I Need Help Prepping Healthy Salads for the Week. Any Smart Ideas?
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Dear Kitchn Team,
I keep putting salad on my meal prep list with the intention of being healthy, but fail to make it every time. Any recommendations to keep me on it?
Faith: I’m curious if Stephanie means like, a main dish salad or a side salad / side dish. Either way, I think prepping greens or veggies that will actually stay good over a few days is a good motivator; there’s nothing like looking at a sad, wilty pile of greens to dissuade you from eating premade salad.
Lauren Masur: I feel her pain! Whenever I buy lettuce, it’s the first to go. Now I stick to heartier greens like Tuscan kale, which give me more time to decide what to do with it.
Faith: Yes! We have that great post on salad bases that will hold up in the fridge.
Lauren Masur: Grace taught me that if you dress your kale salad in advance, it’s even better.
Lisa: Plan on adding cheese! No matter what. You’ll be more likely to actually eat it if there’s cheese! Or maybe that’s just me?
Arie: Excellent advice, Lisa.
Grace: There are also plenty of no-lettuce salads you can make! I love a good Israeli-style salad with chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, olives, and feta. Sometimes, I model my lunch salads after my go-to order at local salad joints because I know I like those flavor combos.
Arie: Oooh, like what Grace?
Grace: I actually have been really into vegan poke bowls lately — swapping in tofu for the fish. I start with a base of rice (you can make a batch on Sunday and eat throughout the week, or use leftovers from takeout) and shredded cabbage, which keeps better than other greens like spinach or arugula. Then, I’ll toss in whatever veggies I have in the fridge, freezer, or leftover from last night’s dinner — shredded carrot, edamame, cucumbers, avocado, etc.
Arie: GIMME. Also, I love this story that Faith did years ago on “salad swag.” I feel like I used to try to make things more complicated than they had to be — and these swag combos are so delicious and easy to prep in advance.
Sheela: Hydroponic lettuce has been a revelation for me. It stays fresh and crisp in the fridge for what seems like forever, so I always have it on hand! Also, I usually make a simple vinaigrette at the beginning of each week and keep it in the fridge so there’s no excuse not to toss veggies in a bowl and call it salad.
Patty: I’m only satisfied with salads if lettuce is a supporting player so variety of textures and flavors in the toppings is key. I’ll chop up boiled eggs, or toss in fresh or dried fruit, nuts, leftover roasted, or grilled veggies.
Meghan: Building salads in advance is basically the only way I actually eat them! I second what everyone says about hearty greens, but y’all forgot chopped salads!
Chopped salads are basically all the salad swag and dressing, ready to dump over greens. I like this recipe, and this recipe, and this recipe. They hold up really well for the whole week and make you feel virtuous (hello, veggies!) without being boring all-lettuce salads.
Do you have any recipe suggestions for Stephanie? Get wild in the comments!