Instead of heading to a salad bars? How about making your own! If you like your salad to have more than just greens and dressing, here’s how to do it:
For lunchtime salads you can pack the night before, skip delicate greens such as spring greens mix (aka mesclun) and red leaf, mizuna, mâche, or butter lettuces. Instead pick something sturdy like kale, spinach, frisée, escarole, or endive, which will maintain their crunchy snap for hours.
A MIX OF TEXTURES
Fill the salad with flavor by adding thinly sliced or shaved raw vegetables or fruit: try fennel, carrots, radishes, celery, beets, cucumbers, bell peppers, apples, or pears. Bean sprouts and snow peas add great crunch.
Throw in some roasted vegetables for a good mix of raw and crunchy and caramelized and crisp. Sweet potatoes, squash, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, and onions are all great roasted and tossed into a salad.
To get you through the day, make sure that salad is super-satisfying and filling by adding some protein. Hard-boiled eggs, oil-packed tuna fish, white beans, or lentils all work great. Leftover roasted meats like chicken or pork tenderloin, cubed salami, quinoa, or other high-protein whole grains are also great options.
A HIT OF EXTRA FLAVOR
Once the main salad is built, add a pop of flavor with a sprinkling of cheese (cubed or grated), olives, dried fruit, or capers.
Then finish it off with some crunch! Sprinkle on something crunchy, like toasted nuts, seeds, or even crumbled-up crackers to help perk up the mushiness of the salad. (Crackers or croutons should be added right before eating to keep them crisp.)
DRESSING ON THE SIDE
Whether you’re using store-bought dressing or making your own, pack it separately in a small container. And I like to take a cue from take-out salad places like Chop’t and pack my salad in a slightly larger glass container, so I can add the dressing in, put the lid back on, and shake it up to evenly coat the salad.
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