Spring is the time for foods to shed the heavy coats of winter—the soups, the stews and calorie-laden casseroles—and lighten up with lovely salads that go beyond the standard bowl of lettuce and tomatoes. They’re not fussy, rather simple, using the freshest ingredients and drizzled with dazzling dressings to make them perfect for the warm weather ahead.
Here are five we’ve found in town that give a colorful, healthful spin to salad season.Which is best? It’s a toss-up.
Tony’s Pasta ℹ️, 212 High St. (Bluff View Art District)
Though it’s offered year round, the vegetable salad is the essence of spring with a plethora of colorful veggies. It’s a garden in a bowl—a cornucopia of flavors, colors and textures that is a pleasure to the palate while a healthful addition to your spring dining choices.
Like many dishes served at the popular Italian eatery, inspiration for the vegetable salad comes from the Mediterranean with olives and feta cheese. But the rest is a celebration of the spring and summer harvest—red, ripe tomatoes; grilled asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash; and zesty red onions—presented over a bowl of mixed greens and tossed in a tangy roasted tomato dressing. “It all has to do with the diversity of flavors,” says Michael Vasta, operations director for the Bluff View Art District. “People rave about that dressing,” Vasta says.
The best part? Complimentary bread is served warm and fresh-baked right from the Bluff View Bakery.
1885 Grill ℹ️, 3914 St. Elmo Ave.
Though spinach salads are universal, 1885 adds a Southern twist by making a sweet tea vinaigrette to top baby spinach, caramelized onions, maple bacon, and hard-boiled eggs.
“It highlights our concept of being a Southern Coastal restaurant,” says 1885’s managing partner Miguel De Jesus. “Salads in general are ordered slightly more in the springtime, but people who enjoy this salad get it religiously year round. As per the norm, house and Caesar salad are popular because of people’s familiarity with them, but the spinach salad is a big seller.” Order it as a side salad or add chicken or grilled shrimp to make it a meal. Either way, it’s a delicious, healthful salad that will leave you full, but very satisfied.
This spring, enjoy the pleasant atmosphere on the patio where shade trees and live music (most weekend evenings) let you take in the season’s beautiful weather.
Ruth’s Chris ℹ️, 2321 Lifestyle Way (Inside Embassy Suites)
Ruth’s Chop Salad
The Chop Salad at Ruth’s Chris is a steakhouse classic. And while it may seem like a simple salad, there’s an art to getting all those wonderfully fresh vegetables—baby spinach, radicchio, red onions, mushrooms, green olives and hearts of palm—crisp iceberg lettuce and bacon cut and coated with the lemon-basil dressing and topped with crispy onions just right. It’s a work of art.
“Like all of our dishes, practice makes perfect,” says Ruth’s Chris spokeswoman Stephanie Malinauskas.
The salad has been a menu signature for nearly two decades. Founded originally in New Orleans, Ruth’s Chris created their own chop salad in support of the traditional New Orleans fare. “It’s a special combination of our guests’ favorite ingredients brought together in a uniquely composed salad,” Malinauskas adds.
Enjoy a table-lit fire patio side on cooler spring days while taking in the fresh smells of spring blooms.
Acropolis Mediterranean Grill ℹ️, 2213 Hamilton Pl Blvd
The Mediterranean Cobb
Born of a Greek salad with kalamata olives and feta cheese, and a Southern classic Cobb salad with the addition of chicken, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers and eggs, the Mediterranean Cobb is now regarded as one of the best fusion salads in the city.
“The flavors meld together well,” says operations manager Nick Kyriakidis. But the flavor fusion doesn’t end there. Add ranch dressing made with yogurt and the addition of dill and the taste explodes, becoming a mixture of ranch and the popular creamy gyro sauce that we can’t get enough of.
The salad has become so popular that what began as a special on some days is now a mainstay on the menu. And during spring, Kyriakidis adds, it’s a go-to entree for those wanting to lighten up during the spring and summer months.
Terminal BrewHouse ℹ️, 6 East 14th St.
Uncle Salmon Salad
Terminal’s salad is the end-all of salmon salads with its flavor and texture, along with its tangy-sweet dressing made with cucumbers and capers. It’s a harmonious mix of organic spinach, tomatoes, onions, corn confetti, creamy feta and crunchy croutons topped with a large, 6-ounce filet of grilled salmon.
The name alone garners attention, but once you read about the salad ingredients, you’re sure to order. “Ryan Chilcoat, our owner, wrote the menu and almost always uses a Sam-based name on our salmon dishes to keep people from pronouncing the “L” in salmon,” tells general manager Courtney Wright. With several entree salads from which to choose, Uncle Salmon is easily the top-selling salad on many days, Wright adds.
Order it with one of the craft beers made in the historic, triangular-shaped building on Chattanooga’s Southside. The brew will satisfy your thirst on a warm spring day, and the salad will leave you full and happy knowing that you’ve eaten well.