Marinated kale salad at Saint Lou’s Assembly


The butternut squash pizza at True Food Kitchen

Eat this Now—The Wellness Edition

By Nicole Schnitzler

There’s no better way to kick off the New Year than with some healthy choices, but that hardly means we need to corner ourselves in our kitchen with cayenne, lemon juice, and honey for days on end. In fact, there’s still much to celebrate after December 31 in Chicago, with a number of recently opened eateries pulling their own by offering dishes that are as good for your taste buds as they are for your waistline.

Beets and tofu at Cindy’s
Sous Chef Parker Brown had balance on his mind when he created this standout beet and tofu dish at Cindy’s, a rooftop hotspot that’s known for its commitment to seasonal ingredients and hearty portions. Roasted and pickled beets meet marinated, protein-rich tofu and vitamin C–packed citrus for this salad, which is topped off with pickled peanuts and a soy vinaigrette.
Neighborhood: The Loop MAP

Marinated kale salad at Saint Lou’s Assembly
It’s a no brainer that kale is a go-to when it comes to eating healthy, but it’s not always easy to get it right—as in, tasty. Executive chef Carlos Cruz is more than up to the challenge with the marinated kale salad at this modern day meat-and-three, where he tops Tuscan black kale with pistachios, feta, kalamata olives, and red wine vinaigrette for many full-flavored forkfuls.
Neighborhood: West Loop MAP

Terra & Vine

Pasta alla verdura at Terra & Vine
Pasta may get a bad rap in the health food realm, but it’s hard to deny the benefits of this Italian-Mediterranean restaurant’s version, which is chock full of fire roasted peppers, spinach, shallots, olive oil, and garlic sauce. To top it off, it also clocks in as dairy-free and vegetarian.
Neighborhood: Evanston MAP

Sweet potato bowl at Cupitol
It doesn’t get much better than this café’s satisfying bowl, which is brimming with brown rice, kale, vegan coconut curry, a poached egg, and sweet potatoes—a dynamite source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. If that weren’t enough, they taste dang good with just about anything, as chef-owner Sellia Georges knows well.
Neighborhood: Evanston MAP

Bar Lupo

Chopped fitness salad at Bar Lupo
Chef Marco Ascencio took some healthy living cues from the Europeans for this charcuterie-laden salad, which is teeming with assorted salumi, cheese, avocado, lettuce, roasted tomatoes, and Lupo Dressing—a classic Italian blend of oil, vinegar, and herbs.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

The butternut squash pizza at True Food Kitchen
Inspired by an array of fall to winter flavors—and by Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid—chef Michael Sullivan drummed up this heart-healthy pie. After whipping up a house-made crust, he bedecks it with smoked onion, organic kale, vegan almond ricotta, dried cranberry, and butternut squash, an ingredient with deep roots in the anti-inflammatory diet.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

The Little Beet Table

Chickpea Caesar salad at The Little Beet Table
The classic Caesar salad gets a fitness-forward makeover in the hands of chef Adam Starowicz, who grills up romaine lettuce before topping it with Parmesan, herb croutons, and a lemon-chickpea dressing that subs in the beloved legume for a more traditional combo of eggs and oil.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

The Fjord trout at Steadfast
With a focus on seasonality in its New American-meets-Mediterranean cuisine, this restaurant set out to create a dish that would showcase cultural diversity while also honoring the fresh and healthy ingredients it makes use of regularly. Enter the Fjord trout, a dish comprised of shiitake mushrooms, mussels, and Brussels sprouts that serves up staggering amounts of protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Neighborhood: The Loop MAP

Dos Urban Cantina

Raw scallops at Dos Urban Cantina
This dish from executive chef and partner Brian Enyart calls for a few health-focused components: scallops, which are sky high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A-loaded sweet potato purée, and spicy lime agua chile and chia seeds, which bring to the table fiber and—you guessed it—more protein.
Neighborhood: Logan Square MAP

Chilled root vegetable salad at Carbon Arc Bar & Board
You can really feel good about devouring this superfood-heavy dish from chef Gilbert Langlois, who toasts cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes before topping them off with a bright and zingy carrot-ginger vinaigrette. You might be one of the very first to try it, too—the restaurant opened in Davis Theater just last week.
Neighborhood: Lincoln Square MAP

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