The 6 Groceries That Made Our Salads More Exciting in 2022

published Dec 28, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Whether it’s a weekday lunch, a quick no-cook dinner, or even an essential (yet unconventional) carry-on, salads have been one of our most reliable meals this year. With the right variety of fresh greens, crunchy mix-ins, and zesty dressings, you too can whip up a salad as exciting as the one at a restaurant (or specialty salad bar). These are the six groceries that added bite, brightness, crunch, and ease to our bowls. Take a look and then consider copying this list for your next shopping trip.

Credit: Thao Thai

1. Trader Joe’s Fig & Olive Crisps, $3.99 for 5.3 ounces

If you’re the type who picks out the croutons first, these Fig & Olive Crisps from Trader Joe’s will quickly become your new go-to salad topper. While they were made for cheese boards and dips, the deep molasses sweetness of the figs paired with the briny bite of black olives will amp up both the texture and flavor of your salads.

Credit: Frieda's

2. Freida’s Popjoys Kumquats, $8.99 for 8 ounces

Kumquats are sure to be your new favorite citrus. The tart, tiny, orange-like fruits are eaten whole like berries — skins and all — and add a punchy flavor to both green or fruit salads. Found in grocery stores year-round, their growing season stretches from November through April, peaking in December (aka right now!).

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

3. Taylor Farms Chopped Salad Kits, $4.99 for 10.85 ounces

We couldn’t get enough of this autumnal-inspired trio — and not just because we love a salad kit. Each one came with a fun (and ready-to-eat) mix featuring some of the season’s most notorious flavors: maple, apple, and, of course, pumpkin spice. While we wait for next year’s batch of bags to hit shelves, we’ll be noshing on a few of Taylor Farms year-round staples, like Everything Bagel and Dill Pickle.

Credit: Amanda Marikar

4. Agostino Recca Fillets of Anchovies in Olive Oil, $10.25 for 3.18 ounces

Family-owned and produced in Sicily for four generations, Agostino Recca anchovies uphold the highest standards, sourced exclusively from the Mediterranean and processed using a time-tested method since the 1930s. Their saltiness brings a punch of umami to any party, especially a green one. Even non-fish-lovers rave about their flavor-boosting ability in dressings … and dips, and sauces, and even on toast).

Credit: Jessica Prudenti-Montalvo

5. Good Seasons Zesty Italian Dressing & Recipe Seasoning Mix, $5.29 for 4 (2.4-ounce) pouches

A salad without dressing is like a day without sunshine, and these Zesty Italian seasoning packets from Good Seasons make it easy to whip up dressing in minutes. Once mixed, the dressing is a thick concoction with a taste that’s unmistakably tangy, subtly sweet, and vaguely reminiscent of chopped salads from a local pizzeria. When tossed with your favorite pasta shape and pasta salad mix-ins, it’ll be the star at any backyard buffet.

Credit: Alice Knisley-Matthias

6. Melissa’s Organic Peeled & Steamed Red Beets, $5.19 for 8 ounces

These Organic Baby Beets Peeled & Steamed are what we reach for when we want to skip all that beet prep (the scrubbing, the peeling, the steaming) and get straight to making whatever salad we feel like having. Beet and goat cheese and arugula? Sure! Beet and strawberry? Yes, please! As a stand-in for tomatoes in a Caprese? You must try it! Bonus: They’re vacuum-sealed for maximum freshness and can be refrigerated for up to two months (any leftovers from meals can be kept in the refrigerator for two days).

What items did you toss in your salads this year? Tell us about it in the comments.