Easy Weekly Salad Prep
My weekly salad prep routine is quite simple – enjoy fresh salad all week!
If you are looking to purchase a salad spinner, the OXO Soft Works is the one I use.
If you’ve been reading my blog a while, or follow me on any social media platform, or are my real life friend…then you probably already know that I’m obsessed with salads. I really love a good salad (and I really really appreciate a good salad at a restaurant too – those can be tricky to find!). I’m probably not alone when I say this, but I don’t always love making salads at home. Especially lately it seems (pregnancy + salad = eh).
But pregnant or not, I’ve gotten into salad ruts plenty of times – and I always know how to get myself out of one.
Whenever I find myself in any kind of cooking rut, I feel the need to break out of my normal grocery shopping routine. I take myself to a store I don’t always visit (like Fresh Market or other gourmet grocery shops) and just find new stuff to try. When I’m in a salad rut though, I take myself straight to my favorite little produce market and immediately get inspired.
There is a family owned local market by me that’s basically set up like an indoor farmer’s market – but it’s open daily (minus Sundays). It’s run by very nice and hard working people, and I never know what I’m going to walk out with when I go there. They have the biggest variety of fresh fruit and vegetables I’ve ever seen, and great prices. It’s the kind of place where you can smell how good the tomatoes taste, and where you can find a little leftover grit from the earth on the zucchini – no waxy coating stuff here.
I seriously love this place.
(check out all this gorgeous green!)
They have a huge selection of fresh greens which immediately get me in a salad making mood. The last time I was there, I came home with a head of red leaf lettuce, a head of green leaf lettuce and a small head of radicchio (picked this one up for fun). When I got home, I immediately went to work cutting up my lettuces and putting them in my salad spinner (affiliate link – I have used the large OXO SoftWorks salad spinner for over 10 years!).
(Immediately + salad spinner = salad prep success)
Do salad spinners keep salad fresh?
Yes, salad spinners absolutely help keep salad fresh. The way the salad spinners work is that through the spinning of the greens, almost all the moisture is pulled away from the lettuce leaves. The moisture you can remove from the salad greens the longer it will stay fresh.
When you are using your salad spinner, try not to over stuff it with your greens – makes it harder to get fully dried when spinning. I like to put the greens into the basket, then into the plastic bowl and place into the sink to fill with cold water. I let it sit for a minute or two then lift and drain out the water completely from the basket before I spin. Spin your small batches a few times to get it really dry.
Whenever I’m asked “is a salad spinner worth it” I always say yes. It’s been worth it for me, I’ve owned the same salad spinner for over a decade and use it a few times a month. It works well with drying garden herbs as well.
(this was a tad overstuffed – put less in for dryer greens)
How do you keep salad fresh for a week?
To store my salad so that it stays fresh the longest – and is easy to grab – I use large Ziplock bags. I usually fill about two large bags full, then adding a folded paper towel to each bag to absorb any leftover moisture from the greens (it’s good to change out the paper towel every couple of days if you see that it’s very moist).
To seal the bag up so that it stays freshest, I make sure to squeeze out every little bit of of air I can before closing the bag up completely (do this after opening every time – it will become a habit). This is important and will keep your salad greens very fresh!
This cost me $5 and a little time to make. I’m not knocking any of the bagged salad mixes out there, but this really is more appealing and tastes just so much better in my opinion. From here you just grab a handful of freshly cut greens and makes something like this salad with radishes and avocado. Throw on whatever your favorite salad fixins are at that moment. Lately I’ve been enjoying radishes, baby carrots, hard boiled egg, avocado and some sort of seed or nut. And of course, your favorite dressing. Earlier this week I even threw some leftover barbecue chicken on my salad and that was seriously so good.
This weekly salad prep works for me. I find myself eating way more salad when I take a little time to do this for myself and my family. With a couple of bags like this in your fridge, you can easily even add a small green salad to your dinner every night, dressed simply with a little oil and vinegar, lemon or whatever dressing your heart desires.
Now that my daughter has started to embrace the salad I’m really trying to make an effort to serve a small side salad with our dinners to make it familiar and a habit (and to hopefully start appealing to my non-salad-eating son).
Let me know if you do something similar to this weekly salad prep already or have any other healthy prep ahead tips! I’d love to hear from you.
Salad Recipes To Try:
Apple, Celery and Walnut Salad
More Healthy Habits like this weekly salad prep from Aggie’s Kitchen:
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I prep ahead as much as possible. Vegetables, full dishes, just grains, etc! Makes dinner much more manageable during the week!
You are very good at meal prep! I’m starting to cook a batch of grains every week to have on hand, so much easier!
I’m not the best prep person, but I would love to start doing more, and I go to that market almost every week. I love that you introduced it to me. The wife taught me how to make Korean wings too, I love them!
I’m not always the best prep person either 🙂 but I’m trying to keep it in routine! I love that you go there too now, and that the wife taught you how to make those wings, she’s always so sweet!
So many great tips! I never get tired of fresh salads, and your local market looks so wonderful!
Thanks Ali! I never tire of them too, I just had a bowl of greens dressed in a little toasted almond oil and that’s it, it was perfect!
I love salads, too! And that is a great selection of salad greens. Great post, Aggie!
Thanks Cassie 🙂
Great prep ideas, Aggie! Thanks! 🙂
I’m a salad bagger too, such an easier way to get my fave greens. I also buy a bunch of fruit, and always a big pineapple, and cut it up for the week for me and my daughter’s easy grabs from the fridge.Jealous of your market!
I am horrible about buying melons or pineapple and not cutting it up before it gets bad, makes me mad. I started buying cantaloupe and cutting it up, so nice to have ready to grab in the fridge! And I love mixing up my fave greens like this too!
Great tips Aggie.
Oh salad prep – I was doing SO WELL for a while there and just totally stopped! I feel so motivated now though…it’s just a small amount of work to have super fresh and yummy lunches/dinners throughout the week!
I don’t usually do salad, mainly because the prep seems to much… but I like your idea here!
I’m a salad bagger too! I find I eat much more salad when it’s almost prep to go.
Where is this market? A must visit 😀
I totally eat more salad when it’s ready like this too. The market is in Longwood, on 434 and Rangeline Road, next to Subway. The sign says Farmer’s Market or Farmers Outlet out front. You will love it!
Why oh why have I never thought to do this?? Wonderful tip, especially since I’ve been so uninspired with cooking lately. Thanks for the brilliant tip!
Thanks Pam!! I totally get it about feeling uninspired. Hope you get re-inspired soon!! 🙂
I love this salad prep idea Aggie!
Love that you pre-bag yours!! So smart!!! I always wash my greens on market day and roll in paper towel but I don’t cut up – love that short cut!
Nice inspiration, particularly as summer approaches. Love a good salad with or for dinner, particularly chopped salad 🙂
Great tips Aggie. I also have a great little local produce market that I visit weekly. The quality of the greens is so much better than the bagged variety, I agree! It’s good to plan ahead like this and then just throw on some leftover protein from the previous night’s dinner and call it lunch!
that is my favorite kind of lunch Valerie!!
You always share such great ideas! I need to do this. I am terrible about food prep. Where is this market you showed above?
I lost your phone num can you pm it again?
hope your feeling good!! hugs
Several farm shares we’ve belonged to wash and bag mixed greens, and it is so easy and convenient to grab out a handful. I get so spoiled during CSA salad season that I forget the simple prep steps when I am buying salad on my own, so thanks for the reminder.
I like to keep my greens in a bag, because if I don’t finish them all before the next farm share pick up, the greens are still good enough for the composting guinea pigs. I’ll go squish the air out of the bag I’ve got going right now . . .
Oh gosh, I feel like my whole life I’ve been in a salad rut! I SO love your idea of making your own bags though – I think this is just what I need to spring back into loving salad! Thanks, Aggie!
I love that local market! and they are so reasonable also. 🙂
What a great idea!
Love this Aggie. My daughter loves to take salad everyday to school. This will save us so much time!
It really would Paula! My daughter has been asking for salad for lunch, I’m too lazy to make it sometimes – such a shame. This makes it so much easier!
I am a big salad eater too, these are some great tips!
I don’t do weekly salad prep. Maybe I should start the habit because I’m essentially lazy and want the least fuss in my kitchen. I do, however, cook soups or stews or pasta sauces on the occasional weekend afternoon and stash them in the fridge for easy reheating during the week.
What an awesome market to have, heavenly! Great tips, Salad Lady!
One week I do the salad prep and the next I don’t. I am having a hard time getting back into the habit. I do the ziploc bag and have put a paper towel in with it. I keep thinking about a salad spinner, but wonder is it just something else to take up space in my cabinet? I d not like for my salad to be watered down, I dry everything off after rinsing, but I am finding by the time I eat my salad at lunch time at work, I still have liquid from the cucumbers and tomatoes that has accumulated in the bottom of my container. Any suggestions?
I love my salad spinner, I’ve had the same one for almost 10 years and use it often. I hate watery lettuce, and the spinner helps with that for sure. I personally don’t add the cukes and tomatoes until I’m ready for my salad for that same reason, but I would think if you added them that morning by lunch they wouldn’t be so watery? I would maybe place a folded paper towel as a layer between the cucumber and tomatoes and greens when you pack your lunch to prevent that. I don’t think you will regret a salad spinner, if you use it. It is kind of a bulky item to have, but it does it’s job! 🙂
I stopped cutting the tomatoes and started packing the cucumbers separate. Thank you for your suggestions. 🙂
Such a smart thing to do! I love this 🙂
Oh Thank you for a great idea! It is CSA season and I get a ton of lettuce and needed some way to keep it fresh! Will be doing this later today!! Thanks!
I would love to know where this wonderful store is located at! I have been searching for a good market for a while. The farmers markets I have visited have very little produce.
I feel the same about some of our farmers markets, just one vendor…it’s not how I picture farmers markets to be. This produce shop is in Longwood, on 434 and Rangeline Road, next to Subway (Bayridge sushi is there too). I highly recommend! 🙂
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I just saw this on Pinterest. What a great idea! It is Winter here in Australia and I want to eat more salad so I buy all the greens and throw them out two weeks later when they have all gone to mush in the fridge. I am going out to get a spinner today and start doing this then there are no excuses! Thanks! Mary.
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The dry paper towel in the bag of a good idea. Works great on slowing the browning of pre-cut apples too.
spinner, thanks for idea. I will pick one up today. I am hooked on smoke salmon with apples and granola , my dressing has always been lemon. With your info. And a new spinner I am off & running. Thanx a mill.
Do we place the paper towel at the bottom of the bag?? Thanks for the tip. I been looking for this I’m tired of my salads going bad after a couple of days
Hi there, I place the paper towel on the side of the bag (it shows in one of the pictures), I do this so it touches most of the lettuce and soaks up any moisture. Hope that makes sense 🙂 Hope it helps your salads!! Thanks for stopping by.
Is the napkin inside the Ziploc or outside?
hi there, it’s inside the ziploc. It helps absorb moisture from the greens to keep them crisper.
When I have a cut pepper, I wrap in paper towel to keep it from getting slimy and from affecting the other peppers in the bag. Once they are cut, they can go slimy pretty quickly.
Thanks for the tip – I will try that!!
I thought cutting lettuce was a no-no?
Please tell me more about the Toasted Almond Oil ! The fresh salad in a zip lock bag is a great idea as I make salads for one most of he time and I find I am wasting a small amount of each bag I buy. This suggestion is just what I needed to keep my greens fresh. I actually do this with my carrots and celery. I rinse the carrots and celery the wrap them well and entirely with good (Bounty) paper towels. They last a good two weeks when this is done. I then take out what I need cut them for vegetarian chili and re-wrap the remaining in fresh paper towels each time I open the bags. Will send pic of this idea a little later.
I am new today to your blog and can not wait to read every page.
Thank You Nancy
Hi Nancy! So happy to meet you! The Roasted Almond Oil is so delicious! I write about it more here if you want to check out the salad I’ve used it on –
I prep salads this way. Works like a charm. The only thing I do differenly is I use two attatched squares of paper towel, so it lines both sides and the bottom inside the bag.
Will be adding paper towel to my lettuce bag! Thanks! I also BBQ meat in advance, big batches, then vaccum seal and freeze it. Everything we need for lunch salads always ready!
Hi. I didn’t realize moisture was an issue when storing lettuces. Maybe that’s why the lettuces in my make-ahead salads get a little slimy too soon. I always thought a salad spinner was just one of those kitchen gadget gimmicks that no one actually used! HA! Thanks for the good info. I was wondering how long you can expect a salad to stay fresh when prepped like this?
Costco greens are the best — $5 or $6 for a huge container that lasts a week or more.
Before sealing my zip lock bags I stick in a straw in the corner to suck out the excess air then finish zipping up the bag. This helps with many foods that need to have little to no air in the bag before freezing.
that is a great tip!!
I used to bag my salads with a paper towel but have been trying harder to reduce the amount of plastic bags I use. I now use Tupperware type containers with a paper towel on the bottom. You aren’t able to remove the air as with a plastic bag, but the lettuce has still stayed fresh for quite a while this way. Although it IS still plastic, it is definitely more reusable than the bags. Plus, it helps my refrigerator stay more organized!
I’m glad you mentioned the tupperware, I try to do the same for the same reason – the paper towel really helps!! I’ve purchased these great lightweight reusable meal prep containers too that are great for prepping salads ahead so sometimes I try to make 3 or 4 at a time, makes it so much easier!
I LOVE my OXO salad spinner!!! I also use it to store my spun dry greens: I put a paper towel in it to absorb moisture and change it out every few days. This method also keeps the delicate leaves from being crushed and mushed. Does anyone else store their lettuce right in the spinner? They recommend it!
I’ve done that too! My fridge is usually a little too full and I have a smaller fridge so I don’t do it anymore but it really did keep the greens so fresh that way.
When I purchase spinach or lettuce in plastic containers I open them and put a clean dish towel to collect any moisture. Veggies last 3 to 4 weeks.
Also, I started using the cloth shopping bags that you can purchase at your grocery store and put my celery, kale, lettuce, mushrooms and carrots in those and put it on my frig door or vegetable keeper area. Works wonders. Keep my greens and veggies fresh and lasting.
This is a great idea and a great way to incorporate greens into your daily meals. I’m glad I came upon this blog. Thanks for the healthy idea.
Hi, I’d like to be able to meal prep my salads for the week but it always seems like they’re soggy by day three. Any way to put the veggies in with the lettuce to save from using separate containers for every ingredient?
It depends on the veggie you are adding to your salad. Cucumbers and sliced tomatoes will definitely make it soggy. Matchstick carrots, radishes, peppers and grape tomatoes will be a better option. You could always add a folded paper towel to the top of your salad in the container, then add the toppings on top to help keep the moisture under control. Let me know if you try this and it helps!
I have that same salad spinner and love it. If you have a kid around, let them spin and you will get some seriously dry greens! I also spin potatoes in mine before frying to make them extra crispy. Have even used it to spin out small laundry items I have had washed. Best kitchen gadget ever! Thanks for the post. I’m going to try the paper towel trick. 🙂
I shop at the same market! Love them. I also get inspired by the large selection of greens for salads. Great post so glad I came across this.
what a small world! It really is a gem of a market. I love their greens!! I’m glad you came across this post too, thanks for saying hi!
So wait, are those large Ziploc bags or small Ziploc bags? In one pic the bags look like the larger sized ones but in the other they look like the smaller sized ones.
They are gallon sized Ziploc bags!
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