The thing that gets in the way of us eating salad every day is often how long it takes to prep and chop all the veggies. And then if you make too much, the next day the avocadoes are brown and the lettuce is soggy and wilted. But there is another way! By simply not dressing your salad, it will last a few days in the fridge. Swap out the delicate greens for heartier ones, and that salad can last all week. Here are some of our favorite salad bases to make on Sunday for salad goodness all week long.
This is probably the most versatile of these salad bases. It is lightly dressed when it is made and can just be enjoyed as is without any extra work. That being said, this base is a great way to use up leftover vegetables or meat or grains from the night before. You can add other hearty greens, like radicchio to this base.
1 large bunch kale, washed and trimmed of stems
½ cup Pecorino Romano, grated
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Roll several kale leaves lengthwise and using the point of a chef's knife, cut away the thick center stem. Discard. Roll the remaining stack of de-veined leaves into a tight cigar shape and slice into thin ribbons.
Toss the shaved kale with the cheese. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the salad. Using your hands, massage the kale until the leaves are well coated and visably softer. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Let the salad sit at room temperature for an hour before serving, or pack away in the fridge for lunches all week.
This is another one that is dressed when it’s made. You can use this as a template for other salads using sturdy vegetables like carrots or cauliflower. I especially love this salad made with baby broccoli. Be sure and use the stems as well. They have a lot of flavor.
1 small red onion, diced small
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
½ cup dried raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit
½ cup nuts, chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ lb bacon, cooked and chopped (optional)
2 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp yogurt
Chop the broccoli florettes into bite sized pieces. Peel the stem to remove the woody parts and chop that as well (if using baby broccoli, just chop the stems).
Toss the onions and the broccoli with the vinegar and salt. Let sit for at least 30 minutes on your counter or up to overnight in the fridge. This will slightly pickle the vegetables and make them taste less raw.
When the vegetables have marinated to your satisfaction, add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. This salad will last all week in the fridge.
This can be customized to any season. The basics, cabbage and carrots, can be found any time of year. But for the other veggies look to the produce department to build your salad. Any hearty vegetable will do. Beets, Broccoli (a great use for those stems), radish, kohlrabi, jicama and more can all be grated into a slaw. For extra flavor and color, you can add ribbons of kale or chopped onions or scallions. I try and make sure to get a vegetable of every color into the bowl. I usually chop or grate all my veggies and toss them together before sealing them up in a large Tupperware or Ziploc bag. Dress this either with a classic creamy dressing or light vinaigrette.
Chopped salads are a perfect thing to have ready to go. They are composed of a wide variety of vegetables (and sometimes fruit, meat and cheese) chopped into similarly sized pieces. You want them to be uniform so that you can get a lot of different flavors and textures in one bite. For this salad, save dressing until you are ready to serve. Also hold off on adding ingredients that are very wet or brown easily, like tomatoes and avocados (although cherry tomatoes are usually fine). There are no measurements given, but I usually aim for equal parts of each of the vegetables and ½ to a ¼ part for the add-ins.
Equal parts 4 or more of the following:
Kale or Romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized pieces
Bell peppers, diced small
Corn (best is fresh cut off the cob but frozen will do as well)
Cucumber, seeds removed and small diced
Green Beans (blanched if desired)
Broccoli florettes, cut to small bite sized
Carrots, diced small or grated
Scallions or red onion, diced small
Diced meat, tofu or tempeh
½ to a ¼ part of the following, choose at least 2:
Cheese, grated or crumbled
Put everything in a bowl and toss. Store in a large Tupperware or Ziploc. When ready to serve, toss with a good amount of your dressing of choice.
You can use any dressing you like to dress these salads, but these are a few of our favorites:
Amy’s Creamy Slaw Dressing
3/4 C. plain, nonfat yogurt
3/4 C. low-fat sour cream (preferably a natural variety like Organic Valley)
1 T. mayonnaise
scant 1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine yogurt and sour cream, and place in a cloth-lined colander over a bowl. Fold the cloth over the yogurt, weight it, and set it aside to drain for one-half to one hour. When the yogurt and sour cream are nice and thick, mix them with the rest of the ingredients.
The classic ratio for vinaigrettes is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or citrus juice. I usually eyeball this in the mason jar I am going to use to mix the dressing in and then add the other flavorings, shake and taste. Depending on your taste or the application, you may want more acid or less oil, but this ratio is a good starting point. If you want a more precise recipe, the one below is a great choice.
2 tsp finely minced shallot or scallion
2 tsp Dijon-type mustard
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup vinegar
¾ cup excellent olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Either shake all the ingredients together in a mason jar, or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste (dip a piece of the salad greens into the sauce) and correct seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or drops of lemon juice.