Chef Laura Pensiero has trained at the French Culinary Institute, possesses a background in nutrition, and radiates with genuine enthusiasm for healthy, local and sustainable foods. So, it’s not entirely surprising she’s racked up some local and national fame, including features in O Magazine and the title as one of Hudson Valley Magazine’s Four Best Veteran Chefs in 2012. Best of all, patrons don’t even have to visit one of Pensiero’s award-winning restaurants, Gigi Trattoria or Gigi Market, to get a taste of her food; they can stop into Just Salad, where she is the master-mind behind all the recipes.
Dedicated to providing healthy and fast meals, Just Salad assembles more than 14 varieties of wraps and salads, or puts customers in charge, allowing them to concoct their own lunch from a wide range of fresh vegetables, cheeses, proteins, and Chef Pensiero’s homemade dressings. Salads are tossed inside reusable bowls, which the shop encourages customers to bring back on their second, third, and so-on visits. In return, they’ll receive two free “essential toppings”—such as lentils, mandarin oranges, and artichoke hearts—and one free cheese tossed onto a salad, tucked inside a wrap, or pelted at their mortal enemy.