Have you ever bought a big bag of spinach, lettuce or other leafy greens at the store, only to wonder later how you’ll use it all before it goes bad? That sort of thing happens to me all the time. You can only serve ranch-and-lettuce salads with dinner so many times before people start rioting (or just complaining). ;-)
So to make things a little more interesting, I scoured the web for ideas on ways to use a bag of salad (or lettuce, or greens, or whatever you want to call it.) I came up with a list of 8 different ways to use salad greens, and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today! So no more throwing out wilted bags of lettuce, you hear me? We’re in this together, on the honor system.
8 Ways to Use a Bag of Salad
Any greens can be put into a fruit smoothie for added nutrition! Just grab a handful and throw it into your blender, along with fresh or frozen fruit and some liquid. You’ll hardly notice a difference in taste, and it’s a great way to sneak in a serving of veggies!
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2. Frozen Cubes
Make frozen cubes of pureed greens. They keep for weeks in the freezer, and it’s an easy way to sneak some greens into smoothies, pasta sauces, casseroles, lasagnas, and more!
To make your own frozen green cubes, pulse several handfuls of greens and a bit of water together in your blender, then pour the puree into an ice cube tray. Freeze the tray, then pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer bag.
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3. Top It Off
You can use all kinds of greens to add flavor and nutrition right on top of your favorite meals. I love to pile a handful of peppery arugula leaves right on top of a good pizza. You can even make your greens a star ingredient in your pizza! A quick Google search for “salad pizza” yields dozens of delicious-looking results.
4. Power Up
“Power bowls” are a popular way to pack a meal’s worth of nutrition into one convenient bowl. They’re heartier than a salad, consisting of a base of grains, with added layers of proteins, veggies, herbs, and usually topped with a dressing.
My favorite power bowl is a southwest-inspired affair. I start with a thick layer of spring greens, then add black rice, shredded chicken, corn, black beans, and chopped cilantro. Then I drizzle a southwest dressing over the top to finish it off. Yum!
5. Side Dishes
Sauteed greens make a quick and easy side dish! Spinach, kale, and chard all taste delicious when cooked down in a bit of oil and sprinkled with kosher salt. Serve alongside your favorite meat and potatoes meal.
6. Spreads & Dips
You can blend a handful or two of greens into almost any dip or dressing, including hummus and pesto. It’s a great way to punch up the nutritional value, and it can help stretch a recipe if you’re feeding a crowd. Spinach is a good choice because it has a mild flavor. But for stronger flavored spreads like pesto, you can use add almost any greens undetected!
Make lettuce wraps! You really can make almost anything into a lettuce wrap, and you can use all kinds of lettuce to do it. I prefer using romaine hearts, because the stiff leaves are great for filling!
Of course, no list of uses for lettuce would be complete without mentioning salad. Check out the recipes for some of my favorite salads, including:
- Cafe Rio-Inspired Sweet Pork Salad
- Finger Caesar Salad
- Craisin Spinach Salad
- Sarah’s Salad (An ‘80s Classic)