Big ass salads: Large and in charge

Eppie's Santa Monica salad. Eppie’s Santa Monica salad.

There are those salads that make you feel deprived the minute you order them. And then there are those salads that make no apologies, satisfying like a steak and potatoes. They’re of generous size and chock full of delicious (and not necessarily healthy) ingredients. We call them Big Ass Salads and we love them. These places serve up B.A.S.s that you’ll devour with gusto, feeling anything but denied.

The chicken marrakech at Aromas Café isn’t called a salad, but since shredded romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, and grilled pita triangles surround Moroccan-spiced chicken and rice, we call it one —and a tasty one at that.

Protein fiends already know the delight of a good Niçoise salad, and the one at Court Square Tavern loads up mixed greens with albacore tuna, hard-boiled eggs, capers, artichokes, olives, roasted red peppers, potato salad, green beans, and a saffron aioli.

Fast and fresh is the M.O. at Eppie’s and we’d add fantastically filling after a Santa Monica salad—baby spinach leaves, grape tomatoes, chopped dates, sweet corn, goat cheese, and champagne vinaigrette—with chicken breast on top and a small loaf of pumpkin bread on the side.

Orzo always has a special salad or two bound to entice, and the combination of tender, braised calamari with arugula, capers, shaved fennel, and lemon vinaigrette is a summer special-gone-permanent that’ll stay on the menu just a few weeks more.

Everyone loves a wedge salad and the folks at Rapture make a mean one. Iceberg lettuce gets gussied up with shaved red onion, local eggs, and house-cured bacon before a generous pour of pimento cheese ranch dressing steals the show.

You’ll skip the entrée instead of the bread at Zocalo, where the warm rolls and the Adobo Caesar (cool romaine with sweet-as-candy grape tomatoes, salty slivers of pecorino, and squares of polenta that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside) is one delicious dinner.

Got leftovers?
Last night’s dinner makes quick work of a B.A.S. for lunch the next day. Anything goes, but here’s a trio of favorites:

Burger bowl: Lettuce becomes the base and your burger (beef or NoBull) and all the extras (including toasted bun croutons) become the topping. You can even make a dressing by adding a little pickle juice to some honey mustard.

BLT bowl: This holy trinity makes a perfect salad, especially if you add diced avocado and some cheese. Thin out your leftover basil- or garlic-spiked mayo with a squeeze of lemon to drizzle over top.

Fajita bowl: Grilled meat, rice, black beans, sautéed onions and peppers, cheese, guacamole, and sour cream over lettuce? Almost better than the night before!

“All I did was hand someone a bag.”
Remember the “Seinfeld” episode when Elaine asks George to get her a Big Salad from Monk’s and then George’s girlfriend hands Elaine the bag and accepts her thank you for the salad even though George paid for it? “What I would like to know is, how does a person who has nothing to do with the Big Salad claim responsibility for that salad and accept the thank you under false pretenses?” Classic Costanza.

And what does Jerry say when George asks what’s in the Big Salad? “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.”