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Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Salad with Spicy Cashew Dressing (gluten free + dairy free!)

dairy freedinnergluten freehealthylunchrefined sugar free

This copycat Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Salad recipe is as healthy and delicious as the original, but with even more amazing health benefits (hello recipe for glowing skin and weight loss)! If you’ve never had the pleasure of ordering this Sweetgreen salad, here’s the situation: a creamy, spicy cashew dressing, crunchy purple cabbage and shredded carrots, fresh cilantro, lime, and (my favorite part) perfectly-spiced crispy rice. This protein-packed, veggie-loaded copycat Sweetgreen salad explodes with freshness and is such an easy lunch or dinner for the week. Seriously, the cashew dressing recipe takes less than fives minutes.

sweetgreen crispy rice salad copycat recipe

What makes this copycat Sweetgreen salad recipe so healthy?

Every bite of this crispy rice salad is loaded with fresh, natural ingredients that are studied to have amazing health benefits, including one I’m particularly interested in: supporting immunity. If you caught my recent Healthier Together Podcast episode with Functional Immunologist Dr. Heather Moday, you’ll remember that caring for our microbiome is a great way to boost immunity, spend less time being sick, and fight chronic inflammation. In this Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Salad, there’s plenty of ingredients to do all that and more:

  • Arugula: a leafy green that’s been studied for its powerful effects for weight loss, energy, and reducing the risk for diseases like cancer.
  • Red cabbage: a cruciferous vegetable that’s shown to be a major immune system booster and anti-inflammatory
  • Cilantro: a leafy herb that’s known to help lower blood pressure, fight free radicals, and even lessen anxiety
  • Carrots: an antioxidant-rich root vegetable that’s been proven to carry the essential nutrients to protect eye health and reduce risk of chronic disease.
  • Ginger: a gut-healing root that’s shown in studies to boost digestion, ease joint pain, and promote cognitive brain function.
  • Garlic: an antioxidant-rich aromatic that’s filled with a compound called allicin, which is proven to protects against brain damage and aging.
  • Cashews: a wonderful source of plant-based protein, this nut is shown to help fight heart disease and also promote weight loss.
  • Almonds: a fibrous nut that’s known for reducing cholesterol, promoting skin health, and protecting the heart.
  • Wild rice: a high-antioxidant rice that’s shown to be great for weight loss and fighting chronic disease.

What you’ll need to make this Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Salad

You all said that the Crispy Rice Salad was the best Sweetgreen bowl, so of COURSE I had to recreate it for us. And, I have to tell you, this is one of my favorite salad recipes yet. From the homemade cashew dressing to the little crispy rice puffs, I analyzed all the textures and the flavors to give us an even healthier version that tastes just like the original. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • For the spicy cashew dressing: this 5-minute dressing comes together by blending garlic, cilantro, sesame oil, fresh ginger, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, red chili flakes, cashew butter, lime, salt, and filtered water together until smooth.
  • For the crispy rice: I love adding perfect umami flavors to this puffed rice cereal by tossing it with avocado oil, smoked paprika, garlic, ginger and onion powder, and tamari and baking it.
  • For the salad base: you’ll need arugula, shredded rotisserie chicken, almonds, wild rice, cilantro, carrots, purple cabbage, cucumber, and lime juice.

How to make this arugula salad with spicy cashew dressing

  1. Cook the rice. Boil a large pot of water. Add a generous amount of salt and the rice and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook it until al dente, about 45 minutes. Then, drain it like pasta and rinse it with cold water.
  2. Bake the crispy rice. Mix together all the crispy rice ingredients in a bowl, then spread them out in a single layer on a parchment lined pan. Bake them at 350F for just 3 minutes.
  3. Make the dressing. Blend all of the dressing ingredients together until smooth.
  4. ⁣Prep and assemble the salad. Chop the almonds, purple cabbage, and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Then, shred the carrot and the rotisserie chicken. Lastly, slice the cucumber and lime in half. Arrange them all atop your bed of arugula!
  5. Complete the dish. Add the crispy rice to the salad bowl and drizzle the spicy cashew dressing on top. ⁣

How to meal prep this Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Salad

This salad honestly makes the perfect healthy lunch meal prep. Just chop/shred your salad base ingredients and store in the fridge in one container, bake the crispy rice and store at room temperature, and make the dressing and store it in the fridge in a mason jar until you’re ready to combine them all!

You could even double the batch of spicy cashew dressing and have it as the perfect vegan dipping sauce for veggie sticks throughout the week.

More salads that don’t suck

Hot Girl Summer Salad

Chopped Chicken Salad with Thai Satay Peanut Dressing

The Easiest Meal Prep Sheet Pan Salad

Detoxifying Basil and Roasted Beet Salad

Mexican Kale Salad

Strawberry Pistachio Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Vinaigrette

I hope you love this Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Salad! Enjoy, and tag me if you make it on Instagram (@lizmoody)—I can’t wait to see!

Print
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Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Salad with Spicy Cashew Dressing (gluten free + dairy free!)


  • Author: Liz Moody
  • Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

Scale

For the crispy rice: 

  • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika⁣
  • 2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder ⁣
  • 1.5 teaspoon onion powder ⁣
  • 1.5 teaspoon ginger powder⁣
  • 4 teaspoon tamari⁣
  • 3 teaspoon avocado oil 

For the spicy cashew dressing:

  • 2 large or 3 small cloves garlic⁣
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro⁣
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil⁣
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger⁣
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar⁣
  • 1.5 tablespoon maple syrup⁣
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes (use less or more for less or more spice!)⁣
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted creamy cashew butter⁣
  • juice of 1 lime ⁣
  • 1 tablespoon fine grain sea salt + more to taste ⁣
  • 1/4 cup water⁣

For the salad base:

  • 2 cups arugula⁣
  • 1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds⁣
  • 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro⁣
  • 1 shredded carrot⁣
  • 1/4 cup chopped purple cabbage⁣
  • 1/4 cup sliced cucumber⁣
  • 1/2 cup crispy rice ⁣
  • juice of 1 lime 

Instructions

  1. Boil water in a large pot. Add a palmful of salt and wild rice. Then, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until al dente. Then, drain like pasta and rinse under cold water. 
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix all crispy rice ingredients together. Spread them out on the baking sheet and when the oven reaches 350, bake them for 3 minutes. Then, set aside.
  4. Add all of the spicy cashew dressing ingredients to a high-powered blender, and blend until smooth. 
  5. In a large salad bowl, assemble the salad base ingredients. Then, top with the crispy rice and the dressing. Serve and enjoy! 

 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes

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  1. Jenny says:

    This is my all time fave salad from Sweetgreen (sub tofu for chicken) and this recipe nails it! For me, the dressing was a little too salty even using 1/2 tbsp salt so that would be my only change for the future but otherwise this is great!!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hey Jenny,

      I’m so glad this recipe nails it for you! The type of cashew butter you use or salt could affect the saltiness, but I’m glad you’re able to adjust it to your liking!

      xo, Liz

  2. Rebecca says:

    I made some changes on the salad to incorporate what I had on hand but followed the dressing exactly. Wow! Sook good and tastes just like sweetgreen’s! I don’t have one near me so bring on more of the copy cat recipes! Will be adding to my rotation for sure!

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hey Rebecca,

      I’m so glad you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing.

      xo, Liz

  3. Nicole says:

    I’M IMPRESSED! Trying to kick my Sweetgreen habit, especially now that my favorite salads are $13. This dressing is amazing but don’t skip the maple syrup (sugary taste in needed). I also forgot to pre-cook the wild rice, but otherwise very easy to throw together for lunch! This will be my new staple.

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hey Nicole,

      I’m so glad you love this recipe. Agree, the maple syrup in here totally makes the dressing.

      xo, Liz