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Find: Value Menu Salad Shortcuts

Value salads expand on a plate

Until this summer, I had only thought of value-menu side salads as an alternative to fries or something that more disciplined people might order instead of a burger. But when my mother-in-law waltzed in to a grandkids’ swim party with pizzas and a big sack of salads, she showed me that these individual salads, at around $1 each, could be a handy refrigerator salad solution. 

She explained she has been buying these salads three or four at a time through the drive-thru, then taking them home to use for lunch or blending them for a larger family-size salad. You’d be surprised how big they are once you put them on a dinner plate (see photo); you can easily make one into a satisfying entree salad with the addition of chicken strips or grilled salmon.

Each salad comes with a choice of Newman’s Own dressing, so you can experiment with different flavors (that big bottle of dressing inside the fridge door feels like such a commitment sometimes). These individual salads hold up at least as well as any large bag of salad, maybe even better, and they’re already portioned to drop into a lunch box or pull out as sides for dinner.

The carton is easily re-used after a quick rinse and is crush proof for pita chips or fruit salad.

With bagged salad mixes priced at $3 and up, an order of three of four of these salads competes well in price and quality. Even in comparison to fresh lettuce, the time you save on rinsing, spinning, blotting and chopping may make these value salads your best dinner shortcut.