Big Batch Salad

Salads

Big Batch Salad: the mom's guide to prepping salad for a week ahead to help the family eat their greens!

We eat a lot of salad.  I mean, we eat salad pretty much every day.  We LOVE salad!  But just like most other humans, we don’t love making it.  So let’s take a second to be honest… making salad is a bit of a pain in the derrière, yes?  All that chopping and peeling and washing and then, oh for crying out loud, finding that salad spinner and then thinking “great, one more thing to wash”.  And let’s not get started on the dressing.

SHOP SALAD BAR ESSENTIALS

It all boils down to one thing: PREP AHEAD!  I know, so annoying right?  I too wish that there was a magic meal-prep fairy that would do all the work (and laundry while we’re dreaming). But I promise you that a little bit of elbow grease at the beginning of the week will save you all kinds of headaches.  You can almost think of this as a homemade salad bar. The great thing is that, no matter if you are cooking for 1 or 100, the fundamentals are the same.  You don’t need fancy tools for this or most recipes to be honest, but it’s 100% worth it to invest in a quality knife and some good resealable containers that all fit together and stack nicely with lids that don’t make you want to swear every time you try to fit them on (can that fairy organize my Tupperware drawer too lol?).  By the way, is anybody else as obsessed as I am with these colanders? How is a girl to choose might I ask???

SHOP MY COLANDER OBSESSION (LOL)!

 

 

Farmer's Basket full of veggies - so healthy!

Big Batch Salad: the mom's guide to prepping salad for a week ahead to help the family eat their greens!

Here are our tried and true salad secrets to help you get salad on the table for your family without breaking a sweat:

  1. Choose a hearty green. Kale (not baby kale…the kale I’m referring to is the Lacinato kale or ‘Tuscan’ kale) is our green of choice.  My dad told me that they used to buy it to line the salad bar as decoration when he owned his fast food restaurant (yes, you read that right, my family used to own a fast food restaurant).  He really scratched his head when we started making salads out of it asking “so you can eat that stuff?”.  I don’t need to tell you this, but kale is FULL of goodness and it’s really hearty so won’t wilt.  This is what you’re looking for.
  2. Build a base with your favourite ingredients that will keep when cut up.  You’ll see in my suggestions below that I recommend mixing it up every day with ‘extras’, but you’ll want to build a salad base of ingredients that you’re cool with eating for a few days.  You don’t have to include everything we do below, make it to fit your preferences. We try to hit the local farmer’s market in the summer at least once a week to stock up on the good stuff.
  3. Make your own dressing… or don’t!  I mean, I try to Martha Stewart it up as much as I can but even a dietitian has busy days or days when I simply don’t feel like making my own dressing.  This is reality.  I think that we get caught up in such an ‘all or nothing’ mentality that if we don’t do it 100% we just don’t do it at all.  No way.  Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction my friends (my fav quote for the record).  We use a lot of the Little Creek salad dressing (sooo addictive, it’s made locally out of simple organic ingredients) but companies like Maison Orphée make some killer ones too.  Not all salad dressings are created equal.  Look for simple ingredients that you would find in your kitchen on the ingredient list.
  4. Switch it up.  We build a base that we love and then throw on all sorts of goodies that we prep ahead on Sunday and place in glass re-sealable containers in the fridge and pantry to make them easy to pull out and serve (ie: grated beets, peeled hard boiled eggs etc)!  I’ve given a ton of suggestions below, but use your own imagination.  We will often take a look in the pantry and fridge and just create whatever we can find.  It’s a great way to use up extra food like that last carrot that is kicking around in the crisper or the last few almonds in the bag that need a home.  In fact, you can place a number of ingredients out for the family and create a homemade salad bar so everyone can customize their own.  Giving kids a choice in the food that lands on their plates is an amazing way to encourage them to eat new fruits and veggies!  Speaking of kids, I know that a lot of kids don’t like salad.  But many of them will grow into it especially if they see mom and dad eating it regularly.  Monkey see monkey do… eventually.  I suggest not pressuring them but encouraging them to try, and re-try, new foods including salads… one day they will dig them!

The Base (you can design your own of course):

  • 2 heads of kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 English cucumbers, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and diced into 1″ pieces
  • 2 orange or yellow peppers, seeded and diced into 1″ pieces
  • 4 tomatoes, diced into 1/2″ pieces

 

Homemade Salad Bar - aka Big Batch Salad: the mom's guide to prepping salad for a week ahead to help the family eat their greens!

TOPPING SUGGESTIONS:

Fruits:

  • Avocado
  • Dried cranberries
  • Chopped dates
  • Grapes
  • Dried apricots, chopped
  • Diced oranges
  • Diced mango
  • Sliced pear
  • Diced fresh apple or orange
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Chopped apple (Ambrosia is best as it resists browning)
  • Sliced fresh peaches
  • Fresh Cherries
  • Sliced firm plums
  • Blueberries

 

Veggies:

  • Snap peas or sugar peas
  • Radishes
  • Shredded carrots
  • Shredded beets
  • Corn
  • Diced celery
  • Sprouts
  • Broccoli (I like to blanch it first)
  • Cubed roasted squash
  • Homemade beet chips (or other veggie chip)
  • Torn radicchio
  • Chopped endive
  • Shredded red cabbage
  • Fresh or roasted cauliflower
  • Shaved fennel
  • Blanched asparagus
  • Thinly sliced candy cane beets

 

Nuts & Seeds:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Chopped pecans
  • Chopped almonds
  • Hemp Hearts

 

Alternate Protein:

  • Fried tempeh
  • Grilled or pan seared tofu (try smoked tofu!)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Grilled free-range chicken
  • Seared filet of wild salmon
  • Canned tuna
  • Hard boiled free range eggs
  • Fried halloumi
  • Feta cheese or vegan feta or goat cheese
  • Other cubed or shredded cheese (cheddar etc)

 

Other:

  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Croutons (try making your own!)
  • Olives
  • Diced marinated artichokes
  • Extra fresh herbs (basil, mint etc)
  • Added greens (the more fragile ones like spinach and arugula)

 

Homemade Dressings:

Our Favourite Vinaigrette:

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Juice of 1 lemon (fresh only)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or honey
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

(or try this Honey Lime Vinaigrette for a change, it’s awesome for Mexican inspired salads or salads with fruit)

 

Lemon Tahini Dressing:  Blend the following together in a blender (add extra water to thin if needed):

  • Juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove

 

Suggested combinations:

  • Hippie Salad: Grapes, snap peas, sprouts, shredded red cabbage, pumpkin seeds
    • dressing suggestion: Little Creek dressing or a tahini based dressing
  • Apple Fennel Salad: Shaved fennel + diced apple + chopped pecans + seared salmon filet (optional – can also sub feta for goat cheese) – fresh mint would also taste good!
    • dressing suggestion: Classic vinaigrette
  • Cowgirl Salad: Chopped dates + crushed tortilla chips + diced avocado + corn + cajun grilled chicken or tofu + lime wedges
    • dressing suggestion: Classic vinaigrette using lime juice instead of lemon juice
  • Mediterranean Salad: 
    • dressing suggestions: a quality store-bought Greek dressing or extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano and balsamic or other vinegar with a pinch of salt, shake

 

Here are some other salad recipes that I’ve posted in the past!

Kitchen Sink Salad

Loaded Tabbouleh Salad

Spring Vegan Salads

Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad

Cherry Kale Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

…. so many!  click here for more!

Happy eating loves!  Comment below if you have other toppings or combinations that you love and I will add them to the list to help us all stay on top of our salad game!

xo

Tori

Big Batch Salad: the mom's guide to prepping salad bar for a week ahead to help the family eat their greens!

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13 Comments on “Big Batch Salad”

  1. Carrie

    Love this so much! Kale is a great base & I also love brocolli slaw. I eat a big salad every day for lunch & love playing around with different combinations. I try to get veggies, fat (avocado or olives), dairy or a protein, a bit of fruit (berries mostly), and then seeds or nuts in there. Your post gave me some new ideas. Now, if only I could get my four year old to give them a try. 🤔

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Some great combinations Carrie and sounds like you’re covering all your bases! Yes, the kids… they come around eventually! Charlie now eats a bit of salad on his own accord, it helps when they see you making good choices, they will too!

  2. Tasha

    I love using Epicure salad and nourish dressings! Sesame ginger and miso ginger are my current favs. Only mix what you need to last a couple days and nothing goes to waste!

  3. Terrilyn

    Great post Tori! I’m a daily salad eater as well so this is awesome! Can’t wait to try it! I recently just started chopping up a dill pickle in my salad – it’s DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for the great ideas!

  4. Rachel

    Hi Tori!

    Love this idea! Unfortunately,
    my hubby isn’t big on kale. Any other suggestions that would store for a few days?!

    Thanks!

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Rachel! I find that spinach is pretty good, but just won’t last quite as long. We’ll do a spinach base and keep it for up to 3 days which may be a good solution for you!

  5. Julie

    Thank you for the great suggestions. My biggest problem with salads is that I can never find a salad dressing that I really like. So I appreciate your reommendations and I’m going to try one of your dressings.

  6. Liz Gardner

    Thank you!! This is a super helpful post!! I will be making a few of these for lunch this week.

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