In the Seinfeld episode Big Salad (Season 6, episode 2), Jerry describes Elaine’s lunch order: “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.” The salad game has evolved since the 1990s. Salads are full-fledged meals found on just about every menu. We searched our neighborhood for big bowls of leafy, veggie goodness that will please even the most persnickety characters. 

Photo by Kathy Tran

-Taco Salad at Flower Child 

At the dawn of the age of health food done quick and delicious, there was Flower Child, with its customizable menu and wholesome ways. Everything here is made from scratch and excess fruits and vegetables are used in juices, spokesperson Tracy McGinnis says.  Even if you know you prefer a big salad, deciding what to order from FC’s array of vegilicious items, could be tough. Here’s what we know: The vegetarian taco salad was on, then off, the menu before being brought back by popular demand, according to a spokesperson. The reason for its return is obvious to the taste buds. A leafy romaine and chickpea chorizo base offers a meat-free take on tradition. Toss in red cabbage, avocado, black bean, roasted corn, organic tomato, pepitas and blue corn chips and top with cilantro lime dressing and you have a mildly spicy, citrus-y super salad with satisfying crunch. Honorable mention choices — crowd sourced from readers — include Flower Child’s Thai Noodle Salad and Avocado Caesar, which reportedly is a kid favorite. While a big salad is a sufficient meal, it is a mistake to leave FC without a side of street-corn “ribs.”  

5450 Lovers Lane

-The Beverly Hills Cobb Salad at Neuhaus Cafe

Visiting Neuhaus Cafe and Chocolate Boutique “for the salads” is a little like subscribing to Playboy “for the articles.” The salads are palatable, interesting and skillfully crafted; that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the picture-perfect, expertly curated (by owner Mervyn Sacher) sweets too. Sacher has told the Advocate that his colorful colossal candy dispensers are the main attraction, but cuisine inspired by his preferred New York City delis commands equal attention and care. Neuhaus’ Beverly Hills Cobb Salad is “Like No Other,” according to the menu and many consumer reviews. Lightly grilled chicken, bacon, boiled egg slices and tomatoes on a bed of crisp greens topped with blue cheese crumbles and dressing makes this cobb a thing of both beauty and substance. 

5959 Royal Lane, Suite 626

-The Harvest Salad at Salata 

As one might infer from the name, Salata does salads — big healthy salads served in bowls, as all big salads should be. Sizes are listed as “small” and “regular,” but the taste is big. (And the “regular” is physically large, a full meal.) If choosing the perfect mix from Salata’s selection of more than 50 ingredients proves overwhelming, go with the Harvest Salad, a medley of mixed greens, grapes, cranberries, feta cheese, walnuts, apples and pesto chicken under a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. However, any salad that includes falafel or quinoa as its protein is a win, especially when sitting on vitamin-packed kale, spinach or combination thereof. A dozen house-recipe dressings are made from scratch daily, according to a Salata spokesperson. 

8307 Westchester

-The Cali Roll Deconstructed Salad at Parigi

The classics — the wedge with truffle blue cheese or the Caesar, hailed by food critics and diners alike — come in perfect form at French-inspired bistro Parigi. Diners rave about Parigi’s Brussels Sprout Salad and Texas Watermelon Salad with its baby beets. The hidden gem, while not literally a big salad, bears a shout out due to its creativity and craveability — the Cali Roll Deconstructed Salad is presented as a cake of sweet lump crab and avocado, cucumber, cilantro rice, ginger and nori topped with mixed greens, cucumber twists and sea salt with wasabi tamari dressing drizzled on top. Indulging in this small and savorable bite comes with zero regrets. 

3311 Oak Lawn

-Summer Seared Ahi at Modern Market 

When they came to Preston Hollow Village in 2015, Modern Market Eatery owners Anthony Pigliacampo and Rob McColgan shared with us their intense commitment to bringing clean cuisine to the neighborhood in a quick, casual setting. All these years later, the restaurant is thriving, filling Preston Hollow bellies with pizzas, soups, protein bowls, sandwiches and, indeed, big salads. If you must choose one, it’s the Summer Seared Ahi Salad — romaine lettuce, line-caught tuna (lightly seared), marinated squash, heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, watermelon radish, sliced egg, avocado, lemon wedge and Modern Market’s signature scallion ranch dressing. Add one chef’s kiss, and bon appetit.

7949 Walnut Hill 

-Asian Noodle Salad at Asian Mint 

It’s an unconventional spicy salad — spicy shrimp, minced chicken, clear low-carb noodles, julienne seasonal rainbow vegetable, grape tomato, peanut, cilantro, fresh mint, scallion and spicy lime sauce. This is a one-of-a-kind addition to your end-of-summer salad menu. Yes, there is an absence of lettuce here, but let us let that slide. Salads don’t always have to include leafy greens, so says Asian Mint chef and owner Nikky Phinyawatana. She explains that the shirataki noodles in this dish come from fiber from the root of a konjac plant, native to east and southeast Asia. According to the chef these noodles absorb water, move slowly down the digestive tract and give the consumer a feeling of fullness. Shirataki noodles are said to have many health benefits, including improving gut health, as well as blood sugar and insulin levels.

11617 N. Central Expressway, 5450 W. Lovers Lane