Adventures in Veganism: The Kale Salad at Roots Gourmet
If you were to read the ingredients of the kale salad at Long Beach's vegan-friendly Roots Gourmet, you might assume that the dish was kind of lame. You'd be wrong. Comprised of raw kale, peach slices, chopped almonds and pieces of dates, and served in a deliciously present-yet-not-overpowering dressing, the kale salad succeeds because it sticks with the old "keep it simple, stupid" mantra. Which transforms the kale salad from just some side dish to a meal unto itself. And with three available sizes, you can easily go for the medium or the large and be satisfied.
According to kitchen manager and creative director Amber Moghadam, the dish is served in an agave lemon dressing made with olive oil, agave, lemon juice, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. This is dressing is perfect -- because once you taste it, you'll know it's there, yet it's not dominating or overpowering like many other dressings.
This is most definitely a good thing because the fresh ingredients on this plate demand your attention, which means none of that drowning-a-salad-in-sauce-so-customers-can-plow-their-way-through-healthy-food nonsense that way too many restaurants unfortunately serve their customers. It's almost as if Roots Gourmet wants people to taste the perfect harmony that exists between the juicy peach, the sweet date, the hearty almond and the kale. Crazy, right?
Roots Gourmet offers very limited indoor seating, which is fine because there are plenty of chairs outdoors. With a dogs-only menu available at tables that overlook a bustling mini-mall and a fresh salad that reminds you just how awesome fruits and veggies can be, you won't want to sit inside anyway.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.