Sacramento foodies are fortunate to live and cook their family’s meals in “America’s Farm-To-Fork Capital,” where fresh ingredients are available year-round. Many area restaurants’ dishes include seasonal fruits and vegetables, and in the Sacramento valley in particular, such produce is prolific. Some winter crops can be harvested through May, and spring produce can ripen as early as April. Locally sourced nuts, meats and cheeses are often used to ramp up both the flavors and the protein levels, turning salads into full, nutrition-packed meals.
14 Business Park Way
Sacramento, CA 95828
Plates is a unique restaurant located in an unassuming business park. Along with traditional entrees and sandwiches, the menu features delicious freshly made salads. One includes organic baby field greens from Feeding Crane Farms with candied nuts and pickled onions. Goat cheese from Sierra Nevada and a vinaigrette made from local citrus and honey makes this a stellar salad. Or make a meal from salads with wild arugula, cherry tomatoes, fresh avocado, basil and locally grown garlic. In addition to supporting local farmers, Plates offers direct assistance to women and children in the Sacramento area. In conjunction with St. John’s shelter, the café trains homeless women for careers in food service and catering. The cooks, assistants and servers at Plates are participants in an intensive job training and life skills program, guiding women towards self-sufficiency and aiding in the long-term stability of the family.
2331 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
Luscious foods that titillate the senses and satisfy the soul are on the menu at this café, located within the Ancient Future Urban Sanctuary. Salad options from the eclectic menu include a colorful kale concoction made with carrots, beets and pea shoots in a blood orange dressing. Or get a protein boost with grilled chicken mixed with spring greens, grilled sweet potatoes, pecans, goat cheese and a bourbon and maple vinaigrette. Salad with Portobello mushrooms, quinoa, red peppers and lightly roasted sunflower seeds is a treat. Even the café’s signature desserts, delectable house-made chocolate truffles, come in flavors with seasonal ingredients like fresh basil and citrus.
1409 R St., Suite 102
Sacramento, CA 95811
The menu changes constantly at Magpie Café, as the chef uses seasonal produce to create impossible-to-resist dishes. Some of the salad selections are tossed in a vinaigrette made with Two Rivers Cider, which adds a piquant touch to the crisp, farm-fresh vegetables. One includes feathery fennel, seasonal salad greens, black Spanish radish and candied almonds, and another favorite is made with cilantro, black-eyed peas and onions that are pickled right there in the restaurant. Check Magpie’s website frequently for menu updates, and try to get there ahead of the crowd when the café offers a lovely and satisfying salad made with beet greens and roasted golden beets.
2381 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95825
Roxy’s menu features many of the seasonal herbs, fruits and vegetables that are fresh from local farms each spring. The signature chop salad is made with chickpeas, cucumber, cheddar, olives, mint and a creamy citrus dressing. Other popular choices include a salad made with romaine, watermelon radish, avocado and steak from Lucky Dog Ranch, and a seared salmon delight served with cucumber, mint and a relish made of caramelized onions and piquillo peppers. Organic kale and quinoa make a hearty salad, particularly when served with bacon, red onion, avocado, roasted sweet potato and cotija cheese.
Lucca Restaurant & Bar
1615 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Salad lovers will delight in the savory, sweet, piquant and totally unique flavors that are served up at Lucca. One salad of roasted fennel and baby kale benefits from the unexpected addition of faro, blue cheese crumbles, roasted walnuts and pickled pears. Another excellent salad is made with romaine lettuce, sweet peppers, radicchio and toasted pistachios, served with a fresh relish made of apples and pomegranate.
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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people.
Her work can be found at Examiner.com.