Lunch Inspiration: Portland Soup Company

I have eaten a LOT of baby arugula salads from Portland Soup Company.

Like, a LOT.

I worked across the street from their cart for five long years, after all. And the only things keeping my from eating a baby arugula salad 3-4 times a week were a) the other delicious food options nearby and b) the other delicious food options also available at that cart. I mean, homemade mozzarella sandwich, field greens salad, or tomato soup, come on. Once you try those croutons, you will only want more.

But, alas, I don’t work across the street anymore. I work from homeĀ for the most part, and about 95% of our lunches are salads. They’re quick and nutritious, and if you want a snack later, that’s no big deal. Just go grab one.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about those substantial and inventive salads I used to cop at Portland Soup Company. Then I looked at their old menus for some inspiration.

Behold, the baby arugula salad with oil-poached potatoes, cauliflower, shallots, country olives, “manchego,” and crostini with piquillo pepper vinaigrette.

Baby arugula salad modeled after Portland Soup Company in Portland, Oregon | vegetarianPDX

Yes, this salad is truly a wonder. It hits up some of my favorite savory flavors (roasted shallots AND olives? AND roasted cauliflower?), and it’s a heavy hitter with the carbs for staying power.

You could even add a hard-boiled egg to this if you want some protein, taking it more in a Nicoise direction. Marinated gigante beans wouldn’t be unwelcome, either.

“Geez, that’s a lot of words for one salad, Kelley.”

Baby arugula salad inspired by Portland Soup Company in Portland, Oregon | vegetarianPDX

I know. I’m not one to make a big fuss, but I am one to eat a lot of leftover roasted vegetables in my salad the next day. So, I prepped the potatoes, cauliflower, and shallots the night before. That day, I just needed to pit the olives, grate the cheese, and make the vinaigrette.

As for the crostini… well, the Portland Soup Company version had garlic crostini, but I just picked up a bag of plain crostini from Cheese Bar and ran with them. Cheese Bar really set me up, with this manchego-like Zamarano, the olives, as well as the crostini. Maybe a little dark milk Woodblock Chocolate too. What, am I supposed to not buy a Woodblock Chocolate when I have a Cheese Bar gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket?

By the way, don’t you love that name? ZAMARANOOOOO!

Zamarano cheese from Cheese Bar in Portland, Oregon for our baby arugula salad | vegetarianPDX

It maybe wasn’t quite the same as my beloved cart makes it, but it still hit the spot. And I didn’t have to eat it while dodging questions about paperwork or worry about getting salad dressing in my keyboard.

What’s your favorite substantial vegetarian salad around town?


    • Kelley says:

      Now I’m reminiscing about another cart that did a spinach salad with marinated white bean and carrot salad, thyme, and picked onions. I’m trying to remember what else was in it, because it was fantastic.

    • Kelley says:

      They’re really great! You can just grab a little bag at Cheese Bar for cheap. And they’re perfectly toasted, so you can break them and eat them easily, like croutons. No broken teeth on these.

  1. Jen says:

    Homemade salads are always more satisfying (even if it means not supporting a local eatery sometimes)… But if I had to name a favorite PDX salad it would be the ‘chicken’ salad from DC Vegetarian. Skip the bread when you order, take it home and throw it on a bed of arugula or mixed greens. Yum!

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