Ahhh! HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s been a hot minute since my last post, but really, can you blame me? December is a rough one – shopping, holiday parties, traveling, eating, drinking, eating, drinking, you know how it goes. I was in Seattle (where I bought my wedding dress omg) with family for a long time over the holidays, came back, partied at Contigo for New Year’s, and now… it’s January.
January means it’s about a month until my birthday. And THAT means it’s a little more than a month until my big birthday party and subsequent big birthday trip to Tulum. Oh yeah, and my summer wedding and the aforementioned fancy new dress I am wearing… Lots of b-i-g things where I want to look like an attractive human.
AND ALL OF THAT MEANS… SALAD! And other healthy things, but specifically, salad! We all know I’m a fan of a huge, colorful salad recipe. Even when I’m really focusing on eating clean, I can’t resist going out to lunch or dinner with friends, so salads are my go-to when I’m hanging at a restaurant. There are some amazing salads in Austin, and at this point I consider myself an expert. I’m like the Jebidiah Atkinson of salads: “I’ve reviewed ALL THE SALADS!!”
So. Anyway. These are my very favorite salads in Austin. Order them and feel happy.
Tarzen’s Big Salad at Bouldin Creek Cafe
Mixed greens, seasoned roasted portobello mushrooms, stir-fried broccoli, local tomatoes, carrots, avocado, sunflower sprouts and sunflower seeds tossed with spicy chipotle-pecan pesto and ginger-miso dressing.
Who is Tarzen and why is his salad SO GOOD? This is one of my favorite salads in all of Austin. It’s technically only on Bouldin Creek’s dinner specials menu, but they’ve made it for me at lunchtime when I’ve asked nicely. 🙂 Runner-up best salad at Bouldin Creek goes to the Tofu Broccoli Salad, which is also a complete delight. Also: it’s hard to decide on dressings here, since their ginger-miso and garlic-tahini dressings are equally excellent, so I usually ask for sides of both.
Thai Chop Chop Salad at Peached Tortilla
Chopped napa cabbage, fried tofu, green apple, fried shallots, rice puffs, peanuts, fresno chiles, watermelon radish, thai vinaigrette, fish sauce caramel, herbs.
To borrow a phrase from everyone’s favorite, healthiest, and most authentic chef, Guy Fieri*, “welcome to flavor town.” Every aspect of this salad lends something special to its overall experience – there’s sweet, sour, savory, crunchy, crispy, soft, chewy… THIS SALAD IS EVERYTHING. I like the entire menu at Peached Tortilla but I can’t go without ordering this salad every. time.
*jk, Guy Fieri is gross, we all know this
Mixta con Pollo Salad at La Condesa
Roasted chicken, baby arugula, bibb lettuce, jícama, radish, grape tomatoes, avocado, red onion, queso fresco, mustard vinaigrette.
This beautiful creation almost can’t be called a salad, it’s more like a pile of perfectly seasoned roasted chicken mixed with a bunch of fresh vegetables and flavorful sauce. If you’re looking for a super protein-heavy dish this is gonna be the one. The Mixta is on La Condesa’s lunch menu only. I’ve never tried to order it at dinner but you probably could!
Kale Salad at Cenote
Kale, red onion, tomato, beets, goat cheese, avocado, lime juice.
This salad is just SO beautiful. The description doesn’t really do it justice. Cenote’s kale salad is fresh, crisp, clean, and the perfect balance of creamy (thanks, avocado and goat cheese) and citrus-y. If you haven’t eaten at Cenote yet… GO. While the kale salad is my very fave, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on their menu.
Thai Chicken Salad at Noble Sandwich
Thai chicken salad with jalapeno-cabbage slaw and cilantro.
Did you know you can get any sandwich as a salad here? You can, and you should. I love the Thai Chicken Salad.. when you order it as a salad (sounds redundant, I know) it comes on top of a pile of fresh greens and slaw. I like to add a fried egg on top for a little extra protein, plus the egg yolk acts as a rich, luxurious second dressing (the chicken salad itself is already tossed in a bright Thai-spiced dressing). If you’re feeling extra carnivorous, you can also order it “double meat.”
Turk Salad at Kebabalicious
Spring mix lettuce, hummus, carrots, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, olives, red cabbage, tzatziki sauce, spicy red sauce.
Yes, just like Noble Sandwich, Kebabalicious is an establishment known for its carbier offerings, but they offer an impressive salad as well! I usually add their chicken to it. The tzatziki and spicy red sauces are key. A perfect grab-and-go lunch option from any of Kebabalicious’ trailers or their brick-and-mortar location on the eastside!
Fire Kale Salad from Daily Juice
Kale, lemon, cashews, avocado, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, green onion, celery, cilantro, salt, onion powder, kale, cayenne, paprika.
This is another great grab-and-go option. While my heart belongs to Juiceland, I just can’t get enough of this Fire Kale Salad at Daily Juice, especially if I need to hit up a super quick lunch after a workout class or something. It’s just the right amount of spicy, creamy, and crunchy. I mean… it’s kale, cashews, and avocado, of course I love it.
Feedtx Chef Salad from Liberty Kitchen
Chilled greens, cheeses, rotisserie meats, bay shrimp salad, hot smoked salmon, egg, avocado, tomato, cucumber.
Sooooo I’m not gonna put this salad from Liberty Kitchen on my “most healthy of all time” list… on account of all the cheese and meat. (Not that meat can’t be healthy but I don’t think any of us are claiming pork belly is a diet food.) But when you need an ultra-filling meal that’s still technically a salad: this one’s your girl. My top three favorites in this glorious hot mess of a bowl are the salmon, shrimp, and deviled eggs.
Kebap Salad from Verts Kebap
Chicken, grilled veggies, spring greens, red cabbage, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, corn, onion, garlic sauce, and spicy red sauce.
I love Verts. When you’re needing a fast, healthy, easy meal… this is the place for you. Even though they have lots of locations in Texas now, Verts is a local business, started by grads from the UT business school! Anyway, I love their salads – I start with spring greens, load up on either chicken or beef & lamb, then add tons of grilled vegetables, fresh vegetables, and plenty of those spicy yogurt-based sauces.
Salad Bar at Downtown/Lamar Whole Foods
LITERALLY EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD
I have a game. It’s called “try to spend less than $20 on a trip to the Whole Foods salad bar.” I fail 9 out of 10 times and I don’t even care. This is the salad bar to end all salad bars. I like that they rank a lot of their components on the “good/better/best” scale. I try to find as much “better” and “best” stuff as possible then I look for all the “Healthy Living Starts Here” dressings/garnishes and load up.
So that’s the start of my DEFINITIVE LIST OF AUSTIN SALADS, but I’ll keep adding onto this bad boy as I keep exploring the leafy green jungle. If there’s anything glaringly obvious that I’m missing, holler at me in the comments and we can add it in here!