Dinner in a Flash: Salad Bar Stir Fry To Go


Let’s face it, we’re all ridiculously busy...and tired.  Did I mention tired??  So, one of the last things we look forward to after a long work day is spending an hour or more in the kitchen. Those who have made the shift to clean eating know that cooking fresh, whole foods requires prepping and chopping.  These are the real time zappers, actual cooking is pretty fast.  As a result, the dread of chopping has caused many a person to opt for Papa Bud’s pizza delivery instead of a home cooked meal.  So, how can you prepare a quick dinner with fresh, whole foods without spending hours in the kitchen?

Stir Fry to Go...the salad bar is your new best friend! #saslife Click To Tweet

The Salad Bar is Your New Best Friend! 

Most of us have access to a salad bar almost daily, right?  So, at least once a week, stop by your nearest salad bar and load up on an assortment of pre-chopped veggies to take home for a quick stir fry.

So, you’ve brought your pre-chopped salad bar veggies home.  Now what?

This yummy 20-minute recipe will turn your salad bar veggies into an artist’s palate on your plate and summon collective “Num, Nums” from those who grace your table.


Salad Bar Stir Fry to Go
Makes 4 servings



Pre-chopped veggies from the salad bar:

  • Broccoli florets – about 2 cups
  • Shredded carrots – about 1 cup
  • Purple onions – chopped or sliced – about 1 cup
  • Red and yellow peppers – sliced – about 1 cup each
  • Mushrooms – sliced – about 1 cup


  • 1 clove (or 1 tsp) minced garlic
  • 2 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds of protein of choice – sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, grass fed flat iron steak, shrimp, scallops, or 2 cups cooked lentils
  • ½ tsp homemade seasoned salt or sea salt

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 clove (or 1 tsp) minced garlic
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger or ½ tsp dried ginger
  • ½ tsp pure maple syrup or unfiltered honey
  • ¼ tsp black pepper


  1. On medium-high heat, heat 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil in skillet until it glistens. Add protein of choice and ½ tsp seasoned salt. Sauté for about 6 - 8 minutes (depending on the meat) stirring occasionally until meat is thoroughly cooked.
  2. While meat is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside. 
  3. Once meat is cooked, remove it from the skillet and set aside to rest.
  4. In same skillet, on medium-high heat, heat 1 ½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil until it glistens.
  5. Add garlic, peppers, onions and carrots and sauté for 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape the meat renderings from the pan into the veggie mixture. 
  6. Add broccoli and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 more minutes stirring frequently until vegetables are crisp tender or desired consistency. 
  7. Add sauce and toss lightly. Then add the cooked meat to the skillet and blend thoroughly. Cook 1 – 2 minutes longer.
  8. Serve with pre-cooked brown or wild rice or cauliflower rice and berries.

Cook’s Notes:

  • If using cooked lentils as your protein, add them at the very end and toss gently until thoroughly incorporated.
  • To shave off a few more minutes of prep, use leftover rotisserie chicken as your protein. Or, pre-cook your meats on Sunday.  Then slice and freeze them in one meal portions to use in recipes during the week.
  • CLICK HERE for other tips on quick prep ideas for clean, fresh meals.



About Author

Cathy Greer Mazanec, MPH, RDN, LDN

Cathy is the Senior Manager of Nutrition and Healthy Living Programs at SAS Institute Inc in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine nutritionist, blogger and food photographer. Cathy's specialties include integrative and functional nutrition, gut health, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition. She is also a Certified Biofeedback instructor. An avid lover of the outdoors, Cathy spends her free time biking, golfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sitting under the stars and spending time with her grandson. Follow @CmazanecRD on Twitter.


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