Lunch Pick: The Transformer salad from Fresh on Crawford

Fresh is Toronto’s original vegetarian resto and there’s a reason why it’s been around for so long. With its extensive menu and reasonable-slash-large servings, you won’t feel like you coughed up dough for a ho hum scrap of lettuce. Now that spring is finally here, seat yourself on the Crawford location’s patio while taking in all the city dwellers dressed in their finest midsummer garb.

We like the bowls: while the Buddha is a classic, newer picks like the Transformer ($16) are great options for hardcore fans who know the menu inside out and backwards. Displayed like a painter’s palette, each ingredient holds court in a different region of the bowl. Quinoa? Check. Chick peas, edamame, adzuki beans and marinated tofu? Check. Avocado, a handful of heirloom grape tomatoes and tiny cubes of cucumber? Indeed. Cashew scallion paté, sikil pak — a pumpkin seed spread from the Yucatan, naturally — and some carrot-miso dressing tie the motley crew of ingredients together. 

Pair with a smoothie or swill one of their new cold-pressed juices (we like the green ones) or spiffy nut milks. Just try not to brag too obnoxiously about your incredibly healthful ways.   

Fresh on Crawford, 894 Queen St. W., 416-599-4442