Salad Days in Prague

The city's lunchtime options are turning over a new leaf; plus gourmet salad recipes from organic delivery service Freshbedynky

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 28.08.2013 09:22:57 (updated on 28.08.2013) Reading time: 5 minutes

In a discussion of Czechs and salads, two varieties, of salads not Czechs, immediately come to mind: bramborový and šopský, both beloved, though not exactly crisp and leafy. If greens are important to your idea of a salad, you’ll be happy to know that several lunch spots that specialize in tossed salads have recently opened in Prague, while kale, spinach, chard, and other fresh greens have become easier than ever to find at farm markets and in CSA boxes.

Veronika Mouchová, one of the founders of Freshbedýnky, a Prague-based organic produce delivery service, tells us why: “More and more people have started thinking about their diet and searching for new healthy recipes.” Mouchová adds that “Anyone can prepare a salad, the amazing thing about them is that you can mix almost anything in your salad bowl and it will be delicious.”

Here are our suggestions for where to go for a quick, leafy lunch, followed by recipes for gourmet salads you can make at home, and tips for prepping and storing your greens from Freshbedýnky.

Salads at your service

Chop’d  
Sokolovská 79, Karlin

Opened this past January, Chop’d, by its own estimation, is the “First restaurant specializing in salads in Prague.” Customized salads (69-89 CZ) come with a choice of greens (arugula, mesclun, Romaine, iceberg), vegetables (chose up to four; after that extra are 12 CZK a serving), cheeses (goat, Parmesan, etc. starting at 20 CZK), meats (chicken, turkey, beef, ham, steak, starting at 20 CZK) and “special” add-ins like walnuts and croutons for 12 CZK. Dressing is included in the price of salad and ranges from traditional favorites (balsamic, blue cheese) to the more daring (yogurt wasabi with ginger) and even domestic (tvaroh with scallions and garlic). Hand-wringing types will enjoy the less-involved menu of salad classics (Caesar, tuna, turkey, Cobb) with dressing pairings.

On my visit I tried that bacony American standard the Cobb salad (92 CZK). Diced chicken, bacon, avocado, and romaine were added to a large mixing bowl, tossed with lemon-yogurt dressing, then chopped to confetti and packaged. While everything tasted fresh and crisp, the greens overwhelmed the toppings making it difficult to get a proportionate bite of all the ingredients. But for a fast, healthful lunch Chop’d fits the bill.

www.chopd.cz
www.chopd.cz

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

Mangaloo Salaterie
OC Nový Smíchov, OC Černý Most (new)

Likewise, Mangaloo declares it’s own salaterie as a “totally new concept of fast food.” These are the kinds of salads you might throw together at home and bring to work if you actually had time: greens, hunks of meat, rough-chopped veg, all served with a side of crusty bread. Similar to Chop’d your choice of ingredients are tossed with greens (Mangaloo’s is a mix of lollo biando, lollo rossa, romaine, and baby spinach) or you can select one of their own creations. I tried the grilled chicken and melon with light raspberry dressing (109 CZK) while admiring the other specials, strawberry and gorgonzola (105 CZK), shrimp and mango (119 CZK).

My Mangaloo salad looked and tasted heartier and fresher perhaps due to the fact that it was served in a large glass dish and not so, well, chopped. The inventive combinations of ingredients like grilled vegetables, fresh green beans, berries, fennyl, homemade croutons and simple dressings (cranberry glaze, cucumber with garlic and yogurt) almost made me feel like I was at some cute little bistro and not the food court at the mall.

www.salaterie.cz
www.salaterie.cz

Frutapura
Rámova 739/1, Old Town
This upscale green grocer offers a carefully curated selection of imported organic fruits and vegetables as well as Italian dry goods, olive oils, vinegars, jams, truffles, spices, and olives. But what caught my eye when I came across their web site were the artfully photographed greens, great purple knots of Italian radicchio, tangles of lettuce frisee, and wild greens so wild I couldn’t name them. The shop’s promise to “Prepare, cut, portion and wash your fruits and vegetables per your wishes” sounded interesting as well. But on a recent visit the selection of greens seemed quite small and there was a good deal of confusion when I requested that my bibb lettuce (35 CZK), lettuce frisee (45 CZK), and arugula (50 CZK) be washed and chopped to go. Eventually my order was packaged up in two plastic salad bowls. I ate one entire bowl of some of the freshest lettuce I have ever had with dinner that night and the other bowl kept for almost a week of dinners. If those bags of supermarket lettuce scare you, treat yourself to the Frutapura experience.

www.frutapura.cz
www.frutapura.cz

4 super salad recipes

Freshbedýnky is a fresh organic grocery delivery service with a dedicated lettuce mania section (they also offer fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, and baked goods). Here, they have prepared salad recipes you can make at home but they will also wash, chop, and prepare your greens for delivery if you wish. The ingredients featured in these recipes can be ordered and conveniently delivered in one of their numerous veggie boxes.
 

Easy kale salad with tahini dressing

1 bunch of kale
Handful of grated carrot
1 ripe avocado
1 small red onion
3 tbsp sesame seeds

For the dressing:
3 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp lemon juice
Chilli powder
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Wash the kale and remove the thick veins. Prepare your other veggies as you like. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and toss the vegetable with it. Mix well.

Easy kale salad with tahini dressing
Easy kale salad with tahini dressing

Melon and prosciutto salad

2 varieties of sugar melon (Canary, Cantaloupe, Galia…)
100g prosciutto crudo
50g arugula
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice

Peel the melons and cut them into cubes. Mix with arugula and prosciutto, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Melon and prosciutto salad
Melon and prosciutto salad

Herb zucchini salad

2 zucchinis (preferably of 2 colors)
1 fresh red chilli pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
Olive oil
1 handful of fresh herbs – basil, cilantro, parsley, etc.

Grate, slice, or chop the zucchinis. Mix with chopped fresh herbs and the rest of the ingredients. Serve with crusty bread or baguette.

Herb zucchini salad
Herb zucchini salad

Jerusalem artichoke salad with hazelnuts

80g hazelnuts
500g jerusalem artichokes
4 tbsp olive oil
Thyme
Lemon juice
80g goat cheese
Salad leaves (preferably iceberg lettuce)
Salt and pepper

Wash the jerusalem artichokes and cut them into thin slices. Roast them in the olive oil and mix with all the other ingredients.

Tip: for more aromatic taste, roast the hazelnuts, too.

Jerusalem artichoke salad with hazelnuts
Jerusalem artichoke salad with hazelnuts

Keep lettuce fresh – longer

Mouchová offers these suggestions when preparing greens for home use:

-The ideal temperature for lettuce is around 2 degrees Celsius. The bottom part of your refigerator is generally the coolest. Store your lettuce there.

-Lettuce easily looses its moisture and wilts, so it’s best to cover it with a wet cotton kitchen towel when storing.

-The lettuce needs to breathe or it can start to rot. Store it on a plate covered with the kitchen towel or in a sieve.

-If you want to prepare your salad in advance, don’t mix it with the dressing. Simply put it in the refrigerator in a sieve and cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Drizzle with the dressing right before serving.

Special thanks to Freshbedynky for their exclusive recipe development and food photography for Expats.cz.

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