We very recently made a trip Sweetgreen, the newest location of an up and coming salad/wrap/froyo chain in the DC and Philadephia areas. We enjoyed the healthy alternative to campus junk food as well as the creative salad combinations offered on the menu. However, at $8-10 per salad and with somewhat of a wait, it's not the best option for our noontime meal.
A has been busy this week at school, staying late and eating dinner on campus. She didn't want me to have to cook full-scale dinners for one every night, so she put together some simple, stress-free meals. One of these was a rendition of the salad she had enjoyed at Sweetgreen- the chic p.
Sweetgreen describes this vegan salad as such: "mesclun & baby spinach with baked falafel, chickpeas, cucumbers, fresh peppers, pita chips; topped with a lemon hummus tahini dressing." I started out with a base of three different types of salad greens that we had on hand: spinach, romaine, and red leaf lettuce. My salad at Sweetgreen, the curry gold, was entirely based on spinach, which definitely got old after awhile. A good mix of greens keeps every bite interesting.
Cucumbers and chickpeas are super easy salad toppers, providing lots of crunch and textural interest. We decided to go with halved grape tomatoes instead of fresh peppers- significantly cheaper and adding in a less acidic sweetness.
The dressing was our own take on "lemon hummus tahini"- instead of more chickpea flavor, why not go with another creamy dressing base- avocado! I mashed one small avocado with the juice of a lemon, a heaping tablespoon of tahini, two heaping tablespoons of goat's milk yogurt, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I also added a splash of water to thin out the mixture into more of a dressing than a guac. The yogurt adds an interesting tart element to the flavor and an extra level of creaminess.
While I certainly could have made my own falafel (we do a crumbly oven baked version), A decreased the difficulty factor by purchasing some pre-made falafel from our favorite store- Trader Joe's. I popped out two servings of falafel and microwaved them for a minute and a half. Though they do have 19g of fat per serving and a few additives in the ingredients list, you can't beat that for ease. These falafel have a good crust, crumbly interior, and lots of flavor.
I assembled my salad, snapped a few pics, and dug in. This was a veritable salad beast. Everything was super fresh- I'm loving that we're about to get into full swing lettuce season. The avocado serves up plenty of healthy fats while the two versions of chickpeas (plain + falafel) kick in some necessary protein. I had enough dressing and falafel left over to pack A a delicious lunch for the following day. Overall I actually liked our version of this salad more than the original, but that is just the joy of eating from your own kitchen.