Salads are the cornerstone of a healthy diet, and at this time of year, our appetites, once again, awaken to their freshness. And as plant-based eating grows in popularity, the humble salad is, more and more often, finding its place at the center of the table.
Trouble is, we don’t always have the time or the energy to compose a main event salad at the end of a long and busy day. Sometimes we just want to swing open the fridge door and find a ready-to-go meal.
Meal preppers rejoice! These hearty and filling salads packed with vibrant veggies, proteins, and whole grains can be prepped early for an easy meal to come—with nary a slimy green or slice of cucumber to be found.
Salad for days
Day-old salads featuring wilty lettuce and soggy cucumbers are far from appetizing. Here are the tips you need to know for make-ahead salad success.
You want to use vegetables that don’t wilt easily. As a general rule of thumb, anything described as “young” or “baby” is not going to work out in your favor. So instead of tender salad greens, opt for heartier items such as kale, carrots, and radishes.
Keep in mind that larger pieces of vegetables tend to take longer to break down, so don’t be afraid to go big.
Whole grains such as quinoa and spelt make a salad worthy of main dish status and contribute to its staying power in the fridge.
A main dish salad is going to require some protein to make it better balanced. Lentils, beans, grilled meats, and smoked fish will all work well in next-day salads. Nuts and seeds offer added plant-based protein and a nice crunch.
Watch the clock
Salads containing cooked meats should be consumed within three days of preparation.