10 Salad Prep Tricks You’ll Want to Try Out

Never have a boring or bland salad again thanks to these salad prep tips.

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Whether you’re meal prepping a salad for the week or making a quick weeknight dinner, it’s easy for a salad to fall a bit flat. Keep soggy greens and croutons at bay and put together the most delicious salad you’ve ever had by following these simple (but effective!) salad tips. You’ll be happy to know how to make salad that’s anything but boring.

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Iceberg lettuce
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Remove An Iceberg Lettuce Core

Get the most from your head of iceberg lettuce by removing the core before you start to chop. To do so, hold the head of lettuce with the core pointing downward. Bang the core on your kitchen counter once or twice to loosen it. Then, flip the iceberg over and twist the core until it completely separates. Chop or shred the lettuce to your liking.

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Arugula on paper towel

Keep Your Greens Fresh

Have you ever purchased packaged greens, only to have them go bad in just a few days? Help your greens last longer with this paper towel trick. Once you’re home from the grocery store, wash the greens and dry them completely. Lay a dry paper tower on the bottom of the container or bag that the greens came in, then add about half the greens. Lay down another paper towel, the rest of the greens and then top with one more paper towel.

The paper towels will absorb moisture away from the greens, keeping them fresh in your fridge for a few days longer. If you notice the paper towels quickly getting completely damp, change them out for new ones. Want a reusable salad saver? Check out our favorite lettuce and produce keepers.

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fresh greens on a wooden table linen napkin copyspace
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Dry Without A Spinner

Drying salad greens after they’re washed is a must if you want your dressing to stick. But that doesn’t mean you have to have to buy a salad spinner. Instead, after you’ve given the greens of your choice a good rinse, place them in the middle of a kitchen towel. Grab the corners of the kitchen towel in one hand and rigorously spin it. This motion will wick the water off your greens without having to individually wipe off each leaf. Easy! Take a look at these other kitchen gadgets you can probably do without.

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Spring salad from early vegetables, lettuce leaves, radishes and herbs in a white bowl
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Mix Up Your Greens

Give your salad texture and crunch by using a mix of greens and lettuce. Toss some crisp romaine, peppery arugula and red butter lettuce or go with a blend of baby kale, radicchio and baby spinach. Or, use whatever greens you have in the fridge. Here’s the low-down on the most common types of lettuce for a salad.

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bowl of pickled sliced radish
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Soak Crunchy Veggies

Prevent harder veggies, like sliced radishes and carrots, from drying out by soaking them in ice water. The cold water will keep the cut vegetables from oxidizing, turning brown and losing their crunch. You can soak them overnight or for a few hours. Regardless of when you’re planning on eating, these healthy salad recipes make for a filling and nutritious meal.

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Collection of herbs from the garden
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Use Fresh Herbs

Boost the flavor in your salad (without adding a ton of calories) with herbs. Chop up some fresh basil, parsley or even mint to take your everyday salad to the next level (just make sure you’re chopping herbs correctly). If you’re making a Southwest- or Taco-inspired salad, toss in some torn cilantro for a bright-tasting addition.

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Maintain Texture

If you’re using crisp or crunchy toppings like chopped nuts, tortilla chip strips or croutons in a salad you’re meal prepping, wait to add them until right before you’re ready to eat. Keeping them in a separate container from damp greens and other veggies will maintain their texture and keep them from getting soggy and stale. These are the meal prep salad recipes that’ll let you assemble once and eat all week long.

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Italian herb salad dressing
Taste of Home

Make Your Salad Dressing

As convenient as store-bought salad dressing is, homemade dressing tastes so, so much better. And, it’s better for you. Layer 1-part vinegar and 3-parts oil of your choice in a jar with some salt, pepper and herbs, give it a shake and you’ve got homemade salad dressing in a flash.

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Citrus salad with mixed greens and blood orange. Vegan, vegetarian, clean eating, dieting, food concept. Blue stone background.
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Don’t Smash Softies

Prevent soft ingredients like pieces of avocado and goat cheese from disintegrating by adding them after the salad has been tossed with dressing. That way, the pieces stay intact and won’t create a mess in your bowl. Check out these ingredients you should be adding to your salad, if you’re not already.

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colored ripe tasty vegetable composition set
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Curl Green Onions

Add some decorative veggies to your salad with curled green onions. To prepare them, cut off the green section of the onion, cut it in half and then cut the halves into long strips. Drop the strips of green onion into a bowl of icy water and watch them curl! Sprinkle the curls on top of your salad for some pizazz that adds flavor, too. Next, read about how to make just about every type of salad.

Caroline Stanko
Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish. When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer cocktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.