Counting your calories when eating out is by no means an easy task. For some, it can be upsetting too. Imagine having to pass over the cheesy pasta for something lighter (read salad). While die-hard foodies will never let the butter slide off their tandoori rotis or resist adding the cream to their dal makhani, there are many of us making attempts at healthy eating too. So, if you are part of the weight watchers club, this should offer an appetising read. For no longer you have to eat insipid when dining out and neither you have to carry the guilt home. It is all about making sensible eating choices and with the array of salads on offer in Chandigarh, there is no compromise on taste-buds either. Packed with flavour and punch, also filling too, here are 7 of my favourite salads.
Som Tam Salad at OkO, The Lalit
There are many, many dishes that we truly relish at Oko, the Oriental fine-diner housed in The Lalit but it is their Som Tam Salad that always wins us over. The Raw Papaya Salad is a signature Oko dish and is refreshing, especially on a hot, summer day. The crunch of the peanuts and tangy flavour makes it a must-have with every meal.
Moroccan Cous Cous Salad, Brooklyn Central, Elante Mall
It might be immensely popular for its jumbo-sized American burgers, thin-crust Pizzas and decadent Cheesecakes, but Brooklyn Central has a good selection of salads as well. Next time you are dining here, pause at the salad section and order the Moroccan Cous Cous Salad. The cous cous is balanced well with a light dressing. Also, in the mix are bell peppers, olives and assorted greens. It is light and absolutely right with the calories.
Barbecue Chicken Salad with Grilled Fajita Chicken, Chili’s, Elante Mall
Chilli’s is another popular diner in Elante Mall. While the Quesadillas are always riding the popularity charts, the salads too are complete meals in themselves. There is a good selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian salads and we would recommend the Barbecue Chicken Salad with Grilled Fajita Chicken. It has got all the Tex-Mex flavours spot on and the serving is substantial. In the mix are crisp salad leaves tossed with chopped smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, corn relish, cilantro dressing, crispy tortilla strips and BBQ sauce.
Quirky Karela Salad, Whistling Duck, Sector 26
Who would have thought that karela could work so well in a salad? We often find people cringe when bitter gourd is mentioned but full credit to Whistling Duck’s executive "Chef Richa Johri" for this truly Quirky Karela Salad. It lives up to its name and is a delight. So what if the karela has been fried to form crispy rings. Paired with cucumber, onions and tomatoes and tossed in a raw mango relish dressing, it is lip-smacking. It makes for the perfect dinner table conversation too.
Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad, The Great Bear Kitchen and Microbrewery, Sector 26
One usually comes across fried starters and finger food in most menus of microbreweries. At The Great Bear in Sector 26, the owners have paid special attention to the salads as well. So, if you are watching your calories but are dining here in a large group with multiple palates to please, choose the Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad. It is crunchy, refreshing and very filling too. Incidentally, it works well with the in-house beers too.
Keto Salad, Casa Bella Vista, Sector 10
The only all-vegetarian Italian cafe in the city is always revamping its menu. It is also one of the few places in the city that makes the most of the season’s fresh produce. While it is hard to resist ordering their thin-crust pizzas baked right in front of you, here is a salad that ticks all boxes. The newly launched Keto Salad tosses organic rocket and salad leaves with olives, parmesan cheese, sunflower seeds, avocado in a blue cheese dressing and olive oil.
Super Bowl Salad, AJA, Sector 11
Perhaps the only cafe in the city with an all-healthy menu. AJA has over the years become a go-to cafe for fresh salads and healthy drinks. While the menu has many options, do try the Super Bowl Salad that is a generous bowl of good health. The bowl packs in avocado, organic black rice, sunflowers seeds, olives, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, salad greens, yellow pepper, cilantro, green beans, beetroot, orange and toasted cumin. The fresh orange dressing brings it all together perfectly.
A seasoned journalist, Jagmeeta has worked with The Indian Express for 16 years writing extensively on food, popular culture and fashion. A Master's in English, she completed her honours in Journalism from Delhi University and started her career in journalism with New Delhi Television (NDTV) as a reporter. She was part of the launch team for NDTV.com. Having turned a freelance writer and editor in 2016, she has been writing for The Hindustan Times, Chandigarh and is also a contributor for The Voice of Fashion steered by IMG Reliance Ltd as well as Chandigarh's popular lifestyle portal - simplythecity.com. When she's not reviewing food or dissecting the season's trends, she likes to travel with her daughter and husband, a professional photographer. A photography enthusiast herself, Jagmeeta has also curated photo exhibitions and calls herself a collector of cookbooks and recipes and a proud 'fauji' daughter and sister.