A growing trend in fast food is the quickie salad place, an eatery where they create your salad in an assembly line and have it ready usually in under five minutes. I’m all for this type of fast food, especially since fast and healthy options are usually few and far between. One of my favorite fast salad places is also very vegan friendly, locavore friendly, and environmentally friendly – Sweetgreen!
Sweetgreen has various locations throughout DC and the metro area, including Georgetown, Dupont Circle, and Ballston. I recently went to the one in Ballston (and that’s where the pictures are from), but I also frequented the one in Georgetown when I went to school there. Sweetgreen offers wonderful pre-determined salad combos on their menu, and also a variety of ingredients so you can make your own. The ingredients are all delicious and taste incredibly fresh, probably because most of them come from local farms! Each day Sweetgreen tells you where their local ingredients came from, and their seasonal salads are based on which ingredients are currently in season. Mm, fresh and local food!
On this particular trip I ordered the seasonal May Salad, a salad made with mesclun greens, arugula, mint, strawberries, sunflower seeds, and asparagus. The salad is advertised as coming with feta cheese, but I decided to keep it vegan and swap out the feta for their amazing roasted tofu. Seriously, try this tofu – it’s covered in some wonderful seasonings and it’s roasted to a great bite! I also want to praise Sweetgreen for subbing the tofu for the cheese at no extra cost, and for including the tofu amongst its cheaper toppings when it comes to building your own salad. Furthermore, the two cheapest salads on the menu – the sabzi and the chic-p – are both vegan, helping to abolish the myth that eating vegan is more expensive than a meat-based diet. Oftentimes eating vegan is actually the cheaper option!
As with all of their salads, my May Salad came with a delicious wedge of multigrain bread. At the Ballston location they served the salad in a reusable bowl, though at Georgetown they only serve them in to-go containers since it’s a much smaller venue and doesn’t offer seating. However, Sweetgreen’s plasticware is plant-based, and I believe all of it is compostable – the Sweetgreen in Ballston didn’t even have a garbage bin! They had one bin for compostables (napkins, cups, silverware, etc.), and one for bottles – that’s it. How impressive! Further, they sell reusable versions of their to-go containers, and offer a discount each time you use it. Kudos for promoting sustainability in more ways than just recycled napkins.
The salad itself was about $8, which is a very good price considering how fresh and healthy the ingredients were, and how big the salad was! These salads are definitely meals, so don’t order one thinking it’ll go on the side with a sandwich or something – these salads are front and center when it comes to your lunch! Most of the salads range from $7.50 to $9 before tax, and drinks are between $2 and $3. They offer house lemonade, soda made from organic cane sugar (no high fructose corn syrup here), Honest Tea, and other tasty beverages. They also sell organic tart frozen yogurt, which comes with various fruits, nuts, and dark chocolate for toppings. Unfortunately they do not have a vegan frozen yogurt, but maybe they will in the future! (Devises letter-writing campaign)
In short, Sweetgreen is a restaurant that is tasty, reasonably-priced, vegan friendly, and fast. It’s perfect for lunch or for a light dinner, and has many options for people with any sort of dietary need!