Why Restaurants Prep Salads In Advance

Making a salad is actually a lot more work than you might imagine. Sure, it's an easy lunch to pack, or even a quick side to whip up for dinner, but a salad requires a lot of rinsing, knife work, and mixing. Let's not forget that home cooks often prefer to make their own vinaigrettes or croutons to add pizzazz to their salads. These types of salads can end up more extravagant than they ought to be, which is why we find those packaged salad bowls at the grocery store so enticing.

But we can't blame ourselves for going the extra mile to get our salad at home to taste as good as the ones at restaurants. Pre-packaged salads are never as flavorful, and we know that restaurant salads have secret methods for making their salads more sophisticated and delicious. At the outset, restaurant salads may appear to take a lot more time and effort, but this might not be completely true. In fact, restaurants usually prep their salads days ahead, which includes chopping up the greens, making the dressing, and preparing the garnishes.

Salads are made faster

Restaurant kitchens are already busy enough, and you can bet that the prep cooks are making things easier by cleaning and chopping their salad vegetables in advance, says Eat This, Not That. Restaurant chefs understand that with the proper care, cleaned vegetables can last for days. In fact, something as simple as a paper towel can keep lettuce fresh for longer. Food and nutrition experts Peggy Van Laanen and Amanda Scott advise against washing vegetables before storing them in the fridge since that could accelerate spoilage. However, this isn't always the case if the cleaned vegetables are properly stored. The trick to keeping prepared vegetables fresh for longer is to dry them after rinsing and store them in a container that provides airflow, per The Spruce Eats.

Restaurant-quality salads don't only come down to the freshness of the ingredients, but also the prep work that allows for finer details to elevate the greens. Think candied walnuts, roasted beets, or even grilled watermelon — the possibilities are endless if you prep your salad ingredients a few days earlier. You can throw everything together to have a homemade Cobb salad or even a Waldorf salad, which is pretty impressive.