While I may crave fatty, calorie saturated burgers every now and then, I often find myself dreaming about a flavorful bowl of fruits and veggies. A tasty salad isn’t hard to find these days with countless women trying eat well. But a tasty, low-cal salad consisting of organic, locally grown produce is.
If you live in Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, or New York, consider yourself lucky. Sweetgreen, a counter service salad bar offering high quality salads, can be found in your area. Sweetgreen not only sources its produce from local, organic farms they know and trust, but they also emphasize the use of all natural, hormone and antibiotic free protein. The company’s footprint in earth conservation surpasses the noticeable 100% compostable containers, cutlery, and cups. Construction materials include reclaimed and FSC certified materials, LED lighting, and low VOC paint. And what happens to the left over scraps of food? They begin the composting process right in the sweetgreen kitchens!
Enough about the attention to conservation and sustainability. Let’s talk food. I’ve been fortunate to try my fair share of creations from the newly opened Chestnut Hill, MA location and when I say I dream about salads, I’m almost always dreaming about sweetgreen. Select menu items change monthly so your favorite creation may not be listed for long. You still have a few days left to check out June’s highlights- the June Salad, Blueberry Basil Lemonade, gazpacho, and a wild rice bowl. I for one am going to miss the lemonade, but I know next month’s concoction will be just as fabulous! And, get this, they even tell you to “drink responsibly” with the lemonade since it has 150 calories per serving. Thanks for reminding me it’s better to eat my calories, sweetgreen!
It can be a bit overwhelming walking up to the counter for the first time, but your anxiety immediately evaporates when the bubbly employees waste no time asking how your day is going…and sounding genuinely sincere about it. You may not ask for a side of happiness, but you’ll get a scoop every single time.
Which salad do you choose? There are presets on the menu (including calorie count) such as the Kale Caesar, Santorini, and Earth Bowl if you want to try some of the sweetgreen favorites, but they also allow you to create your own as well. I’ve done both. If I want something a bit hearty to hold me over through a long day of work, I opt for the no-brainer Earth Bowl containing warm grains, chicken, arugula, and a few other veggies. If I just want a great, regular salad I create my own. I’m not a huge kale fan so I like to be sure I add what I enjoy into my salads. I haven’t mastered the assembly line yet so I always tend to make the employees behind the counter cross paths. I’ll learn, I swear.
When you create your own salad, you can choose from any ingredients they carry. You start with choosing two bases (i.e. spinach, mesclun, warm grains, kale). Then you choose four ingredients (premiums cost a bit extra) such as grapes, soba noodles, broccoli, and tomatoes. Lastly, you pick your dressing and tell them if you want it light, medium, or heavy (finally, someone understands we may not want our lettuce drowning in dressing!). I recommend studying the ingredients before you step foot in the establishment so you have a clear idea of what you want. My go-to custom salad includes the following: organic mesclun, grapes, dried cranberries, candied pecans, goat cheese, and chicken tossed in a medium dose of champagne vinaigrette. Delish! In fact, I’ve mirrored that salad at home quite a few times, but it always seems to lack that sweetgreen charm.
Another big win for the company is that they ask whether or not you want the slice of hearty bread that comes with your salad. With the gluten-free, anti-carb frenzies sweeping the nation, they realize it would be wasteful not to ask. Speaking of gluten-free, all of the salad dressings lack gluten. I, and my belly, thank you!
What don’t I love about sweetgreen? I can’t think of a single thing. Rachel, the manager of the Chestnut Hill, MA location leads by example and truly embodies the values of the company. No doubt the food is enough to earn my consistent return business, but the friendliness of Rachel and her staff makes me feel welcome each time I step though the door, as if I’m coming home for a family meal.
I’m suddenly not looking forward to the homemade salad I prepared for lunch today…
Visit http://sweetgreen.com/ for more information on locations, menu, and company history.