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How to Meal Prep a Salad: Dos & Don'ts (+ Recipes)

How to Meal Prep a Salad

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to prepare a meal from scratch. However, this doesn’t mean you have to settle for an unhealthy snack! With a little prior planning, you can meal prep salads for up to a week in advance. Learn how to meal prep a salad to take with you for lunch at work or to quickly fix for a light dinner. It’s a healthy and delicious alternative to buying fast food that just isn’t that good for you.

Key Takeaways

  • You can meal prep a salad to last for a week if you use fresh and hardy ingredients.
  • Meal-prepping can save you time and money, as well as help you adhere to a specific portion quantity or to your specific diet, be it Mediterranean or vegetarian.
  • To meal prep a salad, keep these tips in mind: use firm salad greens, wait until any cooked ingredients are cooled before you add them to the salad, and keep the dressing in a separate container.

What Are the Benefits of Meal Prep?

What Are the Benefits of Meal Prep

Having to cook dinner after a long day at work doesn’t sound very appealing. But what if you had all the ingredients meal prepped and all you needed to do was mix them? Planning your meals in advance can take a lot of the stress out of cooking. You don’t need to decide what to buy on the go, and you’ll have a ready meal within minutes.

Here are some benefits that make meal prep so convenient:

  • Makes shopping for groceries so much easier; you’ll know exactly what ingredients you need for the recipes you plan on cooking.
  • Helps you prepare a meal in half the time it would normally take; for instance, if most of your salad ingredients are sliced, all that remains is to mix them and season them.
  • Instrumental if you want to stick to a particular diet as it helps you plan the portions in advance.
  • Saves you money since you know what you need and don’t have to make decisions on the go.
  • Helps you eat healthier because you can plan the type of food you want to include in your diet beforehand.

Related: The Paella Guide: How to Make Paella (Tips & Recipes)

Can You Meal Prep a Salad in Advance?

Can You Meal Prep a Salad in Advance

Yes! Salads are not difficult to meal prep. The important part is to choose firmer vegetables and greens if you want your salads to last for a week. There are countless combinations of vegetables, salad dressings, and toppings that you can mix, trying out new tastes every week. Just remember that if you want to add softer fruit or tender salad greens (like spinach), add them on the day you plan to eat your salad so that it doesn’t get soggy.

Related: 15 High Protein Meal Prep Ideas to Achieve Your Nutritional Goals

How to Meal Prep a Salad for a Week?

First, choose the salad recipes you want to prepare. Make a list of the ingredients and get them at the store.

  1. Once you have all the ingredients, start with the base. Cut or tear the greens and put them in a separate bowl.
  2. Next, chop the vegetables. They should also be hard varieties, like bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, onions, broccoli, celery, or corn.
  3. You can choose to keep your greens and vegetables in two separate bowls for mixing into a salad when you need one. Or you can go a step further and prepare the greens and vegetables in lunch containers for the week if you intend to take salad for lunch.
  4. Cook the proteins that you want to add to your salad. This can be any protein-rich foods of your choice, such as beef, chicken, beans, chickpeas, eggs or lentils. Keep those in a separate container until cooled. You can then mix them in with the salad.
  5. Prepare the salad dressing and the toppings in a separate container. Why not add some nuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, or olives?

How Do You Keep Salad Fresh for Meal Prep? 5 Tips

How to Meal Prep a Salad for a Week

While salads easily go soggy, there are things you can do to keep your salads fresh for a longer time. When you meal prep a salad, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose firmer salad greens. Instead of lettuce and spinach, try using kale, swiss chard, cabbage, romaine lettuce, or iceberg lettuce.
  • Always store salad dressings separately from your salad; this will prevent your salad from going soggy.
  • Wipe all the vegetables with a paper towel before you cut them and add them to your salad. Extra moisture can only spoil your salad.
  • Make sure that any cooked ingredients are cool before you add them to your salad.
  • If you are using larger vegetables, make sure you put them on the bottom of your container. The greens should go on top to prevent them from being squashed by the other vegetables.

What to Avoid When Meal-prepping a Salad

Here are some things to avoid when you prepare your salads a week in advance, as they will cause your salad to go soggy:

  • Avoid using softer, juicier vegetables like tomatoes or zucchini. If you want to use cherry tomatoes, keep them whole.
  • When adding the greens, remove any leaves that look too soft or like they might get spoiled soon. You need only the crispy leaves if they are to last for several days.
  • Avoid extra moisture - dry your greens and vegetables, use less juicy varieties, and don’t add warm ingredients to your salad containers to prevent condensation.

Why not try Cookunity's meal delivery service and enjoy fresh and delicious salads, prepared with love by award-winning chefs just for you? From the healthy American-Style Greek Salad to the mouth-watering French Classic Salad Nicoise, there's a choice for everyone!

Related: Frittata: The Complete Guide (With Tips & Recipes)

5 Tasty Meal Prep Salads Recipes

If you’re looking for inspiring meal prep salad recipes, we’ve got a selection of awesome salads that you’ll want to try. Easy to prepare, these salads make tasty and filling lunches that will keep you nourished throughout the week.

1. Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad with Oregano Vinaigrette

Mediterranean-Style Chopped Salad

Image by The Kitchn

This delicious salad combines Greek and Italian cuisine to create a filling and extremely well-balanced lunch. It contains chickpeas, farro, bell peppers, celery, cucumber, red onions, pepperoncini, and feta cheese. You can combine it with iceberg lettuce and radicchio for a fresher taste. For detailed instructions and ingredient ratios, check out the recipe.

2. Quinoa, Kale, And Butternut Squash Salad

Quinoa, Kale, And Butternut Squash Salad

Image by Workweek Lunch

If you don’t want to miss out on the seasonal and high-protein vegetables, why not try a salad that combines several fall favorites? This salad contains kale, butternut squash, chickpeas, quinoa, feta cheese, cranberries, and pepitas. You can substitute kale with arugula if you want to. For step-by-step instructions and other variations you can try, read the detailed recipe description.

Or order Cookunity's Quinoa-Chickpea Salad instead to save time and effort!

3. Honey-Mustard Chicken Salad

Honey-Mustard Chicken Salad

Image by EatingWell

If you like meat in your salad, this honey-mustard chicken salad is perfect for you. It uses healthier yogurt instead of mayonnaise as a dressing. You’ll need chicken, lettuce, sliced almonds, honey, yogurt, mustard, and a lemon. Try this salad - its honey-mustard dressing makes it practically irresistible! Just remember to keep the dressing in a separate container until you're ready to eat the salad.

And if you fancy something different with a twist, you can give our Roasted Chicken with Blue Cheese & Pear Salad a try, too!

4. Taco Salad

Taco Salad

Image by Downshiftology

Takeaway Mexican food isn’t your only option if you want that spicy taco taste for lunch. This salad combines ground beef, lettuce, beans, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, onions, and avocado for an appetizing Tex-Mex flavor. Make this amazing salad by following these easy recipe instructions.

5. Salmon Salad

Salmon Salad

Image by Primavera Kitchen

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs to stay healthy. Its health benefits and the fact that it takes only around 20 minutes to cook in the oven make salmon the ultimate healthy, yet quickly cooked meal. And what better way to combine the necessary proteins with vegetables than a salmon salad? Take a look at this delicious recipe that uses salmon, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, avocado, bell peppers, red onions, and parsley.

And Cookunity's Caesar Salad with Salmon is also a winning choice if you love salads with this popular healthy fish!

Related: 30 Vegan Breakfast Ideas: Start the Day with a Nutritious Vegan-friendly Meal

How to Meal Prep a Salad: FAQs

Q: How long can a meal prep salad last in the fridge?

A: Normally, a meal prep salad can last up to five days in the fridge. To make sure it lasts as long as possible, avoid storing juicy vegetables like tomatoes in the same containers as your other vegetables. It’s best to buy them fresh and add them to your salad right before you eat it.

Q: Is it OK to have a salad every day?

A: Yes! It’s very good for your health as salads contain vegetables (and sometimes fruit) that your body needs to stay healthy. Most vegetables contain fibers, as well as essential minerals and vitamins.

Q: Can you eat 5 day old salad?

A: Yes, normally a salad without added dressing can last in the fridge for five days and you can eat it safely. That said, a lot depends on the ingredients you use. Tender lettuce or spinach will probably not be good to eat if they’ve been in the fridge for five days.

Q: What is the healthiest salad?

A: Kale and spinach salads are considered to be very healthy because they contain a lot of vitamins A and C, which are essential for the immune system. Depending on the type of diet you need, you may want to look up high-protein, low-carb, or vegetarian salads to help you eat balanced meals.

Q: What can I put on salad instead of dressing?

A: You can put olive oil and vinegar, some lemon juice, or honey on top of your salad. You can make your own dressing as well by mixing yogurt, mustard, and lemon juice, for instance.

Q: Can you freeze salad?

A: No, salad doesn’t freeze well. The salad greens usually go soggy and dark, while many vegetables lose their taste and texture when frozen.

Related: Scallops: The Complete Guide - All You Need to Know


Knowing how to meal prep a salad can save you a lot of time and money. It doesn’t take long, and you can vary the salads you make so that you always have a tasty and healthy meal with you. Salads are the perfect lunch snack or light dinner option, and you can try all kinds of meal prep salad recipes, from deliciously balanced Mediterranean salads to spicy Mexican recipes. Trying out the different combinations and finding the one you like best can add a bit of fun to your week’s cooking. Moreover, meal-prepping in advance will decrease the stress of last-minute decisions, especially if you're on an intermittent fasting meal plan. Give it a try - you’ll love it!