Learn how to make Sweetgreens' popular fall harvest bowls right at home. Plus, get ideas for recipe variations, tips for making this meal ahead of time, and tricks for picking and prepping the produce.
If you've been to Sweetgreens, you know that their harvest bowl just looks and tastes like fall. There's no other way to describe it.
The warm wild rice, roasted chicken and sweet potatoes, crisp apples, and crunchy almonds are the season's epitome.
Spread out on a bed of shredded kale and topped with creamy goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette, it makes me want to curl up under a cozy blanket with a book.
Looking for more fresh salad recipes to kick off the fall season? We love this pear salad with goat cheese that's a little lighter and is great as a side dish. If you want another hearty salad that doubles as a main course, our Thanksgiving salad with spiced vinaigrette.
The Inspiration for This Harvest Bowl
Copycat Sweetgreen harvest bowl. This social media famous restaurant is known for its hearty and nutritious bowls and salads. We don't have one near us so we had to make our own version!
It's chock full of wholesome ingredients. The grains, protein, and fresh produce all provide a cornucopia of nutrients (speaking of fall) that makes great healthy lunches.
There's plenty of color, flavor, and texture. Slices of honey crisp apple and roasted almonds add crunchy goodness. The fluffy wild rice is soft and full of rich, nutty flavor. The beautiful hues of the fresh kale and roasted sweet potatoes are as colorful as the fall foliage outside. And the creamy balsamic dressing overtop has a mapley sweet taste to match.
Great for meal plans. Prep every element of this salad ahead of time and when you're ready to eat, just mix it all together in one large bowl.
How to Make This Harvest Bowl
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This harvest bowl is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Bake the chicken and sweet potatoes: Toss the chicken breasts in a medium bowl with seasoning. Place them in a row on one half of the sheet pan or in a separate small baking dish lined with parchment paper.
Place the sweet potatoes on the other side of the sheet pan or a separate large sheet pan. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) and the sweet potatoes are fork tender and slightly browned.
Toast almonds: Meanwhile, add the almonds to a small saucepan with oil, syrup, salt, and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir frequently, for 4-5 minutes until the nuts are toasty and slightly caramelized.
Make the dressing: Whisk the balsamic dressing ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar. Add about 2 cups of chopped kale to a bowl and pour a servign of the dressing on top. Toss it gently to allow the balsamic to soften the kale leaves.
Assemble: When the chicken is done, cut it into bite-sized cubes and add it to the dressed kale. Add the toasted almonds, roasted sweet potatoes, ⅓ cup cooked rice, diced apples, and crumbled goat cheese. Finally, add the remaining dressing. Enjoy immediately or store the harvest bowls and dressing separately for meal prep.
Pro Tip: If you want to make things easier on yourself, buy pre-chopped kale and chopped almonds use rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken breasts purchase sliced and roasted almonds.
Start by washing, stemming and chopping the kale. Roughly chop it then place it in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hands to massage the kale by rubbing it between your fingers. You’ll know it’s done when the kale is darker and soft.
Look for small-medium sweet potatoes which tend to be more sweet and creamy than their larger friends (who are a little more starchy). It's important that they are firm to the touch and no signs of decay. For even cooking, choose sweet potatoes that are uniform in shape. The deeper the color, the more rich it is in the antioxidant, beta-carotene. So the darker the better!
Your chicken is likely rubbery if it's overcooked or is extra large, resulting in woody chicken. We have a post with some simple ways to prevent and fix rubbery chicken.
The best way to cook chicken is at a high temperature; it's the secret to gorgeous caramelization on the outside while giving you juicy chicken breast on the inside. Follow our tips for how long to bake chicken at 425 degrees F.
While I could have this recipe for lunches the whole week and not tire of it, this recipe is very adaptable. The finished product is delicious every time. Here are a few ways to switch up this dish:
- Serve with chicken thighs or rotisserie chicken. Or substitute the chicken with salmon.
- Use another whole grain like brown rice or a blend of quinoa and rice.
- Add seasonal produce like brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and red onion that contribute to the fall flavors of this dish.
- Use other chopped leafy greens you have at home like arugula or spinach.
- Top with pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
- Make this recipe dairy-free by choosing a dairy-free cheese.
Make Ahead and Storing Tips
This dish is great for those who like to meal prep lunches for the week. Mix the salad dressing and cook the chicken, rice, and sweet potatoes a couple of days in advance. Store them in separate air-tight containers. When it's time to serve, chop up the apples and toss all of the prepped ingredients with the kale, goat cheese, almonds, and dressing then serve!
Store the salad ingredients separate from the dressing to save everything from getting soggy. All other ingredients can either be stored together or individually. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Grain Bowl Recipes
Love seafood? These Salmon rice bowls feature flakey salmon coated in a honey garlic sauce on top of coconut rice with a fresh cucumber avocado salad.
Sweetgreen Copycat Harvest Bowl
Chicken Breasts (Note 1)
- 4 (4-5 ounce) chicken breasts pounded to an even thickness (Note 2)
- 1 Tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon EACH: kosher salt and paprika
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 minced garlic cloves (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- ½ cup uncooked wild rice (1 ½ cups cooked)
- 1 large sweet potato (or 2 small) sliced into ½-inch rounds then half moons
- 1 cup chopped or sliced almond
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 8 cups curly kale stemmed and shredded
- 2 honey crisp apples diced
- 4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup olive oil or avocado oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon EACH: kosher salt and garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme)
- Large sheet pan
- Make the rice. Make the wild rice according to the package directions. It typically takes around 45 minutes to make wild rice. Start this first so it’s done when you’re ready to assemble the bowls. Skip this step if you’re using pre-cooked rice.
- Season the chicken. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and toss the chicken breasts in a medium bowl with olive oil, salt, paprika, pepper, and garlic. Place them in a row on one half of a large-rimmed baking sheet. Skip this step if using pre-cooked chicken.
- Prep the sweet potatoes. Arrange the sliced sweet potatoes on the other half of the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and use your hands to gently toss them to coat.
- Bake the chicken and sweet potatoes. Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) and the sweet potatoes are fork tender and slightly browned.
- Toast the almond. While they're baking, add the almonds to a small saucepan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, maple syrup, ½ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes until the nuts are toasty and start to turn golden brown and caramelize. Remove from the heat and allow them to cool. They will harden slightly as they cool.
- Make the dressing. Whisk the balsamic dressing in a small bowl or mason jar. Divide the kale into serving bowls and evenly distribute half of the dressing over each, leaving the remaining half to pour over the finished bowls. Toss it gently to allow the dressing and oil to soften the kale leaves.
- Assemble the bowls. When the chicken is done, cut it into bite-sized cubes and add it to the dressed kale. Add the toasted almonds, roasted sweet potatoes, ⅓ cup cooked rice, diced apples, and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top before serving. Enjoy immediately or store the harvest bowls and dressing separately for meal prep.
- Use rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken.
- Purchase pre-washed and chopped kale.
- Use a pre-made balsamic dressing. We really like the taste and ingredients in Primal Kitchen balsamic.