Sweetgreen’s Guacamole Greens Salad (aka Guac Greens)

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Sweetgreen’s Guacamole Greens Salad (aka Guac Greens)-It's suddenly easy (and inexpensive) to devour this healthy, über popular restaurant salad on repeat thanks to this copycat recipe!

This copycat version of a restaurant favorite is filling, flavor-packed and makes healthy eating a breeze. And if you’ve struggled to find a cilantro lime vinaigrette recipe that tastes great, your search may be over. (No blender required either!) 

Special note to those who aren’t a fan of cilantro: even my husband, who does not typically enjoy this herb, gives high marks to this salad. 💚

 

 

 

Last summer, my older son John was accepted into a program in New York City. The program didn’t provide housing, but NYU had dorm space available.

The dorm stay included partial meal plan, which was helpful given big city food prices. Still, he still had to fend for himself for quite a few meals each week.

His dorm had no kitchen area, so he was on the hunt for cheap, filling meals. For the first time in his life, he was also trying to eat healthy. So while the pizza parlor across the street scored points for cheap and filling, he didn’t want to rely on that as often as he might have in years past.

Down the block, he discovered a sweetgreen (the company spells the name with a lowercase “s”). This has long been one of my husband’s and my favorite fast casual restaurants when traveling, as we don’t have one in our hometown. (It would be a wonderful addition!)

In fact, Jack’s Favorite Kale Caesar Salad (first photo below) is a copycat version of my husband’s favorite sweetgreen menu item. My top pick is the Harvest Bowl (second photo).

If you or someone you cook for never thought a salad could be filling enough for dinner, give the Harvest Bowl a go. (Although the addition of salmon or chicken and/or Polenta Croutons make the Caesar salad quite satisfying, too!)

 

John took a shining to sweetgreen’s Guacamole Greens Salad, which he nicknamed Guac Greens.

It’s a light yet filling combination of organic mesclun greens, creamy avocado, protein-rich roasted chicken, zingy red onion, juicy tomatoes, crisp tortilla chips and a zesty lime cilantro vinaigrette-with an extra squeeze of lime for good measure. 

The calorie total is 530 and the price is $10.75. After a $20 sandwich stunned John his first week in the City, a ten dollar dinner felt pretty darn reasonable!

When I asked John what made this particular salad his go-to, he didn’t hesitate. He said, “because it’s good for me, super convenient and tastes great!”

 

Sweetgreen’s Guacamole Greens Salad (aka Guac Greens)-It's suddenly easy (and inexpensive) to devour this healthy, über popular restaurant salad on repeat thanks to this copycat recipe!

 

Throughout my attempts to recreate his much-loved meal, my main challenge was the vinaigrette. I had made cilantro lime vinaigrette many times over the years, but never felt like I nailed it like the other dressings that can be found on this site.

I had always blended the dressing, and that’s how I started this time, too. The blender approach mimics the original sweetgreen salad dressing, but after much testing, I realized that an easier method actually produced a tastier and far more convenient result.

The following dressing also allows for a small batch, as you need to make a fairly large batch in order for the blender mechanism to incorporate the cilantro.

One point of deviation: sweetgreen does have jalapeño blended into the vinaigrette. If you want to be true to the original, you can stir in some minced jalapeño. I usually skip it and John claims not to notice.

If you’d like to tinker, you can also bolster the salad with corn and black beans. It might not be authentic, but it would still be delicious!

Beyond this salad, we’ve enjoyed the cilantro lime dressing on a salad of mixed greens, diced tomato, avocado, cucumber, roasted corn, red onion and sliced grilled steak. A sprinkle of cotija (or feta) cheese and crumbled tortilla chips provides the finishing touches.

You could also use the dressing on fish tacos, almost any Tex-Mex salad, black bean salad or a salad with greens, orange segments, avocado, red onion and pepitas. Add a grain like quinoa to make a Buddha-type bowl…or a rice salad.

Black rice (also called forbidden rice) would be delightful paired with this vinaigrette. The addition of avocado and halved cherry or grape tomatoes would be rather pretty, too.

 

Sweetgreen’s Guacamole Greens Salad (aka Guac Greens)-It's suddenly easy (and inexpensive) to devour this healthy, über popular restaurant salad on repeat thanks to this copycat recipe!

It’s suddenly easy (and inexpensive) to devour this healthy, über popular restaurant salad on repeat thanks to this copycat recipe!

Note that the following recipe is designed for one person, although the dressing recipe makes enough for a second salad. Both are easy to scale as needed.

 

Sweetgreen’s Guacamole Greens Salad (aka Guac Greens)
This do-it-yourself version of the popular restaurant salad is light-yet-filling and bursting with flavor.

Yield: 1 serving (easy to multiply for as many servings as needed)

Dressing recipe yields 1/4+ cup (enough for 2 salads)
For the salad:
  • 1 small grilled chicken breast, cubed (about 4 ounces cooked; could use rotisserie or leftover roast chicken—so good with Sazón grilled chicken)
  • ⅓ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced or slivered red onion
  • 6-8 large corn tortilla chips, crushed lightly with hands
  • ½ a small avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 2 ounces mixed spring greens (3-4 cups without packing)
  • Wedge of lime, optional
  • Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
For the vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon honey (could substitute granulated sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt and several turns of the pepper mill (start with ¼ teaspoon salt if using table salt)
  • ¼ teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander, and garlic powder*
Instructions:
  1. Prepare the vinaigrette: Combine all of the ingredients in a small jar or bowl. Dressing may be made a day or two in advance. Shake or stir well before using. Refrigerate any leftover dressing for another salad or other use later in the week.
  2. Make the salad: In a large bowl, place the cooked chicken, halved tomatoes, diced red onion, crushed tortilla chips, avocado, and mixed spring greens. Toss the salad lightly with the cilantro lime vinaigrette. (I use just under half.) Serve immediately with a wedge of lime for squeezing, if desired. Optionally, you may toss the greens with enough dressing to lightly coat and then layer the remaining ingredients over the plated greens, drizzling with a little more vinaigrette over all.
Notes:

*In a hurry or don’t have all the spices?  You may omit one or all of the spices (but don’t skip the salt) and the dressing will still taste good. That said, they do add an extra layer of flavor and can be added quickly. Also, 1 small, minced garlic clove could be used in place of the garlic powder.

 

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

 

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Comments

  1. Stacie Skelly

    This is absolutely delicious! The whole family loved it. My future daughter in law said “this is the best meal we’ve had in a long time- including out to eat!” I made exactly as written this time, but agree that adding corn and black beans would be yummy!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      It’s such a good feeling to have that sort of response at the dinner table, Stacie. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. I’m delighted it was a hit!

      Reply