Making These Popular Salads At Home Saved Us WAY More Money Than We Expected

Salads are the ultimate go-to for a convenient lunch. They're fast, fresh, healthy, and easy to access, whether we want to order one in for at-desk munching or run out to pick one up for a quick outdoor picnic. The popular chains and their ample green offerings seem readily available and offer a seemingly endless number of flavors — and we are here for it, five days a week.

But, as much as we love our Kale Caesars from Sweetgreen, our budgets do not share the sentiment. Buying a salad from one of these tasty chains for an entire week's worth of lunches could cost us close up to as high as a whopping $50 (and our wallets are not having it).

Since we aren't ready to kiss our Mexicali Vegans from Chop't goodbye, we decided to try out a money-saving alternative: making our salad chain favorites at home in our kitchens. What we discovered with picking up a handful of groceries to recreate these green lunches was shocking — we were able to cut those high weekly costs nearly in half with our home prep. Scroll on to see how you can make your copycat versions of three popular menu options from Sweetgreen, Chop't, and Just Salad — and save some major $$$ in the process.

Sweetgreen Kale Caesar ($9.75)
Shredded kale, chopped romaine, parmesan crisp, shaved parmesan, roasted chicken, tomatoes, fresh lime squeeze, and Caesar dressing.

*Savings: $27.23 a week
Copycat Kale Caesar
Serves 1

Ingredients
1 cup romaine, chopped
1 cup kale, deveined and shredded
4 tbsp Parmesan, shaved or shredded
1/3 cup grilled chicken, chopped
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1 lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Place 2 tbsp of Parmesan in separate piles on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, set the oven to broil (or put on high heat), and place the baking sheet in for 4-6 minutes (or until cheese has melted and just begun to brown). Once finished, remove and set aside to let cool/harden.

2. Meanwhile, mix the romaine, kale, chicken, and tomatoes in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

3. In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 of the lime's juice with olive oil, mustard, garlic, and 1 tbsp of cheese until well combined and creamy.

4. Pour caesar dressing over salad mixture and massage with hands (or toss with forks) to coat evenly. Once coated crumble cooled Parm crisps, remaining tbsp of cheese, and salt and pepper over the top. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Cost Breakdown ($21.52)
Bag of 3 romaine hearts ($2.49)
10 oz. bag of kale ($2.79)
12 oz. bag of shredded Parmesan ($4.99)
Pre-cooked grilled chicken strips ($5.49)
Pint of grape tomatoes ($1.99)
Lime ($0.29)
Jar of dijon mustard ($1.79)
Jar of minced garlic ($1.69)
*Assuming you have pantry staples already on hand; olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Using this copycat recipe, we were able to make a work week's worth of salads for $4.30 each. That's over $5 less than if purchased in store.

Note: Ingredients and ratios are not directly affiliated with salad company's actual recipes.
Just Salad's The California Salad ($8.25)
Romaine, grilled chicken, avocado, egg whites, grape tomatoes, toasted almonds, and balsamic vinaigrette.

*Savings: $13.58 a week
Copycat The California Salad
Serves 1

Ingredients
2 cups romaine, chopped
1/3 cup grilled chicken, chopped
1/2 avocado, pitted and chopped
2 egg whites, hardboiled and chopped
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Mix romaine, chicken, egg whites, tomatoes, and almonds in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic until well combined and creamy.

4. Pour balsamic vinaigrette over salad mixture and massage with hands (or toss with forks) to evenly coat. Once coated gently toss in chopped avocado and season with salt and pepper.

Cost Breakdown ($27.67)
Bag of 3 romaine hearts ($2.49)
Pre-cooked grilled chicken strips ($5.49)
9.3 oz. bag of pre-cooked and peeled hard boiled eggs ($2.49)
16 oz. bag of roasted almonds ($5.99)
Avocado ($1.69)
Pint of grape tomatoes ($1.99)
Jar of dijon mustard ($1.79)
Jar of minced garlic ($1.69)
Bottle of Balsamic Vinegar ($3.99)
*Assuming you have pantry staples already on hand; olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Using this copycat recipe, we were able to make a work week's worth of salads for $5.53 each. That's nearly $3 less than if purchased in store.

Note: Ingredients and ratios are not directly affiliated with salad company's actual recipes.
Chop't Mexicali Vegan ($8.49)
Avocado, hearts of palm, grape tomatoes, black beans, tortilla chips, jalapeño peppers, romaine, spinach, and Mexican Goddess dressing.

*Savings: $24.55 a week
Copycat Mexicali Vegan
Serves 1

Ingredients
1 cup romaine, chopped
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/2 avocado, pitted and chopped
3 hearts of palm, thinly sliced
1/4 cup black beans
4-6 tortilla chips, crumbled
1/2 jalapeño pepper, deseeded and finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tsp avocado, mashed
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Mix romaine, spinach, hearts of palm, and black beans in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

3. In a small bowl whisk together jalapeño, olive oil, lime juice, avocado mash, and garlic until well combined and creamy (add in more olive oil or water to thin, if too thick).

4. Pour dressing over salad mixture and massage with hands (or toss with forks) to coat evenly. Once coated, gently toss in chopped avocado and crushed tortilla chips, then season with salt and pepper. Serve with a wedge of lime.

Cost Breakdown ($17.90)
Bag of 3 romaine hearts ($2.49)
6 oz. bag of spinach ($1.99)
Avocado ($1.69)
Jalapeño ($1.69)
Lime ($0.29)
8.8 oz. jar of hearts of palm ($3.29)
16 oz. can of black beans ($0.79)
Pint of grape tomatoes ($1.99)
16 oz. container of sour cream ($1.79)
Jar of minced garlic ($1.69)
Bag of tortilla chips ($1.99)
*Assuming you have pantry staples already on hand; olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Using this copycat recipe, we were able to make a work week's worth of salads for $3.58 each. That's nearly $5 less than if purchased in store.

Note: Ingredients and ratios are not directly affiliated with salad company's actual recipes.
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