A few months ago a friend told me about a new restaurant in the Dilworth neighborhood named Toast. Given my recent gluten allergy I was hesitant to subject myself to a place named Toast, but one Saturday the husband and I decided to venture in and give it a try. The first thing you notice when walking up is the cozy outdoor seating that makes you feel right at home. Inside potted plants hang from the ceiling and friendly wait staff greet you with baskets of (not gluten free) buttery cornbread. The husband was happy to have that all to himself. And while I couldn’t partake in the cornbread, I was delighted to discover a range of gluten free options that appealed to my tastes. Gluten free pancakes? Be still my heart.
What really caught my eye though was the California Salad, a mixed green salad with fruit, nuts and goat cheese topped with your choice of grilled chicken, tuna salad or chicken salad. Seriously the way to win my heart (or my stomach) is with goat cheese. So I went for the California Salad and savored every tasty gluten free bite. So much so that I have been back at least five times to partake in this delicious salad (though I have heard that there are many other tasty dishes on the menu). If you aren’t lucky enough to make it out to one of Toast’s three Charlotte locations (Davidson, Dilworth and Ballantyne), you can easily recreate this tasty salad at home.
California Salad (adapted from Toast of Charlotte)
2-3 cups of mixed baby greens (I like the bagged version from Trader Joes)
½ sliced Hass Avocado
1 oz. chopped Walnuts
1 oz. of Goat Cheese
½ small can of mandarin oranges
5 strawberries cut into halves
1 can of dolphin safe chunk white tuna (in water)
¼ Cup diced celery
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
Creamy Balsamic Dressing (can also use bottled variety)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
¼ Tsp Dijon Mustard
¼ Tsp Mayonnaise
1 clove finely minced garlic
Dash of Salt and Pepper
1. Mix salad ingredients together in large bowl.
2. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss throughout salad mix.
3. Drain tuna and use food processor to combine tuna, mayonnaise, celery and pepper. Scoop atop salad and enjoy!
You can also replace the tuna salad with grilled chicken, shrimp or even chickpeas to cater to your preferences!