Temperatures are rising, so banish the thought of cooking after a long, hot day. Instead, step out and sample some of the lighter menu selections from cool restaurants across the desert.
Rich in agriculture, Greater Palm Springs boasts a wide selection of seasonal produce. Summertime brings a harvest of garden-fresh ingredients: Vegetables off the vine, succulent tomatoes, and savory peppers mix with fruits to create mouthwatering dishes. Nothing tantalizes your taste buds and sates your appetite better than a colorful entrée salad.
The new Appetito Cal-Italian Deli, which opened in March, offers plenty of entrée salad options. In fact, any salad on the Appetito menu is sized for a meal. For the perfect balance of tart and sweet flavors, you’ll love the Strawberry Beet Salad with goat cheese. Drizzled with basil vinaigrette, this dish is divine. Add chicken or shrimp and it’s full of protein, too.
1700 S. Camino Real, Ste. 2, Palm Springs. 760-327-1929;
Open for dinner during the summer months, La Brasserie Bistro & Bar serves French-inspired cuisine with style. The La Brasserie 6-ounce Grilled Hanger Steak Salad will fill you up with chopped romaine, toasted pecans, avocado, hardboiled egg, tomato, and crispy shallots served with a whole-grain mustard dressing. Bon appétit!
78477 Hwy. 111, La Quinta. 760-771-4400;
The Tropical Salad from traditional Mexican food favorite Las Casuelas Terraza delights. Using dates from the Coachella Valley, this salad adds local zest to crisp romaine lettuce with diced tropical mango, avocado, red bell peppers, and jicama. Served with grilled achiote chicken and sprinkled with toasted almonds and honey poblano date dressing, this entrée is a party on your plate.
222 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. 760-325-2794;
If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, you can’t miss at Clementine Gourmet Marketplace & Café. Place your order directly from the sumptuous salad counter, but choosing from the many offerings won’t be easy. Go for the popular Ménage à Trois and create your own trifecta of flavors, or try the Tossed Butternut Squash with a helping of Roasted Mediterranean Veggies. The Resolution Salad features kale and shaved Brussels sprouts with cranberries and walnuts, all topped with a white wine cilantro vinaigrette.
72990 El Paseo, Palm Desert. 760-834-8814;
The spectacular mountain views at Escena Lounge & Grill at Escena Golf Club enhance the dining experience. Available on both the lunch and dinner menus, the Orchard Salad is a house hit. Ingredients include spinach, roasted baby beets, sliced apple, goat cheese, dried figs, and glazed walnuts with an apple cider vinaigrette dressing. This colorful mix blends well with chicken or salmon added.
1100 Clubhouse View Dr., Palm Springs. 760-992-0002;
A trip to the hip dining spot Lulu California Bistro will put some pep in your palate: The lively atmosphere only adds to the wide selection of entrée salads. Lulu’s Lobster Salad leaps off the plate with loads of lobster and shrimp served over mixed field greens with tropical fruit and passion fruit vinaigrette.
200 S. Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. 760-327-5858;
Get a taste of the ocean at Pacifica Seafood Restaurant with the Dungeness Crab Louie, made with romaine, cherry tomatoes, egg, avocado, pickled carrots, and cucumber, and dressed with both house-made Louie and Champagne vinaigrette.
73505 El Paseo, Ste. 2500, Palm Desert. 760-674-8666;
If you’re craving flavors of the Italian countryside, try the Panzanella Salad prepared by Pinzimini at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa. Grilled chicken and arugula salad is superbly paired with tomato, cucumber, focaccia croutons, red onion, and kalamata olives, and is completed with a sherry vinaigrette.
71333 Dinah Shore Dr., Rancho Mirage. 760-770-2150;
Tommy Bahama offers a terrific setting for relaxing, basking in the sunset, and sinking your teeth into a cool, crispy salad. With an assortment of salad entrées, the Seared Ahi Tuna and Kale Salad beats the heat. Lemongrass crust edamame and corn marry well with hearts of palm, mushrooms, and pine nuts. The unique tahini miso dressing finishes the dish on a high note.
73595 El Paseo, Ste. 2200, Palm Desert. 760-836-0188;