Introduction: Make Ahead Custom Salad Bar
In this instructable, I'll be showing you how to prepare a gourmet salad ahead of time. This is extremely helpful if you have other things to do on the day you make the salad, and don't want to have to worry about cutting all the vegetables and other little necessities. In this solution, you will be cutting everything up the day before you plan to serve/eat the salad.
Another benefit with cutting all the stuff up and putting them in separate containers is that you can let your family pick and choose, and essentially create their own custom salad.
If you don't like the idea of cutting it up the day before, you can do it on the same day, but it is a good idea to make ahead of time the eggs, potatoes, and bacon.
Enjoy this healthy, and protein-filled salad!
Step 1: Ingredients
2 Cups mini potatoes
4 pieces of bacon
3 medium tomatoes
2 bunches of romaine lettuce
2 cups mushrooms
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 bell pepper
1/2 a large cucumber
1-2 cups cheddar cheese
Your favorite vinaigrette or ranch dressing
Mini potatoes are the easier, quicker way to go, but if you want to stick to regular potatoes, they will boil for longer, and you will have to dice each one into small salad-size pieces--which will take longer, but it certainly is another way to go.
Step 2: Prepare Egg and Potatoes
To prepare eggs and potatoes, in two separate saucepans, one large, and one medium, put in water about ⅔ up the sides of the saucepans. Bring water to an almost boiling state in both. In the large saucepan, carefully place in all the eggs, and set the timer to 20 minutes. In the other saucepan, dump in the potatoes, and set timer to 20 minutes (or just the same time for both) or until potatoes are very soft. When done, take potatoes and eggs out of pan, discarding the water.
Once cool to touch, cut the potatoes in small bite size pieces, and peel eggs. Cut eggs once peeled into thin slices using a wire egg cutter, if you have one. Store potato pieces and egg pieces in two separate sealed plastic containers in fridge until chilled, and ready to use for salad.
Step 3: The Bacon
To prepare bacon, heat a skillet over medium heat, and put the four pieces of bacon on. Sizzle on both sides until both sides are perfectly dark brown. Place bacon pieces on a paper towel, and press to remove extra grease. Cut bacon, once cool, into small pieces, as shown.
Store in a plastic container in fridge until ready to use.
Step 4: The Lettuce and Tomatoes
Cut tomatoes in half inch chunks with a serrated knife, after washing, and also wash lettuce thoroughly, tear into small salad-size pieces, and place in a leaf-dryer, and turn fast until most of the water is wrung out.
Store tomatoes and lettuce in their own separate sealed containers in the fridge (don’t squish the lettuce), at least, if you are cutting these the day before you make the actual salad.
Step 5: Mushrooms and Garbanzo Beans
Wash mushrooms if they haven’t already been pre-washed, and cut lengthwise in thin strips.
Strain the garbanzo beans in a colander. and put in a plastic container in fridge until ready to use. Also put the mushrooms in their own container and place in fridge.
Step 6: Cucumbers and Cheese
Wash half the cucumber. Chop cucumber width-wise as shown into circles. Cut these circles into quarters, and place in container in fridge until ready to use. Shred cheese using the shred attachment on your food processor, or do it by hand. Also store the cheese in a plastic container in fridge until ready to use.
Step 7: Bell-peppers and Olives
Chop bell-peppers into small pieces as shown. Store in plastic container in fridge.
Step 8: Finally...
And you're done!...almost. Remember to prepare your favorite ranch dressing or vinaigrette. You can buy them or make them. Here's a good vinaigrette recipe to use: Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Just before you are ready serve your salad (i.e. before your guest arrive :), Take out all the containers you used to store your stuff in, and lay them out on the serving table, to give everyone an option of what exactly they want in their salad. Or, if you want to, you can just throw it all together in a large bowl before serving, it’s your choice.