All summer we pluck green things from our gardens, handle tomatoes like precious gems, and pop fresh things in our mouths without giving it a second thought. We want our food crunchy and cool, or — if it’s cooked — barely kissed with heat for a crisp exterior.
Then winter rears, bringing dreams of hibernation and all things fatty and toasty warm. It’s time for roasts and braising, creamy soups and flaky pies. It is so not salad season.
Unless you’re Hello Pizza, the slice shop sibling of Pizzeria Lola in South Minneapolis. We love their big, foldable slices of classic pizza combinations that practice delicious, “basic restraint.” And happily, the same can be said for Hello Pizza’s salads. From a humble list of three, try the Smokey Greens Salad ($7.50, $4 side order), a mixing bowl full of spring greens that feels right at home in the middle of November. The fluffy greens are piled with crunchy, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), crumbled blue cheese, and soft, sweet onions.
But here’s the crucial bit: smoke. The blue is actually Moody Blue, a smoked cheese from Roth Cheese in Wisconsin. And the sweet onions are smoked over applewood, giving them a sneaky meatiness that counters the cheese’s creamy funk. The whole thing is peppery, nutty, crunchy, and creamy, a simple combination that feels hearty and light at the same time. This is the sort of salad that could fool any Ron Swanson.
Hello Pizza, 3904 Sunnyside Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55424; 952.303.4514