As much as I love to tinker around in the kitchen, sometimes it’s just easier and quicker to buy food that is already prepared. And when I’m not eating meat that usually translates into purchasing store-made salads. I’m not talking about the traditional salad bars found in many grocery stores and markets, but side salads prepared in-house. I’m lucky to live less than 10 minutes from a Whole Foods Market and a Fresh Market, both of which make some tasty ones.
The broccoli/apple salad from Fresh Market is great and reminds me of a Waldorf salad (one of my favorites to make in the fall when Honeycrisp apples are in season.) This salad contains broccoli florets, red delicious apples, walnuts, raisins, low-fat vanilla yogurt and red onion. At $5.99 a pound, this makes a good lunch – pair it with a few slices of crusty bread and some iced tea.
The Greek artichoke salad, also from Fresh Market, makes a great side dish for lamb, kabobs, etc., or, if you don’t eat meat, you can serve it with other salads and/or veggies. It includes marinated artichoke hearts, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red peppers green peppers, grape tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and oregano. I like the mixture of the lemon, olive oil and vinegar, but wish it had a bit more feta. ($6.99 a pound, and I believe it was on sale for $1.00 off.)
Whole Foods’ grilled corn and Vidalia onion salad, also pictured above, is made from yellow corn, Vidalia onions, green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, avocados, jalapeños, garlic, white wine vinegar, olive oil and seasonings. I was lucky to get this at $4.99 a pound, as it is normally $7.99. This is a salad you want to eat quickly after purchasing it; otherwise some of the vegetables may go limp on you. I can do without the green pepper altogether, as it has been soggy the past few times I bought it. Otherwise, I love the sweetness of the corn and Vidalias mixed with the jalapeños, which give it a nice little bite.
I also love the smoked mozzarella pasta salad (pictured above) from Whole Foods as well as the Scandinavian potato salad (pictured below.) The smoked mozzarella pasta salad contains penne pasta with fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, smoked mozzarella and Parmesan cheese tossed with creamy dressing, and sells for $7.99 a pound. I love the smokiness of the mozzarella and red peppers mixed with the pasta and dressing. This goes well as a starch with meat (think burgers or grilled chicken) or as a main dish with a side fruit salad.
I’ve been buying this Scandinavian potato salad from Whole Foods for years, and it’s a good alternative to my own homemade potato salad. It contains red-skinned potatoes, mayonnaise, red onions, carrots, sour cream, parsley, vinegar and various seasonings. At $3.99 a pound, it is definitely worth it when I don’t have time to make my own. I like this with black bean burgers.
If you’re not sure that you’ll like a particular salad, the server behind the counter will be glad to give you a taste to see if you like it first. These salads are great for lunch, especially if you’re a brown bagger or just want to avoid the usual fast food places.
Eat, drink and be merry!