Convenient DIY Mini Salad Bar Trick
Salads are so nice to incorporate into a meal. Its the perfect appetizer that doesn't fill you up so much where you can't enjoy the rest of the food.
However, the thing with salads is, for one, everyone likes their's a different way. I like to go with a lighter dressing with lots of veggies and some kind of nuts or seeds. My boyfriend, on the other hand, loves his with creamy dressings such as ranch, cheese, croutons, and some kind of animal protein. There isn't just one salad that would please both of us at the same time.
The second thing about salads is they are a bit cumbersome to put together. You have to wash ALL of your vegetables, chop or cut them up, make your protein, etc. This is just a bit too much work and too time consuming to do every night of the week for me.
The solution I found to tackle both of these issues is so obvious, I don't know why I didn't start doing this sooner; A MINI SALAD BAR!
I won't lie, the first time I decided to do a mini salad bar was because I was really crunched on time and didn't have any other choices. So I just threw some vegetables that we already had on hand in a casserole dish, crisped up some turkey bacon, and grabbed all the cheese and dressings we had in the fridge and threw it on our dining table. I was nervous to see what my boyfriend thought about having salad for dinner, but to my surprise, HE LOVED IT! In fact, he loved it so much that he immediately went to the fridge and made himself a salad after coming home from work the next day! It was nice to have something that was pretty much ready to go whenever we felt like having a quick snack! My boyfriend actually asked if we could just keep a mini salad bar in the fridge at all time, so that's what I did!
How to Put Your Mini Salad Bar Together:
1. Line the bottom of your casserole dish or container with a couple layers of paper towels or a kitchen towel. This is really important to make the life of your veggies go the distance as the towel soaks up all the extra moisture that would cause your vegetables to wilt or spoil.
2. Cut your vegetables into bite-sized pieces and put them into their own sections. Of course, you want to fill most of the container with leafy greens. I chose to use spinach, romaine lettuce, and for the vegetable toppings I used red onions, red bell peppers, and crimini/baby bella mushrooms but you can use whatever your family's favorite veggies are. I also like to cut up extras and just set them aside so you can refill your Salad Bar after you finish munching. Strawberries would be WONDERFUL in this for a nice summer salad also!
3. Put your Mini Salad Bar out with various salad dressings, cheeses, and toppers (We LOVE sunflower seeds) and let each member of your family pick out what they want in their salads. This is a great way to get the kids in the kitchen as well. You can let them pick what vegetables they would like to incorporate in the Salad Bar. =)
5. When you are done eating, if there is anything left, you can simply put the lid or plastic wrap on the "Salad Bar" and put it back in the fridge until you're ready to snack again. If there isn't much left in your Salad Bar, you can refill your container with the leftover vegetables you prepared earlier and then store it.
This quick and easy trick has done WONDERS in my house! It saves me so much prep time when I need a quick appetizer or snack and it keeps our tummies AND our taste buds super happy. I hope you find this as helpful as I did.
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If you give this Mini Salad Bar a try, let me know what you think! (Even if you hate it!)