Mindful eating extends beyond the plate to the original source—where and how food is grown. Sustainable-food aficionados tout the advantages: a smaller carbon footprint, less waste, better taste and environmental preservation.
Locally sourced, sustainable and organic foods are more popular than ever on restaurant menus, especially in summer, when Minnesota-grown produce is at its peak. Edina restaurants are filled with healthy food options that taste great.
SHADES OF SPRING SALAD
Wise Acre Eatery
A harmonious circle of life shapes everything at Wise Acre. With a profusion of farm-to-fork vegetables and bacon, the shades of spring salad has real appeal with an intensity of colors, textures and flavors. “It’s one of the fun dishes to carry out to the table because of the ‘oooh’ and ‘ah’ factor,” says Caroline Glawe, general manager. Picture-perfect baby greens, thinly shredded carrots, peas, twines of lacy pea shoots, radish chunks and pickled hard-boiled eggs showcase the best of the harvest. The deep-pink-ringed pickled eggs radiate with the natural color of beets. Most every ingredient comes from a 100-acre farm in Plato, Minn., run by Tangletown Gardens, a Minneapolis plant nursery; the greens and pea shoots grow in the farm’s hoop houses year round. French heirloom hens lay the brown eggs used in the salad. “What I can’t source from the farm, we buy organically, locally. We are really committed to this,” says Beth Fisher, executive chef. Homey and wholesome with vibrant flavors, it’s easy to taste the difference local sourcing makes. In keeping with the no-waste regimen, be sure to clean your plate. $15.
5401 Nicollet Ave. S.; 612.354-2577
CASHEW CHICKEN SALAD
Made fresh daily, the cashew chicken salad is a top-seller. The Good Earth version has a healthy mix of vegetables and protein on a superfood scale. Avocado slices, bean sprouts, sunflower sprouts, Kalamata olives, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers cluster around the chicken salad in the center. The sprouts are organic and come from Jack and the Green Sprouts farm in River Falls, Wis. The celery- and green onion-studded chicken salad goes easy on the mayo, a lighter interpretation of the traditional recipe with a few twists. A garnish of cashews goes on top, adding a nutty crunch. Ingredients are locally sourced whenever possible. The cashew chicken salad exemplifies what the Good Earth stands for with its good-for-you qualities and universal appeal. $13.
3460 Galleria; 952.925.1001
A popular pick, this garden-fresh salad bar has something for everyone. Assemble your own meal from a trio of greens, a garden of crudités, apples, cheeses, potato salad, corn relish and more. Among the dozens of salad bar choices, the fresh spinach, baby carrots and balsamic vinegar are organic. The salad bar brims with healthy foods plus a few bonus items. “That’s something we take pride in—having fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Jaime Dudoitz, catering manager. For salad toppings, try nuts, dried fruit, granola and croutons; indulge all you like in this all-you-can-eat salad bar. The famous cornbread mini-muffins alone justify a return trip, and a take-out option is available. Yes, complimentary chocolate and vanilla-soft serve ice cream is at the end of the line. $7.99.
7565 France Ave. S.; 952.358.9900
A classic salad updated with tasty extras, the Lola Caesar salad makes an ideal pizza pairing. “Most people get it as a starter and get a pizza,” says Ann Kim, owner, but the salad is hearty enough to stand alone. Organic romaine spears spread over a large oblong salad plate in a colorful drape of pure spring green. The whole romaine bunches retain their fresh look and taste. A confetti of fresh shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, hearts of palm snippets and freshly ground pepper scatter over the top. Two snappy slices of crostini made by renowned Patisserie 46’s French baker and a creamy soft-cooked egg anchor the dish. Housemade Caesar dressing heightens the delicate flavors. Anchovies, a traditional Caesar salad addition, are optional. Boquerones—alias gavros or white anchovies—make a trend-forward Spanish-style protein topper by request. $10; with boquerones $12.
5557 Xerxes Ave. S.; 612.424.8338
SEMOLINA SESAME BREAD
Mark your calendar: Thursdays are semolina bread days at Fred’s Bread. Here, Old World techniques shape a line of artisan-quality breads that includes the tantalizing semolina. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me it’s like being in Italy,” says Fred Mische, owner. Surprise—in the semolina sesame bread, the flour hails from neighboring North Dakota wheat fields. Expert bakers know the right kind of flour makes all the difference, and the nearby sourcing is something you can feel good about, too. A long dough fermentation, known as polish—a kind of European-style sourdough starter—is part of the process. The six-ingredient bread boasts a range of flavors from slightly nutty to faintly buttery. “Some people say it reminds them almost of a bagel,” says Mische. The same mouthwatering mix minus the sesame seeds goes into the biscuit shaped semolina buns (available on Fridays). Mische sells his breads at the Centennial Lakes Farmers’ Market, select Twin Cities co-ops and his Eden Prairie-based retail store. $3.75.
6872 Washington Ave. S., Suite 140, Eden Prairie; 952.905.1059
REVITALIZER COLD-PRESSED JUICE
Agra Culture Kitchen & Press
Skip the coffee and start your day with a revitalizer instead. “The name does sum it up. It’s a good morning pick-up,” says Diana Bassett, executive chef. Fresh, cold-pressed juice made from raw organic fruits and vegetables is an ultimate health food. The revitalizer is the recommended morning juice for Agra Culture’s No. 1 detox program. Even if you’re not doing a cleanse, the revitalizer can jump-start your day with a wallop of nutrients. Spinach, chard, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger separately go through two cycles in a state-of-the-art hydraulic juice press designed to keep ingredients cold and retain the good components—vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Once pressed, the juice goes straight into bottles without pasteurization and its shelf life is three days. $9.25.
3717 W. 50th St.; 612.345.5442