Before coming to college, I was somewhat unaware of how difficult it would be to find healthy meals while dining out in the south. Fried chicken, queso, and pulled pork seem to dominate most menus here.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in comfort foods; but for those of us who prefer to eat more balanced meals with vegetables, proteins, and grains – eating out options can be limited.
Choosing a salad is often the best bet to avoid the dreaded freshman 15 (or the sophomore 20). Not to worry – get rid of the “salads are bland and boring” conception. The best are filling, flavorful, and fresh. Read on to learn where to find the most delicious and substantial salads in Columbia, SC.
Mellow Mushroom: Greek Salad
Yes, I’m fully aware of the difficulty of ordering a salad after being hit with the wonderful pizza aroma and listening to your friends order pies with all the toppings.
If you have the self-restraint, order a Greek salad with Caesar dressing; Mellow’s is the best creamy, tangy, Caesar I’ve ever tasted. Your taste buds and stomach will thank you later.
Panera: Mediterranean Chicken & Quinoa Salad
The trendy superfood quinoa adds a bounty of nutrients (including fiber, magnesium, vitamin E) and texture. The protein from the chicken, almonds, and quinoa will keep you full for hours. To finish it off, Spanish-inspired tomato sofrito adds a satisfying punch.
Zoe’s Kitchen: The Tossed Greek
The Tossed Greek Salad has depth of both taste and texture. Chicken on a bed of greens and pasta salad with other veggies and feta is sure to please.
Zoe’s dressing brings the dish together, creating a zesty, robust, filling meal. Sprinkle on some Spice of Life for an even stronger Mediterranean flavor.
Liberty Tap Room & Grill: Cobb Salad
Liberty’s Cobb comes with so many toppings that you can hardly see the bed of lettuce. It’s hearty, protein-packed, and won’t leave you hungry for more.
Pandini’s: Pesto Caesar Chicken Salad
Finding healthy food on campus that actually tastes good is next to impossible. Granted, this is not the healthiest option on the list, but it is far healthier (and tastier) than many other Russell House options.
The pairing of pesto and caesar creates a beautiful blend of flavors. But let’s be honest, the breadsticks are the star of the show.