There’s something about summertime that makes me crave a great salad.

Fortunately, finding an amazing salad in Bend, Oregon is not a challenge. The only challenge is choosing among all the delicious options. Here are a few of my personal favorites for great salads any time of year:

Feeling fruity

One thing I love on a salad is a little taste of fruit. One of my favorite options is the Jackson’s Bleu salad served at Jackson’s Corner. You get a heaping mound of organic greens, organic apples, candied walnuts, and bleu cheese vinaigrette with great big hunks of bleu cheese. The balance of fruit and other goodies is ideal, and the dressing is divine.

Another fun, fruity option is the chicken apple walnut chopped salad at Flatbread Community Oven in the Old Mill District. It comes with organic field greens, grapes, apples, and blue cheese with apple cider vinaigrette. Get it as a side dish with one of their amazing lunch specials, or order it at dinner and be prepared to split it with a friend.

The only thing better than the steak salad at Pine Tavern is enjoying it on their gorgeous patio overlooking the river.

Though I probably shouldn’t play favorites, I’ll confess that the salad I order most often in Bend is the Santa Fe salad at Croutons. This scrumptious offering comes with romaine and spring mix tossed with apple, corn, red onion (which I always omit), smoked gouda, toasted walnuts, cornbread croutons, and fiesta ranch dressing. I’ve been known to drive across town in a blizzard just to get my fix, which obviously tells you it’s more than just a summertime favorite.

Need a little animal flesh?

Hey, I get it. You like salad and all, but you want something a little hearty.

For the true carnivores, the steak salad at Pine Tavern probably ought to require a cholesterol test if you finish it. This bad boy comes with sliced flat iron steak (which I like nice and rare), fresh avocado, bacon crumbles, red onion, tomato slices, toasted almonds, and bleu cheese vinaigrette. It’s big enough for two light eaters or one person with a voracious appetite.

Another unique and hearty option is the Thai chicken salad at Chow. It comes with rice, green curry, coconut milk, cilantro, cabbage, Thai peanut sauce, and toasted peanuts. Technically, this probably borders on not being a salad, but the cabbage (along with the fact that it’s listed on the salad menu) makes it so.

You can’t beat beets

I adore any salad that includes beets, and I’m constantly scouting for the best in town. One of my favorites is the roasted beet salad at Ariana Restaurant on Galveston. It’s served with organic ruby and golden beets, roasted and marinated in shallot vinaigrette with watercress and cypress grove chèvre sachet. Yum!

The gorgeous (and delicious!) beet salad at Arianna

Another unbeatable beet option is the roasted beet salad at 900 Wall. Their version comes with tasty roasted beet slices, a fig-balsamic vinaigrette, and a bacon-pine nut brittle that is so delicious I once snapped, “no!” when someone asked if she could try a bite. Er, sorry about that, Mom.

For the perfect Caesar salad

Sometimes, there’s no beating a plain old Caesar salad. While there’s nothing plain about any of these salads, these are some of the best in town on the Caesar front.

One of my longtime favorites since I first moved to Bend almost 14 years ago is the Caesar salad at Scanlon’s Restaurant in the Athletic Club of Bend. It’s a slightly peculiar location, but the restaurant is open to the public and the Caesar salad is divine with huge, tender chunks of chicken, oven cured tomato, pine nuts, asiago cheese, whole wheat crustini, and a big bed of romaine lettuce.

One of the simplest salads on my entire list is also a close runner up for my very favorite. The Lemony Caeser at Portello Wine Café is exactly what it sounds like – a simple Caesar with a very lemony dressing and shaved parmesano reggiano. I don’t know what other magical ingredients they might have added to it, but there’s something so delectable, light and bright and cheery about this salad that I’m not ashamed to admit I once licked my plate. Hey, it’s a wine café. There may have also been a very good chardonnay involved.

Do you appreciate the simplicity of a good summer salad when the weather turns warm? Where’s your favorite? Please share!

I’m always scouting for lettuce worth maiming friends for.

One response to “Perfect summer salads abound in Bend, Oregon”

  1. You are so right about the Santa Fe salad at Croutons. I can’t eat at the restaurant, because I have found that if you eat there you get tiny portions. However, when I order from their catering menu for work lunches, you can bet I always get the Santa Fe. So much good stuff in there!

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