Simple Salad: How I Cheat and Serve Salad Without Actually Making Salad

You guys. I am a cheater. I am a cheater, cheater, salad eater.

Simple Overnight Beef Roast

I tell you all the time that I “serve a tossed salad” with my meals. I suggest in almost every daily Simple Meal menu to “serve tossed salad.” I just wrote an entire post about how necessary it is to eat salad every day. I even express frequently how ridiculously easy it is to serve salads as a side dish with our meals as a way to get nourishment without going to any trouble.

But several of you are like, “Hey. It isn’t actually easy and it is a lot of trouble. I hate making tossed salads. All the washing, and the chopping, and the tossing…”

Shoot. I guess I haven’t really told you in detail what I actually mean when I say “serve a tossed salad.” You guys, the only thing I actually toss are these bad boys:

groceries feb 173

I get them from the fridge and I toss them at my boys to put onto the table.

That is how I toss a salad.

If I have grape tomatoes, I wash them and toss those onto the table too. Sometimes I toss over those mini sweet peppers that are so deliciously amazing.


The Organic Mixed Greens and Spinach I buy are pre-washed so they take zero prep. Maybe we can’t actually call it a “salad” if we’re not mixing anything into the lettuce or greens, but if you ask me, the point of all of this is that we’re eating greens and that is the most valuable player. Any bonus veggies we eat with the greens are fantastic, but everyone at our house is old enough to add those to their plate or bowl by themselves.

As far as salad dressing? We all like ranch at our house so we keep a quart of Homemade Ranch Dressing on hand at all times. I’d toss that over to the table too, but I think we all know it’s best to place a glass jar full of liquid onto the table with care. But hey, if that’s the most difficult part of my salad making experience, I think I’m doing okay.

How about the cost of buying these ready-to-serve Mixed Greens or Spinach? I get an entire pound of each organic variety for just under $6. One pound is A LOT of greens. For $12/week, the five of us still living at home get around 25 salads out of those packages. It’s some of the least expensive, most power-packed nourishment there is!

So I think that you, too, should be a cheater, cheater, salad eater. I mean, when tossing a salad really is as easy as tossing a container onto the table…

I suppose I should mention that when I have company, I do often take thirty seconds to dump some of the greens from the container into a pretty glass bowl. Then I toss in some grape tomatoes. Maybe chop in some cucumber.

Pre-Packaged Mixed Greens and/or Spinach is THE way to go for tossing salad at our house.

How about you? What’s the easiest way you’ve found to toss a salad? How frequently do you eat salad?


  1. Bethany says

    And, when you go to Aldi, they have those 16-oz boxes of organic baby greens for $3.79. That’s a steal!


    Laura Reply:

    Ooooh!! I get to go there tomorrow because I have an appointment in the city. Thanks for the tip!


  2. Karen H. says

    That’s what we do, too, Laura! And sometimes I put a little dressing in the bottom of a mason jar, add some veggies and leftover cooked meat, top with dark greens (prewashed from Costco), screw on the lid, and take it to work for lunch. When I dump onto a plate at work, it looks like something from a nice restaurant, but healthier and significantly less expensive.


  3. Elisabeth says

    I hate to rain on your parade, but even “pre-washed” bagged items should be rinsed. The worst case of food poisoning I ever had was from a delicious salad made with this type of salad greens. :-/ A salad spinner makes short work of the rinsing, or you can dump the greens in a large strainer and spray them off with the hand-held sprayer.


    Steph Reply:

    Well, to make the lazy (my people!) feel better, most food safety people say not to wash it. I guess the rationale is that if the bacteria survived the washing by the producer, you probably won’t rinse it off either. And there is the possibility that during washing you will contaminate it (with the bacteria in your sink, etc.)

    However, if you are not one of the lazy, I don’t think that last risk is too much of an issue. And there is always the possibility that it will help. So I take the lazy route, but I wouldn’t advise someone against rinsing if they are so inclined.


  4. Stacy says

    My kids will not touch salads (6, 5, 3) They’ll eat the veggies that go in it, but won’t touch the greens, though they don’t mind them in smoothies or other places they can’t see them.


    Jill Reply:

    My toddlers don’t eat official salad either. But I give them a “smorgasboard” (they love that word!) of all of the veggies I put in mommy and daddy’s salad by laying them on the plate in a line or in tidy piles, and give them dressing on the side for dip and they’ll eat it all.


  5. Jill says

    I find carrot chips annoying to get on a fork and a pain to cut. So my one indulgence is pre-shredded carrots. I get all my greens from our store’s salad bar – already chopped and amazingly cheaper than the bagged greens. I keep our salads simple – grape or cherry tomatoes are easy to cut in half. Cucs sliced and then sliced again in half, And pepper slices. I only put on one “sprinkle” which is usually either sunflower seeds or croutons – neither of which require work. Washing all the greens once and storing in the salad spinner saves time, too.

    I’m also teaching my 3-year old safe knife work so cutting the cucs, peppers, and tomatoes are all good practice for him since consistency in size is less important with salad. The 2 year old likes shaking the dressing for me. So….extra work with them “helping” yes, but also a good learning opportunity. Eventually the salad prep will be entirely their job.

    Salads are made during the downtime of cooking – like when I’m waiting for the oven to pre-heat or for water to boil.


  6. Alicia says

    I love this & say a hearty yes to letting people fix their own salad, but I gotta say that I take an extra 30 seconds to spray the greens with vinegar water & rinse off real quick! If I stick a paper towel in the container after, the greens will stay fresh (& clean!) for days. I usually leave some veggies in bigger pieces for my little people to pick up and dip, which they go for! I have found my big kids will happily eat a salad with crunchy lettuce (I know, I know…iceberg!) so I “let” them. (: (:


  7. Pamela says

    I’m with you, Laura — the washed greens containers have become my husband’s and my “go-to” nightly salad! I can get a pound for $3.99! For awhile I sprinkled oo and white balsamic vinegar; lately have been using bottled dressings. When time and organization permit I add some chopped veggies (or yes, fancy-up for company). Still want to try your homemade ranch dressing…!


  8. Sharon says

    I feel like I actually get more salad greens out of the organic tubs of salad than if I were to purchase the greens separately and wash them myself. It seems whenever I buy salad greens, or spinach, by themselves, I usually have to peel off and throw away several layers of damaged, wilted, slimy lettuce. Yep, basically throwing money away. With the plastic tubs, all of the sorting has been done for me and I am actually getting a full pound of greens. And, the convenience is so worth it for us. Both my husband and teenage daughter take “Big Salads” for lunch everyday, and those organic salad tubs is how we roll.


  9. Laura S says

    Ooh, so you serve salad in the plastic container?! Why didn’t I think of that?! My husband went shopping with me last time and we discussed the price of prepackaged salad versus the head of lettuce. I explained that although the head might be less, it is more likely to die in the fridge. I have learned to put any extra greens into a Pyrex container. When I am desperate for something to eat, I can get my salad-to-go. I just plop dressing on and I am eating something healthy in a rush.

    I love your blog for things like this!


  10. Kristin says

    I always have homemade balsamic and Italian vinaigrettes in bottles in my cupboard, but when I need something else like pear vinaigrette or honey lemon poppyseed, I mix it up in the bottom of the bowl I plan to toss the spinach/mixed greens in. If I get my kids to chop veggies, salad prep goes even faster. I second the tubs of organic mixed greens, especially when the giant tubs are on sale for $3.99. I also put a paper towel in the tub to keep the greens from spoiling so quickly. Our standard winter salad is balsamic vinaigrette, greens, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, julienned carrots and pine nuts, and goat cheese if we have it. Spring is strawberry spinach salad with honey lemon poppyseed and pecans. Summer is Greek salad with feta cheese or caprese salad. Fall is pear vinaigrette with greens, pears/apples, dried cranberries, walnuts and blue cheese.


  11. Kim F. says

    We started buying the tubs about 6 weeks ago for our family of 7. We have less waste compared to buying heads of lettuce to be washed and chopped. In fact, we have had no waste since buying them because they are so easy to serve! As we eat it up, we will put the greens in smaller containers to take up less space in the fridge. We also put the greens into smoothies, or cook the spinach and/or kale with some onion, garlic, and whatever seasoning we feel like that night and serve on the side. Definitely worth the switch for us!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *