Salad bars tend to get a bad rap, and while it’s often deserved, there are some notably happy exceptions. Such is the case of the Whole Foods Bowery’s salad bar, which has recently started carrying a line of vegan, oil-free concoctions.
While “oil-free” could, in the wrong hands, be synonymous with “piously dull,” it’s anything but in Whole Foods’ aphlekotos kale salad. It’s a deeply savory, full-flavored mix of crisp kale leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, shredded carrots, thinly sliced purple onions, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and something called Bragg’s amino acid, which is made from purified water and vegetable protein from soybeans.
It all sounds revoltingly healthy and borders dangerously on the kind of fare that makes the raw-foodists so insufferable, but the salad is vibrant and satisfying enough to transcend such associations. And unlike raw food, it’s not exorbitantly priced: Like everything else at the salad bar, it sells for $7.99 a pound.
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