I've prided myself for years on the fact that I am not a salad girl. I'd rather eat a piece of salmon or better yet, a pizza, than simply have a plate of lettuce that doesn't fill me up whatsoever. But that was before I learned about some of the best salads in Los Angeles, and where to find them. It's all about what you add to the lettuce that makes the salad. Then, it's much more bearable.

1. The Original Chopped Salad at La Scala

The ~original~ chopped salad with lettuce, salami, mozzarella cheese, marinated garbanzo beans, and Leon dressing at La Scala is a Beverly Hills legend, eaten by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Leonardo DiCaprio (obviously, it's worth our while). While I'm typically not a fan of dressing, as drenched lettuce is not really appetizing in my mind, their Leon dressing is famous for tying the whole salad together. And if salami isn't your bag, you're welcome to swipe it for chopped turkey, tuna, or chicken. Other restaurants have tried to replicate their lauded "chopped," but if you want it done right, head to La Scala on Canon for one of the decidedly best salads in Los Angeles.

2. The Roasted Butternut Squash and Toasted Red Quinoa Salad From Lemonade

Lemonade is a lifesaver at Tutor Campus Center when you need to grab a quick but healthy lunch in between classes. They've got their namesake lemonade, giant macarons, and truffle mac & cheese (hi, thank you, more please), but their variety of salads is the real standout. As a major fall vegetables fan, I enjoy their "Roasted Butternut Squash & Toasted Red Quinoa" with manchego cheese and forest mushroom vinaigrette as a vegetarian option that easily fills you up. Some other highly addictive and popular salads include the vegan "Curried Cauliflower" with golden raisins and almonds, which makes for a sweeter noontime meal, as well as the "Red Quinoa and Fuji Apple" with arugula, sunflower seeds, and basil vinaigrette. But with their entire "Marketplace" selection of nearly 20 salads, you can certainly find a salad whether you're in a sweet or savory mood before heading to your next lecture.

3. The Louis "Gigi" Delmaestro Salad From The Palm

You wouldn't think to order a salad at a famous steakhouse, but the "Gigi" salad at The Palm is the perfect starter before the big ribeye's come out. Invented in 1973 by Gigi Delmaestro, the "Gigi" features shrimp, green beans, tomato, onion, bacon, iceberg lettuce, roasted pepper, egg, and avocado all tossed in a garlic vinaigrette. While I usually opt out of the onions, this salad helps to balance out the greens before hitting it heavy with an iron-rich steak later on in the evening.

4. The Superfood Salad From Salt Creek Grille

Want a salad that has every healthy item you could ever want and have it actually taste good? Ya, I thought so. The "Superfood" salad from Salt Creek Grille has your back. Comprised of toasted quinoa, shredded broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, sunflower seeds, roasted beets, dried cranberries, Honeycrisp apples, feta, and lime vinaigrette, the "Superfood" salad makes for a substantial, not to mention delectable, dinner option. My mom and I make it our own by adding an order of side salmon for some extra protein. 

5. The Greek Village Salad at The Great Greek

Sitting comfortably along Ventura Boulevard, The Great Greek has been serving up traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes to Valley locals since 1984. And of course, they make a mean Greek salad with tomato wedges, greens, feta cheese, Kalamata black olives, red onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, and capers tossed in their house "Greek" vinaigrette. Add some grilled chicken and a side of hummus and you've got your very own happy meal.

6. The Lentil & Avocado Salad From Le Pain Quotidien

I have a friend who lives and breathes by Le Pain. Truly. Want to go to breakfast? Let's go to Le Pain. Want to grab some lunch? Le Pain has such good salads and tartines. Want to hang out? Dude, let's just drive over to Le Pain. Catch my drift? Anyway, she does have superior taste in healthful food that tastes like something you'd actually want to eat at the same time, so you'd better believe she can steer you in the right direction of a salad. And she's right on the money. Le Pain's "Lentil & Avocado" salad with carrot, radish, fennel, tomato, arugula, flax seeds, scallions, and basil vinaigrette is a salad that is the opposite of bland. 

7. The Urth Salad from Urth Caffé

salad, cheese
Tara Bitran

Urth Caffé's large "Urth" salad is so big that you could have it for both your lunch and your dinner. It's got locally-grown mixed greens, feta, Roma tomatoes, hearts of palm (my favorite part), garbanzo beans, Kalamata olives (beware, pits included), and pine nuts. I usually keep my Urth house dressing on the side, which I do with most of my salads, and add grilled chicken for good measure. Additionally, a little help from your good friends hummus and pita add a fun DIY opportunity to make mini salad sandwiches. It's a win-win!

8. The Chinese Chicken Salad from Chin Chin

Whether you're sitting on Sunset Boulevard after a long day of interning or dropping by Studio City for a bite, Chin Chin's "Chinese Chicken Salad" is touted among locals. For the past 34 years, this combination of shredded iceberg lettuce, chicken breast, scallions, carrots, toasted almonds, and brown and white crunchies mixed in a red ginger dressing has become a safe bet at any catered party or on a day out with the family. Just ask David Schwimmer on American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson.

9. Bowl Trés at Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre is a serious LA hotspot in West Hollywood serving an entirely meatless, vegan, and organic menu of Mexican dishes. And from such a premise, could you expect their salads to make you say anything less than: "gracias, madre?" Thankfully, with one bite of their "Bowl Trés," those are the exact words that will be spilling out of your mouth between bites. Mixed together in "Bowl Trés" are quinoa, kale, roasted squash, pesto cashew creme, white beans, peppers, and onions. Without the onions, you've got yourself one of the best salads in Los Angeles.

10. The Grilled Vegetable Salad from The Ivy

salad, vinaigrette
Tara Bitran

The Ivy is a famous spot for celebrity dining, and one of the most coveted items on the menu is their "Grilled Vegetable Salad." The grilled corn, asparagus, zucchini, and tomatoes make an ordinary cold salad seem amateur. In addition, avocado (because, obviously, it's California), sits atop this mix of veggies accompanied by baby lettuce and scallions. Add one of the Ivy's famous crab cakes and you've got yourself a full-fledged dinner.

11. Save Drake Farm's Salad from Mendocino Farms

Mendocino, Mendocino, Mendocino. THE off-campus lunch spot of my high school years has now become my frequented lunch location in my semi-adult years. Mendocino Farms has some of the best salads in Los Angeles, by far. You can create your own sandwiches and salads as well as order some of their famous ones, especially the "Save Drake's Farm Salad." Salivate over this: shaved, roasted Mary's organic free-range chicken breast, Herbes de Provence marinated Drake Family Farms goat cheese, pink lady beets, green apples, dried cranberries, honey roasted almonds, red onions, Scarborough Farms greens, butter lettuce, and romaine tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. BRB, I'm busy calling in my take-away order at the moment. But seriously, this salad is no joke. Personally, I modify it by nixing the red onions and putting the dressing on the side. They even throw in a whole wheat tortilla so you can make wraps out of your salad too.

These restaurants indeed serve up some of the best salads in Los Angeles. And unbeknownst to me, over the years they've gradually transformed me into someone who will now make the active choice to order a salad at a restaurant rather than avoid them at all costs. And for that improvement in my healthy lunch and dinner dining, I thank them.