This is my favorite summer meal prep salad — the kind of thing I crave after a weekend of heavy barbecued foods, cold beers, and rich ice cream. On the tail-end of a quick summer getaway I had an epiphany: This is just the kind of salad to make right after coming home from vacation. The rhythm of preparing everything — from the soothing chop, chop of all the fresh vegetables to the zen whisking of the dressing — gives me my kitchen groove back every time.
If that all sounds a little too frou-frou for you, let me tell it this way: This salad is perfect for meal prepping, as it holds up really well in the fridge. It’s got tons of fresh raw vegetables, making it a crunchy delight of flavors and texture, and it will make you feel ready to face the work week post-vacation.
Open up your favorite grocery delivery app and get ready to order all the ingredients so you can make this as soon as you get home.
The Summer “Reset” Salad
Think of this salad as your transition from decadent vacation fare to everyday eats. It jumpstarts your meal prep and makes a large-enough batch to fill out your lunch box for the week ahead.
The real point is that is that this salad nourishes you and zens you out a bit before your hop back into the real world. Maybe it’ll become a ritual — that salad you make every time you’re back from a trip — or maybe it’s just something to ease you back into an eating routine that consists of more than lobster rolls.
How to Use the Summer Reset Salad for Meal Prep
You can absolutely make the base of this salad, the dressing, and the chopped salad components to eat right away. Or, you can leave the salad undressed, add some flavorful and colorful greens and some grilled chicken breast, and use it to make many more meals for the week.
Start the chicken before you start chopping and all the pieces will come together at about the same time. Then pull out a few storage containers or lunch boxes and parcel a little bit of everything into each container. Cover and store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Situational Summer Suppers
We’ve been there and we know you’re going to be there too: a fridge full of summer produce just waiting for the perfect cooking situation. Whether you’re heading out the door for a road trip, avoiding the stove during a heatwave, or having friends over on short notice, these simple, thoughtful meals have been designed to help you — and your cooking — thrive this summer.
Make-Ahead Chicken and Veggie Chopped Salad
For the vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil, or other flavorful nut oil
For the salad:
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 medium English or hothouse cucumber, quartered lengthwise and chopped
20 snap peas (3 ounces), cut into thirds
10 small radishes, stemmed and quartered
1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned
1/2 cup roasted nuts, such as pine nuts or slivered almonds
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, or chia seeds
For serving (optional):
Grilled chicken breast
Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, and salt together in a small bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil and sesame oil, and whisk until emulsified; set aside.
Make the salad: Chop, dice, grate, and mince to your heart’s content, piling each vegetable in a large bowl as it is prepared. Add the parsley, chickpeas, nuts, and seeds and toss to combine.
Pour the dressing over the chopped vegetables and toss to coat. Meditate on the return to your hustle and bustle.
You can enjoy this salad as is; it will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Or add cooked grains (barley and quinoa are excellent choices) or build an entrée salad with 1 cup baby kale, 1 cup chopped radicchio, and 4 ounces grilled chicken per salad.
- Make ahead: The dressing can be made and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. The salad can be made up to 4 days in advance and refrigerated undressed for up to 1 week.
- Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.