Snap Top Market Rethinks Healthy Eating with New Menu

The South End shop is offering healthy options like a raw 'pasta' bar and collard green tacos.

veggie pasta

Raw pasta from Snap Top Market. Photos by Jamie Ducharme

Creamy alfredo. Gooey baked ziti. Hearty lasagna. When you think of pasta, these delicious dishes usually come to mind. But Snap Top Market in the South End sees it a little differently.

A tiny grocery-store-meets-cafe on Columbus Avenue, Snap Top recently introduced a new takeout and delivery menu that features, among other healthy options, a raw pasta bar comprised of “noodles” made from fruits and vegetables like cucumber, zucchini, sweet potato, and green papaya and sauces like cucumber avocado pesto and cashew alfredo.

After trying a blend of cucumber, zucchini, and sweet potato noodles with the cucumber avocado pesto sauce (which was delicious, though not quite enough to coat our mound of veggies), although it was tasty and creative, it did not satisfy my mozzarella and marinara cravings. It is literally a bowl of vegetables, and naming it pasta won’t make you forget that. But, according to owner Steve Napoli, the point isn’t to mimic heavy, unhealthy dishes; it’s to make you choose not to eat them.

“I thought there could be new ways to offer people healthy eating options, so I started with simple ingredients, like a cucumber or butternut squash, and I just started playing around with things,” Napoli says of the new menu, which also includes items such as kale salads and collard green tacos. “I just thought there could be new ways to bring raw fruits and vegetables and make a meal.”

Napoli says the goal of the menu is to make raw, produce-based eating more accessible and to do away with carb-heavy meals. “If you can fill yourself up with water [from produce] as opposed to trying to get your body to process a carb, you’re not going to crash later like when your body tries to process a chicken parm sub,” he says. “I think you feel better, you’re not going to hit that wall at 2 p.m., and it’s just a better way to eat your lunch or dinner.”

So far, Napoli’s hunch is paying off. He says customer reception to the new menu has been so positive, he’s added it to Snap Top’s delivery service, which is available to people in nearly every neighborhood of Boston. “I think people want to eat healthy, they just don’t know how they break out of their typical burger and fry lunch,” he says. “Once people try it once, I think they realize what clean eating can do to their day.”

Clean eating is an area Napoli knows well. Growing up on a family farm in Acton, Napoli gained experience in the produce industry early on—experience he now brings to Snap Top. “A lot of people deal with brokers or wholesalers or people that they pay to select all their products; that’s as simple as picking up a phone,” he says. “I do it direct. I pick it out, I taste things, and I use my eyes to pick out things seasonally, and I think that’s very unique in my industry.”

Our take: Snap Top’s new menu, particularly the raw pasta bar, is an unique take on healthy eating, and a more fun way to get your daily vegetable intake than just a plain old salad. But, take our advice and try to forget spaghetti and meatballs exists before you walk through the door.

Snap Top Market, 303 Columbus Ave., Boston; 857-250-2825.