Salad is fast leaving behind its humble roots as a small, perhaps wilted, side dish to the main course and becoming the star attraction of the dining experience! Health conscious consumers are craving fresh greens, vegetables, and low carb options, and restaurants across the country are catering with a variety of healthy options.

Putting an emphasis on super greens, kale remains king of the game, but other micro greens such as arugula and seasonal watercress are key components to creating a salad that will impress. Regular romaine is fine, but offering different options will keep your customers happy (and healthy!) In addition, organic bibb lettuce is a gourmet option well suited to fine dining establishments. Sprouts, which can be easily grown in house, are another super food that the health conscious crowd will quite literally eat up.

In terms of toppings, healthy vegetables take center stage also. Good bets are seasonal and colorful - pomegranate seeds in the winter and radishes in the spring for example. If you work with local farms, putting the names of your suppliers on the menu will also increase your social equity and allow for a higher price point - and profit margin! for your business.

In terms of protein, offering several options at different price points is always a great option. A simple fried egg at a low price point is a classic and delicious bistro edition to almost any salad. Scallops are delicous, simple, and can elevate the price of a salad entree to that or a regular entree. A simple steak, chicken, and salmon option will give your guests variety and ensure that their leafy greens provide a full and balanced meal. If you have a large vegetarian crowd, consider adding seasoned tofu to your menu options so that they can choose something to satisfy their dietary needs - tempura fried buffalo tofu is simple to make and delicious!

Need more proof that salad should take center stage? McDonalds - a chain usually associated with very UNHEALTHY foods - is revamping its image and menu offerings with a salad which now includes red leaf lettuce and colorful carrots. If the food giants are taking notice of the health conscious consumer - chances are you should too! Up your salad game and stay on top of this delicous, healthy summer trend.