After a lengthy office debate over the notion that healthy isn’t easy, we at bazaar decided to challenge ourselves. For a period of one month, three members from the team would replace each lunchtime meal with a healthy salad. By partnering up with the wonderful people at Casper & Gambini’s, Café Supreme and dressed salads, our #MeanGreenMay challenge was on! Check out how our contenders handled all things salad-related and managed to consume over 75 different variations during the month of May.
With my wedding coming up in June, I knew I needed to get my ‘food act’ together before fitting into the dress. Even though I heard many ex-bride friends tell me, ‘don’t worry Yazzi, the stress alone will make you drop so much weight!’ Of course, I had to prove them all wrong and be that wretched exception of a bride that much rather resorts to French fries and ANYTHING carb related for stress release. With the idea of a #MeanGreenMay, however, I saw salvation! A tip for anyone who wishes to implement healthier eating habits into their routine: do it in a group! Casper & Gambini’s impressed with the Haricot Vert salad with crunchy sunflower seeds and French beans, along with zesty oranges, red onions, and a delicious mustard vinaigrette. I also especially enjoyed the Cajun Chicken Couscous; a Moroccan variety that is healthy and oh-SO-tasty with orange-minted couscous, Cajun spiced and tenderized chicken, roasted eggplants and bell peppers teamed with sweet corn and a citrus dressing. From Café Supreme, a favorite of mine as the salads are consistently excellent, I recommend their new varieties such as the Santa Fe of Mexico salad, the little nacho strips are delightfully crunchy with the red beans, chicken, and sweet corn and shredded lettuce base. From dressed, their Chef Designed salads delivered distinctive ingredients with powerful flavors! The Chicken Cordon Bleu is a wonderfully abstract interpretation of the classic, with grilled chicken, Swiss cheese, turkey ham, grilled Portobello mushrooms, croutons, and a romaine lettuce tossed in a buttermilk ranch dressing.
It is safe to say, I was not all-in on this whole salad thing! Not only am I a devout carnivore that demands more meat in my salad than crummy-‘ol lettuce (should there be a salad at all), but additionally, having grown up in California, practically in a lettuce patch, amongst an orange grove, with an artichoke growing out of my ear-I can be quite snobby about produce selection. Add on to that a deeply scarring event in which I was served the single least ripe avocado I have ever been served by an unnamed local eatery just months before (an incident known in the bazaar office as ‘AvocadoGate’, once it was apparent that I would not shut up about it), combined with a successive list of side-salad failures used to occasionally dip the proverbial toe into the salad market, and I was skeptical to say the least. But now…after a solid month of eating nothing but salads at the office, I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised. The increasing variety, the ever-rotating options, as well as the new players in the game, means that we are getting more salad options all the time. At Casper & Gambini’s, the Greek is always a solid option to go with. Plus, they de-seed the olives. While this is not preferred when eating olives whole, it most certainly is when it is inside a salad. The C&G special, additionally, was a delicious combination of vegetables that I would normally not have tried. At Café Supreme, The Greek was again strong enough to go head-to-head, but I also really loved the Californian for its vast array of artichoke and palmetto hearts. Lastly, dressed, takes things on a bit different: since the salad comes already tossed, there is no worry about just eating the good stuff first. The Tuscan was absolutely brilliant and must be reordered often. The Cordon Bleu was also delicious.
It is easy to think of a salad as little more than a filler or a side-dish, especially when you were brought up in the meat-and-three-veg generation like myself, where food was much simpler and you had things like ‘meatloaf Monday’ and ‘Sunday roast day’. But if this month of #MeanGreenMay taught me anything, it is that man can live on salad alone – especially with the many options which are available in our own backyard. Some of the many choices are full of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and we were no longer forced to pick a salad which arrived as solely a bunch of lettuce with an oil-based dressing. I noticed that several options did not even require any dressing as the contents were so tasty on their own, and thus reducing the need to add any sneaky calories to the mix. Other health benefits of tossing out that burger and choosing a salad option now and then (and thus upping your fiber and vegetable intake) are that they are known to lower risks of many diseases such as Cancer and heart disease. There would be no ‘losers’ in this month-long challenge. Favorites of the month included the Beetroot Feta salad platter from Café Supreme that is very simple but trés tasty, with smooth Feta that melts in the mouth! The Halloumi and Vegetable salad from Casper & Gambini’s includes a large array of delicious baked vegetables complimenting the halloumi, and lastly the Chef Designed Detox Antioxidant from dressed, which was full of crunchy vegetables, roasted garlic, sunflower seeds and baby spinach…a-may-zing! For more on dressed remember to check out our full review of this amazing new concept.
bazaar would like to thank its wonderful partners, Casper & Gambini’s 2243 0056, Café Supreme 2575 8850, and dressed 2227 0252, for their amazing cooperation in helping us achieve a #MeanGreenMay. You can also find all of the above-mentioned salads on their menus via talabat.com.