5 Essentials for Quick Salads for Dinner

The Vegetables
Veggies will add flavor, texture and color to your too green leaves.
Veggies will add flavor, texture and color to your too green leaves.

You can serve a salad made up entirely of greens -- but why? With so many great vegetables available in the market year round, adding a little of this and a little of that to your salad can change it up and make those basic greens look and taste different from one day to the next. If you want to serve more salads at dinnertime, think of it as vegetable improvisation.

We like the idea of including at least four or five additional ingredients to greens. They don't all have to be fresh, either. Another nice thing about having an assortment of ingredients is that you can open a can (or even the freezer) for some salad fixings and save yourself a special trip to the market. Frozen peas are tasty in tossed salads, and you can reserve three-quarters of the package as a warm vegetable side dish later in the week. The same goes for frozen carrots. If you want a quick, gourmet salad, try adding canned asparagus or marinated artichoke hearts. Canned, pickled beets and black olives are also interesting options.

To supplement the canned or frozen ingredients you plan on using, add a few colorful fresh veggies, too. If you know you'll be rushed, chop veggies when you chop the greens and package them separately. Limit your choices to less watery vegetables that will hold well, though. Bell peppers, green onions and radishes can be prepped days ahead while tomatoes and cucumbers should be rinsed and chopped just before serving.

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