Globe-Trotting Greens - 405 Magazine

Globe-Trotting Greens

Light summer dishes from around the globe.

Photos courtesy of Quit Nguyen

Light summer dishes from around the globe. 

Summer is an invitation to lighter eating, and very few things are as inviting as a cold, crisp salad in the furnace that is Oklahoma’s summer. Often overlooked in the 405 culinary scene is the wonderful variety of salads available in area restaurants, so for this roundup, we looked at salad through an international lens to help you experience a more diverse selection for summer dining. 

Azteca Mexican Grill, 4024 N. May Ave., OKC
One of the unsung heroes of the lunch menu is the hearty taco salad, with its mix of textures, flavors and temperatures. At Azteca, diners have a choice of ground beef and beans or chicken and rice accompanied by the usual veggies, sour cream and freshly made guacamole.

Basil Mediterranean Cafe, 211 NW 23rd St., OKC
There is no bad way to serve a garbanzo bean, except maybe coated in chocolate, so the garbanzo bean salad at Basil is another adventurous way to enjoy this versatile legume. It’s a simple, delicious salad that includes feta, lemon and lime juice, and black olives.

Cafe 7, 14101 N. May Ave., OKC
The Cobb salad was born in California and has become a classic American staple largely on the strength of its delicious blend of flavors and textures. Cafe 7 offers an excellent introduction to this salad-as-a-meal: romaine and field greens, roasted chicken breast, boiled eggs and honey mustard dressing.

La Baguette, 7408 N. May Ave., OKC
The salade niçoise is one of France’s great contributions to the definition of salad. La Baguette goes traditional with mixed greens, potatoes, red onion, tomato, kalamata olives, asparagus, green beans, boiled egg and a choice of salmon or tuna. No, salmon isn’t exactly traditional, but like Chef Tom Colicchio on the current season of “Top Chef,” you’ll find it’s an excellent twist.

Ma Der, 1634 N. Blackwelder Ave., OKC
Chef Jeff Chanchaleune brings the heat — bird’s eye pepper style — in his traditional papaya salad. The mix of green papaya, Thai eggplant, chilis and tomatoes is fruit-forward and refreshing, with just a touch of umami. The “mom’s spice” heat level is rated a 10 out of 10, or as the menu notes, “maybe an 11.” They should drop the “maybe.” Fortunately, heat levels for the rest of us are also available.

Mediterranean Imports, Deli and Gastro Goods, 5620 N. May Ave., OKC
In addition to the dizzying array of salads available at its deli counter, the menu includes a delicious fattoush salad. The Levantine specialty has excellent texture thanks to the seasoned pita chips (khubz) that accompany the cucumbers, feta, onions and olives.

Oozie Mediterranean Restaurant, 1211 N. Shartel Ave., OKC
Tabouli (tabbouleh) has been a staple in Oklahoma for more than a century, thanks mostly to Lebanese immigrants who have helped shape the Oklahoma table. Oozie does traditional Lebanese extraordinarily well, and its tabbouleh is no exception. It’s a traditional build with parsley, onions, cracked wheat, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil.

Tienda Guatemala, 1001 N. Virginia Ave., OKC
Order the stunning pepián de pollo at this Guatemalan mercado and kitchen, and they’ll ask if you want the ensalada de coditos — a traditional macaroni salad from Mexico and Central America. You’ll want to say yes, especially if your family ate at picnics or church potlucks, because the combination of elbow macaroni and finely diced vegetables is nostalgic bliss.

Travel by Taste, 4818 N. MacArthur Blvd., Warr Acres
This west-side institution has been serving Persian specialties for more than 30 years. The Persian salad has enough familiarity for fans of Mediterranean food that it will seem like comfort food: tomatoes, cucumber, onion and parsley, dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice.

Zorba’s, 6014 N. May Ave., OKC
The Greek salad is similar to other Levantine and Mediterranean salads, but what makes it stand out here is the addition of zippy, tangy pepperoncini peppers. Zorba’s combines fresh greens, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta, cucumbers and a delicious feta vinaigrette to make this cooling summer salad.