12 Must-Try Salad Bar Hacks at Whole Foods Market

Get our insider tips to making your brightest, tastiest salad yet.

The Whole Foods Market Salad Bar is one of our favorite destinations in our Prepared Foods department. With a wide selection of ingredients — crisp green lettuces, vivid veggies, nutty whole grains, plus seasonal options — building a delicious salad is easy and convenient. Try these tips during your next visit to make your brightest, tastiest salad yet.

1. Break it down

Before you start building your salad, it’s helpful to break down the ingredients on our Salad Bar into categories. Here’s how I like to do it:

Base (greens, grains) Vegetables (carrots, beets, radishes) Protein (beans, tofu, chicken, salmon) Crunchy & Creamy (nuts, seeds, cheese) Dressing (balsamic vinaigrette, ranch dressing)

Try to include at least one ingredient from each category to get the best mix of flavors and textures. And if you’re really feeling creative, create your salad around a theme — like Mexican or Greek.

2. Eat the rainbow

This one is simple. Fill your salad with as much color as possible — crimson beets, leafy green lettuce, golden squash, ruby pomegranate seeds and more. The more greens, reds, purples, oranges and yellows you can add to your salad, the more nutrients it will contain.

3. Combine different lettuces

To get a mix of flavors and textures, combine different lettuces and greens in your salad. One of our favorite blends is romaine lettuce with spinach or rocket — with every bite, you get a blend of soft greens and crisp lettuce.

4. Make a veggie slaw

Not in the mood for traditional salad? Instead of a lettuce-based salad, make a crunchy, colorful slaw with red or green cabbage and grated veggies like courgette, beets and carrots. Add nuts or seeds for more crunch, then toss with a creamy dressing.

5. Mix in whole grains

Give your salad a nutty boost by mixing whole grains like quinoa in with your greens. This works best with sturdier greens like baby kale or spinach that will hold up to the weight of the grains.

6. Add crunch with nuts and seeds

Crunch is the X factor to any salad — and adding a handful of nuts or seeds instantly adds flavor and texture. Try walnuts, pecans or pumpkin seeds.

7. Combine cooked and raw veggies

We typically offer a mix of cooked and raw vegetables on our Salad Bar. Instead of keeping these ingredients separate, why not bring them together? Combining grilled or roasted veggies with their raw counterparts in your salad can unlock new textures and flavors.

8. Stop by our Hot Bar

Think outside the Salad Bar — and take a trip over to our Hot Bar. We may offer ingredients like roasted chicken thighs or grilled veggies that would make delicious additions to your salad.

9. Shake it up

Give your container a shake between adding ingredients to ensure even distribution. This also prevents you from adding too much or too little, so you can be sure you have the perfect amount of everything.

10. Brighten with lemon juice

For a lighter and brighter way to dress your salad, combine a splash of lemon juice with extra-virgin olive oil in a small dressing container. Shake well, then drizzle over your salad for citrusy flavor.

11. Don’t forget to season!

Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over your finished salad to amplify its flavors. For a final garnish, many of our Salad Bars also stock chopped fresh herbs, hot sauces, olive oils, vinegars and spices like turmeric.

12. Short on time? Try a prepared salad

Don’t have time to build your salad ingredient by ingredient? Fill a container with one of our prepared pasta or grain salads. You can also find pre-packed salads in our fridges.