At Indo, chef Nick Bognar serves crispy skin king salmon with tom kha coconut broth and chive oil.

Healthy Dishes at STL Restaurants to Start the New Year Right

Friday January 5, 2024

By Rachel Huffman

Eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor, and St. Louis restaurants can prove it.

With fresh ingredients, balanced spices and a dash of magic, local chefs have created healthy yet enticing dishes that will satisfy more than your New Year’s resolution.

Epicures, if you want to dig deeper into the St. Louis culinary scene, scroll to the bottom of the story for a list of food and drink events in the area!

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Soup at Big Sky Cafe

Keep warm from the inside out with the roasted carrot and lentil soup from Big Sky Cafe. The Webster Groves restaurant garnishes the dish with crispy kale for an extra dose of antioxidants.

Chicories at Bistro La Floraison

With bright, frilly, cone-headed leaves, chicory has a dramatic appearance that stands out on any winter table. The often-labeled bitter greens are crisp, juicy, nutty, mildly sweet and healthy to boot. Full of fiber and loaded with vitamins and nutrients, they’re the cold season warriors that you need in your corner. If you want a taste of these robust greens, head to Bistro La Floraison in Clayton, where they’re served with toasted walnuts, pickled golden raisins, Flory’s Truckle cheese and Banyuls vinaigrette.

Casa Don Alfonso serves Mediterranean swordfish carpaccio.
Mediterranean Swordfish Carpaccio at Casa Don Alfonso | Photo by Rachel Huffman

White Bean Ragoût at Brasserie

Brasserie, an intimate French restaurant in the Central West End, serves sensational dishes for every diet. Healthy – and vegetarian – the white bean ragoût features king oyster mushrooms, leeks, kale and dill-cured egg yolk along with a thick slice of sourdough to scoop everything into your mouth.

Mediterranean Swordfish Carpaccio at Casa Don Alfonso

Defined by its décor, including a striking display of 600 hand-blown glass wisteria leaves suspended over the main dining room, Casa Don Alfonso brings a taste of Sorrento to St. Louis. Among the Neapolitan-style pizza and family-recipe pasta, the Mediterranean swordfish carpaccio is a lighter, healthier yet equally delicious plate. Swordfish provides an excellent source of selenium – a micronutrient that reduces the risk of certain cancers, protects against heart disease and prevents mental decline – and at this esteemed spot inside The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, salmon roe and edible flowers add the perfect touch to the thinly sliced, raw fish.

The Clover and the Bee serves a sweet potato salad, which is one of its many healthy dishes.
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad | Photo courtesy of The Clover and the Bee

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad at The Clover and the Bee

From the Instagrammable interior design to the young, buzzy vibe, The Clover and the Bee is a brunch hotspot. Order the roasted sweet potato salad mixed with broccolini, sweet drop peppers, avocado, fried chickpeas, tahini yogurt and honey-cumin vinaigrette – and then reward yourself for eating healthy with a housemade pastry!

Curried Mussels at Commonwealth

With a revamped menu, Commonwealth offers an elevated take on comfort food at Angad Arts Hotel. This season, we recommend the curried mussels with coconut milk, ginger, garlic, onion, lime zest and cilantro – plus, toasted baguette crostini to soak up every last drop of goodness.

Roasted Amish Chicken at The Crossing

Influenced by the flavors of France and Italy, The Crossing serves imaginative, high-end cuisine in the heart of Clayton. For an indulgent experience, you can’t go wrong with the four-course tasting menu, but if you’re sticking to healthy dishes in the new year, we recommend the roasted Amish chicken from the à la carte menu. The succulent selection comes with roasted fingerling potatoes, spinach, cauliflower and shallot chicken jus.

Katie's Pizza and Pasta Osteria serves a seasonal fig and beet salad.
Fig and Beet Salad at Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria | Photo by Cassidy Hintz

Eggplant Bolognese at Eleven Eleven Mississippi

St. Louis restaurateurs Paul and Wendy Hamilton are committed to outstanding hospitality and culinary excellence. At Eleven Eleven Mississippi, the couple celebrates rustic Tuscan cuisine in a stylish renovated factory. Hearty but healthy, the eggplant Bolognese with mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions and couscous is one of the stars of the vegan menu.

Som Tum at Fork & Stix

Som tum, a salad made from shredded green papaya, is a popular dish in the Northeast region of Thailand. At Fork & Stix, a casual Thai eatery in the Delmar Loop, fresh chiles, tomato, green beans, garlic and lime create a balance between spicy, sweet and sour flavors. Nam pla (funky fermented fish sauce), palm sugar and peanuts round out the distinctive profile.

Healthy dishes like this ramen abound at Nudo House.
Shroomed Out | Photo courtesy of Nudo House

Smoked Trout Toast at The Frisco Barroom

Housed in a historic corner building that once served as the general store of the Old Orchard Station on the St. Louis-San Franscico Railway, better known as the Frisco, this American tavern is a gathering place for jovial diners from near and far. In the timeless setting, you can enjoy scratch-made fare such as the smoked trout toast topped with pickled onion, fried capers, dressed arugula, frisée and lemon zest every day of the week. The Frisco Barroom also boasts happy hour and live music on select days.

Green Beans at Indo

The menu at Indo is internationally vague, according to chef-owner Nick Bognar. You might recognize the main ingredient, but you don’t really know how it’ll be served until it comes to your table. Take this dish for example. The menu simply lists green beans, XO sauce and chile oil, but that doesn’t do it justice. In the spirit of the restaurant, we won’t say anything else, except you shouldn’t sleep on this astounding small plate.

Fig and Beet Salad at Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria

The carbohydrates at Katie’s Pizza and Pasta Osteria are indubitably delicious, but if you’re looking for a healthier option with just as much flavor, consider this salad, which marries multicolored beets and dried figs with Feta, walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Served on a bed of arugula, the amalgam of ingredients is dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and wildflower honey.

The Three Sisters Salad at Olive and Oak is one of the healthiest dishes in St. Louis.
Three Sisters Salad | Photo courtesy of Olive + Oak

Shroomed Out at Nudo House

Slurping is encouraged at Nudo House. Alongside spicy kimchi, aromatic pho and comforting bánh mì, the restaurant dishes out steaming bowls of rich ramen. Since its inception, chef-owner Qui Tran has refined the menu, and today, one of our favorite noodle dishes is Shroomed Out. An innovative riff on classic ramen, Shroomed Out features mushroom broth, king oyster mushrooms, bok choy, menma (bamboo shoots), Ajitsuke Tamago (ramen egg) and black garlic, all of which have impressive health benefits.

Three Sisters Kale Salad at Olive + Oak

This seasonal salad highlights the indigenous Three Sisters crop: winter squash, maize and climbing beans. Known for their symbiotic relationship, the Three Sisters are traditionally grown, eaten and celebrated together, providing sustainable soil fertility along with a healthy meal. Olive + Oak has run with the concept to create a savory salad that will dazzle your taste buds. Expect chile-roasted acorn squash, scarlet runner beans and warm hominy polenta croutons accompanied by Tuscan kale, pickled onion, pepitas and rosemary-cumin vinaigrette.

The Japanese pumpkin at Sado is a must-try dish in St. Louis.
Japanese Pumpkin | Photo courtesy of Sado

Japanese Pumpkin at Sado

Hailing from Japan, kabocha – also known as Japanese pumpkin – is squat, slightly bumpy and forest green on the outside with flesh the color of a harvest moon. Its luxurious notes of honeyed sweet potato and roasted chestnuts sing in chef Nick Bognar’s concoction at Sado, in which green curry sauce and roasted pistachios prove the perfect complement to the winter squash.

Kombu-Cured Kanpachi Crudo at Sidney Street Cafe

Located in a century-old storefront in the historic Benton Park neighborhood, Sidney Street Cafe serves inventive New American cuisine in a sophisticated yet comfortable setting. Expertly prepared, the kombu-cured kanpachi crudo is an exquisite start to any meal. The naturally fatty fish has a clean ocean flavor enhanced by avocado, radish and chile garnishes in this dish.

Beet Hummus at Small Batch

Well-known as a whiskey lounge, Small Batch also offers plant-powered plates packed with nutrients such as spicy smashed cucumber, dukkah-encrusted Brussels sprouts and roasted beet hummus. The latter is adorned with pomegranate molasses, sumac and radish and served with black pepper crackers for the perfect crunch.

The farmers feast at Vicia, one of St. Louis' best restaurants, features fresh ingredients and delicious flavors.
Farmers Feast | Photo courtesy of Vicia

Farmers Feast at Vicia

Vegetable top pesto served with “naked” vegetables. Delicata squash tempura seasoned with pumpkin seed dukkah and hot honey. Carrot soaked in carrot jus, paired with bright gooseberries and garnished with sunflower microgreens. Grilled cabbage tossed with Eckert’s apples, tahini yogurt and makrut lime powder. Creamy Missouri rice mixed with preserved mushrooms, nutty sunchokes and rich Parmesan. At Vicia, vegetables are dressed for the spotlight. Although the restaurant doesn’t have a menu, its three-course Farmers Feast celebrates the bounty of the Midwest with fresh, inventive dishes such as these.

Overnight Oats at Winslow’s Table

Looking for a power breakfast that provides strength and energy for the day? With high natural protein and rich fiber content, overnight oaks will do the trick. At Winslow’s Table in University City, chia seeds, housemade granola, almond butter and braised apples accompany the chilled oats.