Happy Healthy Me
Many times around the lunch hour, I find myself debating where to find the best salad inside the loop. I am a bit picky about what goes in my salad and I go back and forth about which grocery store has the best options to make a “salad beast.”
You could also say I’m a bit snobby about my salads too. I like to know that the vegetables look freshly chopped and not out of a bag. I like to see something put together that I haven’t done or don’t know how to do. And I like to see variety. I can put raw vegetables on a plate and call it lunch, but that’s boring.
Some salad bars offer the basic lettuce, tomato, shredded carrots and turkey cubes, whereas others offer seasoned slaws, vegetable medleys, roasted beets, and a variety of nuts and seasonal vegetables.
I also like it when there is a variety of proteins. Some stores only offer canned tuna (it just doesn’t look appetizing); others have seasoned tofu, roasted turkey or blackened chicken.
Here is the rundown on four supermarket choices. The winner is the one that sounds best to you (not me).
The Whole Foods salad bar has traditional vegetables, but also offers lentils, quinoas, wheatberries, chickpea salads, roasted beets, and cabbage slaw. The first time I ate tofu was in the Whole Foods salad bar. I think it’s a great place to learn about new flavors and techniques before you try them at home. How are you supposed to know what something should taste like until you try it? Let Whole Foods be your salad bar guinea pig. While Whole Foods offers the most non-meat options, they have tuna salad and pulled chicken too, among other choices.
2955 Kirby, multiple locations
I have noticed that the salad bar at Rice Epicurian changes often, so I would consider it a traditional option with a few more exciting choices. They do a good job of offering pre-made combinations to add on, like a broccoli crunch, marinated vegetable medley, and undressed salads of lettuce, olives, and sundried tomatoes. The salad bar has beautiful cut fruit and cottage cheese to add. But be careful, such items are dense and salads are charged by weight.
3745 Westheimer at Weslayan, multiple locations
Kroger: The Kroger salad bar is a new addition to the remodeled West Gray store. I am loving their Murphy's cheese and prepared food display, but the salad bar is a nice option if you’re really in a crunch for lunch. Offering a pre-dressed wedge salad is nice, but not the purpose of a wholesome and vibrant salad bar. Isn’t that lettuce going to get soggy? Other options are mostly traditional but the produce looks fresh. I get a container of basics and add something fun from the Murphy’s section like tabouleh, chickpea/cous cous dish, or hummus to make a more exciting salad.
1938 West Gray, multiple locations
In my opinion, Central Market does better at their soup bar than their salad bar. They offer a variety of lettuce and raw vegetables, but proteins are lacking, with usual choices of tuna fish, chickpeas and tofu (a new and welcomed addition). I have never understood why this location doesn’t have chicken, turkey and chicken salads like their prepared section or their salad bars in other cities. However, a colorful but bland salad can be perked up with the addition of breads from their overflowing bakery or a choice of dried fruits sitting above the bar.
3815Westheimer at Weslayan