I really enjoy my nightly salad before dinner. It may be simple, but it’s good and filling. When I avoided shopping a while back, I noticed how hungry I was when I temporarily stopped eating salads (and bananas). During that time, I only ran out of lettuce, tomatoes, and bananas because they’re the only items I’m not able to buy in bulk.
My simple salad only has lettuce, tomato, olives, and dressing. Of course, I don’t buy bagged salads or lettuce because they are really expensive, and they tend to wilt quickly. I buy heads of iceberg lettuce that last about a month (in a lettuce crisper). Roma tomatoes are almost always the cheapest, and I like that they’re small. I usually have half of one per salad, but I’ll use a third when they’re bigger than normal. I buy cans of large, black olives when they’re on sale. For years, I put four on each salad, but I recently reduced it to three.
- Lettuce: $0.99 per head – about 20 salads
- Tomato: $0.77 – $0.99 per pound – about 12 salads
- Olives: $0.99 or less per can – about 14 salads
- Dressing: $2.02 per bottle – about 15 salads
- Total cost per salad: about $0.34
When tomatoes or olives are too expensive, I use cucumbers instead. I can usually buy one for $0.50 or less, and it will last about two weeks. So far, I haven’t needed to buy any cucumbers this year.
My Italian dressing is really good, and I make it myself instead of buying the expensive bottles of dressing. It’s probably a little healthier than the pre-made salad dressing. When buying the seasoning for the first time, there’s a kit that includes a reusable bottle that has measurement marks for the oil, vinegar, and water.
- Extra virgin olive oil (51-ounce): $8.12 – makes 12 bottles
- Balsamic vinegar (16.9-ounce): $1.99 – makes 8 bottles
- Seasoning (4-pack): $4.37
- Total cost per bottle: $2.02
Do you enjoy salads? How much do you spend on them?
Updates: I stopped buying olives because they stopped going on sale, and I haven’t bought a cucumber in years. Since lettuce has increased in price (and sometimes decreased in size), I use less lettuce per salad.