At Culver City Salads, a vegan meal is delivered on a bed of lettuce

Christina Culver’s wheat-free salads aren’t girlie—and they may soon have their own food truck

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      Christina Culver says the secret to an amazing salad is to “go crazy”.

      If you order one from her Vancouver business, Culver City Salads, you’ll find out what she means. Her massive, colourful salads typically feature mixed greens, a legume, potato or yam, a blanched or steamed veggie, and avocado, with a miso-and-tahini-based dressing.

      “Try playing with dressings,” Culver advised during an interview at the Georgia Straight offices. “Don’t just buy one from the store.”

      The West End resident is the founder and co-owner of Culver City Salads, which started up in April 2012 and now makes between 60 and 100 salads a week. For $12.50 a pop, you can have quinoa salads, soba-noodle salads, and brown-rice bowls delivered for lunch in downtown, Gastown, and Kitsilano between Tuesday and Friday.

      They’re also available at the Juice Truck (Abbott Street and Water Street), a food cart in Gastown. In the fall, Culver launched a website, after initially accepting orders via email and Facebook.

      All vegan and wheat-free (the soba-noodle salad is the only one not gluten-free at this time), the salads are made from scratch daily in a Strathcona commissary. Culver uses as many local and organic ingredients as possible, varying the mix every day so customers don’t get bored.

      She says she always liked cooking for others and hosting parties. After Culver went vegan four years ago, her friends encouraged her to spin her salad-making talents into a business.

      According to Culver, while women generally don’t find it a stretch to place an order, men are often dismissive of the idea until their girlfriends get them a salad. Then they’re pleasantly surprised by how filling and protein-packed her “giant meal salads” are, she noted.

      “It doesn’t taste like some girlie diet salad,” Culver said. “It tastes like a meal.”

      For spring, Culver intends to add a raw salad, cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter, ginger snap, and double chocolate chip s’more), and perhaps drinks and sides to the menu. But that’s not the only way she wants to expand.

      In March, Culver plans to apply for a food-truck permit from the City of Vancouver. For the upcoming round of applications, city hall expects to issue permits to 15 or so successful parties in May.

      An all-vegan, gluten-free Culver City Salads truck would feature grab-and-go and customizable salads, as well as soups, curries, stews, and kale chips. Culver hopes that her healthy concept will give her an edge in the “scoring system” used by city hall to select new food vendors.

      “I really want one,” she said. “It’d be super fun, and then I could really start to expand the menu, too. We’d be able to do daily specials.”

      Making “super-filling” salads—what she calls a “meal on a bed of lettuce”—helped Culver make the transition to a vegan diet. But if she realizes her dream of having a food cart, you won’t find her there “spouting” her beliefs.

      “I’m more here to break down some stereotypes,” Culver said, “and prove to people that you can eat a healthy meal that also tastes delicious and makes you feel good.”




      Feb 14, 2013 at 4:41pm

      The food truck craze and delivery just means more garbage by using paper/plastic/styrofoam containers.
      With planning and weekly shopping a salad like the one pictured can easily be put together at home and taken to work or wherever in a reusable container.
      Also at "$12.50 a pop" these salad's are really overpriced, you can have the same or better for much much less by doing it yourself.

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      Feb 14, 2013 at 7:44pm

      Trader Joe's sell similar varieties of salads for $3.99. I'll pick up several whenever we are down in Bellingham. If a smaller chain can offer variety and great prices I have to wonder why we pay so much more for less in grocery stores here

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      Goven'a from Toronto.

      Feb 15, 2013 at 8:53am

      RE: Cathy .
      Have you bought a Culver CIty Salad? If you had you would have tasted organic locally grown produce with fresh daily homemade dressings. These are gluten free AND are HAND DELIVERED to your place of employment or your home. Where on earth will you find a business that will deliver you a product of this quality and quantity for $12.50? Sure, with a little planning you too can make yourself a salad if you are that organized and have the time to do so. Most people I know scramble each day to find a lunch spot that is not overcrowded. Have you attempted a food court or a food truck at noon? $12.50 for a sensible lunch with hand delivery sounds like the perfect option to me. If you are so organized and have the time to plan your lunch each day then congratulations are in order.
      In regards to the packaging; the box and fork are made from recycled materials and are biodegradable! Look at the picture for your visual reference ;) The food truck option in Vancouver is amazing. I live in Toronto and I can say that we have garbage for on-the-go food options. Be grateful that you even have this luxury!

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      Feb 15, 2013 at 12:35pm

      Re: Goven'a from Toronto

      Nowhere in the article does it state what the packaging is made of.
      You seem to think it is so obvious just by looking, i don't think so.
      If you live in Toronto, why do you care about and defend a salad company in Vancouver? Do you have some association?

      My point is if we really want to be good to the planet as well as our selves we need to do more for ourselves, focus on local as much as possible and have less delivery, ready made, customized etc. etc.
      Anything else is part of the consumer garbage culture even if those trying to sell to us claim their product "makes you feel good".


      Feb 15, 2013 at 8:24pm

      I walk by that juice truck every day and cannot believe that people pay that kind of dough for some tarted up goddamn juice. This must be a super lucrative market suckering in people that twist their panties into pretzels over every crumb that comes near their craws. I work with a bunch of pampered first-world-problem pod people that drone on so much about health/diet/body issues that I often wonder if I've wandered into an old folks home.


      Feb 16, 2013 at 7:49am

      This service sounds wonderful and so does the food, I live in a small town in B.C. and only wish I didn't have to make my lunch everyday to get healthy food, there is no company delivering anything here with the exception of the big food chain brand "Pizza" so I would consider this quite a treat, and yes jiff I make my own juice, you really should research juice it is expensive and it is one of the best things you can consume, it's like the blood of the plant with no other interference! I would love the luxury of treating myself to a juice rather than make my own every day, as from peeling, chopping, juicing and then cleaning the juicer it takes at least 20-30 minutes each day, than I make my, as much as possible organic lunch to take to my 9 hour a day jobs, .I would love the luxury of this service as a treat once in a while.
      I deserve it!

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      Feb 19, 2013 at 10:33pm

      Would the salads be precut and all she had to do is assemble them together as it's ordered? Then we can bring our own containers to fill? Just a thought.

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