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buying stuff from supermarket salad bar??

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Not so much as making a salad, but more like buying "ingredients"!?!

On occasion, have bought sliced mushrooms. Loose ones looked a bit beat up and didn't NEED a whole package.

Not always available at SB, but when I see sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, will buy some.

Yesterday found an interesting item. Supermarket usually has REAL bacon bits... have been told they make them in-house. Yesterday found something I had to ask about. Ended up being VERY thinly, basically shaved/chipped bacon... like flakes.

Didn't do any "math", but pretty sure bargain compared to alternative??

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  1. sometimes it is cheaper to buy the red and yellow bell pepper slices from the salad bar.

    1. On occasion I do shop off the salad bar when I need just a little of something for a dish. I am not great at "using up" bits and pieces out of my fridge and don't mind paying for the convenience/lack of waste.

      1. I do with some frequency from the whole foods salad bar. They have a great variety of high quality veggies. I buy a small box of the fancy little mixed sprouts- sunflower, broccoli, lentil, etc for much less than what the smaller amount of sprouts would be bought from the produce dept.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ttrockwood

          also, in my local Whole Foods Markets, on wednesdays they offer a discount on their salad bar stuff.

        2. I'm always tempted, but I just can't get over the "sneeze factor" with salad bars. (No...I'm completely not a germ-a-phobe in general!)

          2 Replies
          1. re: jbsiegel

            why isn't there a sneeze factor with other produce?

            1. re: alkapal

              maybe because many wash veggie from the produce dept. while most people don't wash pre chopped veggies at the salad bar. Salad bar items are intended to be eaten as is.

          2. When I was single the cost benefit of buying veggies at the salad bar was awesome. Even if the price oz for oz was more expensive there was no waste and I could just buy what I needed. For a buck or two I could get onions, snap peas, shelled peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and those little corn cobs. Add a BSCB and make stir fry, walla! dinner and lunch the next day was done. The whole thing would cost me $2-$3 bucks

            16 Replies
            1. re: foodieX2

              salad bar can be a real win for singletons. especially if it's something that doesn't last well (avocado) or you're not good at using scraps.

              1. re: foodieX2

                these days, the salad bar is around $6-7 per pound, which seems to mount quickly. ;-).

                1. re: alkapal

                  depends what i am buying. mushrooms, lettuce etc are cheap. i don't buy cheeses or meats - i run the numbers on salad bar price per pound, against quantities and price per pound on standard veg. some things are a better deal (more per pound, maybe, but less waste and less total price - which is a savings if i'll use only a fraction of the cheaper per pound item).

                  1. re: chartreauxx

                    Agreed. When you are just buying veggies it balances out. To me time is also money.

                    For example if my family of 3 just needs broccoli then obviously the salad bar is not a value. But if I am making dish that calls for just a small amount of lots of veggies, especially ones that are not in our regular rotation, the salad bar can cost me less. Again, ounce for ounce/pound for pound the salad bar veggies cost more but the amount I take out of my wallet is less and sometimes that matters more.

                    All that said, shopping off the salad bar is not nearly a regular occurrence now that I have a family.The few times I hit it is for veggies I don't care for, mainly bell peppers.

                  2. re: alkapal

                    at my local whole paychecks it's $8.99 pp. no way.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      At least around here you can't compare the WF salad bar to the Stop and Shop one. Whole foods has things like mac n cheese, meatballs, chicken wings and other various hot dishes. There are a variety of cold grain based salads filled with veggies and/or proteins, asian noodle salads, assorted pre-made made salads like caesar or spinach and tones of various grilled meats and veggies. So yeah, if you just need a few chopped veggies WF is not the place to go as the price is really based on the expensive pre-made dishes/salads.

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        my supermarket salad bar i think is $7.99 and the olive bar is $8.99. i never buy from either.

                        people need to manage their perishables better. :)

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          so i'm supposed to down an entire avocado in 24 hours? no thanks.

                          1. re: chartreauxx

                            you can't manage to eat 1/2 an avocado today and 1/2 in a day or two?

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              yay, once it's gone brown and slimy....

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                squeeze of lemon and wrap in plastic. avocado stays just fine for a few days.

                            2. re: chartreauxx

                              I concur. Sometimes all I want is 3 slices of avocado for today's lunch, and have no cold storage to deal with more. Also, hopefully whomever is prepping the salad bar items has chosen the avocado which is RTE, rather than hard as a rock.

                              1. re: KarenDW

                                and sadly, they don't always quite have that one figured out.

                            3. re: hotoynoodle

                              It's not about "managing the perishables" for me. If it was I wouldn't get a farm share every year, LOL. You have to manage a lot of leafy green veggies with one! Its about what I have in my wallet. I spend *less* when getting just what I need.

                              It's also about needing the less-than-popular veggies. No one in my house eats bell peppers raw so its cheaper and a lot less wasteful to buy just the amount I need for that rare recipe that call for them. Otherwise I find my self feeling forced to use the rest. Why bother?

                              1. re: foodieX2

                                good for you with the csa. :}

                                i guess i am on the other side of the fence on this one. if i need bell peppers (we only like red anyway and i never eat them raw) i would still buy at least a whole one and either use it up in the recipe or leave the rest for scrambled eggs or something. even raw it will last quite awhile wrapped in the fridge.

                                to each his/her own. :)

                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                            my harris teeter salad bar is $5.99/pound. they dropped the price a couple of years ago. it had been $7.99.

                      2. This is a great idea, and I thank you for talking about this.

                        1. It is much more economical for us to buy from the salad bar. There is just the two of us and when buying salad ingredients a lot goes to waste.

                          1. I seem to remember hitting a salad bar once for pizza toppings. They even had pepperoni.

                            1. my supermarket doesn't have a salad bar (Publix has never offered a salad bar, to my recollection) but I've done it at other, long-gone chains when I was in a real time crush and it saved me a load of prep time, or for things I al but never buy.

                              1. I will sometimes by spring green lettuce from the salad bar if I intend to consume it shortly. My supermarket salad bar is $5.49/ lb, whereas the 12 oz plastic tubs of spring greens are usually &5.99 and the smaller 5oz tubs are $3.99.

                                1. i will sometimes buy a tongful of snap peas or snow peas that seem fresher than the large plastic-wrapped package that's been sitting in the produce section for days.
                                  my supermarket SB is limited in size but pretty cheap, esp compared to WF.

                                  1. It's a good bargain for salad toppings, but not for lettuce (IMO). There was a Shop-Rite with a huge salad bar near my old office. When I went there to buy lunch, I would get a small clamshell of tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, chicken fingers, etc. to go on my salad, and then buy a bag of pre-washed romaine (roughly $5/lb instead of $8-9).

                                    1. I'll buy toppings from the salad bar at Farm Fresh; if I need a few slices of red bell peppers, a chunk of feta cheese or some mushrooms to put into a salad for two, it's cheaper to get it at the salad bar (4.99lb) than to pay almost 3.00 for a red bell pepper, etc.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Cherylptw

                                        wow!! $3 for a pepper? where do you live?

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          a large red bell pepper is a least $2.50 here in d.c. metro area.

                                          that is why i buy the packages of the mini bell peppers in red, yellow, orange. a much better deal.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            they're about the same price in Florida.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              They're about that here in nyc- add another dollar or so for organic

                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                NE North Carolina, about 30 miles from Chesapeake VA. Sometimes they'll put the red, yellow or orange bell peppers on sale @ 2/3.00 and green bell peppers will be something like .75 cents each on sale but for the most part they are way over those prices. Which is why I grow them in Spring & Summer and freeze enough to last until next spring. These are great in cooked foods but for a salad, frozen won't do.

                                            2. Jacques Pepin, in his "Fast Food My Way" shows, would suggest using the salad bar as your garde manger (vegetable prepper). It isn't now, and never was,
                                              a consistently economical route BUT: if it's 5:30 and you're on your way home, where a hungry family is waiting for dinner, when you remember that you forgot to thaw the casserole, you can have someone start the rice or noodles, buy some boneless, skinless chicken or shaved steak, get sliced veg from the salad bar, and have a nutritious stir-fry on the table within 20 minutes of arriving home. It will cost a bit more than if you prepped your own peppers, onions, shrooms, etc., but will be less than takeout pizza or Chinese food.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                *Exactly*

                                                Also applies if you have an entire evening of sports/clubs/etc that starts at 6:15 and you have about 20 minutes to get dinner on the table that resembles food and didn't come through a window in a paper bag.

                                              2. have done it several times but really depends on what the salad bar offers. I won't do it just cause it's there. if there are items that I'm really fond of and I'm hungry I'll grab a stiff plastic basket and put in mushrooms, garbanzo beans, chopped eggs, spinach, sunflower seeds, cheese, every olive available, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes and maybe a little lettuce or greens.

                                                1. on this thread as a funny aside, one of the upscale markets near me has a poke bar. it's $14.99/lb. now, if you're purchasing the marinated sashimi-grade tuna poke, or one of the other actual poke items brimming with premium ingredients like large prawns, it's not too bad a deal if you want for example a quick lunch on the run, or a light healthy snack. i can do that for <$5. what kills me is that the bar also includes cooked white rice, kimchi, and a couple kinds of marinated veggie/seaweed salads. i cringe every time i see someone scoop steamed, heavy white rice into their plastic bowl - that's $15 a pound for rice! which is heavy!

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: chartreauxx

                                                    Is this poke as in bag or poke as in weed/vegetable? Either way I'm lost.

                                                    1. re: ennuisans

                                                      poke, as in the marinated hawaiian fish preparation. it's usually served over rice, and seaweed salads and so forth are common accompaniments. this particular bar has 4 different fish and prawn preparations (raw fish, and cooked but large and high quality prawns), white rice, and some veggie/seaweed items. the fish and prawns are an ok deal; the rice and veg are highway robbery.

                                                      1. re: chartreauxx

                                                        Oh holy cow. I had no idea. I would love a fish bar. Here it is plants at best.

                                                        1. re: ennuisans

                                                          where do you live? i'm in downtown seattle; i live less two blocks from the water. :-) we're spoiled that way.

                                                          1. re: chartreauxx

                                                            I'm in the Ozarks, land locked as it gets. Poke here is a marginally-edible weed. I like yours better.

                                                    2. re: chartreauxx

                                                      I loved the poke bars in Hawaii!

                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                        never been-wonder how to look them up when I'm there-oh ask the folks at the lobby (duh)

                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          Poke is everywhere, no need to search

                                                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                                                          me too! and having this one for the proteins as i said is nice...i just literally wince when i see people paying $15/lb for *cooked* white rice!!! lol