I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12. I don’t like to make a big deal about it–after 18 years, it’s really second-nature to me. I don’t go to restaurants and wish I could order a burger or steak and I don’t miss eating meat. That said, I do wish that restaurants would offer more options for those of us who don’t eat meat. While I’m perfectly happy with a grilled portabella mushroom sandwich or a veggie burger, it would be wonderful if restaurants would start offerings some things that are new and different. One restaurant that does a really great job of this is Sweet Tomatoes.
If you haven’t had the chance to go to Sweet Tomatoes, it’s a buffet that’s a little more fresh and healthy than your average biscuits-and-carvery-and-brown-lettuce type place. When Sweet Tomatoes first opened up near the town where I grew up, I was so thrilled to find so many tasty vegetarian dishes–and unlike other buffets, they’re all marked as such so there’s no guessing involved. My husband and I moved to a state where, sadly, there were no Sweet Tomatoes so we had to go without for quite some time. But now we live in an area with not one, but two Sweet Tomatoes. Happy dance!
Sweet Tomatoes gave me two meal passes so I could check out their restaurant in Raleigh. I was happy to see that my old favorites were still on the menu–oh, Sweet Tomatoes brownies, you are so warm and yummy. One thing I love about Sweet Tomatoes is that they switch up the menu in order to offer foods and flavors that are in season. Two standouts during our visit were the Mango Tropics Muffin (you really can’t go wrong with mango and coconut together, can you?) and Creamy Cilantro Lime Pesto Pasta. The Summer Tropics menu also featured a Hawaiian-inspired Crunchy Island Pineapple Tossed Salad–and guess what? Sweet Tomatoes was awesome enough to share the recipe with me!
Crunchy Island Pineapple Tossed Salad
(Yields 4 cups)
9 oz. pineapple juice concentrate
9 oz. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 oz. minced shallots
14 oz. canola oil
Blend first five ingredients. Slowly add oil and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
1 cup wonton strips
1 cup pineapple tidbits
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup julienne sliced red bell peppers
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup Pineapple Vinaigrette
Combine ingredients and toss.
Disclosure: I received two meal passes from Sweet Tomatoes to facilitate this review, but all opinions are my own–I only review products on my blog that I truly love and recommend to my readers. No monetary compensation has been received.