A common complaint or misconception about making salad in advance is that it will get soggy or not taste as good as when it’s fresh. Well, it doesn’t have to be this way! Here’s how you can keep your salads fresh for a full 7 days:
1. Instead of lettuce, choose heartier leafy greens
Lettuce is like a frail old lady compared to kale, collard greens, and swiss chard. I feel like lettuce becomes wilted if you so much as look at it for too long. Opt for these other leafy greens, or don’t even include leafy vegetables; there’s no rule that salads have to have them. P.S. Brussels sprouts taste great as their own salad when shredded up.
2. Leave water-based dressings on the side
Oil-based dressings make the salad taste even better when it marinates (like a massaged kale salad, for example). But because excess moisture is one of the main reasons that veggies become soggy, dressings that are mostly water should be put on just before eating.
3. Don’t use ingredients that produce a lot of water
Again, excess moisture is the enemy. Certain produce, like tomatoes and cucumbers, start leeching water when they’re cut up, so leave them out of your salad. You can use cherry tomatoes instead, however, and leave them whole.
4. Dry your ingredients
Did I mention excess moisture yet? Pretty obvious, but after washing your produce, make sure to dry it in a salad spinner or pat it with a clean kitchen towel.
5. Squeeze lemon juice on fruits that turn brown
Some produce turns brown when exposed to oxygen, like apples and avocados. Although I think eating browned produce is ok, but it can be pretty unappealing to look at! Squeezing some lemon juice on sliced avocados, apples, and other fruits to prevent browning is an age-old trick.
6. Keep your food cold
If your salad is out of the fridge and sitting at room temperature, it’s going to get ugly pretty fast. If you have a fridge at work, immediately put your salad in there when you get into the office, and don’t forget about it being in your bag (I’ve done this, because my bag is often like a black hole). You can also consider bringing it in an insulated lunch bag or a cooler.