I work full-time and I often forget to make a lunch to take to the office (or just don't because sleep is more important, duh) and since I work close to so many great restaurants I have so much to choose from! If I'm feeling like ramen, I'll get it! Want a steak? There's a steakhouse! One of my favorite places is sweetgreen.
I first learned about sweetgreen while I was working for SoulCycle. Since most of the management staff came from NYC, they were so excited when it opened here in Chicago. It's first week open I think we all ordered it for lunch 3 times in a row. It helped that it wasn't too far! When I changed careers, I was so happy when I realized that my office is even closer than SoulCycle was!
It's basically a high end chipotle but for salads and there are so many different combinations you can create OR you can order from the menu! My go-to, especially in the fall and winter is the Harvest Bowl. It has organic wild rice, shredded kale, apples, sweet potatoes (I used butternut squash), roasted chicken, goat cheese, toasted almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette. It's healthy, filling and delicious. Most of the time, I can't finish the entire thing! So I save the rest for that 3PM slump.
This is so fun to make, and honestly so easy if you get the timing right. If you're worried about timing, just make each component once at a time! Here's what you need:
- 1 cup wild rice
- 4 cups mushroom broth
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 large gala apple
- 1 bunch of dinosaur kale
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 log of goat cheese
- 2 grilled chicken breast
- balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
- garlic salt
- cayenne pepper
- toasted almonds (or any roasted nuts)
I start with the rice! After rinsing one cup in cool water, I add it to a medium sauce pan with 4 cups of mushroom broth and salt. Bring it to a boil, lower it to a simmer and DON'T STIR! Just let it sit over low heat until the broth cooks off. About 25-30 minutes. Wild rice cracks open when it's done, so just keep an eye on it! Once it's done, taste and season as needed! The mushroom broth gives the rice a really nice umami flavor. I keep mushroom, chicken, veggie, and beef broth stocked in my pantry for different soups and sauces. If you don't have broth, no worries, just use water.
While the rice is cooking it's time to get the squash going! Pre-heat the oven to roast at 350˚. Then, break down the butternut squash: peeling, coring, and cutting into bite sized pieces. My happy spot is about 1/4 inch cubes. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt&pepper, and sprinkle with some cayenne pepper! That should take about 10 minutes. Just pop the squash in the oven and let it roast until the rice is done! SO easy!
Next, the apples. Start by dicing the yellow onion and setting it aside. Then, do the same with the apple! If you have an apple corer, it make this SO easy! I try to cut the apple into the same bite-size pieces as the squash. Add to a medium pan with some olive oil and sauté for about 5 minutes, just until the apples are tender but not mushy. Season to taste with s&p.
The next part is seriously the easiest. Take the kale and rip it. That's right! Rip. With your hands! It's the easiest way to get the kale into bite sized pieces. Then just toss it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil! Add s&p to taste.
Lastly, you could make your own chicken breast, but why? Every time I go to the grocery store, a rotisserie chicken is always on my list. They're cheap and so easy to break down and use in so many recipes -- you can even get them already broken down so you don't have to worry about deboning it! Just chop the chicken breasts into cubes and you're set.
That's it! Combine all of the components into a bowl and add some goat cheese right in the center. It'll start to melt from the warmth of the squash, apples, and rice and start to mix with the balsamic and olive oil. I like to mix my bowl so each bite has a bit of everything. SO delicious. The salad/bowl wouldn't be a true sweetgreen replica without a slice (or loaf) of bread on the side. What's great about this salad is that you can eat it warm or cold! I love it both ways. I love making this in doubles (just double everything you need) and it's perfect for a group! Everyone can add what they love and leave out what they don't. Just pair it with a Sauvignon Blanc. It pairs so well with the goat cheese.