Not Just Lettuce: Healthier Options Come To Midtown

In midtown Manhattan, salad-chopping stations are becoming as ubiquitous as hot deli buffets. Fortunately, this season, there are a couple of standouts stepping it up a notch.

Laura Pensiero, an executive chef from Red Hook, nutritionist, and seasoned "eat local" industry spokesperson, had a hand in tossing Just Salad's new "Locavore Salad," made with ingredients sourced from local farms. Proceeds from the dish go to Just Food, a charity helping to connect underserved communities with resources to make fresh, locally grown food accessible to New Yorkers.

The Locavore is made with a mix of kale and red cabbage, kale pesto chicken, butternut squash, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and mushrooms, and is only 530 calories. Ingredients in her other special fall season menu offerings include wheat berries, Bartlett pears, and sesame grilled tofu.

Also spicing up their salad regimen is The Kati Roll Company, a three-location chain in Manhattan (plus one in London) that serves made-to-order Kati rolls: a type of Indian burrito originating from Calcutta. Recently, they introduced a new, organic salad with a choice of three Indian-inspired dressings (lime-cilantro, mint-yogurt, or spicy cumin-tamarind) to offer a healthier option. Comprised of a mix of western and Indian flavors, ingredients include a chopped blend of mixed greens, tomato, carrot, cucumber, mango, raisins, sunflower seeds, corn, chickpeas, almonds and green pepper. The salad can be ordered with a skewer of barbecued chicken or grilled paneer, better known as Indian farmer's cheese.

"Indian food in general can be very heavy, and the salad topped with the Indian-flavored dressing is a much lighter option," said Payal Saha, founder of The Kati Roll Company.