The Mississippi heat can be draining and staying cool is a must in order to stay energized. That’s why salads aren’t only a way to stay healthy – they are also a light alternative from a steaming bowl of pasta or soup that’ll slow down your productivity in the middle of the workday. To bring you some salad inspiration, we’ve pulled a salad-centric feature from our May 2016 issue, highlighting salads from Jackson’s favorite eateries that are full of superfoods, summer fruits and leafy greens guaranteed to keep you cool and last you over until dinnertime.
Karen and Mallory take on the Jackson restaurant scene to find their favorite healthy salads.
By Karen Gilder and Mallory Bailey | Photos by Karen Gilder and Mallory Bailey
I’m a salad-at-lunch kinda gal. It’s not that I’m trying to be my healthiest, although that is one of the benefits of salads at lunch. Salads are quick, easy, stress-free and for the most part not very messy, which are requirements for a day filled with deadlines, photo shoots, copy edits and Gladys.
I selected these salads because I eat them all of the time. There are others out there that are equally deserving, but for today, here are my choices.
Pan Seared Tuna Salad
Mixed baby lettuces, confit potatoes, cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, balsamic, lemon aioli
This is one of those salads that makes you want to lick the plate when you are through. They should give you bread or crackers to sop up the last bit of lemon aioli. It’s that good. And the tuna is seared perfectly.
Pop’s Shrimp Salad
Fresh shrimp, shredded lettuce and chopped egg tossed in a creamy olive oil and vinegar dressing topped with feta
I couldn’t do a feature on favorite salads without including this one. I’ve been eating Pop’s Shrimp Salads since I was in high school. For the salad to really be considered healthy, you will need to ask for the dressing on the side. They are not stingy with the oil.
WALKER'S DRIVE IN
Herb Grilled Chicken Summer Salad
Herb grilled chicken breast, roasted corn, Granny Smith apples, dried cherries, avocado, feta cheese field greens, lemon honey vinaigrette
Full disclosure here: I love the chicken salad salad at Walker’s. It is just about the best chicken salad I’ve ever tasted. The only reason to not feature it here is the scoop of cornbread dressing that comes along with it. Staying healthy and all… This salad comes close to being a perfect salad. It’s light and tasty, and no one flavor overpowers the others. The chicken breast is sliced and blends well with the other ingredients. You might want to ask for the vinaigrette on the side, because a little dressing goes a long way.
While I profess to being a salad gal, I still love to eat meat. That being said, Whole Foods has a terrific salad bar complete with cubed turkey, chicken and tofu for those that prefer meatless protein.
As a vegetarian, I kind of have to like salads. Growing up, we always had a side salad with our dinner. I enjoyed them for the most part, but it was never my favorite. However, ever since I ditched meat for good about two years ago, my love for leafy greens has grown quite a lot.
Most of these salads I had never had before. I chose them solely based on how delicious each of them sounded. I also added on of my longtime favorites from the area. Here are my choices.
THE COUNTY SEAT
Red Apple Walnut
Red apples, toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, spinach, garden greens
The County Seat was the first stop on my “salad tour.” When looking at the menu, the apples really jumped out at me. I love fruity flavors in my salads. And let me just say, The County Seat set the bar high. I am already planning my next trip out to Livingston so I can order this again. The apples and gorgonzola complemented each other really well. I also underestimated how much flavor the walnuts would add. I had no idea I liked them so much, but they definitely completed the salad.
Goat Cheese And Walnut Salad
Baby greens, grape tomatoes, red onions, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, roasted walnuts with balsamic vinaigrette
Since I am a vegetarian, it can be tricky to find salads that do not include meat. The problem with ordering a salad including meat, but without the meat, is that it sometimes lacks flavor. So I try my best to stick with salads that have other components as the centerpiece. This Amerigo salad was a perfect example of that. The tomatoes and roasted red peppers were a great substitution for meat. I know, all of you non-vegetarians are probably thinking that sounds crazy, but these red peppers were roasted to perfection. I don’t usually enjoy balsamic vinaigrette, but it went really well with the walnut flavor. It’s hard to go to Amerigo and not order a delicious pasta, but this salad is definitely worth it.
Grilled Caesar Salad
Grilled romaine, radish, cotija cheese, croutons with house garlic caesar dressing
This is literally my favorite salad on the planet. I think I dream of it. The first time I ordered this at Babalu, I wasn’t expecting anything too special. I mean, how special can a Caesar salad be? Don’t get me wrong, I love them; but the majority of them taste the same. This is not the case at Babalu. The grilled romaine is the difference. It gives the flavor of a cookout in a salad. That is the best way I can describe it. My mom and I have made quite the tradition of the “Babalu salad” for our mother-daughter lunch dates.
Organic Salad Bar
Spinach, squash, broccoli, carrots, sunflower seeds with vinegar
I think this will serve as the healthiest salad I picked up on my “salad tour.” The salad bar at Rainbow offers a good variety in organic goods. Seeing that they serve squash on the bar made me very happy since that is one of my favorite vegetables. They also had a diverse choice in seeds for toppings. Everything tasted fresh and delicious. The vinegar dressing added to the overall flavor. If you are looking for a quick and easy lunch spot, this is it.