You started 2018 with the best of intentions: This is going to be the year you actually keep those New Year’s resolutions to get fit and eat healthier.
But let’s face it -- we’re four days in, and you’re probably already sick of it. Are you really going to wake up early to hit the gym all year long? Are you truly planning to portion out a week’s worth of vegetable-based lunches into Instagrammable Mason jars?
No one's saying you need to diet, of course. But in case you are trying to cut down on the fried and fatty foods in the New Year, the downtown Minneapolis skyway has a slew of salad joints, making it the perfect way to eat your vegetables and get some extra steps without ever leaving climate-controlled comfort.
Let's take a walk.
If you’re all about the dressing…
Local mini-chain Sprout Salad Company’s RBC Plaza location offers globally inspired salads like the Ensalada Mexicana, with toppings including avocado, grilled corn, and Cotija cheese, and the K-Town, with Korean BBQ steak and kimchi playing starring roles. Or create a custom salad, served with a tasty lavash cracker.
Where Sprout really shines is in the dressings, made in small batches daily from in-house recipes. There’s your standard French vinaigrette and chipotle ranch, plus innovative flavors like fresh carrot ginger, lemon Creole mustard vinaigrette, and spicy gochujang vinaigrette. 555 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-886-2723
If you like your salads well-mixed…
You’ll hear it before you see it -- the rhythmic sound of knives hitting cutting boards echoing through City Center. At the Salad Bar, toppings and dressing are perfectly dispersed throughout a base of greens thanks to all of that chopping action.
The ingredient selection skews toward standbys. Think romaine lettuce, chickpeas, croutons, sunflower seeds, craisins, and grilled chicken. Build your own or pick from a lineup of classic options like Cobb and Asian Chicken. 40 S. Seventh St., Minneapolis; 612-259-8214
If you’re eco-conscious…
The name says it all: Greenfield Natural Kitchen’s ingredients are 100 percent natural, meaning they're free from chemical preservatives, artificial ingredients, and GMOs. In addition, the chicken is antibiotic-free, and organic and local ingredients are used whenever possible.
The two locations -- one in Canadian Pacific Plaza, the other in the US Bancorp Center -- have build-your-own salads as well as creations like a Smoked Salmon Asparagus Salad and a Mediterranean Salad featuring chicken, quinoa, olives, and Feta. 120 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; 612-455-7060 and 800 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612-314-4808.
If you want a salad that eats like a meal…
Eating salad for lunch is great, but that pile of vegetables has to be substantial enough to keep you from hitting the office vending machine for a Milky Way a few hours later. At Green + the Grain, salads feature hearty whole grains and plenty of toppings (spring for the large size -- it’s a better value).
Both locations (Baker Center and LaSalle Plaza) have a menu of signature salads that includes the Cowboy, with blackened grilled chicken, pico de gallo, and jalapeno ranch; and the Moroccan, with saffron couscous, grapes, and pita chips. The build-your-own option includes your choice of a whole grain in addition to four toppings. 109 S. Seventh St., Minneapolis; 612-332-5555 and 800 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis; 612-341-9000.