Why go to a salad bar when you can create your own at home? As always, preparation is the key to success. To get our kitchens and ourselves prepared to enjoy a delicious salad from home, be sure to take a little time to set up your own salad bar fixings.
Here’s what to do:
- Wash and cut veggies into convenient salad-size bits and store them in sealed glass containers all in one location in your refrigerator. Cut enough for 2 to 3 days and then replenish as needed for freshness. Add different veggies at least twice a week for variety.
- Make a salad for lunch the night before so you can grab-and-go on your way out the door. Store dressing in a separate container.
- Store items not requiring refrigeration in small glass jars, preferably on a single shelf so they’re easy to find. Toasted and raw nuts and seeds stay fresh for weeks at room temperature when sealed in glass jars.
- Ready, set, prep: Pick a variety of items from the list below and add them to your shopping list each week. Start by choosing your greens. Consider mixing various types of greens—I like having some romaine with arugula to balance out texture. (Skip iceberg lettuce; it is hardly green and has almost no nutrients.) Then choose your veggies, protein, healthy fats, and dressing. Select different options each day to keep your palate happy.
Greens (2 cups per salad)
- Spinach (organic when possible)
- Mixed baby greens
Vegetables (up to 2 cups of vegetables per salad, except as noted; remember to choose organic when possible – but especially for those items noted with an *)
- Bell peppers: red, green, yellow*
- Sprouts: sunflower, pea shoots, clover, etc.
- Tomatoes: grape, cherry*
- Cabbage: red, Napa, etc.
- Snap peas*
- Steamed asparagus
- Artichoke hearts (packed in water in glass jars)
- Hearts of palm (packed in water in glass jars)
- Roasted eggplant
- Roasted or steamed beets (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
- Red onions (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
- Scallions (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
- parsley, basil, oregano, dill, cilantro, mint, oregano, etc. (1/4 cup fresh and/or 1 teaspoon dried)
Protein (4 to 6 ounces):
- Canned fish (in water): salmon, sardines, herring, etc. (Skip tuna; it has too much mercury!)
- Chicken (baked or roasted)
- Turkey (baked or roasted)
- Hard-boiled eggs (2)
- Cooked shrimp or other seafood
Healthy Fats (choose one)
- Avocado (1/4 to 1/2)
- Nuts, raw: almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc. (1/4 cup)
- Seeds, raw: flax, chia, hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc. (1/4 cup)
- Kalamata olives (1/4 cup)
Dressing (1 to 2 tablespoons)
Start by mixing oil (extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnut oil, or avocado oil) and fresh lemon or lime juice or vinegar (or a combination) at a ratio of two-thirds oil to one-third lemon or vinegar.
Serve as is or whisk in any of following to desired taste to add flavor:
- Dijon mustard
- Seasonings: salt and black pepper; fresh or dried herbs
such as basil, oregano, or rosemary; and minced garlic or onion.
- For creamy dressing, add avocado or tahini (sesame paste)