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Two Sweetgreen-Inspired Salads To Get You Through Winter (And Excited for Spring)

All the flavor without the $15 price tag.
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In a previous life, I photographed salads for a living. It was all very glamorous, with the Shroomami, Kale Caesar, and Guacamole Greens as my muses, and after nearly two years of working at sweetgreen corporate, I learned a bit about making a bowl of greens something delicious and worth looking forward to.

I've been guilty of placing a few too many takeout and delivery orders over the past year, most of which consist of sushi or my beloved sweetgreen bowls. But those one-offs add up, and soon enough, I needed to press pause on ordering in, since the expenses began resembling my monthly electric bill... only on salads. So I committed to building my own at home, which kept costs down and my culinary creativity high. 

Below are my favorites so far, inspired by two of my sweetgreen go-tos, for anyone also looking to curb their order-in addiction or for those who have never had the opportunity to try it in person.

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I traveled to Boston a few times while working for sweetgreen, and always ordered one thing: their regional option, The Patriot. It had mesclun, baby spinach, basil, almonds, blueberries, strawberries, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. The sweet (berry) and tangy (goat cheese) combo is, in my opinion, irresistible, and tastes like summer is on the horizon. When making it at home, I swap the greens for arugula for a light peppery flavor, use pecans instead of almonds, remove the basil and blueberries, then add some sliced shallots and the holy grail salad ingredient: avocado. It's a fairly easy lunch to throw together, and would be delicious with grilled chicken if you're looking for additional protein.

You will need:

For the salad

Bunch of arugula (I use about two cups)
2 to 3 tbsp pecan pieces (toasted, if you're feeling fancy)
5 strawberries, sliced
1 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 avocado, sliced

For the dressing

1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (Champagne vinegar would also work well!)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp honey

How to make it:

1. Wash greens, and add to a large bowl.

2. Assemble by adding all ingredients to the arugula.

3. To prep dressing, add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake.

4. Pour dressing over salad, and mix. Enjoy!

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Ah, the GOAT (pun intended) of salads: The Harvest Bowl. My absolute favorite item on the menu (and a beloved classic), this has everything you're looking for from a hearty meal: protein to keep you full, fruit for a bit of sweetness, nuts for crunch, goat cheese for a creamy texture, balsamic vinegar for some bite, and rice to make it feel more like a bowl and less like a salad. If I could eat one Harvest Bowl every day for the rest of my life I would—and while I'm not saying my version is quite as good, it is more affordable and makes a pretty convincing dupe.

You will need:

For the salad

Bunch of curly or Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces (I used about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp walnut pieces
1/4 apple, sliced (I went with a Honeycrisp)
1/4 pear, sliced (I went with a Bartlett)
1 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup wild rice, prepped in advance
1/3 sweet potato, sliced and roasted
1/4 cup roasted chicken breast, cubed or torn

For the dressing

1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (red wine vinegar would also work well!)
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 clove of garlic, minced (I use a whole clove because I love garlic)
2 tsp honey

How to make it:

1. Wash greens, and add to a large bowl.

2. Assemble by adding all ingredients to the arugula.

3. To prep dressing, add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake.

4. Pour dressing over salad, and mix. Enjoy!

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