The Basic Trick That Will Prevent A Soggy Salad

Of all the vegetable side dishes out there, salad just might be the most classic — and the most versatile. From a simple mixed greens salad to a hearty winter kale salad to spicy cabbage salad, these fresh vegetables bring a variety of colors, textures, and flavors to our plates.

Most salads are pretty simple and don't tend to need a lot of troubleshooting. But if there's one common pitfall we could name when it comes to salad making, it would be soggy salad. Who among us hasn't diligently torn lettuce, sliced vegetables, and tossed them in dressing — only for everything to go limp just a few minutes later? 

It's best to dress salad at the very last minute, knowing that the salt and acid in dressing start to break vegetables down and cause them to go soggy (via Prevention). But when preparing for a dinner party or other larger crowd of guests, it can be difficult to get the timing right on everything. That's where this super-simple tip for preventing soggy salads comes in.

Daphne Oz's tip for dressing salad at the last minute

Daphne Oz, host of ABC's "The Chew" and author of several food and lifestyle books, maintains a lively, food-focused Instagram page. And it was there that she shared her grandmother's recipe and technique for a garlicky, lemony Caesar salad, whose dressing is made in the bottom of a large wooden bowl before the lettuce is added. In the video, Oz takes the opportunity to share how to prepare the salad ahead of time but keep it undressed until the very last minute — and all the method requires is a plate.

After mixing the dressing in the bowl, Oz covers the dressing with a plate and adds cut lettuce right on top of the plate-protected dressing in the bowl. Then, when it's time to serve the salad, she just reaches in and removes the plate barrier — allowing the lettuce to fall into the dressing — and tosses it. Oz notes that you can prepare the salad this way up to an hour ahead of time; If you do that, it's probably not a bad idea to cover the lettuce with a damp paper towel.

Though Oz employs this technique for Caesar salad, it would be just as effective for any other type of greens.