Just Salad Brings Vegan Bacon To The Menu

Just Salad, an East coast-based salad chain founded in 2006, started with one mission: To make health and sustainability an everyday convenience. The chain's innovative MyBowl program was an integral part of the chain's launch, allowing customers to participate in their sustainability goals with just one dollar. In exchange, you get a reusable bowl that will earn you a free salad topping every time you visit in-store. Per an environmental lifecycle assessment conducted by the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, the reusable bowls result in 41% less greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 30% less water after just two uses — and the numbers grow from there. The chain has only expanded on its mission since.

Now, more than 15 years after Just Salad's opening, it's never been easier to make sustainable choices: All of the menu items have carbon labels, customers with pick-up orders can participate in the reusable bowl project, and although tofu has long been included on its menus, room continues to be made for more modern plant-based toppings. Since eliminating beef, a protein that requires a surprising amount of water, from its menus in 2019, Just Salad's Chief Sustainability Officer, Sandra Noonan, said in a press release sent to Tasting Table that they've "been on a journey to offer delicious, plant-based meat and dairy options." 

Today, you can find options like regenerative organic quinoa, Beyond Meat chicken, Vio-Life creamy vegan feta, and, as of October 25, vegan bacon.

Hooray Foods' plant-based bacon

With the launch of its latest fall menu, Just Salad introduced a new seasonal plant-based item: Hooray Foods' plant-based bacon. Customers can order it as an add-on topping to any salad of their choice or get a taste for it inside the chain's Sweet Mama Salad until December 22. "Our team was floored by the taste of Hooray, and we're excited for our customers to try it," Noonan said in the press release. Alongside baby spinach, sliced apples, honey maple walnuts, and your choice of sharp cheddar or Vio-Life feta cheese, the vegan bacon shows through with its crispy yet chewy texture and harmony of salty, umami, and sweet flavors (via Hooray Foods).

"This is our largest restaurant partnership yet, and we couldn't have asked for a better alignment of values," says Sri Artham, CEO and founder of Hooray Foods. As it turns out, the award-winning plant-based brand was founded on a mission of its own: To save animals from the food supply system and combat climate change, per NatFluence. With no cholesterol, less calories, and less sodium than conventional pork bacon, Hooray Foods found a way to do just that — all through a plant-based bacon that's healthy and doesn't sacrifice flavor. 

With Hooray Foods' Just Salad partnership, even skeptics can bring reusable bowls and try it as a free topping.