Our copycat Sweetgreen crispy rice bowl recipe has all the zesty flavor and crunchy texture you know and love, made with a few easy shortcuts so anyone can recreate this dish at home.Jump to Recipe
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If you’ve ever been to Sweetgreen, you know they’re famous for their giant salads. But for those of us who don’t love leafy greens, their healthy bowls are the holy grail. Rice, protein, fresh veggies, and just a little bit of leaves – topped with a hearty helping of one of their delicious house-made dressings? Yes please.
Since I’ve never tasted a more delicious “salad” than the Sweetgreen crispy rice bowl, we created our very own copycat version of the recipe to make at home. It’s zesty, a little spicy, and super fresh. Yet still comforting, thanks to the rice and creamy dressing! Perfect for when you need something healthy and packed with veggies, but want a super satisfying meal.
Now you can enjoy this homemade Sweetgreen crispy rice bowl whenever you want, too! It’s great for lunch and super easy to meal prep for the week. Spend some time preparing all the individual components for a few bowls at a time (our recipe makes 4) and simply throw it together the day of.
What Is A Crispy Rice Bowl?
The crispy rice bowl is one of the most delicious options on the Sweetgreen menu. It’s a fusion of Mexican and Asian inspired flavors, made with two kinds of rice, arugula, blackened chicken, and fresh veggies. What really takes this bowl over the top is the spicy cashew dressing – notes of ginger, lime, and sesame on a creamy, nutty base tie everything in this bowl together.
To make it super easy to recreate Sweetgreen’s crispy rice bowl at home, our recipe involves a few simple shortcuts. First, we swapped blackened chicken for a flavorful marinated grilled chicken. Then, we tweaked the original Sweetgreen spicy cashew dressing recipe just enough to make it healthier and as low-effort as possible (no blender required!).
And it still tastes just like the real deal.
Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Bowl Recipe Ingredients
So what exactly is in a Sweetgreen crispy rice bowl? According to their menu, this bowl is made with “blackened chicken, raw carrots, shredded cabbage, cucumbers, cilantro, roasted almonds, crispy rice, warm wild rice, arugula, lime squeeze, and spicy cashew dressing.”
That’s a lot of different components – so we’ve simplified a few of the ingredients to make it easy to recreate this crispy rice bowl at home. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Grilled chicken – marinated in lemon juice, vegetable oil, and spices
- Shredded carrots
- Red cabbage – sliced thin
- Cucumber – sliced into small triangles
- Fresh cilantro – roughly chopped
- Roasted salted almonds – halved
- Day-old brown rice – for making crispy rice
- Wild rice – steamed
- Fresh lime – juiced
- Spicy cashew dressing – homemade or store-bought
We’ll walk you through how to prepare the grilled chicken, crispy rice, and homemade cashew dressing for these bowls below.
If you want, you can simplify this recipe even further by using store-bought grilled chicken and dressing. Rumor is Trader Joe’s spicy cashew butter dressing tastes just like Sweetgreen’s, if you don’t want to make our homemade version. We haven’t tried it yet – if you do, let us know what you think in the comments!
How To Make Grilled Chicken For Crispy Rice Bowls
Instead of using blackened chicken for these crispy rice bowls, we created a simple yet flavorful grilled chicken you can marinate and cook in the time it takes to steam the wild rice. But if you have a favorite blackened chicken recipe of your own, you can absolutely substitute that in.
Here’s how to make the chicken for these homemade crispy rice bowls:
- Combine chicken breast, vegetable oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, and salt in a bowl and marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the chicken until cooked through, flipping every 3 minutes, about 9 to 12 minutes total.
- Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board and rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, slice into bite-sized pieces.
How To Make Crispy Rice
Next, you’ll need to prepare the crispy rice. Making crispy rice is a simple process of crisping rice in a frying pan to a nice golden-brown, giving it a little bit of crunch. Tip: Day-old rice from the fridge crisps much better than freshly steamed rice, so prepare a batch of brown rice a day or two ahead for this recipe.
Here’s how to easily make crispy rice at home:
- Heat about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the cold rice and press it into the pan with the back of a spoon or spatula.
- Let the rice cook without disturbing it, allowing it to crisp against the pan for at least 2 to 3 minutes before checking it for color. If you’re starting to see the rice turn a bit darker, give it a stir and then press it down into the pan once again.
- Continue this process of letting the rice cook, undisturbed, until crispy and stirring occasionally to ensure even crisping, about 7 to 9 minutes total.
- Remove the rice from heat once the color is golden-brown.
How To Make Sweetgreen Spicy Cashew Dressing
Finally, you’ll need to prepare a batch of Sweetgreen’s famous spicy cashew dressing for these copycat crispy rice bowls! Their original recipe is available online; we’ve adapted it here to make it a little healthier and easier to prepare.
Here’s what we changed:
- Less salt – We all know restaurants use an ungodly amount of salt in their food. Sweetgreen’s recipe uses 2 whole tablespoons of salt, which felt like overkill considering how flavorful this dressing is before adding any salt. We opted for ½ tsp to enhance the flavors just a bit, but feel free to use your judgment here and add salt to taste.
- No cilantro – There’s already fresh cilantro in the crispy rice bowl itself, and skipping this ingredient allows you to easily whisk the dressing by hand instead of having to use a blender.
- Powdered ginger instead of fresh young ginger – Again, using powdered ginger allows you to skip the blender when making this dressing. It’s also shelf-stable and can be readily available in your pantry, so you can make this dressing whenever you feel like it!
Here’s how to make our version of Sweetgreen’s spicy cashew dressing:
- First, gather your ingredients. You’ll need cashew butter, rice vinegar, maple syrup, minced garlic, sesame oil, lime juice, water, crushed red pepper flakes, powdered ginger, and salt.
- Next, add all the ingredients to a small bowl (except the salt). Whisk thoroughly until combined.
- Add salt to taste.
Tip: Don’t refrigerate the dressing if you’re going to use it right away – it will harden if it gets cold. You will want to store any leftover dressing in the fridge, though, to keep it tasting fresh! Just make sure to let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes to warm up before using it.
How To Make A Homemade Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Bowl
Now that you’ve prepared all the separate components, it’s time to assemble your bowls! Here’s how to make a delicious copycat Sweetgreen crispy rice bowl at home:
- Add a scoop of warm wild rice to the bowl.
- Add a scoop of crispy rice next to the wild rice.
- Fill the remaining space in the bowl with arugula.
- Add the cabbage, cucumber, carrots, roasted almonds, chicken, and cilantro on top of the arugula and rice.
- Squeeze the juice from a quarter of a lime over the bowl.
- Spoon a helping of spicy cashew dressing to the center of the bowl, or drizzle it on top.
Try our restaurant-style Sweetgreen crispy rice bowl copycat recipe and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share if you love it. We can’t wait to hear what you think – how does our version stack up to the real Sweetgreen crispy rice bowl?
Love this recipe? You may enjoy these recipes, too:
- Panera Copycat Southwest Chili Lime Salad With Chicken
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Rice Bowls
- Thai Chicken & Rice Bowl With Peanut Sauce
- Chili Lime Chicken Burrito Bowls
Sweetgreen Crispy Rice Bowl Copycat Recipe
Marinated Grilled Chicken
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp ground red cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
Wild Rice & Crispy Rice
- 1 cup wild rice dry
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1⅓ cup steamed brown rice day-old
Spicy Cashew Dressing
- 7 tbsp cashew butter
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1½ tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp powdered ginger
- ½ tsp salt
Crispy Rice Bowl Toppings
- 2 cups baby arugula packed
- ¼ head red cabbage sliced
- 1 med cucumber sliced into quarter inch-thick triangles
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup roasted salted almonds halved
- ½ bunch fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 med lime juiced
Marinated Grilled Chicken
- First, add the chicken to a bowl with vegetable oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine and marinate at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add the chicken and grill until cooked through, flipping every 3 minutes or so, about 9 to 12 minutes total.
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, slice into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Wild Rice & Crispy Rice
- While the chicken is marinating, begin preparing the two kinds of rice for these bowls. First, steam wild rice according to package directions.
- Next, heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Once it's hot, add the brown rice and press it into the pan with the back of a spoon or spatula.
- Let the brown rice cook, undisturbed, until it's slightly crisped and golden on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir it around, then press the rice into the pan to crisp again, for another 2 to 3 minutes. Continue this process until the rice is golden-brown or crisped to your liking, about 7 to 9 minutes total. Then, remove from heat and set aside.
Spicy Cashew Dressing
- Next, prepare the spicy cashew dressing. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk thoroughly until combined. Taste and adjust for salt.
Assembling Crispy Rice Bowls
- Finally, assemble the crispy rice bowls. Add the following amounts of each ingredient to each bowl: 1/2 cup wild rice, 1/3 cup crispy rice, 1/2 cup arugula. Then, evenly distribute the cabbage, cucumber, carrots, almonds, cilantro, and chicken over each bowl. Next, squeeze a drizzle of fresh lime juice over each bowl (use about half a lime per 2 bowls).
- Finally, top the bowls with a helping of spicy cashew dressing. Serve immediately.