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Salad supreme


Long live lettuce! During the long, hot days of summer, salad satisfies.

Jenny Coon Peterson July 6th, 2011

Summer means salad. It’s light and easy — a perfect contrast to unbearably hot summer afternoons.

But light doesn’t need to mean lightweight. Salad can be a whole, satisfying meal. Trust us, it’s more than just rabbit food. Give it a try and get your fill.

“Cheever’s is contemporary comfort food, so it’s definitely enough for them to be satisfied for the whole day,” said Ariana Khalilian, manager at Cheever’s, 2409 N. Hudson. But, she said, “Even with all the components that come with our salads, it’s not anything that’s going to make you want to unbutton your pants when you’re done.”

And what’s doing the satisfying? That’d be the popular chopped salad. It’s a mix of greens, iceberg lettuce, red onions, sundried tomatoes, spiced pepitas (that’s a pumpkin seed), roasted corn, black beans and bleu cheese crumbles.

“It is a very popular salad,” Khalilian said. “It’s probably just a combination of all the components that go into it. It’s picked very well, and the creamy lemon vinaigrette just tops it, puts it all together.”

Diners can add chicken to the chopped salad or leave it meat-free — either way, Khalilian said it’s a popular meal option at lunch. It’ll come with Cheever’s warm rolls and butter dusted with red sea salt.

“It’s so light,” she said of Cheever’s salads, a great summertime pick. “All of our lettuce comes out cold and crisp, I think that has a lot to do with it.”

Another favorite is the red chile salmon salad, which is fresh baby spinach mixed with chopped cucumber, radish, green apples, goat cheese and topped with a toasted pecan vinaigrette and red chile seared salmon.

“It’s delicious,” Khalilian said, “and I think it’s so pretty when it’s put on the table because the colors with the radishes and cucumber and finishing off with goat cheese and pecan vinaigrette, it’s just delicious. And the salmon is always cooked perfectly.”

If you must add an entrée to the salad, Khalilian said the chopped and Sharolynn’s salads are popular sides.

The large menu at Cafe 7 Delicatessen and Pastaria, 14101 N. May, is broken up into four components: pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads. And there is a lot to love on that salad menu.

Part-owner Stephanie Morrical said there are seven already-built salads to choose from, but there’s an option to build your own salad, too. Of the seven salads, Morrical said the Signature salad is a patron favorite. It’s made with roasted chicken breast mixed with romaine and greens, plus cranberries, apples, tomatoes, bacon and toasted walnuts tossed with a balsamic dressing.

“It’s a little more of a fruity salad, with sun-dried cranberries, apples, walnuts,” she said. “That one’s my favorite, I just love that salad.”

And, she added, it’s perfect for these blistering summer days. “As hot as it’s been, I haven’t wanted to eat anything else,” Morrical said. “It’s just perfect. Our balsamic is awesome. It’s a really nice, light salad.”

Plus, it is a full meal for only 7 bucks. Diners can also do a half-salad and soup for the same price.

Other prepared salads on Cafe 7’s menu include a classic Caesar and a Cobb, both done with roasted chicken breast. On the build-your-own ingredient list, look for fresh ingredients like apples, chicken, feta and candied almonds, along with 10 different dressings.

The options go into overdrive at Coolgreens, 6475 Avondale Drive in Nichols Hills. There are 13 salads (which can all also be made into wraps), but the most popular with patrons is The Plaza Skinny, according to manager Richard Hull.

The Plaza Skinny lightens things up with by mixing grilled chicken and arugula with bean sprouts, capers, hearts of palm, sliced avocado, sundried tomatoes and sunflower seeds topped with a basil vinaigrette.

If you just can’t decide, the build your own option opens up a whole world of fresh, unique ingredients. Hull said the protein options include grilled chicken, line-caught sock-eye salmon, seared ahi tuna, grilled shrimp and a five-spice, sesame-crusted tofu.

And then there’s the healthy vinaigrettes that are made right there in the restaurant — 15 in total. During the summer, the Southwest is a popular choice. “It has smoked paprika, honey and lime and a little bit of shallots,” Hull said. “It’s emulsified with olive oil, but it’s really bright. Kind of like a Mexican French dressing.”

The vinaigrettes are developed by chef Trey Ferguson and offer light options for hot days. “I think they’re less creamy and light,” he said. “It’s more of a technique and an approach on a vinaigrette.”

That approach has certainly been popular. Coolgreens popped onto the restaurant scene a couple of years ago and soon added a second location in north OKC.

“It’s kind of taken on a phenomenon level now,” Hull said. “There were two, and now there’s going to be five by the end of the summer.”

Look for the new Coolgreens in downtown OKC at 204 N. Robinson in mid-July and in Edmond at 15th and Bryant and in Norman at 3700 N. Robinson in August.

Go out on top
Screw julienned carrots and simple iceberg lettuce, these places have got your unique and wonderful salad toppings.

—Avocado and barbecue sauce? Yup, that’d be the Texas “chop house” salad at Redrock Canyon Grill, 9221 Lake Hefner Parkway.

—You can’t beat this topping: Chile relleno. That’s atop the ensalada torcedura at Iguana Mexican Grill, 9 N.W. Ninth.

—How about some Mandarin oranges and cranberries? Get fruity with the toppings available at Cafe 7 Delicatessen & Pastaria, 14101 N. May.

—Shartel Cafe, 5116 N. Shartel, satisfies your protein fix with artichoke hearts mixed in its Greek salad.

—The options abound at Coolgreens, 6475 Avondale Drive, with everything from tofu to hearts of palm.

—Jenny Coon Peterson

 
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