I have a confession. I do not like to make salads. Oh yes, I like to EAT salad, but I do not like to make them. By the time I’ve made dinner for my family and usually a side or two, I’m just ready to eat! Making salad just seems like so much work. And since I stopped buying bag salads several years ago, there are a few more steps. I have a great salad spinner so that’s not the hard part. And buying a whole head of lettuce vs. the bag kind, well, the flavor just doesn’t compare! So that part is worth it. But it’s the time. I just run out of steam.
So last year when I stumbled upon the terrific blog, Salad-In-A –Jar I knew I might have found my solution. You see, Paula, the blog’s owner has this philosophy: if you eat enough salad then you can enjoy indulging in some other things more. And her trick? Cut, wash and portion out the salad and then it’s ready to go. The salad is sealed in Mason jars (using a Foodsaver and jar adapter) and will last up to a week in the refrigerator—that is if you don’t eat it all before then.
So after a bit of trial and error I figured it all out and now I am sold. I told my husband it is lifesaving! What I love is I can buy my lettuce at the farmer’s market or early in the week, prep it all at one time and then on busy nights I just pull out a jar or two at dinner that night. One other thing I discovered is that I was overbuying lettuce and composting too much.
Now, let me tell you another trick I have up my sleeve for yummy salads toppings in a jiffy. I had noticed that when my family went out to eat at one of our favorite salad bar places, everyone liked putting nuts or seeds on their salads. And even though we all love croutons, I know they’re not the best for us. So recently I took one of my EasyLunchboxes and made a little salad toppings kit filled with nuts and seeds. My family loved this and at one point we needed to stop my son from putting more nuts on his salad than there were veggies! The beauty is that the kit can be customized to whatever you have on hand or feel in the mood for that week. This week I included sliced plain, unroasted almonds, chopped salted almonds, cashews, pepita seeds, toasted pine nuts and a spicy pecan that I made myself (recipe to come). I had all of these on hand already so that made it even easier! Next time I think I will add some pistachios or sunflower seeds or some salty/sweet walnuts that I make.
So salads are snap now as all I need to do is pull out a jar of lettuce, add some other chopped veggies, open the salad topping kit and add some homemade salad dressing. Easy and healthy and all made ahead. Perfect for a Make-Ahead Monday kind of day!