Kale yeah! Salads are no longer the side piece. As consumers become more ingredient conscious, chefs and restaurateurs across the globe are being pushed to think beyond traditional proteins, and experiment with ethnic flavors and greens-based dishes to accommodate varying palates. Caesar salad, move over and make room for quinoa and farro bowls topped with spicy broccoli, roasted chickpeas and basil.
This month happens to be National Salad Month, and thankfully, here in Florida, we’ve got an abundance of fresh greens and vegetables to mix and match to whip up amazing creations. We’ll start with three places in town to get your salad fix.
Forks up. . . let’s eat our way to summer.
1. The Sanctum Cafe
Dish: Savage Salad – Organic greens, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, eggplant and corn – all roasted and tossed with bell peppers, sweet onions, carrot ribbons, celery, jicama, zucchini, peas and pepitas. Served with rosemary dressing.
Local Fare: Corn from Long & Scott Farms (Zellwood, Fla.), Deer Park Peaches (Saint Cloud, Fla.) and salad greens and microgreens from The Greenhouse (Apopka, Fla.).
Favorite Salad Ingredient: “Roasted cauliflower is one my favorite toppings!” – Chef-Owner Chelsea Savage
2. The COOP
The Skinny: The new salad bar costs $9.99 per person and includes an endless amount of offerings, such as locally-sourced greens and vegetables, proteins and house made dressings.
Local Fare: The COOP is trekking around the state and shopping with Alderman Farms (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and L&M Farms (Palatka, Fla.).
Favorite Salad Ingredients: “I like the grilled vegetables and the specialty salads that rotate daily at the end of the bar. One of my favorites is a Hoppin’ John Succotash that Whitney makes and a few more are grilled asparagus, roasted tomatoes and feta cheese.” – Chef-Owner John Rivers
3. Dixie Kharma
Dish: Hail Kale Salad – Garlicky kale, blackened corn, pickled beets and watermelon rind and smoked tempeh
Local Fare: In this salad, Dixie Kharma’s uses Florida-grown corn and watermelon. When available, they toss in baby kale grown in their pallet garden located in front of Market on South.
Favorite Salad Ingredients: “We love to mix it up. Local ingredients are our first choice. Everything from peppery greens and herbs are a must. Pickled veggies, fruits and roots, heirloom beans and grains are also great.” – Dixie Kharma crew
Here’s a handful of local shops to visit to stock up on greens, grains and vegetables. This list is in no way inclusive of our local offerings in Central Florida, so comment with your local go-to store!
- Fresh 24 Market – Audubon Park
- Homegrown Local Food Cooperative – Health Village
- Frog Song Organics – Winter Park Farmer’s Market and CSA pick-up at Swine & Sons
- Urban Garden & Goods – Mills 50 District
- Wild Hare Kitchen & Garden Emporium – Longwood
- The Farmacy – Winter Garden
What To Buy Right Now
Bell Pepper | Blueberry | Cabbage | Cantaloupe | Carrot | Celery | Cucumber | Eggplant Grapefruit | Guava | Mango | Mushroom | Orange | Papaya | Peaches | Radish | Sweet Corn | Tangerine | Tomato | Watermelon
Seasonal Recipe – Taverna Opa Orlando’s Watermelon Feta Salad Pizza
- 1 Watermelon slice
- 1 Oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
- 6 Kalamata olives, sliced
- 5 Mint leaves
- 1/2 Tbsp. Balsamic glaze
- On a cutting board, slice the watermelon in half
- Place the flat side down, and cut a one-inch thick slice, then cut into five slices
- Plate on a round dish and add feta cheese, olives, mint leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze
Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!