3 Fast-Casual Salads Upping the Flavor Ante

    Much more than ranch dressing on iceberg lettuce, these fast-casual salads showcase bold flavors, textures, and functional ingredients.


    Chopt’s Key West Jerk Chicken Salad

    “Our Key West Jerk Chicken Salad is a great example of taking a craveable dish and turning it into an unexpected, delicious salad. Inspired by a trip to the Florida Keys, this salad has a ton of flavor from our house-marinated jerk chicken, but it doesn’t feel heavy when you eat it. Fresh tomatoes give it brightness, jicama provides the crunch, and our creamy habanero dressing, balanced in both heat and citrus, rounds out our take on the jerk experience.”

    —Ali Banks

    culinary director

    The Players:

    • Spicy jerk chicken
    • Fresh jicama with lime
    • Crispy shallots
    • Grape tomatoes
    • Romaine
    • Cabbage
    • Cilantro blend
    • Creamy habanero dressing


    MAD Greens’ Henri Matisse Salad

    MAD Greens

    MAD Greens’ Henri Matisse Salad

    “The MAD Greens LTO menus always start with an on-trend seasonal ingredient and chef-inspired dressing. Our Spring 2019 LTO featured shaved, roasted Brussels sprouts, and our culinary guru crafted a fruity, umami-forward dark cherry balsamic vinaigrette that paired well with the nuttiness of the sprouts in the Henri Matisse Salad. During the course of the spring LTO (about 12 weeks), we shaved and roasted 10,275 pounds of Brussels sprouts.”

    —Kacy Fowler

    culinary connoisseur

    The Players:

    • Roasted Brussels sprouts and spinach
    • Grilled chicken
    • Mandarin oranges
    • Goat cheese
    • Red onions
    • Pistachios
    • Dark cherry balsamic vinaigrette


    Happy + Hale's The Poole'side Salad

    Happy + Hale

    Happy + Hale’s The Poole’side Salad

    “We did this salad with chef Ashley Christensen and announced it the day she won the James Beard Award. It’s a chef-driven, Italian-flavored, and light summer salad and features ingredients from her soon-to-be-open Poole’side Pies pizza restaurant. It’s tossed in a roasted tomato and oregano vinaigrette to bring a little acid and tomato into the flavor. Then it’s topped with a basil aioli that we make with nonfat Greek yogurt. It gives a nice herbaceous flavor that complements the acid from the tomato vinaigrette.”

    —Tyler Helikson

    cofounder & CEO

    The Players:

    • Arugula and shredded kale
    • Charred squash
    • Roasted tomatoes
    • Marinated peas
    • Smoked mozzarella
    • Baked sopressata
    • Tomato and oregano vinaigrette
    • Toasted seeds
    • Basil aioli