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I often buy salads at Subway because I'm lazy. However, I'm also cheap, and Subway's markup on salads is quite high.

I want to buy items at a supermarket and simply mix them together to make a salad without having to do anything else. Which of these can I get:

  • Pre-chopped cold cuts (has to go beyond sliced, since full slices in a salad don't work well), including pepperoni and salami.

  • Pre-chopped onions and pre-sliced tomatoes (and other similar chopped veggies).

I know I can get bags of lettuce, pickled jalapenos, shredded cheese, black olives, and dressing, so if I can get the above, I'm good to go.

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How should we know what you can get in your local supermarket‽ You could pre-cut those things yourself and store them in the fridge for a few days. Cutting does not take very long, you could make more sliced onion than you could eat in a week in several minutes. – derobert Dec 21 '10 at 21:39
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Fast home made salads are possible with a few different but just as tasty ingredients. Some things to try that you can buy pre-prepared

  • You can buy catering bags of ham and salami pre-chopped for pizza making purposes. Freeze in small portion bags suitable for a few days, and take one out of the freezer and put in fridge every few days as required
  • Roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds (substitute for cold cuts)
  • Anchovies or sardines
  • Sprouts
  • Sun dried tomatoes, some suppliers have pre-chopped (they keep fine in fridge)
  • You can buy pre-sliced onions, but usually only in 5Kg+ catering sized bags, They do freeze OK
  • Many other veges are available pre-chopped and frozen for cooking purposes, many of these will be great in a salad

If you make the salad in the morning to take to work the frozen parts would keep it fresh for a while, so no need to defrost them. Sort of like an internal, edible ice pack :-)

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Fantastic, thanks! One problem I've had w/ a lot of stuff: lots of food freezes great, but if I want a salad right away, there's no great way to unfreeze stuff fast. Putting it in the microwave seems downright weird, and waiting for it to thaw takes forever. Thoughts? Anyone? – barrycarter Dec 20 '10 at 0:03
I defrost my diced-and-frozen peppers/onions/veggies by placing the amount I want into a Ziploc bag, then putting the bag in a bowl full of the hottest water my tap can make (which isn't boiling but it pretty hot). I keep them submerged for a few minutes, ten at max for most things. Depending on what you're defrosting, this is generally a fast method. Worth noting: if you're freezing diced things yourself, freeze them flat on a sheet pan, then when they're frozen, put them in bags in the freezer. This way you can portion them easier. – stephennmcdonald Dec 20 '10 at 3:42
If you really want speed. Portion out all the frozen bits for one salad serve into a zip lock and re-freeze. A great way to chop down catering size bags of frozen goodies. Then take a single serve bag and defrost as per @stephennmcdonald above (a serve would be cold but very edible in five minutes). That gives you five minutes to wash and prepare the fresh bits into a bowl. I always like my pumpkin and sunflower seeds freshly roasted (you can cheat in the nukeulator) so there goes a few more minutes – TFD Dec 20 '10 at 6:19

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