beat

Pomegranate Café: Lunch $10 & Under

Often the food that's easy on your wallet isn't easy on your body. Today, we seek out an ultra-healthy lunch at Pomegranate Café, without breaking out $10 budget. Everything is raw, vegan, or vegetarian, meaning it's packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients - a far cry from our fried food indulgences of late.

Make your way up to the counter, grab a menu and place your order. When we came in the place was packed, so we played it on the safe side and ordered our small Raw Super Green Kale Salad ($8) to go.

Don't worry, it doesn't always come in a clear plastic box! When we snagged an open table, the friendly owners offered to plate our salad but we figured, "Why dirty another dish? It'll taste the same." Plus, we were starving and couldn't wait another minute to dig in. Click through for the deliciously heathy details and the deal on our coconut.

Dark leafy kale, fresh sprouts, curly-cut beet, half an avocado, and no shortage of almonds, this is a salad with a nice crisp and a clean crunch. It's not drowning in its live Cesar dressing, but there's extra on the side if you think it needs it. The raw crackers are honestly a little awkward if you're not adhering to the diet: grainy seed-and-veggie-packed dehydrated crisps with an odd starchy binder.

For a quick nutrient boost, grab one of their many fresh juices or smoothies. We ordered a young coconut water ($4) with our lunch, and it literally came in a shaved coconut skin: Not exactly cup-holder friendly but delicious. We're lucky a spot opened up inside.

Floral arrangements in milk bottles on every table add a nice touch to the eclectic minimalist decor. And there's an eclectic mix of people too: Moms with kids, the business crowd, hipsters and couples, not just the stereotypical health-obsessed hippies you'd expect.

All lunch menus hover around the $10 mark, so it's not dirt cheap. We splurged on our coconut, so our meal rang up about $2 over budget. But we'll probably save on our health insurance... Let's call it even.

P/S: If you save room (and can spare a couple bucks) for dessert, you won't want to miss out on the vegan baked goods. Intrigued? Check back next week for our Sweet Talk with Rikki Cupcake, Pomegranate's newest vegan baker.

Pomegranate Café
4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 28

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Hannah E Williams