I love salads, but I’m not a big fan of just lettuce. I want variety! Give me lots of color, different textures, bold flavors, but when I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to prep, or when I’m fixing a salad for just myself or a couple of people, I take advantage of the salad bar at a local grocery store to give me the components I need.
Look at the salads above. Do those look like you wagged them home from the grocery store? Of course not. The reason is because I took the time to take the ingredients out of the cardboard container and arrange them exquisitely on my own plates and I added a few ingredients from home.
Here are some Pretty Food tips for doing your own market salad:
- Don’t get the lettuce from the salad bar. Buy it in the produce department. It will be fresher and cheaper and will take you just a few moments to prepare (especially if you buy the triple washed stuff, as I normally do).
- Avoid things that get icky quickly, such as cucumbers. You’re better off buying a cucumber separately and slicing or chopping it yourself right before you put your salad together.
- Concentrate on color — bright pepper strips, purple cabbage, shredded carrots.
- You’re better off slicing your own red onion at home to add to your salad. I find that the onion gets spicy hot once it’s been cut and refrigerated. Avoid that by using one from your pantry.
- Don’t buy the tomatoes on the salad bar. They’ve been refrigerated, which causes them to lose some of their great taste. I supplemented my salad with halved cherry tomatoes from my garden. If I hadn’t had that option, I would have purchased Nature Sweet branch cherry tomatoes (at room temp) in the produce section.
- Edamame (soybean seeds) are easy to grab from your freezer. You can buy them frozen, already shelled.
- If you have an avocado, slice it and add it. That’s something you won’t find on the salad bar because it turns brown too fast.
- Add just about any kind of crumbled or shredded cheese.
- For a main course salad, visit the deli department and get ham, turkey, salami — whatever sounds good. Or pull chicken off a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Let your inner artist take over. Create your own unique masterpiece. Whether you’re serving a party of one or a table full of company, these tips will produce a stunningly beautiful result.
See step by step how we put ours together: