I love a nice fresh overloaded salad. And I don’t have a fully stocked salad bar in my home. So what’s a Trim Healthy Mom to do?! I found a way to always have fresh salad, without daily chopping, cutting & that time consuming preparation. It’s super fast, super easy & fairly inexpensive (it does not involve opening a pre-cut bag of salad either!)
I shop at Aldi’s most of the time, so I will use them as an example. Buy a variety of packaged greens. I start with a large container of Spring Mix, Baby Kale, Baby Arugula, Baby Spinach & 3 hearts of Romaine lettuce. Get whichever of these greens that you enjoy & can easily access. In a large re-sealable container, put a couple handfuls of each type of green in the bowl. Toss gently by hand.
Next, cut up one romaine heart (Cut it in about 3/4″ strips, then cut about 3x lengthwise to make nice bite-sized pieces.) Add more of each type of greens until your container is full without being packed. With the smaller containers shown, I used all the spring mix, about 1/3 of each of the other greens, and one chopped heart of romaine.
Cut up as much red or white onion as you like, several radishes & maybe some peppers. Add to the blend & mix gently again. Add other vegies if you like, (celery, carrots, green onions, shaved brussel sprouts), but don’t add things that spoil easily when cut like tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts or mushrooms. This is your salad base. It’s great as is, and will stay fresh & crisp for several days.
Keep the remainder of the greens in their original containers. When the first bin is getting low, add a few more handfuls of each, and add another chopped up heart of romaine. Add a few more onion slices & some more radishes & you’re all set for several more days.
Before serving, I typically add several slices of cucumbers, some cherry tomatoes or tomato wedges, and possibly some mushrooms. For an S salad, I always add shredded cheese. For a dinner or lunch salad I might add some hard-boiled eggs (pre-boil 6-8 eggs when you have a few minutes one day) along with my lean protein (baked or grilled chicken leftovers, salmon, or deli meats like ham, turkey, roast beef.). I also will add left over steak, barbecue or any other meat that is cooked & in my fridge for a super fast dinner.
Another great satisfying meal is taco meat over salad. Then I’ll add avocado & tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream. Chipotle Ranch dressing makes it YUM! Wonderfully satisfying S meal! When I do this, I often make the tacos for the kids, & giant salads for myself & my husband. We all eat basically the same thing & everyone is happy!
Here’s my other big tip for an AWESOME salad. Keep a container full of plan approved salad toppings in a small tote. We have sunflower seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp hearts, bacon bits, craisins and croutons in a bin. Then on salad days, we just put that bin on the table & everybody tops as their little heart desires. We added lots of yummy goodness by this one simple tip, as we would always forget some of these goodies, or spend half the meal getting up and down chasing after sunflower seeds, or hemp hearts.
Another thing you MUST do! Learn which dressings go with which meal type. I urge you to not spend precious time wondering which salad dressing you can use. Find a few you like & stick to them! If you need to, get a sharpie and put a big E or S or FP on the front of the dressing or the cap so you don’t have to think about it! Then, stock up! I usually use Ranch (chipotle or regular) for S meals & and Olive Garden Light Italian for E meals. My husband likes blue cheese or thousand island for S. If I’m really feeling risky, I’ll use my Ken’s Honey Mustard (but that has sugar so I only occasionally splurge.) Oil & vinegar, or homemade balsamic are great too, but watch the oil, or just call them an S. I have the Walden Farms Ranch, but I find it so thin & tangy that I only use it for FP salad days.
These are my salad making tips. Aren’t they easy?! The kids like the salads too, especially now that they can quickly throw on the bacon and croutons! Devin actually just likes the toppings (no lettuce yet) particularly cucumbers, carrots, cheese, croutons & sunflower seeds.
I hope this helps you find success in eating more fresh greens & delicious toppings! This really takes the drudgery out of making a salad & I I find that since I have begun this easy process, my salad consumption has gone way up. I eat salad several days for lunch, just grab a few handfuls of the base, add my meat of choice, toppings & dressing & it’s ready in a few minutes. We regularly have side salads for dinner & now I don’t have to spend 30 minutes every night chopping and mixing & prepping! Yay!
Taste & See that the Lord is Good!