Go Green! Guide To The Best Salads In Memphis
Ed. Note: If you’re looking for healthy food in Memphis, contributor Stacey has started a list of places to eat healthy, with a focus on salads that aren’t boring, that are filling, and most importantly, delicious. This isn’t everywhere to get a great salad, of course. If you have favorites, please put them in the comments!
I like to think of salads as nachos made with lettuce instead of chips. Doesn’t that sound nice? But really, I could – and should — eat a salad every day, and I almost always end up wracking my brain trying to remember who has a good one.
Now I’ve made this lovely list of my tried-and-true go-to salads, so all of us to can refer to it as needed.
Chicken Salad Salad at Edge Alley
Edge Alley is one of my favorite places to get a salad. They have several good ones to choose from, they have awesome window seating and best of all, I get to have a second coffee of the day. (Carbonated cold brew FTW.) I really like the Shrimp Cobb (below) but lately the Chicken Salad Salad ($8) has been my go to.
It’s a tad heartier and has great flavor. All of the salads are made with arugula so they don’t feel massive. Made with local chicken, mango, peanuts, tomato, onion, and radish, the Chicken Salad Salad is a winner. Also very important to note: You can add bacon, avocado and/or a fried egg to anything for $2 each. Read more about Edge Alley here.
Look, I know it’s hard to bypass the taco menu at Maciel’s, but they have what is probably my very most favorite salad ever – the Gaspacho Salad ($7.75!!!). I really don’t understand the name as it has nothing to do with cold tomato soup, so just put that out of your mind. It’s a heaping portion of grilled steak, diced mango, chopped cilantro, tomatoes, onion, sliced avocado and shredded lettuce.
It’s served with chipotle dressing and you can spice it up with one of the other house made sauces if you like. Ok, sure, the shredded lettuce is not providing the highest nutritional content a salad has ever offered, but it’s not a fried tortilla, right? And yes, the other salads at Maciel’s are pretty freaking good too. Read more about Maciel’s here.
The Memphis Cobb at Carolina Watershed
Pulled pork on a salad? Yes, please. According to the menu, the Memphis Cobb ($12.50) includes a nice serving of pulled pork, Carolina Watershed smoked applewood bacon, blue cheese crumbles, roasted cherry tomatoes, sweet onions and avocado. Our version also featured grilled corn, pickled onions, a hardboiled egg and a nice toast…your mileage may vary. Still a very solid choice.
Be the Chef at Cheffie’s
For those of you who like your salad the way you like it, then Cheffie’s is for you. (They have several signature salads to choose from if you don’t want to do the hard work of deciding too.) For $9.95 you can create your own masterpiece from a choice of greens (romaine, baby spinach, kale, or mixed greens), proteins (chicken, turkey, ham, roast beef, pimento cheese, tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad), and more cheeses, fruit & veggie toppings, crunchies and dressings than I can list here.
A basic bowl comes with one of everything, except toppings—you can choose up to four of those. There’s a small charge for double meat and any extras if you do not want to be constrained by any rules. The key at Cheffie’s, no matter what you get, is to let them CHOP IT ALL UP for you. It’s just somehow better that way.
Shawerma Salad at Casablanca
The Shawerma Salad ($10) is another one of my very most favorite salads, and I am amazed every time when I order it because it means I had the willpower to forgo the delicious falafel, hummus and pita. I do not pass up the tea though. I’m not completely crazy! Now, I do need to state for the record that there are two ways to get the Shawerma Salad. One is to just order it off the menu.
The other way is to order a small Greek Salad ($5) and add lamb ($7). What’s the difference? The latter option gets you feta cheese and banana peppers. Both are key in my opinion and only the Greek has them. Lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives and cucumbers are on both. There’s also more meat options if you go with the Greek. It can be complicated, if you want it to be. Ha!
Grille 901 (https://www.facebook.com/901Grille/) also has a fairly good approximation of this for $8.98 ($5.99 Greek Salad plus $1.99 for lamb) if you want a grab and go option, or something a little more casual.
Get in the Chopper at City Silo Table + Pantry
I want to eat EVERYTHING at City Silo. I love it so much. I wish it was in Midtown or Downtown. The Buffalo Tempeh and Sesame Cauliflower Bowl is my boyfriend, but sometimes I cheat on him with a salad. The Get in the Chopper ($11) is the most popular, and yes, it’s all chopped up and easy to eat.
It features arugula, quinoa, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, roasted pepitas, raisins, balsamic, pink salt, parmesan (if you want) and comes with cashew basil aioli. I add tempeh ($1.50), because where else can you add tempeh? You can also add avocado, egg, and/or chicken. Live it up!
Memphis Belle at Tamp & Tap
Tamp & Tap has overhauled their menu to give it a fresher, healthier feel. There are several new salads and The Memphis Belle ($9) makes a great lunch. The base is fresh spinach and the toppings are top notch –strawberries, feta, pickled onions, candied pecans, HALF an avocado ($1), and in this case, grilled chicken (add $3.50).
The chicken was served warm and gave the whole salad a really nourishing feel. The balsamic vinaigrette was the perfect final note. This seemingly simple salad will surprise you. This is also another great spot to sneak in a second coffee. Read more about Tamp & Tap.
Beef Salad at Bhan Thai
The Beef Salad ($11.25) at Bhan Thai hits all of the right notes and lights up your mouth. Tender filets of beef are doused in a spicy mixture of lime, onions, and roasted chili pepper sauce; garnished with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers; and served atop a bed of fresh greens. Simple and delicious and you don’t miss having rice. Read more about Bhan Thai.
Portabella Salad at Central Barbecue
For some it may seem blasphemous to go to Central and not get barbecue, but the salads at Central are worth a trip of their own, and they also provide an option for any vegetarians visiting Memphis who want to experience this local favorite restaurant. Central’s salads all build off of the basic House Salad ($5.25) which is romaine lettuce, carrots & red cabbage, served in a sun-dried tomato-basil tortilla bowl, topped with shredded colby-jack, tomatoes & pepperoncini peppers. If you want to add meat, it’s called a BBQ Chef Salad ($9.99).
And if you want to add a portabella, and trust me, you do, it’s simply called the Portabella Salad ($7.35). Central grills the 7-8″ portabella mushrooms and marinates them in balsamic vinegar, olive oil & spices and makes them taste SO good.
Grilled Salmon Nicoise at Majestic Grill
If you are looking for a salad to fill you up, then the Grilled Salmon Nicoise ($11) is the ticket. A really nice serving of perfectly cooked salmon rests on a bed of greens and is surrounded by an amazing supporting cast – a hardboiled egg, artichoke hearts, black olives, green beans and tomatoes.
Not surprisingly, this is one of many fine salads on the menu. You could spend a work week trying them all – the Majestic Cobb, The Seared Tuna, The Chophouse Salad, and The Old Post Office Waldorf are all just as worthy of their own starring role.
Shrimp Salad at The Cove
For a dive bar that specializes in oysters, the Cove has a pretty nice selection of salads. There’s the Classic Caesar, the Mermaid (a wedge), the Port (featuring a portabella mushroom) and my pick, the Shrimp Salad ($12). It’s basic, but the five large seasoned grilled shrimp are flavorful and not too filling.
Placed atop romaine lettuce and decorated with grape tomatoes, goat cheese and purple onion, the whole thing is lightly tossed with house made garlic lemon vinaigrette and topped with croutons. Goes great with a nice can of Wiseacre or one of their signature cocktails. And gives you a great excuse (“You had a healthy dinner”) to order Not Wings or Stoner Pie later in the evening!
Field Trip Greens at Lunchbox Eats
I’m not going to lie. The Field Trip Greens Salad ($10) with avocado ($4) and fried tenders ($4) may be the most expensive salad I’ve ever eaten ($18). And, I’m hoping I went on a day that they accidentally only put the teeniest amount of chicken tenders on my salad (accident?) But, having said that, this salad has good bones.
There are homemade pickles, a tasty corn muffin, grilled corn, roasted peppers, and fun crunchies. I say no avocado is worth $4, but advocate for a nice serving of tenders and absolutely get a giant tumbler of lemonade. Made fresh each day, it’ll put a smile on your face no matter what happens to your salad!
Holly here. Stacey and I had a few more we wanted to add in…
Pyro’s is a local chain that is all about fast and affordable. Most people know them for their fast pizzas that you build yourself by choosing proteins, veggies, and other toppings. But, I actually love them for their salads, which are similarly constructed to order. It it my number one go-to when I’m in a hurry and need something filling and healthy.
I get a large salad topped with shredded Cajun chicken, marinated zucchini and peppers, sliced almonds, feta, broccoli, and poppy seed dressing on the side. (The photo here is a slightly different version, also Pyro’s bread is now served in little rolls rather than like what’s pictured.)
Another salad from a barbecue restaurant?! Yep, I’m going to tell you the truth: the Greek salad from the Rendezvous is underrated. It’s colorful and fresh, with cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, olives, red onions, pepperoncinis, and feta, all tossed in some kind of magical Greek-seasoned vinaigrette. I’d eat it by itself, or with a side of brisket.
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Wild Beet (originally known as Lettuce Eat) is a make-your-own salad place where you go down the line and have the attendants build you a delicious meal with the ingredients that you choose. They have a huge selection of options for proteins, including shrimp, quinoa, chicken, turkey, and more, plus just about every vegetable or other topping you can think of.
Plus, this one from McEwen’s:
Got more salads to add? Leave ’em in the comments.
About The Author
Stacey Greenberg is a freelance writer who lives in Cooper Young with her two teenaged sons. She’s a contributor to Thrillist.com, Edible Memphis, I Love Memphis, and Memphis Travel. She’s also the author of the award winning blog, Dining with Monkeys (diningwithmonkeys.com). A lifelong Memphian, she loves the fact that she’s never met a stranger here.