We’re mere days into 2014, and approaching the first weekend of the New Year. While nothing should stop you from going out with friends or family this weekend (or ever), don’t let your healthy lifestyle falter just yet!
I admit, it may be difficult to eat healthy while dining out, but it’s not impossible. The easiest way to do so while at a restaurant when you’re not sure whether they prepare your veggies in oil or butter? Go with a salad.
I’m not talking sad, slightly browned and wilted side salad, either—I’m talking an entrée salad so big and lush with fresh vegetables, it could feed a village. Check out the following restaurants with exceptional salads, and pipe up when your friends ask where you want to go out this weekend.
Ironwood Grill, 840 W. Ann Arbor Trail, Plymouth, has a number of fresh salads on the menu. A dozen, to be exact. The Strawberry Basil Chicken Salad (with baby spinach, red onion, feta cheese, candied pecans and strawberry vinaigrette), Michigan Harvest Salad (spring mix with dried cherries, chicken breast, apples, tomatoes, cheese, candied pecans and cherry vinaigrette), and Maurice Salad (iceberg lettuce served with turkey, ham, cheese, hard boiled egg and gherkins) are all filling choices that will keep both your waistline and tummy happy.
Town Tavern, 116 W. 4th St., Royal Oak, has excellent dinner entrees, including four large green salads. The Pulled Chicken is the restaurant’s most popular salad, with wine soaked cranberries, wild rice, almonds, and crispy wontons drizzled with maple mustard vinaigrette.
Additional options include a dinner size Caesar salad (with buffalo shrimp or grilled chicken breast), a steak salad, and a teriyaki shrimp salad.
Beirut Bakery, 25706 Schoolcraft Rd., Redford, is known for its fluffy pita bread, and they also make several delicious Middle Eastern salads. If you’re looking for an untraditional salad, sans lettuce and ranch dressing, this is where you want to go.
You might be familiar with Tabouli and Fattoush salads, which you’ll find on the menu, as well as a Wheat Salad (bulgur wheat with tomato, onion, parsley and mint, served with traditional dressing), and Lentil Salad (with orzo, carrot, red pepper and onion served with dressing).
Brio, 2801 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, serves wonderful Italian food, and the salads will keep you full, whether you’re there for lunch or dinner.
The restaurant has several signature salads, including a Grilled Salmon Salad (mixed greens with roma tomatoes, asparagus, feta cheese, crisp shoestring potatoes and balsamic vinaigrette), Sliced Steak Salad (mixed greens with tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, mushrooms, candied pecans and horseradish dressing), and Insalata Roma (with candied pecans, grapes, gorgonzola cheese, tomatoes, grilled asparagus, roasted red peppers and balsamic vinaigrette).
Order the lunch combo with a cup of soup and you’ll be set!
Bucharest Grill, 2040 Park Ave., Detroit, is known for its Chicken Shawarma, which you can also get in salad form! The chicken, lettuce, tomato, onions, cucumbers, peppers and pita chips are tossed with oil and vinegar dressing.
Additional salad options include a Meatball Salad (a homemade blend of ground beef, chicken and spices served on salad), Trish Salad (beef, cucumbers, tomato, feta cheese, onions and peppers drizzled with oil and vinegar), and the Homestyle Chicken Salad (with pickles, carrots and diced chicken).
Pronto, 608 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak, has several salad varieties to choose from, whether you’re craving just greens or something with a little protein. The Turkey Cashew Crunch Salad (with grapes, cashews, celery, hard boiled egg and mayo with a light lemony mayonnaise dressing) is a great choice for those of us who are starting off the year on a health conscious note.
You have your choice of several others, including the signature Pronto! Salad (mixed greens with tomato, red onion, dried cherries and crumbled bleu cheese with raspberry vinaigrette), Santa Fe Chopped Salad (with dried mango, jicama, white beans, tomato, red onion, cheese and grilled chicken breast, served with chile-lime vinaigrette), and Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad.
Seva, with locations in Ann Arbor and Detroit, is a 100 percent vegetarian restaurant, with a vast selection of salads.
While the menu varies slightly, you can find all of the following choices at each location: Spinach Salad (with avocado, char-grilled tempeh, cucumbers, red onions, red peppers, tomatoes and croutons, served with smoky maple dressing), Char-Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Salad (grilled veggies, goat cheese medallions, greens and roasted pecans), and Thai Salad (cucumbers, red peppers, carrots, sprouts, greens, roasted peanuts and cilantro-peanut-lime dressing).
You can also add char-grilled tempeh, sautéed tofu and avocado to any salad for an additional charge.
If you really want to be health conscious, you can take simple and easy steps by requesting your dressing on the side (that way your salad isn’t doused in ranch right when it hits the table), or ordering your salad sans cheese (something I will never have the willpower to do).
With dedication (and a cheat day here and there), you’ll have no problem keeping your healthy eating habits going strong. Don’t let them falter just because it’s the weekend!