The 2013 VegCharlotte Awards – For The Vegans, By The Vegans!
Today we’re going to review the nominees for Best Salads in Charlotte, NC!
There were not as many votes in this category as in some others – perhaps vegans are tired of having “salad” as their only option at many restaurants when they eat out; or perhaps they eat loads of salads at home (like me) and therefore don’t usually pick salad as a first choice when eating out.
However, there was one clear winner and a handful of interesting options to keep in mind when you dine out!
Now, let’s take a look at what salads vegans and vegetarians declared “Charlotte’s Best”:
2013 VEGCHARLOTTE AWARD WINNER – Luna’s Living Kitchen.
It’s no surprise to me Luna’s was the top vote-getter for Best Salad!
Luna’s is an organic, all-vegan, mostly raw restaurant, so if anyone were to find a good salad anywhere in Charlotte – it should be here! Luna’s offers four salads on their regular menu, ranging in price from $10 – $11:
- Kale Cornucopia – Zesty orange-marinated kale, garnished with teriyaki almonds. Served with cauliflower rice and a local green salad – $10.
- Sprout It Out – Organic, local greens topped with spirals of sweet root vegetables, homegrown sprouts, lentils, cherry tomatoes, brazil nut “parmesan” and other seasonal vegetables topped with a drizzle of homemade hemp dressing. Served with avocado – $10
- Spinach Temptation – Spinach, onion, and cherry tomatoes tossed with our Brazil nut “parmesan” and a light dressing of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Served with marinated beet salad – $11
- Fruit and Nut Salad – Sunflower seeds, cashews, raisins, dates, apple, and caramelized pecans served with avocado on a bed of organic lettuce, drizzled with sesame-ginger dressing – $11
None of the voters specified their favorite Luna salad, although several did say, “All of them!”
Nourish. The nominations for Nourish amuse me. They all start out apologetic … “I know Nourish isn’t a restaurant,” and then get defensive, “BUT their food is just SOOOO good!” In case you don’t know, Nourish is Charlotte’s all-vegan meal delivery service, and they usually have a choice of two salads on their weekly menu (along with choice of entrees, soups, and sides). If you can’t afford the weekly delivery minimum, or you wait too long to place your order – you can still scarf up a Nourish salad from Eco-Licious (you DO know about Eco-Licious, right?) or Simply Local at Atherton Mill. Nourish’s salads tend to be creative with a variety of protein options (quinoa, tempeh, tofu).
Fern – Fern’s Salad. $7 Small, $11 Large. A voter wrote, “The salad itself isn’t anything to write home about, but it IS fresh and when you drizzle it with vegan buttermilk dill….it’s AMAZING.” You can also choose add-ons for varying charges – $5 for an OM veggie burger patty or BBQ tempeh; $4 for marinated tofu or vegan tempeh; $2 for avocado, blue cheese, or goat cheese; $1 for dairy cheddar or dairy mozzarella, or vegan cheddar or vegan mozzarella.
300 East – Fall Salad – Described on the menu as “Port Soaked Cherries, Vermont Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pine Nuts over Mixed Greens with Pancetta Dressing – $10.50. Order it WITHOUT the pancetta dressing, of course. (300 East vegan dressings include Balsamic Vinaigrette, Sherry Vinaigrette, French Vinaigrette, and Sesame Dressing.) Vegans would also want to order without the goat cheese.
Zada Jane’s received several mentions:
“Their basic salad and the spinach salad are both fantastic. Any salad with their pepper-herb vinaigrette, really.” (Zada Jane’s House Salad – organic mixed greens with tomatoes, cukes, carrots, sunflower seeds, and parmesan croutons -$8. Carmen’s Spinach Salad – baby spinach, dried cherries, orange segments, goat cheese and candied pecans tossed with a lemon vinaigrette – $8.)
“Every time I go to Zada Jane’s, I look forward to having their Another Green World Salad with tofu – and no egg.” This one’s a breakfast salad – yes, you read that right, breakfast salad – and while you can order it all day, it’s hidden away on the breakfast menu so it can be easy to overlook. (Another Green World Breakfast Salad – Relax and start the day with a green mind – organic field greens tossed with our sun dried tomato vinaigrette, (on the side) topped with applewood smoked bacon or marinated tofu, plus herb’s roasted potatoes, tomatoes,and one happy egg over easy – served with toast or tlc biscuit – $7.95)
Bean Vegan Cuisine received several passionate mentions for their Fried Buffalo Finger Salad. The menu describes it as “Our battered and fried tofu fingers tossed with Buffalo Sauce, served on top of mixed greens with crispy fresh vegetables on the side – $7.50.” Voters highly recommend Bean’s vegan ranch dressing with this salad.
Several people nominated Crisp Seventh Street Cafe. They assemble your salad in front of you, and you can choose from about a dozen predefined combinations (either leaving out the meat, or subbing marinated tofu). Or you can build your own salad with your choice of greens, tofu, and five toppings. Salads run from $6.75 – $8.75. Comments included, “It really is fresh and CRISP,” “They are used to vegans there,” and “The people at my office love to eat here, and I can eat veg without drawing attention to myself.”
Healthy Home Market received a nomination for their Quinoa Asian Salad.
And, no one mentioned these, but I’m going to. Some Harris Teeters have salad bars. The Morrocroft Harris Teeter recently renovated theirs and it’s quite awesome. One whole side is pretty much devoted to vegetarian and vegan items – greens, veggies, beans, fancy olives (the good stuff – not just salad olives), pasta and bean salads in oil, tofu (just cubed, not seasoned – boo!) The other side has meats, pasta salads with cheese, cheeses, eggs, and quite a bit of fruit. $5.99/lb. And Earthfare has just reduced its salad bar/hot bar price to $5.99/lb. Earthfare used to be excellent about always having a few vegan and vegetarian selections on their hot bar each day but they’ve been slipping a bit lately. Still, if you hit them on the right day you may be able to find a few good vegan items like their mock chicken salad (regular and curried); falafel, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves; stuffed cabbage; and Indian-inspired chick peas and lentils.
Coming up next in the 2013 VegCharlotte Awards – SOUPS!
If my family didn’t live in Charlotte, I’d be tempted to move back :-). At least when I go visit I now know where and what to eat. That salad from Nourish is killing me…it looks so good!!
OOOh, I’ve had that particular salad and it is AMAZING!!! Stay tuned … there are so many other categories and so many nominations … I have to (joyfully) admit there’s more vegan options in Charlotte than I thought!