Easy Boat-Friendly Salads

I’ve always loved the bagged salad packages that combine greens, toppings and dressing all in one for their convenience.  Caesar salad is my favorite! I used it and others frequently on friends’ boats that we crewed on up and down the ICW — whenever I’d provision, I’d grab a bag to use that night.

The big problem with these was that they were lettuce-based, and wouldn’t last more than a day very well — the motion of the boat would bruise the lettuce surprisingly quickly and it would even start to rot.  So easy salads were a provisioning-day treat.

Just in the past month, I’ve discovered bagged fancy coleslaws and veggie salads!  These typically have serve two to three people and contain the coleslaw/veggies, toppings such as dried fruit or bacon bits, and a dressing packet.  One of my favorites is pictured above.

My experience is that, unopened, they’ll last a week in a cooler or refrigerator even under some moderately rough conditions.  The veggies don’t bruise easily and tolerate just being “cool” in the top of a cooler quite well since the dressing is sealed until use.  In the supermarkets I’ve been at recently, they are generally near the bagged lettuce in the produce cooler.

They are perfect for short trips on the boat — weekends, a week-long trip or even coastal hopping — where you don’t want to spend your precious time chopping and prepping in the galley.  Just pour all the contents into a bowl, toss and eat!

These salad packages would also be wonderful on charters in popular areas such as the Pacific Northwest, Chesapeake and Florida Keys as well as houseboating.  I don’t know if they are available outside the US.

Use them as is for a side dish, or turn a package of salad into a super-easy main dish by adding a package of pre-cooked chicken.  This has become one of my go-to five-minute dinners when I’m too busy with other things (or having too much fun) to spend time cooking.  You can also add some fresh fruit (or drained canned fruit) to most of the combinations for even more variety.

Heading to the boat for a weekend? Grab a few bags of veggie salads -- a true provisioning find!

I realize that these aren’t going to be much use for offshore voyages or when heading to remote anchorages for weeks at a time — they do take up more space in the cooler/refrigerator than just the ingredients would.  But when you’re just going for a few days, they’re an easy way to provision and make sure you have all the right ingredients, they’re easy to prepare and all the ones I’ve tried taste great!

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  • Molly Stokes
    Posted at 19 October 2013 Reply

    I always have the following on hand:
    1 jar of quartered artichoke in marinade
    1 can of black olives. (cut in half)
    Mix and add a little more Italian dressing as needed.
    Optional: sprinkle with croutons.
    Love your posts, even though I RV now in the summer.
    My other favorite: Canned asparagus tips and Italian dressing.

  • Bonnie West-Goodrum
    Posted at 19 October 2013 Reply

    Great post…keep em’ coming 🙂

  • Laura Welborn
    Posted at 20 October 2013 Reply

    Weekend Wonder

  • Louise
    Posted at 22 October 2013 Reply

    These look great, and would make a nice change of pace from a standard lettuce salad. Even under the best conditions, pre-washed lettuce only lasts a couple days for us.

  • Brenda
    Posted at 27 October 2013 Reply

    Kale salads! These robust greens can stay in a ziplock bag WITH dressing for two days. Nuts, seeds, chopped egg and bacon make these salads almost a meal on themselves. Thanx for your posts!

  • Peggy Bjarno
    Posted at 10 April 2014 Reply

    I’ve found that Romaine lettuce lasts for days, sometimes a couple of weeks, in the fridge. With the right add-ins it’s a treat to have a real salad that long into the trip!

  • Tami
    Posted at 09 September 2014 Reply

    We have just discovered that canned peas (crowder is our goto) and a can of Rotel (habanero is good, so is the lime/cilantro) make a good cold bean salad together. We add thin slices purple onion, shake some Italian seasoning over, and drizzle olive oil over.

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