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Make Ahead Salads for Days!

Simplify your lunch hour by making a big batch of any of these salads that keep for days in the fridge. And now that spring has sprung, we should also mention that they are always a hit at backyard barbecues and picnics. 

One of the most common questions we get in our workshops is how to handle lunches if you are battling a tiny office kitchenette, a rushed lunch hour, or a general lack of lunchtime inspiration. One of our favorite solutions? A big batch salad that you can make on Monday and munch on throughout the week. Read on for five of our favorites, including tips for making sure they stay fresh until Friday.

  1. Broccoli Slaw from Smitten Kitchen – We love this salad for its combination of broccoli (slightly bitter), dried cranberries (sweet and tart), red onion (sharp) and almonds (rich and crunchy). It is also one of the easiest salads on this list – just some non-fussy chopping and whipping up a quick dressing. Any creamy dressing will do, so feel free to sub a store-bought dressing if you prefer (hot tip: check the refrigerated dressings, which tend to have fewer added chemicals and preservatives).
  2. PCC’s Emerald City Salad created by Cynthia Lair, sold at PCC – This delightful salad is a standard in the PCC deli case, but you can save yourself some dough if you make it yourself. The chewy kale, crisp veggies, soft rice, and the brightness of lemon juice come together to create a salad that you won’t mind eating a few days in a row. I’ve also been known to saute my salad up with some fried eggs at the end of the week if I have some left over and the kale is starting to look a little soggy.
  3. Roasted Vegetable Couscous by Budget Bytes – A staff favorite at the Beecher’s Foundation, this is a great foundation for a kitchen sink salad. We usually have some leftover roasted vegetables kicking around, the couscous is ready in minutes (with zero extra dishes to wash!) thanks to our electric tea kettle, and from there you can toss in a handful of whatever you find in the fridge. Our favorite additions? A handful of greens (kale, spinach, or salad) and some pickled vegetables (we are partial to Trader Joe’s Giardiniera mix). Worth a shout out: the entire Salad section of Budget Bytes is full of affordable salad inspiration.
  4. Roasted Vegetable Orzo by Sprouted Kitchen – This salad is slightly fussier (fresh herbs, feta cheese, toasted pine nuts) but it will always impress at a party and is sure to make your lunch time feel a little extra special. If you want to save yourself some time, instead of roasting vegetables you can roughly chop some fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and red peppers and add them straight to the mix.
  5. No-Chop Chickpea Salad from Food52 – It is no secret that we love a good chickpea salad (in fact, we make this one with rave reviews in some of our workshops). In five minutes you can make your lunch for the entire week – what’s not to love? This savory version is especially easy and can be made from ingredients in your pantry if you keep kalamata olives and capers on hand. Store the arugula separately and add a handful in just before eating each portion.

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