Salad isn't just for people trying to eat healthy. Vegetables can be tasty too. Happy greens, balanced dressings, and contrasting textures help create the best salads worth craving.
While this list is fairly diverse with salads, Tucson happens to have plenty of excellent Caesar salads to feature.
In alphabetical order, here's our list of restaurants with sensational salads.
Start the morning with a Breakfast Salad instead. Butternut squash, roasted poblanos, over medium eggs, sharp white cheddar, squash puree, lightly dressed arugula, heirloom tomato, and pepitas.
For more information, call (520) 623-3888 or visit 5pointstucson.com.
Anello's Market Salad changes seasonally, featuring whatever's in stock from Pivot Produce. The version we had above features seasonal greens with pickled red onion and ricotta salata.
For more information, visit anello.space.
The B Line's Salmon Salad features pan-seared salmon on a bed of mesclun greens with fresh seasonal garden veggies, feta, and sunflower seeds. While there are four dressings to choose from, the soy-ginger easily pairs best with the salmon.
For more information, call (520) 882-7575 or visit thebline.xyz.
The Lizzy Salad features romaine, grilled chicken, bacon, Gorgonzola, red onion, sweet bell pepper, basil-honey vinaigrette. The Barrio Rojo is our beer pairing of choice since it goes so well with the Gorgonzola.
For more information, call (520) 791-2739 or visit barriobrewing.com.
The namesake Bellissimo Salad features a heritage lettuce blend with Italian cured meat, couscous, bocconcini, sweet and hot peppers, shaved red onion, and the house Italian vinaigrette.
For more information, visit casinodelsol.com.
It's torture saying no to tacos, but the large and satisfying BOCA Salad features cabbage, Anaheim avocado vinaigrette, carne asada, grilled onions, pickled onions, pico de gallo, and lime. If you have any leftovers, try it on top of rice noodles.
For more information, call (520) 777-8134 or visit bocatacos.com.
The Grilled Flank Steak Salad features a delightfully savory blend of honey-hoisin marinated flank, Kalamata olives, roasted mini peppers, grape tomatoes, feta, grilled red onion, mixed greens, crispy onions, and honey balsamic vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 628-8533 or visit cafealacarttucson.com.
The Charred Romaine Wedge con Chicharrón highlights local whole leaf romaine with pork belly chicharrón (they're not croutons), red onion, Willcox hot house tomato, and mesquite-smoked blue cheese. The charred edges provide complex nuttiness and smokiness to pair with the tangy dressing.
For more information, call (520) 485-1922 or visit charrosteak.com.
Charro del Rey brings some old-school flair with their Tableside Caesar made from scratch right in front of you, using baby romaine, anchovy, Parmesan, egg, and Dijon mustard.
For more information, call (520) 645-1922 or visit charrodelrey.com.
It doesn't get much fresher than Charro Vida's School Garden Caesar, prepared tableside with seasonal ingredients from Tucson's community school gardens along with romaine, shaved Brussels sprouts, vegan queso, and a house-made plant-based Caesar dressing.
For more information, call (520) 779-1922 or visit charrovida.com.
The addictive bright and creamy dressing is the star in the Lemon Tahini Cauliflower Salad. Honorable mention goes to the crunchy chickpeas.
For more information, visit chefchicaz.com.
Commoner takes seasonal vegetables from Pivot Produce and dresses it with fresh herbs and green goddess dressing. (Hot take: green goddess dressing is better than ranch, don't @ me)
For more information, visit commonertucson.com
Warm brie caresses electrifying cracked Sichuan pepper, sweet blueberries, sliced tangy kiwi, and crunchy pistachios on a bed of frisee dressed in a champagne cardamom vinaigrette.
For more information, visit coronettucson.com.
The Asian Salad features a blend of organic spring mix, crunchy Chinese noodles, broccoli, snap peas, almonds, Mandarin oranges, and sweet Chinese salad dressing. For a healthier alternative to the Chinese noodles, try sunflower seeds.
For more information, call (520) 319-2467 or visit choicegreens.com.
The Depot Salad features the Arizona-raised top sirloin along with mixed local greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan, avocado, smoked crispy onions, and roasted shallot dressing.
For more information, call (520) 798-1618 or visit hotelcongress.com.
The Fried Goat Cheese & Pomegranate Salad features what is essentially a warm goat cheese-stuffed hash brown alongside clementines and mixed greens and a shallot vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 792-6684 or visit thedutchtucson.com.
One of the most-ordered items on the menu, the Strawberry and Chicken Salad features spring mix topped with a field of strawberries, white meat chicken, blueberries, blue cheese crumbles, walnuts, and poppy seed dressing.
For more information, call (520) 885-2842 or visit eclecticcafetucson.com.
Jamaica (hibiscus) dressing shines in the Quinoa Salad with spinach, jicama, Mandarin oranges, red bell peppers, almonds, and walnuts.
For more information, call (520) 822-8776 or visit elchinitogordo.com.
We've loved the Salmon Salad at Ermanos for years now, even though it has changed forms. Currently, it features perfectly grilled salmon (had it for lunch yesterday), arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, pomegranate, red onion, orange, Parmesan, and lemon herb vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 445-6625 or visit ermanosbrew.com.
Falora's Kale Salad features green curly kale massaged with olive oil and cashews. Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes add to the veggie umami. One of the best salads on this list and one of our faves.
For more information, call (520) 325-9988 or visit falora.com.
Since chef Doug Levy changes the menu regularly, you'll get to try different salads on a regular basis. Don't get too attached though, as the salad might never return to the menu. Pictured above was the Coconut-Eggplant Chicken Salad with romaine lettuce, grilled Nadia eggplant, cashews, toasted coconut flakes, minted coconut dressing, seared chicken, and sweet and hot peppers.
For more information, call (520) 326-9363 or visit eatatfeast.com.
A salad at a pizza place isn't intuitive, but it's worth a taste at Fiamme. The arugula is simply dressed with lemon, while cherry tomato, pine nuts, and shaved parmesan add subtle layers of flavor and texture.
For more information, call (520) 529-5777 or visit fiammepizzatucson.com.
Ghini's Wild Salmon French Farmer Salade features wild salmon (cooked marinated, thyme-crusted, or blackened) with warm haricot verts, diced potato, hard-boiled egg, farm tomatoes, and organic baby greens with their house vinaigrette. It tastes even better when Edith Piaf music is playing in the background.
For more information, call (520) 326-9095 or visit ghiniscafe.com.
Sushi's not unhealthy, but you might not want the rice carbs. The Tuna Poke Style Salad features fresh tuna and seaweed on a bed of spring mix greens and a spicy dressing.
For more information, call (520) 529-8877 or visit ginzatucson.com.
The Office fans will appreciate Goodness' themed salad menu. The Beesly features chocked kale with roasted garlic bread crumbs, citrus, agave, and lemon chimichurri.
For more information, call (520) 777-4465 or visit fukushuconcepts.com.
Gorgonzola and grilled chicken star alongside organic field greens, cherry tomatoes, onions, grapes, roasted corn, roasted pine nuts, and a Gorgonzola vinaigrette.
For more information, visit harvestov.com.
Peruvians are experienced with quinoa, considering it was first domesticated by Andean peoples 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. Peru is also the world leader in quinoa production.
Inca's Ensalada de Quinoa features little bits of diced veggies and Peruvian corn with lime dressing. While the lettuce looks like it's just a garnish, use it to make quinoa lettuce cups.
For more information, call (520) 299-1405 or visit incasperuviancuisine.com.
Thanks to the temperature of Kingfisher's Warm Cabbage Salad, the spiced pecans, smoked bacon, Gorgonzola, and caraway are fragrant. The caraway is evocative of sauerkraut, while the balsamic dressing adds brightness.
For more information, call (520) 323-7739 or visit kingfishertucson.com.
Maynards Market just updated their menu, so the salad photos we have on hand no longer apply. However, check out the new Kale Salad with tender baby kale, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, toasted almonds, golden raisins, and lemon-poppy vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 545-0577 or visit hotelcongress.com.
Nook's Steak Salad changed over the past couple of years; now, the hanger steak and greens are adorned with cherry tomatoes, French bread, basil, cucumbers, and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 622-6665 or visit nookdowntown.com.
North's Seasonal Vegetable Salad currently highlights butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, radicchio, pecorino, farro, pistachio, and date with a white balsamic vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 299-1600 or visit northitaliarestaurant.com.
The Compressed Watermelon Salad will satisfy even salad's biggest haters. Yes, it still has baby arugula, fresh herbs, and a spicy tamarind vinaigrette, but the topping ratio is high. Enjoy a generous amount of crispy pork belly and al dente compressed watermelon cubes with fresh berries, candied pecans, and crumbled local goat cheese. A fantastic outside-the-box salad.
For more information, call (520) 797-1233 or visit theparishtucson.com.
La Ensalada de Zanahoria features young lettuce and ribbons of carrot dressed with a cilantro vinaigrette, topped with sunflower crackers.
For more information, visit pencarestaurante.com.
The Saporito showcase house greens with shaved fennel, grapefruit, avocado, crumbled pistachios, and ricotta salata with a truffle citrus vinaigrette that makes each bite smell fancy.
For more information, visit postosano.com.
The classic Caprese Salad demands fine ingredients to shine. This version features heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, balsamic vinegar pearls, and apple cider gastrique.
For more information, visit prooftucson.com.
Reilly's classy take on the Chopped Salad features romaine and radicchio with chickpeas, pepperoncini, red onion, salami, and provolone with an oregano-sherry dressing.
For more information, call (520) 882-5550 or visit reillypizza.com.
Forks can get the fork out, as Renee's Caesar features whole leaves of romaine with Parmigiano-Reggiano, house-made Caesar dressing, and homemade croutons made with gluten-free bread.
For more information, call (520) 886-0484 or visit reneesorganicoven.com.
A staff favorite, the Cabbage Salad features red onion, serrano, cilantro, mint, and sunflower seeds with a Thai coconut dressing. For next-level special, add Yuri's fish of the day.
For more information, visit rinconmarket.xyz.
Rocco's humble Caesar Salad features a more prominent shade of yellow — if you appreciate egg yolk, you'll fall in love with the homemade Caesar dressing. Garlic lovers will also adore this salad.
For more information, call (520) 321-1860 or visit roccoslittlechicago.com.
Unripe green papaya isn't sweet — instead, it's used for its crisp texture and ability to meld well with potent flavors. Senae's Som Thum features shredded green papaya, long beans, cherry tomatoes, and peanuts with a bright yet intensely savory dressing. It can also handle peppers well, if you'd like to order it spicy.
For more information, call (520) 373-5335 or visit senaethai.com.
Tavolino's lunch menu exclusive Anatra Salad showcases their wood-fired duck breast on top of baby mixed greens with orange-honey mustard vinaigrette, cranberries, walnuts, and apple.
For more information, call (520) 531-1913 or visit tavolinoristorante.com.
One of the most popular salads on this list by a significant margin, Time Market's Kale Salad features organic kale, lemon and pecorino dressing, and bread crumbs toasted in butter. Even children go nuts for this one.
For more information, call (520) 622-0761 or visit timemarket.xyz.
This cozy Grilled Pear & Radicchio salad also features apple, crunchy hazelnut, blue cheese, and a spiced cider vinaigrette. It might not be on the menu for much longer, so get it while you can.
For more information, visit titoandpep.com.
Paleo diet or not, Trident's Paleo Bowl features a variety of filling salad ingredient favorites — pesto grilled chicken, avocado, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, egg, and mixed greens.
For more information, visit tridentgrill.com.
Since Tumerico's daily-changing menu is already so healthy, not many customers order the salad. However, that doesn't mean Tumerico's salad isn't worth a trip. Chef Wendy Garcia whips up salads based on whatever she has on hand from the farmers market, flavored with a variety of her flavorful salsas, vinaigrettes, and moles.
Also check out their cousin restaurant, La Chaiteria.
For more information, call (520) 270-2055 or visit tumerico.com.
Union's showcases how beautiful a classic Caesar Salad when executed simply with beautiful ingredients; in particular, the shavings of Parmesan and the rustic croutons.
For more information, call (520) 329-8575 or visit uniontucson.com.
Taco salads have a bad rap, since they're often less healthy than actual tacos. But a giant fried shell isn't needed for flavor — instead, order Urban Fresh's Health Heart Taco Salad with cabbage, roasted corn, taco-seasoned mushrooms and adzuki beans, tomato, carrot, jicama, baked chips, guacamole, and salsa vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 792-9355 or visit urbanfreshtucson.com.
Parsley lovers need to try the Tabuli Salad with parsley, tomatoes, onions, bulgur, lemon, and olive oil. The grassiness is especially refreshing with abundant lemon.
For more information, call (520) 332-2294 or visit urbanpitaaz.com.
The Las Cruces Chili Spiced Chicken Salad features baby field greens with mango, grilled pineapple, berries, seasonal fruit, Danish blue cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette. The fruit is abundant, yet still works so well within its savory context.
For more information, call (520) 206-0017 or visit wildgarlicgrill.com.
The refined Lobster Salad from Wildflower's lunch menu features sizable chunks of lobster with artichoke heart, green bean, crispy potato, and white truffle vinaigrette.
For more information, call (520) 219-4230 or visit wildflowertucson.com
Does salad list include your favorite? Let us know in the comments.
[This article was written on March 12, 2020]
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...