What items do you expect on a salad bar? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-02-2008, 02:54 PM
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Okay, my mom and I may be going into business together. The local diner is going up for rent because the person currently renting it wants out. So, we were talking about renting it and making it more healthy and vegetarian friendly. Our first improvement is going to be the salad bar.



What items do you typically expect on a salad bar? This is what the current diner has going on:



Iceberg Lettuce (barf, and they have it sitting in water for some reason)

Shredded Carrot

Sliced Tomatoes

Shredded Cheese

Croutons

Bacon Bits

Thousand Island, Italian, Blue Cheese and Ranch Dressing
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#2 Old 05-02-2008, 02:59 PM
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Oh, duh! I forgot to post what items we are going to change/add. I just want other people's input incase I forget anything.



Salad Mix (probably a spring mix)

Caesar Salad Mix (with the shredded cheese on top)

Sunflower Seeds

Baby Tomatoes

Black Olives

Dried Cranberries

Cold Peas

Chickpeas

Shredded Yellow Cheese

Bacon Bits (fake ones)

Blue Cheese Crumbles

Soup Option (vegan)

Croutons

Salad Dressings: Ranch, Caesar, Blue Cheese, Italian, Thousand Island, French, Asian and then possibly a Honey Mustard and some Oil/Vinegar
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#3 Old 05-02-2008, 03:02 PM
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Broccolli florets, garbanzo beans, green and black olives, romaine lettuce, sliced bell peppers -- green, yellow, red, orange, and black (some combo), cherry tomatoes, oil and vinegar, fresh fruit medley.
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#4 Old 05-02-2008, 05:20 PM
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Black beans, salsa, nacho chips, sour cream.



I love salad bars with lots of hearty additions so a full meal can be had.
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#5 Old 05-02-2008, 05:22 PM
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I love bell peppers!!
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#6 Old 05-02-2008, 05:35 PM
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I think you'll need to look at costs to see what is workable. It may be that some items are just not feasable even if they sound good because they are so expensive or they don't hold up well in a salad bar all day. I once asked about green olives and the manager told me they were to expensive s they didn't put them on the salad bar. Probably true because I would have eaten half a plate full......



Can the cheese for the Cesear mix be on the side? It'll get soggy sitting in the lettuce all day, for one, and those who don't eat cheese will not be able to enjoy the romaine lettuce...



Baby spinich leaves are one item I always look for. And sunflower seeds - though often they taste stale... so hopefully that isn't a problem. Many common brands of "baco-bits" are accidentally vegan, you might want to check into that.



A salad bar near here has cubes of firm tofu on their salad bar, but I don't even take them. I LOVE tofu, but not big, cold, plain cubes of it.



If you're doing soup, be sure to have lots of cracker/crouton choices too.



How about hummus? If you cooked your own garbanzos, it's be SO cheap and it makes a great vegan dressing/dip/bread spread, so it's multi-purpose...



Some people like the macaroni salads and potato salads and such. You could do an oil-and-vinegar based pasta salad. Omnis love them and they are usually vegan friendly as well (unless you add pepperoni or something gross!). Or you could do a grain-based salad. A rice salad or tabbouleh or something.



You could also vary the "theme" for the things (besides lettuce)every couple days:

"Mexican" with chips, olives, tomatoes, beans, salsas, hot peppers, etc...

"Greek" with lots of types of olives, feta cheese, cucumber, pickle-y things, hummus, etc...



I absolutely LOVE salad bars (I make a good vegan)
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#7 Old 05-02-2008, 05:50 PM
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What everyone else said...



Capers

Artichoke hearts (in brine, not oil)

Heart of palm (in brine)

Sundried tomatoes (ideally not in oil)

Basalmic vinegar (not just white or cider)



Yum!
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#8 Old 05-02-2008, 05:55 PM
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the salad bar at one of the local HFS here has a couple of different seasoned tofus on it. One with hijiki seaweed and one with thai chile sauce.



You could also look into a couple of "wet" salads: potato salad, pasta salad, etc...

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#9 Old 05-02-2008, 09:05 PM
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I also <3 salad bars.



I love when there are fun vegetables like jimica and beets julienned.



I also second the motion to include some beans and nuts.



Have you thought about a Greek dressing with lemon and oregano?

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#10 Old 05-02-2008, 09:14 PM
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OOoooo... I definitely agree. Beets. I always look for those at the salad bar! And those pepperoncinis. Oh man, I want a salad now.
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#11 Old 05-02-2008, 09:16 PM
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How about those little crispy Chinese noodles that are probably deep fried and full of trans fats and awful for you?



Those are awesome on salad bars.



Two things that always make me go "wtf??" at a salad bar:

1. Jello cubes

2. Cottage Cheese



But I can't say I don't expect to see them.



You could always use those really cheap canned salad olives (that I personally think are repulsive, but I'm an olive snob). A lot of people dig them.

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#12 Old 05-02-2008, 10:31 PM
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Those chinese noodles can be done by crushing up simple noodles like Ramen, and saute'ing in butter/oil of your choice. AWESOME when you add slivered almonds in there~



Kinda random, but was really good. MIL and I made this up on Sunday last week and I'm still drooling over it:



2 bags broccoli cole slaw

2 bags ramen, oriental flavor (veggie one, lol)

olive oil

1/4c slivered almonds

1/4c sunflower seeds

1 apple, chunked

1/2c (or more) craisins



dressing:

1/2c canola oil

1/2c apple cider vinegar

3T sugar

seasoning packet from ONE ramen bag, or granulated veggie boullion, if msg is a worry



toss the noodles and almonds with some olive oil and saute' until crispy (med-low as you get the other stuff together, just stir a little)~ toss all dry ingredients together, whisk wet, and toss together when ready to serve.



This was AMAZING, and it even looked purty.
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#13 Old 05-02-2008, 11:49 PM
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In my ideal salad bar:



Romaine lettuce

Baby spinach

Shredded carrots, not the round slices I have to cut up to eat.

Diced green peppers

Diced red peppers

Cucumber slices

Garbanzo beans

Black beans

Cold green peas

Mandarin orange slices

Strawberry slices

Lemon slices with peel, for squeezing the juice out

Sunflower seeds

Diced tomatoes, but not Romas. Those are for cooking.

EVOO

Vinager

French dressing

Macaroni salad



And now for the not-vegan things, in case anyone would like to be able to avoid seeing mention of them:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Shredded orange cheese

Shredded white cheese

Diced hard-boiled eggs

Cottage cheese

Ranch dressing


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#14 Old 05-03-2008, 06:04 AM
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My cafeteria has a great salad bar--one thing thats nice is they change it up. Things they have that you didn't (not saying I love them all, though Ill put an asterix beside the ones i really do love)



-sliced radishes

-pickled beets*

-kalamata olives (haaate black olives, but thats personal)

-sliced bell peppers

-corn kernels

-raw broccoli florets*

-raw cauliflower florets*

-diced red onion

-a pasta/quinoa/rice salad of some sort

-a fruit salad or things like canned peaches



um.. yeah.



you could also put in uncooked quinoa to sprinkle ontop, or rotate the sunflower seeds with other nuts. You could rotate the dried canberries with other dried goods.. raisins would probably be the only small ones of a similar price though I guess. (As yummy as dried raspberries are.. cheap they are not.)



Looks great though!!!!



Mmm food.
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#15 Old 05-03-2008, 09:02 AM
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Well, we were talking about the potato and pasta salads, but the plate lunches are going to include those on certain days. We were going to keep it strictly salad and soup on the bar. My dad is going to be BBQing, which I won't have to take part in, and the BBQ plates include potato salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw as choices.



I would like it to be a completely vegetarian/vegan place to eat, but it isn't possible in this town and I'm not the only one running the show. I am adding a veggie burger that is vegan with a whole wheat bun, and a pasta choice to the dinner menu. We are going to have dinner specials, and there is going to always be a vegan choice and then an omnivore choice. We also can't get rid of the plate lunch specials the place has going on because the farmers all stop in there to feed their laborers. I AM going to make the salad bar they have going on MUCH better so if a vegetarian stops in, they could order a veggie burger and have the salad bar added on.



Thanks for the ideas and keep them coming. I'm adding a few of the ideas that I totally forgot about to my list. Unfortunately, I'm not sure things like capers and artichoke hearts would be affordable at first, even though I love those on salads.
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#16 Old 05-03-2008, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritemare View Post

Well, we were talking about the potato and pasta salads, but the plate lunches are going to include those on certain days. We were going to keep it strictly salad and soup on the bar. My dad is going to be BBQing, which I won't have to take part in, and the BBQ plates include potato salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw as choices.



I would like it to be a completely vegetarian/vegan place to eat, but it isn't possible in this town and I'm not the only one running the show. I am adding a veggie burger that is vegan with a whole wheat bun, and a pasta choice to the dinner menu. We are going to have dinner specials, and there is going to always be a vegan choice and then an omnivore choice. We also can't get rid of the plate lunch specials the place has going on because the farmers all stop in there to feed their laborers. I AM going to make the salad bar they have going on MUCH better so if a vegetarian stops in, they could order a veggie burger and have the salad bar added on.



Thanks for the ideas and keep them coming. I'm adding a few of the ideas that I totally forgot about to my list. Unfortunately, I'm not sure things like capers and artichoke hearts would be affordable at first, even though I love those on salads.



Don't beat yourself up about the restaurant not being entirely veg*n. You are consciously making vegan options available, and that is far more than many restaurants do. If the veg*n food proves popular, you may be able to talk the other decision-makers into increasing the veg*n options.

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#17 Old 05-04-2008, 06:32 AM
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I can't believe no one said mushrooms!?
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#18 Old 05-04-2008, 06:42 AM
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I'm actually hitting a salad bar today while my car is being worked on...



There had BETTER be:



Some green lettuce other than Iceberg*

Baby Spinach*

Mushrooms

Broccoli

Cauliflower*

Bell Peppers*

Sprouts*

Sunflower seeds*

Tomatos

Onions

Carrots

Cucumber

Lemon wedges

Red Cabbage*

Green Olives*

Black Olives*

And there had better be SOME 'accidentally vegan' salad dressing!!!!*



Okay...looking at my list, that's a lot, and salad bars are not that big around here, so I'll star the items I would be upset about if they were missing...

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#19 Old 05-15-2008, 10:00 AM
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Alfalfa sprouts and sesame seeds

maybe celery too

and Bibb lettuce
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#20 Old 05-15-2008, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandy_Sav View Post

I can't believe no one said mushrooms!?



TY! When I was going through the thread I was waiting to see mushrooms. Yum.
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#21 Old 05-15-2008, 01:46 PM
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Raisins might be more cost effective than dried cranberries. It probably depends where you are at.



Keep an eye out for local seasonal foods.



In addition to the traditional dressings like ranch and 1000 island that people will expect, have you thought about offering dressings that are a little exotic?

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#22 Old 05-15-2008, 01:48 PM
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Don't forget guacamole! It makes a WONDERFUL salad dressing, my favorite in fact. You might want to label it "guacamole dressing" though.
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#23 Old 05-15-2008, 02:12 PM
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with the ceasar you might want to keep the cheese seperate. some people prefer just plain lettuce rather than spring mix but may not want cheese on it.



shredded carrots and cabbage are what most people would expect. cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, chick peas, green onion, sesame seeds or even pine nuts would be great options that people may not expect. try some different exotic dressings too. definately have a couple of the old standby's like italian and ranch, and balsamic vinegrette for the low-fat option, but try some different ones too like lemon poppyseed, zesty thai, etc etc, but change them from time to time and always be coming up with new ones. salad bars are boring, offering some different options that most don't offer will keep people coming back. soup is a good idea too, as long as you change it up now and then and don't just offer the same 2 or 3 kinds all the time.



and yeah definately have a bean salad. perhaps a pasta salad or potato salad also.

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#24 Old 05-15-2008, 05:58 PM
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beets

baby spinach

sunflower seeds

sprouts

pasta salad

onions

mushrooms

carrots
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#25 Old 05-15-2008, 10:21 PM
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that's a good suggestion about the local seasonal foods. i'd forgotten about that. i was thinking the other day actually after reading an article about it, that if i ever opened my own restaurant or whatever i would only serve local seasonal foods, and sort of make it the company's philosophy. educate customers about it so they can make informed decisions when they buy groceries etc. i'm quite excited that the farmer's market opens this weekend actually, i'm going to stop by when i go for groceries and see how much of it i can get there instead of the store. if you have a local farmer's market or local farmers period you may be able to strike a deal with some of them by getting your produce from them and providing free advertising on the menu in exchange for a discounted price

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#26 Old 05-15-2008, 10:50 PM
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My list is pretty long but everything is pretty basic.



Things I love to see on a salad bar: (keeping cost at mind)



Broccolli

Cauliflower

Pickled beets

Olives (green and black)

Corn & black bean salad

Edamame (or lima beans)

Water chestnuts

Baby corn

Butter lettuce (or other non-iceburg green lettuce) & spinich

Sunflower seeds

Bac-O's (or whatever those vegetarian ones are called)

Crutons (I miss crutons!)

Shreded carrot

Cucumber

Tomato (I like the cherry ones, they stay fresher and more juicy)

Bell pepper





Maybe some pasta & potato salad.



If you add fruit, Popular choices i've seen are:



Rasins

Dried cranberries

Banana chips



Dressings:

Some "accidentally" vegan dressings!

Some good vinaigrettes, I'm sure the lactose intolerent/vegan/health 'nuts' would appreciate seeing some non-dairy options other than 'oil and vinegar'.
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#27 Old 05-15-2008, 11:18 PM
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I expect a variety of vegetables, some fruits, some vegan salad dressings, some beans (kidney beans usually), some nuts (pine nuts or sunflower seeds), plates, forks, and napkins
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#28 Old 05-16-2008, 09:40 PM
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It depends on where I am. Usually I hope for lettuce that doesn't have dressing on it already- spring green types, perhaps romaine. And perhaps some baby spinach, but that's not necessary. A variety of vegetables, of course. There will usually be a couple meat options there, shredded chicken, that kind of thing. Some kind of dried fruit it good. And hopefully some sort of vinagrette dressing. Definitely cucumber slices. Raisins... cheese, usually. Bell peppers.



What I would LIKE to see more often (sorry, this is indulgent) as a vegan: More greens, less meat, more vegetable variety (and fresher vegetables, too!), and healthier choices in the dressing department. I might fiind maybe ONE vegan option, and it'll have a lot of high fructoce corn syrup, sugar, artificial colors... the works. It just seems so STUPID to put this all on top of my raw vegetables. I'd like to see some healthier options (also I would probably faint if I saw some sort of Ranch alternative like Nasoya among the vinagrettes- I like vinagrettes but sometimes I just want something creamy) among the dressings.



Also, more vegan-friendly protein options would be divine! The best I'll get are olives and roasted/salted sunflower seeds! No other nuts like sliced almonds, pecans (well, okay, there are usually pecans), walnuts, etc. If I'm paying for a $7 salad, I'd like to get my fill.



Okay, rant done.
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#29 Old 05-16-2008, 10:35 PM
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I have a salad bar at my work, and people love getting potato salad/pasta salad/cole slaw, as well as cottage cheese with apple butter or peaches. I like the asian idea, maybe also try a fat-free or low-fat vinagrette (raspberry, balsamic, greek). Make sure to have rolls or bread choices!
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#30 Old 05-16-2008, 11:14 PM
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What I love at salad bar:

-Spinach

-Romaine

-Spring Mix

-Bell Peppers

-Good Tomatoes-- cherry & chopped

-banana peppers & jalapeno peppers

-broccoli

-baby corn

-carrots

-chickpeas

-assortment of good dressings & vinegars

-feta cheese, blue cheese

-nutritional yeast

-ground flax

-pine nuts
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