If you’re like 80% of the people in my Facebook feed, one of your New Year’s resolutions involves eating healthier.
If you’re like most people I know, you’re a little fuzzy on what that means.
One thing for sure is that eating veggies with your meal can curb your urge to gorge on some of the less healthy items on your plate. Not only that, but the nutrients and fiber in veggies can help cut your risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
So how do you add a little more veggie power to meals when you’re dining out? Here are eight of my top favorite vegetable sides in Bend.
Salad rolls at 1-2-3 Ramen
Pretty much everything on the menu at this tucked-away gem in Midtown Bend is guaranteed to be fresh, nourishing, and out-of-this-world delicious.
But if you’re looking to boost the veggie power in your meal, look no further than the salad rolls at 1-2-3 Ramen. They’re packed with fresh veggies like bell pepper, radish, Thai basil, and assorted greens, and the peanut sauce is so scrumptious you’ll be begging for an extra helping.
Pair them with one of their combo bowls (be sure to add one of their tasty soy-brined duck eggs!) and their amazing hibiscus mint agua fresca and you’ve got yourself one delicious meal.
Grilled asparagus at 10 Barrel
You won’t find this one on the menu all the time, since 10 Barrel is committed to sourcing its ingredients locally and seasonally as much as possible.
When you do spot grilled asparagus on the menu, snap it up faster than you can say “please bring a beer taster tray to go with that.”
The asparagus is smoky and delicious all on its own, but paired with prosciutto, a hard-boiled egg, and a mix of sesame seeds and pepitas, it becomes a hearty side dish that goes great with brunch, lunch, or dinner. The cute little cast iron skillet it’s served in adds an extra bit of flair.
The Napa slaw at Craft Kitchen and Brewery
If you haven’t found Craft Kitchen and Brewery since they relocated to the northeast side of Bend, it’s time to go exploring.
Their yummy Juice is Loose IPA alone would make it worth the trip, but as an added bonus, they boast one of my favorite veggie sides in town. Their Napa slaw is made with finely-shredded Napa cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots tossed with a housemade remoulade vinaigrette that’s a mouthwatering mix of roasted red pepper, shallot, garlic, lemon, and paprika.
It sounds deceptively simple, but it’s the perfect blend of flavors and textures and serves as a fantastic complement to their tasty pulled pork or brisket. Even my slaw-averse husband couldn’t get enough of it.
Kale lollipops at Citizen
A relative newcomer to Bend’s culinary scene, Citizen set up shop in the spot old-timers will remember as High Tides. They’ve totally revamped the space to feature awesome artwork and dark-hued hardwood floors, but it’s their food that’ll really knock your socks off.
Their warm roasted root salad featuring beets, parsnip puree, hazelnut “soil,” and grapefruit is pretty flippin’ fantastic, but for an even more unique twist on veggie sides, order the kale lollipops. They’re not actual lollipops, but rather itty-bitty kale buds that look a little lollipoplike (if you squint? Maybe?) They’re crispy and delicious with a sprinkle of pine nuts, and they’re a great accompaniment to their delicious honey-glazed duck breast.
The artichoke at 10 Below
You’ll find lots of things to love in this restaurant/bar on the lower level of the Oxford Hotel, starting with their delicious breakfasts and ending with their late-night happy hour menu.
But let’s focus on the veggies.
For a dish you won’t find anywhere else in town, order the artichoke. Yes, a whole artichoke, not just the heart. It’s split in half and served with fennel, garlic, lemon, and drawn butter, and makes a great appetizer to share.
Add an extra dose of veggies with their roasted hummus, which comes with the usual array of peppers, celery, and carrots, plus flatbread for a bit of variety. Try it with one of 10 Below’s famous cocktails like the Secret Garden, which is made with muddled cucumber and lime, Hendrick’s gin, grapefruit liqueur, and thyme simple syrup.
The carrots or Brussels at 900 Wall
One of my favorite things about 900 Wall (besides the amazing happy hour or their fabulous greyhounds or the melt-in-your-mouth carpaccio) is the fact that their menu features a healthy variety of veggie sides. Add them to your entrée, or just order a bunch of them to nibble with cocktails during happy hour.
I honestly couldn’t choose between their spiced carrots with yogurt, pepitas, and cilantro; or their Brussels sprouts with poppy seeds, crème fraiche, and dill, so I’m including both because I can. And also because when you order more than one, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with leftovers, and both of these items reheat beautifully for second-day noshing.
And yes, I know their panko fried green beans are also amazing, and technically a vegetable, but the “fried” aspect disqualifies them from inclusion according to my own completely arbitrary rules. But order them anyway, because they’re delicious.
The kale Caesar at Boxwood Kitchen
I wasn’t planning to include any salads in this lineup because I wanted to keep the focus on unique ways to add veggies to a meal without the predictable salad.
But the kale Caesar at Bend’s brand-new Boxwood Kitchen in the Old Mill District is anything but predictable. The avocado is actually blended into the dressing, and with a mix of tender baby kale, sunflower seeds, and pecorino, it’s a delicious and nutrient-packed way to start your dinner.
Speaking of dinner, their hangar steak with potato croquettes, ginger carrot purée, escarole, and chimichurri is seriously one of the best meals I’ve had in Bend. Besides that, you get an extra veggie boost from the ginger carrot purée and the escarole (which was so flavorful and amazing that my husband kept stealing bites when he thought I wasn’t looking).