Fast and Simple Salad Bar Dinner

I stumbled on the idea of a salad bar when my kids were really little, BUT then I moved on to bigger and brighter things. The salad bar concept was left behind UNTIL over Winter Break! I rediscovered the salad bar, and fell completely head over heels for it again. It's on the once a week rotation, and everyone in my family loves it.

It's just a salad- what's the big deal? It's totally not just a salad. When I set up a salad bar night, I put different sized bowls of 1-2 choices of the following categories:

Greens 
There’s the usual like romaine and spinach, but you can also add in kale, red or green lettuce or get fancy and add frisee to the mix!

Roasted Veg 
I LOVE roasted veggies in my salads. Some of my favorites are butternut squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes and baby red potatoes.

Chopped veggies 
I’m on a total jicama kick (as are my kids), but you could chop up great additions like carrots, broccoli, snap peas, etc.

Protein 
My other favorite addition to salads is toasted chickpeas, but for protein you could have any type of beans, toasted nuts and seeds, tofu or tempeh, hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken or salmon.

Grains
Sometimes I add a bowl of rice, quinoa or millet to the mix. It adds interest and texture to the salad, and sometimes my girls just have a bowl of that on the side.

Extras (my favorite category)
This is where you really get to step outside the box. Add different types of cheeses, fruits, fresh herbs or spices, homemade croutons or even maple glazed walnuts 

Dressings 
Lately I’ve been trying to make a few more homemade dressings than just putting vinegar and olive oil on the table. We’ve tried pesto, salsas, an amazing Maple Tahini Dressing, as well as an Avocado-Cilantro Dressing.

Now tell me, is that JUST a salad?! It’s so much more than just a bowl of greens. Besides that, there are so many great benefits to a salad bar dinner. These are a few of the reasons they’ve made the once a week rotation:

  • Simple and Fast
  • I can use up leftovers or whatever’s in the fridge
  • It’s different every time
  • My kids can customize their salads
  • It adds a fun factor to dinner
  • It creates a pressure-free “try it” experience
  • It’s a conversation starter
  • It’s a bowl of power packed nutrients


Beginner's Tip: For the first few times, you could probably have some good bread on the side or even grilled cheese sammies just in case there’s some resistance.

Try it out at your house and let me know how it goes. Your whole world could change, knowing that one night a week will be an easy breezy salad bar and not following some complicated recipe for a meal that only half your family likes.

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