There's nothing worse than a sad salad of wilted greens and bad dressing. It almost makes you want to pass up a salad altogether. But a really good salad is something of dreams. It has the right ratio of vegetables, dressing, and protein to make it hearty and filling. But prepping an amazing salad every night is time consuming and these days, we're all short on time.
That's where Souper Cubes and your freezer can help. When you have some of the ingredients already made, you shorten your prep time and increase your enjoyment time. Read on to find out how.
The Components of a Good Salad
A good salad is more than greens. It contains ingredients that are fresh and colorful, such as vegetables, and hearty ingredients, such as protein, whole grains, or beans. And to top it off, you need more than dressing. Something salty, like cheese, and crunchy, like nuts and seeds, round out a salad into a full, nutritious meal.
Salads can also not have any greens at all. Beans salads, potato salads, egg salad, chicken salad, and tuna salad are all technically salads too. If you have the base ingredient prepped, you're already most of the way there to making a quick salad for a potluck or side dish.
The most important part of picking your vegetables for your salad is making sure they are fresh. Skip the wilty greens, mushy tomatoes, or flaccid cucumbers and opt for as fresh as you can find. Then next important facet of picking your vegetables for your salad is to pick based on color and texture. Multiple colored vegetables with different textures entice the eyes as much as the mouth, and we all know how important it is for our food to look good!
Favorite Greens for Salads
- Mixed Baby Greens
Favorite Colorful Vegetables for Salads
Grains, Legumes, and Beans
While many might not think to put carbs in their salads, adding grains, pulses, and beans makes a hearty salad and gives it an extra boost of fiber. It also gives a salad staying power, i.e. makes a salad that can easily be transported or made ahead.
Your freezer is the perfect way to batch cook grains, legumes, and beans so they are ready anytime you need. Buying in bulk and cooking a bigger batch then portioning them into ½-cup, 1 cup, and 2 cup trays means you'll not only have cooked grains at your finger tips, you'll also have saved money and time by not buying pre-made.
Favorite Grains for Salads
- Pearl Barley
- Wild Rice
- Brown Rice
Favorite Legumes and Beans for Salads
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Cannellini and Great Northern Beans
Another way to make a salad a meal is to add protein. This is also a great way to use up leftovers. Anytime you have additional cooked meat, poultry, fish, or tofu leftover from a meal, freeze it in portions in your Souper Cubes. When you're ready to make a salad, defrost it and go!
- Bacon or Turkey Bacon
Crunchy & Salty Toppings
Besides making sure there is enough dressing to coat the salad, adding something crunchy and/or salty as a topping is the secret to an amazing salad. Crunchy ingredients add an additional texture as well as flavor and make it appeal to all the taste buds. Storing your nuts and seeds in the freezer gives them a longer shelf-life because it takes longer for the natural oils to go rancid, allowing you to buy in bulk and save money.
- Nuts: almonds, pistachios, peanuts, cashews
- Seeds: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
- Cheese: goat cheese, feta, parmesan, cheddar
The dressing is the most important part of making the salad delicious. Whether you opt for a vinaigrette or a creamy dressing, be sure that you make enough to generous coat the entire salad.
One of our favorite all-purpose dressings is this Easy Lemon Vinaigrette. Since you most likely always have oil and vinegar in your pantry, be sure you always have lemon juice too when you freeze fresh lemon juice into your 2 Tbsp Souper Cubes. (We do this for lime and orange juice too.) That way, you're just a few whisks away from a bright and light salad dressing.
How Your Freezer Can Help You Make Better Salads
When you have grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and protein already prepared, you're only a dressing and a handful of greens away from a pretty impressive salad. Souper Cubes allow for you to batch cook and save any leftovers in ½-cup, 1 cup, and 2 cup portions that are ready for your next salad.
Our Favorite Salad Recipes
Get creative with your salads but here are a few of our favorite recipes.
photo from downshiftology.com
Grain & Bean Salads
photo from AlexandraCooks.com
- Lentil Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Walnuts, & Goat Cheese (pictured above)
- Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini
- Quinoa Salad with Hazelnuts, Apple, & Dried Cranberries
- Bulgur & Lentils with a Lemon-Tahini Drizzle
- Easy White Bean Salad
- Black Bean & Corn Salad