"I've been craving something green and delicious," wrote my friend in a message requesting salad recommendations. Despite my general penchant for green and delicious things, I found myself stumped after recommending my beloved standby, Local Foods (the vegan Caesar is life-changing; the market vegetable salad is less novel but no less delectable). Where were all the good salads in Houston hiding? After just a little exploration, a wealth of green and delicious salads unearthed themselves from local restaurants. Bookmark these for refreshing summer eats.
Grains and Greens salad from The Ivy & James: When you feel like a picnic but don't have the time or energy to actually pack a picnic, The Ivy & James is your one-stop shop for delicious, sustainably sourced dishes that can either be enjoyed in the restaurant or taken out to enjoy throughout Evelyn's Park in Bellaire. Arugula and fresh herbs dressed in olive oil combined with a five-grain salad offer a double dose of delicious greens with hearty staying power.
Thai crispy rice salad from Nobie's: The greens basis of this salad is entirely composed of vibrant swaths of herbs speckled with peanut bits, granules of crispy rice, small juicy shrimp and slices of watermelon radish. In lieu of croutons, there are flat shards of rice cooked until golden and delightfully crunchy. Showered in a chile-lime dressing, it's one of the many interesting small plates at Nobie's. Hurry in, though — the menu at Nobie's changes often and if you blink, you might miss this dish.
Common Bond: I'll admit that the draw of Common Bond is more along the lines of croissant! baguette! macaron! But the ancient grains salad with chickpea croquettes will have you chanting farro! kamut! valbreso feta! An abundance of chewy grains tossed with crunchy romaine and cucumbers, vibrant spinach and tomatoes, roasted sunflower seeds and crispy chickpea croquettes tossed in a sun-dried tomato ranch will have you craving salad faster than you can say kouign amann.
Kale and mango salad from Fusion Taco: The kale salad at Fusion Taco is irrationally good for a place that's named and known for its tacos. The thick, peanut-based vinaigrette is punchy and acidic, and roasted peanuts (a widely underrated salad topping) add rich flavor and satisfying crunch. For under $5 as a side, you get a generous mound of kale with uber-crunchy slices of watermelon radish and ribbons of carrot. Additional tacos are non-negotiable.