For many years, I prided myself on being a woman who would not order a salad as a meal in a restaurant. Nope, I liked hearty food, no matter the season, not a bowl of limp, uninspiring vegetables drowned in dressing.
However, as the years have sped by and my metabolism has slowed down, I’ve revisited salads as a low-calorie way to consume all my day’s veggies in one big, healthy bowl.
To my surprise, many have been downright delicious, and with the heat of a Santa Clarita summer upon us, salads make a refreshing alternative to a heavy meal.
It’s just a matter of finding the right salad to suit your cravings. Here are some of my favorites from restaurants around town.
Asian Chicken Salad
Chyll Creamery & Boba
31703 Castaic Road, Castaic
Everything at Chyll is exceptional thanks to owner Sarah Tramundo’s insistence on quality ingredients and execution of her Vietnamese heritage-inspired recipes. The Asian Chicken salad starts off with a bright green bed of romaine lettuce, topped with colorful, crunchy bits of red pepper, herby notes from cilantro and green onion, crispy strips of won ton, sweet sections of mandarin orange, and generous chunks of succulent, soy-garlic-and ginger infused dark meat chicken, topped with a thick, delectable, homemade peanut dressing. Yum.
Italia Panetteria & Deli
27674 Newhall Ranch Road, #55, Valencia
Italia is a cheerful neighborhood deli and restaurant devoted to all things Italian, so it’s not surprise that its Caprese salad ($7.99 to $13.99) is stellar: succulent slices of vibrant tomatoes layered with a moist, milky fresh mozzarella, then topped with a sweet balsamic glaze and little ribbons of bright basil. Underneath, there’s a thin layer of pesto, which adds a surprising yet welcome bit of extra umami to the mix. This is an absolutely perfect light summer meal.
23340 Cinema Drive, Valencia
With huge portions and home-cooked goodness, Mama’s Table is comfort food supreme, even when you order a salad. The Chef’s Salad ($12.95) bursts with color, from the vibrant red strawberries to the rich green avocado and sunny yolk of the hard-boiled egg, packed on top of a fresh bed of mixed iceberg, romaine, purple cabbage, and carrots and nestled within a huge golden-brown tortilla shell bowl. Bonus: the salad dressings, like creamy, flavorful blue cheese, are made on the premises.
20655 Soledad Canyon Road, Santa Clarita
From the blue and white walls to the festive “Opa” greeting you’ll get when walking in the door, Gyromania is like a modern Greek neighborhood restaurant. The Greek salad here ($6.99) bursts with freshness from the bright green romaine and crunchy rounds of cucumber and peppers. There’s lots of crumbly, creamy feta cheese and briny kalamata olives, all showered with fresh herbs and served with your choice of vinaigrettes. It’s a large portion that would be great to share as an appetizer with the rest of your table or if you want to eat light, enjoy it all to yourself as a meal.
Palm & Arugula Salad with Shrimp
23820 Lyons Avenue, Newhall
You may have driven by Bricks a hundred times and missed the non-descript rust-colored building. That would be a shame, because there’s a whole lot of yummy food magic happening here. For example, the fabulous Palm & Arugula salad ($11) pairs peppery arugula with sweet tangerine segments, tender sliced hearts of palm, creamy avocado, and a zesty orange vinaigrette. Need protein? Get it topped with plump, savory, seasoned shrimp for just $3 more.
Quinoa Veggie Bowl
The Daily Harvest Café & Juicery
22722 Lyons Avenue, Suite 6, Newhall.
Think healthy food can’t taste good? Then you must not have been to the Daily Harvest Café & Juicery lately. Take the quinoa vegetable bowl ($11), a Technicolor musical of a salad, with eye-popping hues of purple, red, orange, and green. While it’s almost too pretty to eat, go ahead and toss the bitter arugula, perfectly ripe tomatoes, earthy quinoa, crunchy carrots, cucumbers and cabbage, creamy hummus and chunky avocado mash together. You’ll get a full symphony of flavor and texture that will leave you not just satisfied, but energized. Pair with a fresh, cold-pressed juice for maximum liftoff!