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What Makes a Great Salad? Favorite Salads For Summer

Even though Los Angeles is always sunny, the temperatures have been rising and the sun is getting stronger — which means it’s summer in the City of Angeles. And there’s nothing I love more than indulging in a great salad in the summer. It’s cool, it’s refreshing, and it’s so delicious. But then I thought to myself what makes great salad so yummy and amazing?

I can still remember the first best salad I ever had. In college, I was interning in Manhattan and I’d get an amazing salad with chicken at a deli across from Bryant Park and then enjoy it in the park. Sadly, today that place no longer exists. But I feel like you can easily tell a bad salad from a good salad within a few bites. “Bad” salads just seem to fall flat and are so disappointing. Awesome salads seem to pop!


You never want to have too much lettuce/spinach/kale, too much dressing, or too much other stuff can put a salad totally off balance. The right amount of each is totally key.



Different kinds of salads — cobb and caesar, for example — have different requirements, but the salad should also have some variety. A salad shouldn’t only have meats (that’s more like charcuterie) nor only lettuce (that’s…well, lettuce). It’s also cool to see different ingredients that you wouldn’t expect, but only if they work with the whole salad. You don’t always need to add cheese or fruit or meat or peppers, though — it depends. It takes experimenting.

The Right Dressing (& The Right Amount)

Some dressings are so overwhelming that they’ll just take over a salad and it’ll be all you taste. You really need to use the right amount to enhance the ingredients and not dominate the bowl.

My Favorite Salads

 Here are some of my favorite salads for summer.

Qdoba — mango salad


Yup, this taco and burrito place can cook up an incredible salad. It makes me sad that this salad is only available in the summer. The balance of mango, lettuce, meat, and everything else is amazing. Such great flavor. 



This is one of my favorite places in LA and they make one of the most original salads I’ve ever had. A citrus twist on the Caesar salad, this dish features lettuce, bacon, candied lemons, and an incredible garlic dressing. It’s addictive.

Sweetgreen — Avocado Greens Salad


Sweetgreen finally opened in LA and I got to sample this gorgeous and delicious salad, which has a delightfully spicy kick.  I was told this is the most popular item on the menu and I can see why!

Urth Cafe — Urth Salad

When I first moved to LA, I went to Urth Cafe a lot to have their amazing Urth Salad (and their green tea boba — so good!). It’s a hearty helping and a great balance of flavors.

Native Foods Cafe — Ensalada Azteca


One of my favorite running routes was right by a Native Foods, so after my runs I’d usually head there for this salad for lunch. It always hit the spot.

What are some of your favorite summer salads?

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