If you’re not familiar with the way it works at Sweetgreen, you can either make your own salad from a set of “bases” and “toppings,” or you can choose from one of their own combinations of bases and toppings. Since the mighty chickpea has become a staple of the American health nut’s diet, it comes up in as many as three different toppings: plain chickpeas, falafel, and hummus. The latter two are featured in Sweetgreen’s Hummus Tahina salad. An updated Greek salad, this concoction starts with a romaine lettuce and kale base, and is topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita chips, red onions, and falafel. Dressed with a tangy tahini dressing, and slapped with a scoop of hummus, this salad reaches the end of the assembly line, ready to eat. I went to Sweetgreen to try it out, and got a weird look for ordering the salad without any tweaks. Is that a bad sign? Oh my.
Usually in these posts I talk about authenticity, but I feel like it is kind of futile in this case. I mean do Guacamole Greens take you back to Mexico? What about the Rad Thai?
When I go to sweetgreen, I don’t expect my taste buds to be dazzled. It seems to be Sweetgreen’s objective to cover each part of the food pyramid in every one of their salads. Unfortunately, this means that their combinations can be very crowded. The list of ingredients that went into my Hummus Tahina is unnecessarily long. I don’t need hummus AND falafel AND tahini. Individually, the hummus is creamy and nutty, the falafel is warm, chunky, and hearty, and the tahini is light and tangy. But together you get tahini and chickpea overload. Romaine is traditional, and kale is a cool update, but again, why put them together? That being said, some ingredients were essential, like pita chips that give crunch, and cherry tomatoes that add color and sweetness.
Overall, it was an okay lunch. Next time, I’d take out the hummus, keep the falafel, and go for an all-kale base.
Also, I promise, I will have at least one home cooked Middle Eastern recipe before the end of the semester!