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Layer Ahead, But Toss Salad Right Before Serving

When hosting a dinner party, I like to get as much prep work done in advance as possible. This includes assembling large green dinner salads. To ensure that each vegetable remains flavorful and crisp, I like to layer them in the bowl. Place heavy, juicier ingredients, like beans, beets, tomatoes, mushrooms, or peppers, on the bottom of the bowl. Layer greens on top. If nuts are a part of the salad, place these on top of the greens — that way they won't get soggy by being in contact with the moist veggies. Prepare the salad dressing in a small jar with a lid. Grate any cheese and store in a plastic baggie. Place the bowl, the dressing, and grated cheese in the fridge for up to two hours. When it's time to enjoy the meal, sprinkle the cheese over the greens, shake the jar to combine the vinaigrette, and pour over the bowl's contents. Toss the salad and serve.

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