Salads Supreme

Cheryl Walker
Director for Campus Restaurants
Harvard University Dining Services

"We recently introduced a concept in our retail operations called Global Greens. We wanted to create a kind of international salad bar. Some of the offerings include a Tuscany Salad, Mediterranean Chop Chop, Asian Chicken Salad, Chipotle Ranch and Union Square Salad. Each is available in two sizes.

"The most popular salads are the Tuscany (roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, olives, parmesan cheese and Italian vegetables with a Sundried Tomato vinaigrette dressing) and the Union Square (made of grapes, apples, oranges, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, asiago cheese and walnuts, and a gorgonzola balsamic vinaigrette.)

"Another customer favorite is the Asian Chicken. It has marinated and grilled white meat chicken served with almonds, chow mein noodles and oriental vegetables with a sesame garlic ginger dressing.

"Each salad is also offered as a wrap in a whole wheat tortilla."

Margaret Empie
Assistant Director, Catering and Retail Services
University of Northern Iowa

"Several of our specialty salads have become customer favorites, both in restaurant/retail dining and in catering. The Texas Pasta Salad, for instance, is one of the recipes that is often requested for home use. It's a great recipe and you can easily add chicken or tuna to it.

"Some of the other favorites include Broccoli Grape Salad, Chicken Wild Rice Salad and Salat Oliver (a Russian potato salad with chicken, potatoes, and pickles.)

"The trend towards low-carb diets makes salads even more important, but it's more challenging to find good recipes that meet those requirements. Many of our salad recipes come from consumer cookbooks and our customers. We have a staff that is very good at taking recipes and adapting them for our particular clientele.

"For salads, we look for recipes that offer unusual combinations of ingredients and familiar flavors. Color, texture and plateability are important."

Janet Potts
Director of Food and Nutrition Services
St. John Medical Center Tulsa, OK

"We were looking for ways to increase our customer satisfaction and revenue and came up with a new line of "Black Bowl Salads."

We offer basic Chicken BLT and Southwest Salads but we also have a delicious Tropical Chicken Salad with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette and a wonderful Spicy Chicken with Peanut Sauce over noodles and chopped fresh vegetables.

"Our vegetarian customers (as well as the carnivores) enjoy a Hummus plate with flat bread, tabouli and vegetables. We also have a delicious fresh Spinach and Bacon Salad with a unique Sweet Sesame Vinaigrette dressing, and a Chicken Vinaigrette, which includes dill, feta cheese, grapes, almonds and a balsamic olive oil garlic vinaigrette.

"Our customers—employees, doctors and visitors—rave about these. Many buy one for lunch and another to take home. One customer commented to our training coordinator, 'These new salads make my day!'

"They are the most expensive items on our menu and we still can't keep them on the shelves!"

Recipe

Fat-Free Honey Chutney Dressing
Yield: 24 servings

1 cup prepared mango chutney (finely chopped)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1
cup nonfat yogurt, plain
3/4 cup honey

  1. Stir together chutney, lemon and salt.
  2. Beat in yogurt and honey. Serving suggestions: Use as a dressing for green salads and other vegetable salads or for meat, poultry or seafood salads.

Recipe from the National Honey Board.

Marcel E. Holland
Associate Director/Chef Food & Nutrition
Southwestern Vermont Healthcare Bennington, VT

"We specialize in three traditional salads: Chef, California Cobb and Chicken Caesar. We also feature a signature salad, which currently is Ginger Pork Soba Salad (see recipe.)

Paula Triana

Nutrition Services Team Leader, RD Palm Beach County School District

"We recently kicked off a salad promotion in our school district called Mix It Up. The

idea was to offer specialty entrÈe salads that are larger than our usual garden salad and small salad cup offerings.

"The salads, available every Tuesday and Thursday, have a spring mix salad base and include a Garden Chef, Chicken Mandarin and Chicken BLT. This month we are promoting "Mix It Up Spring Style" and we are adding a Chicken Ceaser. While these salads are common in restaurants, in school foodservice they are really chic.

"We know it has increased participation of the secondary students because we've been documenting how the salads have been selling. The promotion kicked off last September and in the first month alone we sold 27,407 specialty entrèe salads in nine days."

David Lester
Cash Operations Manager
Luther College
Decorah, IA

"We are seeing a lot of Weight Watchers and Atkins or low-carb dieters and we try to accommodate them by serving salads from cookbooks designed for each plan.

"I make salad labels that let customers know, for example, if the recipe is from Weight Watchers, what the serving size is and how many points it has. I also list all of the ingredients so customers can make informed choices.

"One of the most popular items on our salad bar is a Fruit Yogurt Parfait with lowfat yogurt, sliced or cubed fresh fruits and granola."