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Not Your MOMMA'S Fast Food: Grabbagreen

Eatery offers fast, clean choices

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It’s good to have a healthy go-to option in your back pocket for those days when you need a little bean sprout in your life. Riverside’s Grabbagreen is a great spot for busy folks who need their vitamin fix–stat.

The menu is broken into categories: Grabba Grain (bowls), Grabba Green (salads), breakfast, pressed juices, açaí bowls and smoothies. While everything is customizable, there are plenty of predesigned combinations. I opted to find out how the food held up to a car ride, and how it would look and taste when I reached my destination.

The base for the Grabba Grain bowls is brown rice, quinoa noodle or quinoa topped with some serious choice ingredients. For example, the Mediterranean Sea includes brown rice, chicken, cucumber, kalamata olives, mint, red onion, red pepper, spinach, feta and Mediterranean pomegranate sauce; the Indochine quinoa noodle includes chicken, cucumber, bean sprouts, carrot, green onion, cilantro and a spicy Asian-style dressing.

I chose the Indochine for one reason: the quinoa noodle base. I’d never experienced them and they sounded interesting. Honestly, the noodles did not hold up to being squashed into a to-go container and piled with interesting veggies and chicken. They disintegrated into mush, which wasn’t terrible taste-wise, but definitely less visually appealing. I couldn’t quite tell, but I think they were elbow noodles. The spicy almond sauce tasted like it was lightly dosed by curry with extra turmeric. The sauce covered the dish and was spicy and plentiful enough to coat those savory veggies.

My salad, the Orange County, included sprouts, carrots, chicken, cilantro, cucumbers, edamame, green onion, red cabbage and spinach. Unlike the bowl, it definitely traveled well with the two cups of the Orange Cashew sauce on the side. When I got back to the office, it was still a feast for the eyes, and most important, the taste buds! The light, citrus sauce tasted as if it had been made with fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Just a heads-up: Don’t be afraid of the pale chicken in some dishes. The texture and flavor were surprisingly good–let it get in there and soak up that sauce.

Last but not least, breakfast. The breakfast menu intrigued me. Smoothies are great, but it’s a struggle to find one that keeps you full, so I skipped the liquid addition to my lunch, opting for cake instead–you know how I do. Grabbagreen offers a sweet or savory quinoa cake that not only traveled well, it was hella tasty. The sweet one included two decent-sized, warmed quinoa cakes with slices of strawberry, banana, a sprinkle of chia and honey. You could eat these sugary nuggets as a filling breakfast or share them for dessert. (Share, hah.)

It’s obvious Grabbagreen folks genuinely care about what they serve; lots of items are organic. I stuck to the basics, but it’s fun to try new things, especially when the restaurant has your back with healthful, whole ingredients.

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