Turn Your Fridge Into A Salad Bar

When I was still living in Johannesburg, South Africa, there was a restaurant I would love going to called Mike’s Kitchen, it wasn’t that the food was particularly amazing, or even special, but what they had was a salad bar – a real innovation at that time and the only restaurant offering this. To me there was nothing better to eat than a delicious fresh salad and one which I could pick and choose my own ingredients.

On moving to New York and working in the city, I discovered that salad bars were a standard offering, they were everywhere and I was delighted. What could be easier to put together than a salad when all the work has already been done for you. This rapidly became my lunch time staple (along with frozen yoghurt – another novelty back in the 80’s).

Fast forward a couple of years to the arrival of the City Bakery first on 17th Street and now on 18th in NYC. I was in salad bar heaven. Not your garden variety salad with bowls of chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, grated carrots, hard boiled eggs etc but gourmet salads using the freshest local, mostly organic ingredients frequently sourced from the nearby Union Square Farmer’s Market. It was truly inspirational and remains one of my most favorite places for lunch.
Since I obviously could not eat there every day, I started thinking what I could do to eat this way on a more regular basis and so the idea was born to turn my fridge into my own personal salad bar.

Once a week, I dedicate some time to chopping, dicing and slicing a variety of vegetables and salad greens storing them in glass containers in the fridge. I keep my assortment as varied as possible, allowing me to make not only salads, but also soups, stir fries and even roasted vegetables. Its time well spent and means a healthy and delicious meal can go from kitchen to table in no time at all. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to become truly creative and try new combinations of ingredients you may not have tried before.

Here is one of my favorite salads…

Mixed Greens with Clementines (serves 2- 3)

  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 cup arugula, washed and dried
  • 1 small radicchio, washed and coarsely shredded
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 clementines, peeled and sectioned (if clementines are not available, substitute with grapefruit)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into cubes (optional)
  • Sesame seeds to sprinkle
  • Combine all ingredients and drizzle lightly with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 2/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well until thoroughly blended

For more recipes, go to http://www.elevenelevenwellness.com/resources/
You will find salad recipes in each section of Remove, Revive and Sustain.

  • Rutha

    great idea jan! post some pics of how the salad bar looks in your fridge and some ingredient suggestions.

  • Susan

    What kind of glass storage containers do you use?

  • Janice Lipman

    Hi Susan, I like Frigoware which is available at Crate and Barrel and also just bought a set of different sized glass containers called “Glasslock” at Costco.

  • Janice Lipman

    Hi Rutha, good idea… here are some of the ingredient suggestions…

    mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, lettuce, arugula, shredded raddichio, baby spinach, olives, canned beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans, jicama, shredded cabbage – green and red, peppers, even left over roasted vegetables such as butternut and sweet potato can be kept for a few days and added to a salad. I also keep cooked quinoa in a glass container, its great for making a grain salad.

  • Danareynolds777

    Janice..it's nice to see kindred spirits! I have turned grocery day, into the day I “prep” all my produce. I found that less got wasted, time was well spent, and my family would eat more if it was ready. But what do you think about those green bags that absorb or let the passing of the gases that fruits and veggies emit to ventilate..are they toxic like plastic containers? They seem to really extend the life of the produce, but I want to eliminate plastic toxins where ever possible.

  • janice lipman

    Hi, I know exactly the bags you refer to.. and have used them too from time to time as they did seem to extend the life of produce. However I do not use them very much anymore because of the issue with toxins from plastics and since I have not be able to find out any information about their toxicity, I am erring on the side of caution.

  • Susan

    Thank you

  • Susan

    I love the “glasslock” containers from Costco.I threw out other storage containers that were not clear. My husband noticed them and how they seal and was pleased too.

  • Glad To Go Rose

    I bought a salad bag made of terry cloth, when slightly dampened it will keep vegetables and salad greens really fresh and crisp for a long time. It is just a square with a tie at the top, easy to replicate.