It’s the new year, and the Twin Cities are filled with new resolutions, many of which may sound like the following: “I’m going to start eating healthier. I’m going to eat more salads.” Well, if you’re anything like me, creating a salad that substantially qualifies as a meal always begins as a hopeful process but somehow results in a dejected bowl of limp foliage smeared with, you guessed it, ranch. Such consistent salad failures are why I jumped at the opportunity to sample Sprout Salad’s new seasonal menu.
In the words of the company’s co-founder Dmitry Kenigsberg, “Food always tastes better when somebody else makes it.” A true embodiment of this mantra, Kenigsberg and fellow co-founder Daniel Gittsovich created Sprout with the customer in mind. “We worked with our chef and said ‘OK, let’s try to stick to a price point of about $10 for a salad, but let’s make sure the salad itself—the quality and flavor—is good enough to be sold at a sit-down restaurant for a much heftier price.” The duo has opened three Sprout locations in the Twin Cities since 2014, where fresh and creative salads are served in a quick and upbeat environment. In addition to a full menu of core salads and create-your-own options, Sprout Salads also releases new seasonal items each quarter. The most recent of these launched mid-January and are sure to be crowd pleasers.
Inspired by winter seasonal items, the Chicken Olivier and Roasted Napa Garden salads are filled with robust ingredients and tossed with Sprout Salad’s signature savory house-made dressings, creating a dynamic and satisfactory meal that you won’t be ashamed to admit you ordered four times in one week.
In the first few bites of the Olivier salad I found myself delightfully perplexed by the range of ingredients I encountered. Bits of fingerling potatoes, peas, carrots, eggs and my favorite—cornichon pickles—muddled together with romaine lettuce to create full-bodied bites complimented by tangy mustard dressing. The restaurant was also more than happy to accommodate my pescetarian diet by substituting the classic chicken in the salad to create a “shrimp Olivier,” qualifying this salad as a delicious, protein-packed dinner for one.
The Roasted Napa Garden salad was equally filling, boasting a medley of roasted vegetables served over romaine, baby kale and fresh basil. Seasonal favorites like zucchini and yellow squash bathed in balsamic black garlic dressing alongside tomatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Mozzarella ciliegene balls rolled in the mix, soaking up sweet, earthy and subtly spicy flavors from the wintery concoction.
As these items will only be available for a limited time, I was also excited to sample some of the staple menu items that I can back for at any time of year. Of the magnificent nine core salads, I’m now hooked on the Chicken Caesar (sub salmon) and the Ensalada Mexicana, which I tried as a wrap instead—an option available for any salad. Each menu item overflowed with fresh, flavorful ingredients chopped and mixed to create the perfect umami concoction.
Winter is looking a little bit better with these new seasonal items, and clean eating doesn’t seem like as much of a chore now that I can rely on Sprout Salads for delicious, healthy and affordable meals. I left completely full but excited to fulfill that new year’s resolution: I’m going to eat more salads.