Say good-bye to limp greens and soggy veggies with a layered salad that stays fresh all day.
This may be painfully obvious, but it bears repeating: the single best way to ensure you’re getting something wholesome and healthy at lunchtime rather than mindlessly refueling at the nearest fast food joint (or grazing from an open fridge) is to eat something you’ve made yourself. For a lot of us, that means lunch has to be not just tasty but transportable. And while you’d be hard-pressed to improve on a big tossed salad for your midday meal—especially if you’re trying to nix sandwiches and pastas to minimize wheat in your diet, up your veggie intake, and/or go meatless for a meal or two each day—it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm for a slick mess of faded greens that have drowned in their own dressing when you break out that plastic container come noon.
Enter the shaker salad, a cleverly compiled selection of greens, grains, and other goodies that miraculously retains its crispy crunch for hours and tastes freshly made when you serve it up. The trick is in the layering: start with the dressing (here a hearty tahini-based blend that gives the salad real substance) and then load in the heaviest, wettest ingredients, like cooked beans, chopped tomatoes or cucumber, or cubes of tofu or avocado. Shredded cabbage, lettuce, arugula, kale, or other delicate ingredients come next, with any finishing crunchy bits, like sunflower seeds or shavings of parm, going in last, never coming into contact with the sog-ifying elements until you are ready to shake and serve.