Superb Salads & Super Soups

By Denise Sakaki | January 24, 2019

Poke ‘Zoodle’ Bowl | Just Poké. Photo by Jeff Hobson

Poke ‘Zoodle’ Bowl | Just Poké. Photo by Jeff Hobson

If the phrase “Eat your greens!” gives you childhood flashbacks of soggy, flavorless vegetables, and the notion of soup is sidelined to side-dish status, it’s time to rethink their reputation. Hearty and delicious enough to be a main course, these soups and salads are proof that nobody puts these meals in a corner.

REIMAGINED SALADS

Poke ‘Zoodle’ Bowl | Just Poké

Bellevue, Factoria, Kirkland, Renton, Issaquah, Redmond, and Seattle

The popularity of the Hawaiian favorite poke has created an explosion of eateries specializing in the marinated mixture of fresh raw fish, vegetables, and seasoning. Especially ideal for high-protein/gluten-free dietary needs, the ways of eating poke have expanded to include swapping out the typical rice base with zucchini “zoodles.” The squash is spiral-cut to create a noodle-like shape, and the texture is hearty enough to mix with the pieces of fish. justpoke.com

Courtesy Homegrown

Courtesy Homegrown

Bowl Menu | Homegrown

Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue, and Seattle

Amped-up with flavors and textures, bowl meals are the new salads, packed with different cooked and raw ingredients that harmonize perfectly together. Homegrown’s chermoula roasted veggie bowl is full of roasted vegetables, lentils, cooked grains, dried fruit, and a mix of greens, and the spicy braised tofu bowl mixes creamy tofu with broccoli, cabbage, avocado, and a spicy citrus dressing. It’s a million different flavors in one bite, giving just the right balance of protein, fiber, and nutrients to stay energized all day. Or all morning — they also make breakfast bowls, using a mixture of greens and roasted veggies, topped with eggs. eathomegrown.com

 

Pesto ‘Pasta’ | Café Wylde

Everett

Whether you adhere to a vegan/raw diet or not, a restaurant that specializes in a plant-based menu is a delicious exploration of ingredients. What seems like a deceptively simple pasta salad is a combination of spiral-cut zucchini, glassine kelp-based noodles, a creamy avocado pesto, the sharp flavor of sun-dried tomatoes, and the meaty texture of king oyster mushrooms. Impressive and elegant. cafewylde.com

 

Açaí Bowl | Kitanda

Kirkland, Redmond, Tukwila, and Seattle

Who says a salad has to be savory? A fruit- and grain-filled açaí bowl is the modern answer to the outdated, syrupy notion of a fruit salad. With a focus on the açaí berry, harvested from the Amazon region, full of nutrients and antioxidants, it adds a distinctive purple hue to bowls filled with banana, fresh berries, nuts, and granola. More like a dessert but with less of the guilt, it’s a fresh alternative for those with more of a sweet tooth. kitanda.com

 

UPGRADED CLASSICS

Signature Salad Menu | Evergreens

Bellevue and Seattle

With a menu of 10 different salads, ranging from the classic Cobb, with names like Cobb Your Enthusiasm, to the superfood-filled Super Bowl with quinoa, nuts, and fresh pesto, this fast-growing chain of salad/wrap-focused foods keeps its eyes on whole ingredients with protein-rich options. Each salad can be made as a wrap, and ingredients can be easily swapped and customized to fit various dietary needs. evergreens.com

 

Meatless Salads | Garlic Crush

Bellevue, Issaquah, and Redmond

Another Meatless Monday, and while you’re tempted to get one of Garlic Crush’s grilled meat dishes, the colorful grain-rich tabbouleh salad or the crispy falafel salad is giving off the same heady aroma of garlic that you were already craving. Keep your resolution of a lower consumption of meat and still feel satisfied with salads full of robust Mediterranean flavors. garliccrush.com

 

GREENS ON-THE-GO

Chicken Salad Wrap | Swift & Savory

Duvall and various food truck stops

With a restaurant location now in Duvall, the Swift & Savory truck still makes regular stops throughout the Eastside — check its social media for the schedule. One popular item is a chicken salad with a sesame-style dressing, is wrapped in a tortilla for easy no-utensil eating. But don’t let the name “salad” fool you; it’s a feast that can easily feed two, and a great sharable item. Especially popular when the truck stops at breweries, it’s a hearty salad you can eat with your hands. swiftandsavory.com/menu2.html

 

Loco Soba | Chop Express

Everett

Soba noodles, typically popular in salads as well as soups, get a hearty, hand-held fusion treatment thanks to the cool, hip-hop energy of Chop Express. Make no mistake: This is a heavy hitter, combining the noodles with Korean BBQ beef, eggs, cabbage, rice, even cheese, all wrapped up in a tortilla. Part of the “fusion” burrito menu, it’s like a mega-charged noodle salad in a wrap. facebook.com/pg/chopexpresseverett

 

SOUP’S ON FOR THE MAIN COURSE

Chowder Sampler | Duke’s Seafood & Chowder

Bellevue, Seattle, Kent, Tukwila, and Tacoma

With a multi-award-winning chowder recipe and a long-lived culinary reputation in the Northwest, Duke’s knows soup is more than just a side dish. While it offers clam, mixed seafood, lobster, and corn chowders as full-bowl portions, the sampler menu is the way to have a little of everything. Mix and match chowders with the single, double, triple or quad “dinghy” sized mini portions. And guess what? They are all gluten-free. dukesseafood.com

Courtesy Boiling Point

Courtesy Boiling Point

Taiwanese Hot Pot | Boiling Point

Bellevue, Redmond, Seattle, Edmonds, and Tukwila

If soup as a sharable meal with a group seems unusual, you gotta give hot pot a try. Beloved throughout Asia, communal dining around soup is an interactive way to enjoy a hearty, almost-stew-like meal that can have any number of different ingredients, all piled into a giant self-cooking pot of boiling broth at the center of the table. Boiling Point encourages newcomers to hot pot eating, making the selection of ingredients simple and easy to understand, with curated themes ranging from a Taiwanese-inspired spicy seafood, beef and vegetable soup to an all-vegetable hotpot, with no meat or seafood. bpgroupusa.com

 

Tsukemen | Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya

Bellevue, Seattle, Northgate, and Southcenter

The growing popularity of Japanese-style ramen is happily making aficionados out of Northwesterners, joyfully slurping noodles to fight off the rainy chill. A change of pace with the same savory flavors, tsukemen is worth a try. The ramen noodles are served on the side, with meat and vegetables, and the broth, served in concentrated form, is more of a dipping sauce, letting the diner use as much or as little of it to flavor each bite. Think of it like a deconstructed ramen when you’re craving something a little different. kizuki.com