I received complimentary glass storage containers from Mighty Nest to write this post.
Summer is arguably the easiest time of the year to eat well. Fresh produce is in its prime, and the warm weather makes refreshing salads sound oh-so-appealing!
With less than an hour of prep-work over the weekend, you can essentially have a “salad bar” waiting for you at home, so a healthy and satisfying meal will only be minutes away all week long. Not only are these homemade salads faster than going to a drive-thru window, they also tend to be much more affordable than choosing them from your grocer’s prepared food section.
Here’s what you need to make your own salad bar at home:
Leafy greens. My favorites include chopped romaine lettuce, kale (curly or lacinato varieties), spinach, shredded cabbage, and mixed greens. I like to pick at least two varieties of leafy greens to prepare each week, so that my salads have plenty of variety in both taste, texture, and nutrients.
Assorted toppings. Chop up your favorite raw vegetables, such as bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, zucchini, radish, and try shredded vegetables, such as carrots or beets for even more texture. (I use a Salad Shooter to speed up the process.) I also love using leftover roasted vegetables as toppings, like artichoke hearts, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Non-vegetable topping options include raw nuts and seeds, dried fruit, cooked lentils and beans, cheese, and cooked meats.
*Avocado is another favorite topping, but I don’t chop it ahead of time, since it browns so quickly after being cut. When storing a cut avocado, be sure to leave the pit in the remaining part to delay the browning process.
Salad dressing. A delicious dressing is key to making a crave-able salads, so don’t skimp on this crucial step! Some of my favorite dressings to prepare ahead of time include:
- Raw Apple Cider Vinaigrette (a double-batch is pictured above)
- Creamy Tahini Dressing
- Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
- Creamy Thai “Peanut” Dressing
- Oil-Free Green Goddess Dressing
(I like to prepare two dressings at the same time– usually a vinaigrette and a creamy dressing, so I have both options during the week!)
Glass storage containers. I prefer glass containers for storing all of my chopped produce, as they won’t leach any chemicals into your food and they also make it easy to see the ingredients they contain. As an added bonus, you can even bake with these glass dishes and then store the leftovers in the same container– meaning less dishes you’ll have to wash!
In addition to mixing-and-matching your own salad ingredients, the following prepared salad options are also easy and store well for a few days as a convenient grab-and-go meal:
- Quinoa Pasta Salad
- Chickpea & Avocado Salad
- Cauliflower Tabouli
- All Hail Kale Salad
- Greek Cauliflower Pasta Salad
- Sweet Sesame Lime Cabbage Slaw
I hope you’ll enjoy having a “salad bar” in your fridge as much as I do!