How to Eat Vegan On The Go x Sweetgreen
One of the most frequently-asked questions I get in response to being vegan is, "How do you eat out?"
And while there are soooooo many amazing options for sit-down vegan restaurants (especially in Oakland!), sometimes you just need something, quick, easy, and relatively cheap. For vegans, especially new vegans, it can be quite a challenge finding a quick, budget-friendly meal that's not only satisfying, but also healthy. Traditional fast food certainly doesn't cut it in the health department, and grabbing a snack from your local coffee shop almost always requires spending 5-10 minutes looking at ingredients lists to see if there are any vegan-friendly options for you. It is, to be quite frank, a pain in the butt, and takes way more time than it's worth. And for those of us who are allergy-prone like me... well, the quest to find good food is even harder, and takes even longer.
One of my favorite places to go to grab a quick, healthy, vegan meal is, hands-down, Sweetgreen. Almost everywhere I go, I show up with a Sweetgreen salad tucked in tow, ready to be devoured at any moment. I've mastered the art of eating one while driving (don't try this at home, kids) and have even found what I think is the best salad combination out there. And, as someone who eats quite a bit of salads, I think that says a lot. ;)
One of the things I love so much about Sweetgreen- aside from their accessibility and delicious salads - is their commitment to sustainability. All of their ingredients are locally sourced, which is why their menus vary by location! When I go into their Berkeley location (or their San Francisco one) there's even a chalkboard on the wall listing all their ingredients and their sourcing- most of which are from the greater Bay Area. They do their best to support local farmers and the local community, which makes me feel a lot better about shelling out $10+ for my salad; knowing my money goes back into my local community and supporting the people of my home makes me feel all the more better.
But their sustainability spans further than just their local outreach. All of the plastics they use, from their to-go containers to their cups to even their cutlery, are made of compostable plastic. While this is still plastic nonetheless, it's a huge step, especially for those of us (re: most of us) who don't bring reusable utensils with us everywhere. Plus, they even have designated compost bins right next to the trash, making is super easy to make the more eco-friendly choice. While I try to always use my reusable bamboo utensils whenever I eat out (I bought these ones off of Etsy!) sometimes (a lot of the time) I'm human and just forget to bring them. With Sweetgreen's eco-friendly options, it's easy for me to feel better about the times when I have to use the disposable utensils and eat on-the-go.
So with all of that said, I'm so excited to be partnering with Sweetgreen on this post to show you guys not only how incredibly easy Sweetgreen makes it to eat on-the-go, but also share my favorite salad combination! If you're lucky enough to live near a Sweetgreen, this is perfect to just grab and take on-the-go, no matter what adventure your day may bring. While I personally don't think they have a bad salad on their menu, this one takes the cake for me, and I order it every single time I go there. It's super simple to order, yet absolutely delicious. Honestly, if I could afford it, I would eat this salad every single day.
Ingredients: romaine lettuce, rice, spicy broccoli, avocado (+ $2), sesame tofu (+ $2)
How to Order: Ask for extra broccoli and don't be afraid to go heavy on the miso-sesame dressing. Have them mix it all up, and be sure to go bread-free ;)*
* If you want more of a crunch, you can add bean sprouts and shredded cabbage, but I think this salad is best as-is.
Total Price: $13.03
The Verdict: This is by far my favorite Sweetgreen combination ever. I absolutely love Asian food, so I'm always trying to sneak Asian-inspired flavors in whenever I can. From the sesame in the tofu, to the miso in the dressing and even the hint of Siracha in the broccoli, it's like the vegan version of an Asian chicken salad, but on steroids. If I'm hungry enough, I can easily scarf down this entire bowl in one sitting, but I find that sometimes it's even enough to cover both lunch and dinner for me (I'm a fairly light eater). And don't be worried about the extra dressing making the salad extra soggy- I find that the longer it sits, the more flavorful the salad gets. Plus, in all the times I've eaten Sweetgreen, I've never had a problem with limp lettuce. I've even left my salad in my car for a few hours (not in the sun, of course) and have come back and finished it later, only to find the lettuce still as crisp as ever.
If you're not planning on eating it in one sitting though, or you want to save a little money, I recommend ditching the avocado. The salad is definitely flavorful enough without it, but sometimes it's nice to have that rich creaminess to offset all the spice going on, especially if you're not used to eating spicy foods. Half the time I end up skipping the avo for logistics reasons, but if you have the time- and the stomach- to eat the salad all in one sitting, I definitely recommend adding it. Call me a typical Californian, but I believe that you can never have enough avocado on anything.
In terms of price, I believe it's absolutely fair. This isn't a skimpy side-salad, and like I mentioned earlier, it can even hold me over for two full meals, sometimes. For two meals- or even for one- I find $13 extremely affordable, especially compared to other places in the inflated Bay Area market that can run you $20-$25 per meal. And, considering their produce is locally-sourced, (mostly) organic, and free of gross additives (corn derivatives, etc.) it can honestly be a lot cheaper, both in time and money, than cooking the same way yourself. Take it from someone who has to eat organic on an extremely-limited diet: it's hard, expensive, and incredibly time consuming. Oh, the things we're forced to do for our health.
With Sweetgreen, staying and eating vegan on-the-go has never been easier. It's quick, it's healthy, it's affordable (especially when compared to other healthy vegan options out there), and it's accessible. With over 72 locations across the United States, it's incredibly easy to find a Sweetgreen location near you.
It makes me so happy to see Sweetgreen continue to expand, and furthermore, see how ultra-vegan-friendly restaurants are becoming more and more popular, not only across the United States, but across the globe, too. It's not only great for us vegans, as it allows us the freedom to eat out without worry, but it's also great just to see the overall conscious mindset shift that's occurring within the general population as a whole. To see people waking up and tapping into their potential to take control of their health and their bodies is an incredible thing to witness, and I'm so happy that so many restaurants (like Sweetgreen!) are echoing this message and making it easier than ever for people to transition into this lifestyle. Slowly but surely, we as a population are becoming more health-conscious and more environmentally-aware than ever, and that, I think, is an absolutely beautiful thing.
So on that note, whether you're vegan (or not), get out and treat yourself to a big ole' veggie-filled salad. Trust me when I say that you won't regret it. A happy belly is a happy mind, and with a belly full of fresh veggies, how could you be anything but happy?!
Photography by: Julia O test (edited by me)
** This post was written in partnership with Sweetgreen. In no way does that affect my review. Thank you for supporting the sponsored posts that allow TRTH to continue existing!