My secret weapons are Trader Joe's arsenal:
Mixed Greens in a Bag
Not down for washing and chopping lettuce. I only buy the organic stuff in a bag and it is very handy.
Normally, I would never buy fat free or reduced fat cheese. Low fat brie is blasphemy! Feta is a different sort of cheese, very dry and it works really well in salads. It is just made with non-fat milk instead of whole. I use other types of cheeses (I heart cheese) but this is my go-to.
Fat-free Balsamic Vinaigrette
The gallery has no fridge so toting my own leaky bottle of home-made vinaigrette got really old after a while. I couldn't take the mess anymore so I caved and bought this dressing. Now I secretly love it! I love how dramatic this pic turned out with the sun pouring in....
Garbanzo beans and cannellini beans make regular appearances and are great to toss in lots of different kinds of salads.
Best kept in the freezer, I always have pine nuts, walnuts (buy the pieces) and almonds. Sometimes I buy pecans and pistachios. Adds a little protein and crunch.
Jarred, Marinated Veggies
This includes olives, peppers, mushrooms, artichokes. They all make salads way more flavorful and are perfect when mixed with fresh veggies.
Veggie or Salmon Burgers
Meal or salad in a hurry. I cook one, let it cool, then cut up and toss on top of mixed greens with other add-ins.
Love, them, don't love the mess. These are ready to go & can stay in the fridge for over a week once opened.
My own carmelized onions
I will sometimes carmelize onions when I have time on a Monday afternoon. It takes about 45 minutes, 1-2 onions, drizzle of olive oil, light drizzle balsamic vinegar, pinch salt and pinch sugar. Heat on low, covered. I add them to veggie/salmon burgers, paninis and put them in salads.