How to Make Bagged Salad Better in 9 Easy Ways

No more sad desk salads!

Bagged salad is a lifesaver to stock in your fridge. Whether you’re going for a full-on kit (30-second Caesar is such a win on weekdays), or just a bag of pre-washed greens to zhuzh up your meal, bagged salad has so much potential as a main course or side dish. And once you’re bought in, you never want to be without it! Spice up your bagged salad rituals with a few very easy, very small, and inexpensive tweaks that bring a whole new life to your healthy greens. Use one or all of these tips for your next bag of salad and you’ll never go back. We promise. 


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Make a Homemade Dressing

Skip the pre-made packet of dressing (or just use a small amount) and supplement with your own homemade vinaigrette, which takes just minutes to make. Pre-batch the vinaigrette to enjoy on salads all week for that tangy, homemade touch. You can also make the same bag of salad more inventive by playing around with simple tweaks to execute a variety of similar homemade dressings, such as Lime and Chia Vinaigrette, Maple Vinaigrette, Sour Cherry Vinaigrette, or Avocado Dressing.

Sprinkle in Fresh Herbs 

Fresh herbs are elite, and they don’t have to be expensive. A bunch of parsley or dill can last for over a week in the fridge, and just a few sprigs, roughly chopped, add a fresh, sophisticated element to salad and really any dish. If your salad is a side or a starter, you can use the same herbs you added as garnish to your main, to make the entire meal more cohesive. Really into herbs? Consider growing parsley or basil on your windowsill, so you can pluck off a few leaves whenever you pop open a bag of salad.

Add Cheese

Cheese makes everything better, and that’s of course true with bagged salad. Grate some Cheddar, Gouda or Parmesan on top, or sprinkle on some rich clumps of blue cheese or goat cheese if it goes with your salad mix. 

Top With a Crunchy Element

If it offers a satisfying crunch, it belongs on your bagged salad. Nuts, bacon bits, seeds (flax, sesame, or sunflower work well), croutons, pita chips, or anything that suits your crunchy craving thrives on top of a salad. Try adding broken up tortilla chips or small pretzel bites for a fun, snack-like element in your bowl of salad.

Crisp it Up 

Treat your bagged salad like a chef, by adding extra crispness to iceberg or green leaves before preparing the salad. Dunk it in an ice bath for 10-20 minutes, and then drain and pat dry or spin it in a salad spinner to dry out the lettuce. The bagged lettuce will absorb extra moisture, and be more toothsome in every bite. This works with add-ins as well, including cabbage, radish, carrot, and more.

Chop the Ingredients

Level up that bag of salad by turning it into a freshly chopped salad. Lay out all your fresh ingredients on a cutting board, and roughly chop with a chef’s knife. Then, scoop everything into a bowl to coat with dressing and toppings. If you have a mezzaluna, you can also chop the salad in a bowl or on a cutting board.

Top With Protein

Elevate a bagged salad into a restaurant-style meal by adding your own protein. And it doesn’t have to be fancy! Air fry some chicken nuggets (or veggie nuggets) and slice them into strips for a crispy topping. Tear some packaged prosciutto on top of a prepared salad to add some Italian flare. Cut up last night’s leftover chicken breast, steak, or pork chop for added protein, or saute some frozen shrimp to toss on top. Pop open a can of tinned fish, such as sardines or tuna, and add a few scoops to a nice Mediterranean-style salad. Plant-based eaters can also drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, beans, or lentils to add a meat-free scoop of protein. 

Add a Spritz of Citrus

Acid makes everything brighter, and just a splash of citrus can really amp up any dish. Cut up a lemon, lime, or even a grapefruit into wedges and squirt it over your salad just before tossing. It’s like you ordered from a fancy salad bar, without the hefty price. If you’re really into tart flavors, you can also grate some of the citrus zest with a microplane and sprinkle it on top of your salad.

Wrap it All Up

A wrap is basically just a salad coddled in a tortilla, and if you have a bag of salad and a bag of tortillas, you’re ready to go. Prepare your salad as desired, then scoop it onto the end of a tortilla or your preferred wrap. Then, fold the bottom and two sides over the salad and wrap it all up. If your wrap is stiff from the refrigerator, microwave it with a paper towel for 15 seconds before adding your salad to make it more pliable. Wraps also transport easily for on-the-go meals—no utensils required. Simply wrap it in tinfoil and take it with you to work, on an airplane, or wherever you want to eat your salad.

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