5 Essentials for Quick Salads for Dinner

The Greens

Most salads contain more greens than anything else, but how many times have you seen your family rooting around in all those shredded leaves to find "the good stuff"? You can make basic greens more appealing, textural and colorful in one go by using more variety. One option is to buy prepared mixed greens at the market. This can actually be a pretty good idea. Mixed, prepared market greens often incorporate modified atmosphere packaging that inhibits bacterial growth and can extend the useful life of lettuce by a week or more. If you throw out your fair share of wilted produce, it may be worth considering.

Another option is to buy individual mixed lettuce varieties. Using this method, you'll have better control over the finished product and save money over time, especially if you plan on eating salads regularly. Boston, romaine or iceberg lettuce mixed with fresh spinach and endive (or radicchio) makes a winning combo. Before you click away, we know this sounds labor intensive, but it doesn't have to be. You just need to get organized.

The trick is to prep the ingredients for multiple salads and refrigerate the batch. Extract as much water as possible from washed salad greens first, though. The best tool for this job is a salad spinner. We hate to sound like mom, but if you don't have a salad spinner in your cupboard, you should. Salad spinners pay for themselves by extending the life of leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and kale. They dry produce quickly and effectively by spinning the water off using centrifugal force. A dry lettuce leaf is a happy lettuce leaf that will stand the test of time in your fridge without getting limp, soggy or brown around the edges. You can prep almost a week's worth of greens and have them ready to go in less than half an hour.

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