Creating your own salad bar is a great way to make sure you have lunches for work and the flexibility to throw together a quick meal at home. It’s easy, and if you get a wide variety of toppings, can be quite filling! It’s also a great way to cram a lot of veggies into your diet, which can sometimes be challenging if you have a picky spouse or kids that don’t eat a wide variety of vegetables.
1. Pick up the ingredients
Whether its from the farmers market, your backyard, or the grocery store, get some lettuce and whatever vegetables you like. I usually include carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, whatever fruit is in season, nuts, and of course, dressing.
2. Chop everything up ahead of time
When you get home from the store and before you sit down, wash and chop all your veggies. Doing it right away helps ensure that you don’t lose your motivation, and doing it all ahead of time is what makes throwing a salad together just as convenient as stopping at the drive through. Get out your containers and put each topping in its own one, or mix them all together if you’d like. If you’re using a lot of soft veggies like tomatoes, you might not want to cut up a ton of them because they’ll go bad faster, but things like carrots, celery, and bell peppers are usually good for a while.
3. Make your own dressing
This saves you money, doesn’t take long, and helps you avoid a lot of the not so great ingredients that come in commercial salad dressings. You could keep it simple and just drizzle some olive oil and vinegar over top, or you could mix up something with a little more zing to it. If you need some inspiration, I’ve included my favorite recipe at the bottom of the post. This is a wonderful way to include some healthy olive oil in your diet, and the fat of the dressing will help you better absorb the fat soluble vitamins present in the salad.
4. Add some protein
I always add protein to my salads. This can be lunch meat, some chopped up hard boiled eggs, bacon, or whatever leftover meats you have from dinner the night before. In fact, if you have some chicken or steak from a previous meal, chop all that up and throw it in its own container. That way all you have to do is throw it in your salad, and you’re good to go.
Homemade Olive Oil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 cup white wine vinegar
1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake until well combined.
This post is part of Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable.