TL;DR Sweetgreen has a lot of healthy options up and down the menu.
As we looked into the healthiest salads at sweetgreen on the internet, we found an outdated list from Spoon University. So we decided to create our own list. As began researching for an updated look at the healthiest salads from the popular salad franchise, our list grew a little out of control.
We started out with the idea of a simple list based on fewest calores, but with over 60 salads on their all-time roster; we found that a good chunk of sweetgreen’s fresh salads and warm bowls were between 250-550 calories. The ranking expanded from 10 to 12. Then from 17 to 21. We kept finding more. Finally we moved from a top 25 to nearly 30. Due to all the healthy choices, the list turned one post into a two-parter.
And the differences are small when it comes to “heathiest” at sweetgreen. What we mean by that is there’s fewer than 100 calories separating the 25th healthiest to the 10th healthiest. But since you’re here, 20 calories might matter to you. If that’s the case, here’s the first part of our two-part “Healthiest Sweetgreen Salad” series starting with #28 (well, technically #29).
Ok, that’s enough talking, here’s the 28 healthiest salads descending by calorie count.
STILL REALLY HEALTHY SWEETGREEN SALADS #12-28
#28 TORO BOWL at 550 calories (TIE)
A March 2017 collaboration bowl “inspired by the Spanish flavor combinations at (Ken) Oringer’s South End restaurant Toro” and was only available in 10 Boston sweetgreen locations, the warm bowl featured warm quinoa, shredded kale, hot chickpeas, roasted potatoes, jalapeños, local radishes, basil, local Feta, fresh Llmon squeeze, roasted corn Tomatoes, Sweetgreen Hot Sauce, and Charred Jalapeño Yogurt Dressing.
#28 OMG OMEGA at 550 calories (TIE)
Barely making onto the list is hugely-popular OMG Omega at 550 calories. The OMG Omega features sustainably sourced fish and mixes in some Japanese ingredients (seaweed and miso) with some more American ingredients. Here’s all that goes into the 550 calories: organic arugula, baby spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, avocado, roasted steelhead, nori furikake, and miso sesame ginger dressing.
#25 DETOX SALAD at 545 calories (TIE)
This vegan seasonal salad came out in January 2015 and has a lot of great detoxification ingredients. Starting with a shredded kale and organic arugula base. Sweetgreen then adds watercress, spicy broccoli, red onion, pears, avocado, and “umami” walnuts. This salad featured a “housemade seasonal detox dressing” which was made up of lemon, ginger, garlic, and chili powder — which sounds very much like the recipe for fasts.
#25 NOT SO Niçoise at 545 calories (TIE)
A play on a Nicoise salad, sweetgreen’s colorful take features roasted Steelhead Trout and hard boiled eggs with organic mesclun, chopped romaine, roasted asparagus, roasted potatoes, and horseradish vinaigrette dressing.
#25 WILD CHILD at 545 calories (TIE)
We don’t know why sweetgreen named this salad the Wild Child, but we guess it’s because it looks kinda all-over the place. The organic wild rice and organic baby spinach, cilantro, peppers, raw beets, shredded cabbage, carrots, raw seeds, avocado all just kind of sit on top of one another; only the miso sesame ginger dressing keeping the WILD CHILD together.
#24 GUACAMOLE GREENS at 540 calories
Phew! Aren’t you glad the super-popular Guac Greens is on this list of healthiest salads at sweetgreen? With “only” 540 calories, it might have a higher calorie count than many other offerings on this list, but it could be worse. The Guac Green includes organic mesclun, tomatoes, red onion, tortilla chips, avocado, roasted chicken, fresh lime squeeze, and lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette salad dressing. For fewer calories, try the Guacamole Greens without the tortilla chips.
#23 BENTO BOWL at 530 calories
Lots of Japanese ingredients in the 530 calorie-Bento Bowl. IT features Steelhead trout and organic wild rice, organic baby spinach and cucumber. Also included in this healthy salad is shredded Cabbage, tomato, nori furikake, and sweetgreen’s miso sesame ginger dressing.
#21 HELLO PORTOBELLO at 510 calories (TIE)
One of sweetgreen’s many versions integrating mushrooms. The Hello Portobello is still available in specific locations. Even if you’re not lucky enough to have this savory salad available in your area, you can enjoy it because all the ingredients are available in the majority of sweetgreen locations: organic wild rice, shredded kale, raw beets, sprouts, basil, spicy sunflower seeds, roasted portobello mushrooms, and miso sesame ginger dressing.
#21 UMAMI GRAIN BOWL at 510 calories (TIE)
An Asian-inspired dish that’s savory yet healthy. Just a little over 500 calories for this warm bowl that includes organic quinoa + farro, swiss chard, pea shoots, roasted mushrooms, red onion, roasted tofu, spicy sunflower seeds with a miso ginger dressing.
#17 TRUE BLUE at 505 calories (TIE)
One of the rare seafood offerings at sweetgreen — a first with crab. The “True Blue” Maryland Blue Crab salad was only available at D.C. and Philadelphia locations. The unique offering included organic mesclun, shredded kale, ‘True Blue’ Maryland crab, green and red peppers, raw corn, avocado, spicy sunflower seeds with a carrot chili vinaigrette… and just 490 calories.
#17 ROASTED VEGGIES + CHICKEN at 505 calories (TIE)
This seasonal salad from 2015 features shredded kale and organic mesclun as the green base. Added into this simple salad includes the core namesake ingredients local roasted vegetables and roasted chicken. Also icnluded are basil, shredded carrots, parmesan crisp, and sweetgreen’s pesto vinaigrette dressing.
#17 MAKETTO DINNER BOWL at 505 calories (TIE)
One of the few collaborations that make this list. The Maketto Bowl is brought to you by local D.C. superchef Erik Bruner-Yang and sweetgreen. The flavors of the bowl are inspired by a flavors from the Yunnan province in China. The Maketto Bowl has organic wild rice, roasted chicken, roasted sesame tofu, ginger cabbage slaw, cilantro and basil and mint, cucumber, cashews, a custom chili-tamari dressing, and a fresh lime squeeze.
#17 APPLES + BUTTERNUT SQUASH at 505 calories (TIE)
Sweetgreen’s fruity salad isn’t just apples and butternut squash, but also has shredded kale, Organic Mesclun,Local Blue Cheese, Raisins, Umami Walnuts, and Balsamic Vinaigrette.
#15 GRAPEFRUIT + AVOCADO at 490 calories
This L.A.-based Grapefruit + Avocado salad from sweetgreen is the first salad to fall under 500 calories. With only eight ingredients, it’s really one of the more basic salads. It includes…. surprise — grapefruit and avocado, as well as romaine, arugula, parmesan, spicy sunflower seeds.
#15 BLUE HILL’S WastED SALAD at 490 calories (TIE)
Sweetgreen’s collaboration salad with Blue Hill is all about utilizing usual food “waste” – parts of fruits and vegetables that are usually tossed away such as broccoli stalks, arugula broccoli leaves and kale stems to create a salad. Blue Hill and sweetgreen came together in 2015 for this special salad and not only was it eco-conscious, but really healthy, too (490 calories). The actual ingredients read like: Arugula Broccoli Leaf Mix, Roasted Kale Stems, Broccoli Stalks, Shaved Parmesan, Spicy Sunflower Seeds, Housemade Croutons, Pesto Vinaigrette.
#14 STRAWBERRY + SNAP PEA at 480 calories
Only available in Los Angeles, the Strawberry + Snap Pea misses out of the top ten fewest calories by approximately three strawberries and snap pea. This light salad with just 480 calories has organic arugula, organic baby spinach, local strawberries, snap peas, jicama, local feta, spicy sunflower seeds, cilantro, and lime cilantro jalapeño vinaigrette.
#13 SUMMER SNAP PEA + MOZZARELLA at 465 calories
Another snap pea salad — when snap peas are one of the main ingredients of a salad, you know it’s going to be low cal. The seasonal salad from 2015 features snap peas and pea shoots as well as organic arugula, mesclun, balsamic-marinated mozzarella (what?!), red cabbage, spicy quinoa, and pesto vinaigrette.
#12 PORTOBELLO, SQUASH + WILD RICE at 455 calories
Rounding out this list before we get into the top ten is the not so creatively-named Portobello, Squash + Wild Rice bowl. A savory bowl that’s well under 500 calories? Great. Check out these ingredients: organic wild rice, shredded kale, warm portobello mushrooms, butternut squash, caramelized onions, beets, basil, topped with sweetgreen’s housemade miso sesame ginger dressing.
Not the Fewest Calories, But Still Really Healthy As we mentioned, just because these sweetgreen salads aren’t in the top ten for fewest calories, they’re still really healthy. If you’re calorie-counting and trying to maintain or lose weight, the differences are small. For example, what separates #22 on the list and #13 is just 50 calories. Take a look:
|#12||455 cal||Portobello, Squash + Wild Rice||Seasonal|
|#13||465 cal||Summer Snap Peas + Mozzarella||Seasonal|
|#14||480 cal||Strawberry + Snap Pea||Los Angeles|
|#15||490 cal||Grapefruit + Avocado||Seasonal|
|#17||505 cal||Maryland Blue Crab||Maryland|
|#17||505 cal||Apples + Butternut Squash||D.C.|
|#17||505 cal||Roasted Veggies + Chicken|
|#17||505 cal||Maketto Dinner Bowl||Seasonal|
|#21||510 cal||Umami Grain Bowl||Seasonal|
|#21||510 cal||Hello Portobello||Seasonal|
|#23||530 cal||Bento Bowl||Seasonal|
|#24||540 cal||Guacamole Greens||Yes|
|#25||545 cal||Not So Niçoise||Seasonal|
|#25||545 cal||Detox Salad||Seasonal|
|#25||545 cal||Wild Child||Seasonal|
|#28||550 cal||OMG Omega||Yes|
|#28||550 cal||Toro Bowl||Seasonal|
* In our rankings of the sweetgreen salads by calorie count list, we couldn’t locate the calories for seven sweetgreen menu items salads. Those seven included four “collaboration salads”: The Hozon Salad (David Chang in 2014), The Za’atar Salad (Jon and Vinny in 2015), and One Grain or Another (Blondie in 2016). The other salad we didn’t include was the Vegetable Goddess. because we we’re able to find the calorie count.
The problem with these 15 salads are that the vast majority of them were seasonal, limited-time collaborations, or location-specific so they’re not available nationwide. However, since we listed the ingredients, you might be able to mirror many of them — such as creating your own L.A. special salad — the Thai Cashew Tofu — if the ingredients are in a New York location. At worst, you can lean on the healthier salads available at all locations: Guac Greens and the OMG Omega.
Even the salad that’s last on this list; the one with the most calories is 550 calories. Considering that moderately-active females need to consume approximately 1800-2100 calories for “healthy weight management” and males need around 2400, sweetgreen not only is below that (when looking at three meals a day), but their menu items are super tasty too. No wonder there’s always a line at lunch time. Like you needed any more reasons than you already have to order the Guac Greens or OMG Omega every single day of your life.
Stayed tuned for our top
ten eleven list of healthiest sweetgreen salads that just came out.