2 Minute Salad

Most readers here understand the concepts behind the Primal Blueprint, but some seem to be concerned about the amount of time it must take to prepare PB-style meals every day. Nothing could be further from the truth. My 4-egg breakfast or protein shake take but a few minutes. My evening lamb-chop or grass-fed porterhouse with steamed veggies is complete in under ten minutes. But my fastest meal is also my favorite (and probably healthiest). That, of course, is the “2-minute big-ass salad” I have every day. I’ll show you how easy it is to make in the following video. I’ve also done the fitday.com analysis and it’s pretty impressive: 588 total calories. 37 grams of protein, 40 of fat and only 27 of carbs…and that’s probably my highest carb meal of the day!

Fitday Results

Click the image below to see a full-size version.

Fit Day Results

I plan on trying to do more videos in the future. If you have anything you would like me to address in video format hit me up with a comment.

Further Reading:

Primal Breakfast Suggestions for People on the Go

Choose Your Own Salad Adventure

DIY – Butter, Yogurt, Kefir, Oh My!

Alternatives to Canned Soup

Homemade Condiment Creations

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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112 thoughts on “2 Minute Salad”

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  1. We’re salad twins!

    I keep a ton of veggies and protein prepped in my fridge in reusable containers (to cut down on trash, instead of using Baggies) and when it’s time for lunch, I grab and dump. I love my salads. I never tire of them.

    And I like the prepping every few days. It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re slicing cucumbers. It’s a good break from the daily grind, it gives my eyes a break from staring at the computer screen, and it eliminates any thought of, “Oh, I’m hungry. But I don’t have anything in the house. Well, I’ll just run to McDonalds.” Where, incidentally, I’d buy a salad, but still. I like mine better.

    1. Make it Salad Triplets,

      I love making my salads, I do practically the very same thing. The only dressing I really use is a drizzle of EVOO, splash of key lime juice with sea salt and ground fresh pepper. I have a special pretty blue/huge salad bowl too!

      Love this site!

  2. mark i love the site. a lot of the principles make sense and through trial and error i’ve come to similar conclusions. i’m a professional ultra distance athlete so at times i simply need a bit more carbs. but it doesn’t have to come from grains/wheat. 4oz of pasta and 4oz of veggies contain the same amount of carbs… and one leaves me feeling a whole lot better.

    keep it up!

      1. Read again. They’re comparing veggies and pasta and saying veggies make them feel better

      2. There are pastas that aren’t made of grains, like vermicelli (rice) and cellophane/glass (bean starch).

          1. No, they are not. They are a magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you toot.

  3. Hey, that was fun! The salad I’ve got sitting in the frig at work is almost exactly the same (including the pine nuts, yum!) except for eggs instead of chicken. Oh, and radishes, which I’ve become addicted to! I’ve been referring to my daily monster salad as my ‘kitchen sink’ salad, since it’s got everything but. I promise to do a testimonial in the future. Thank you again for a great, great blog and for sharing the PB with all of us!!

  4. I love to put chicken in my salad, and I agree with the addition of cucumbers to add a little texture as well. I also gotta say that the addition of bell peppers really will give that extra “taste” factor that really brings the salad together into the meal category. Well done!!

  5. Love big salads – love them! They are a pain to make from scratch daily, though, with all the vegetable scrubbing and lettuce washing (and re-washing). I’m talking 30-45 minutes a day, just for one meal. I’d love to do the prep work just once or twice a week, but don’t vegetables begin to lose nutrients (rapidly) once they are cut? I have too many food intolerances to take supplements, so I must rely on food to get what I need. Am I fooling myself (and wasting precious time) by insisting on “fresh” salads or is the amount of nutrition lost in a day or two not worth fretting over?

    1. I put my dressing in the bowl [or straight into my lunch container] and cut the “sturdy” veggies a little chunkier and add protein and herbs and coat them with the dressing and I think [I know, I know, thinking and believing is not exactly scientific proof but it stops adding guilt to the mix] that minimises the oxidation. I then and layer the lettuce and anything that would go soggy on top and toss it when I am ready to eat it and that saves having to take the dressing in a separate container. KISS – Keeping It Simple Sweetie.

  6. Looks great! I’ve got to start using tupperware for my veggies. I have to hit the grocery store 3-4 times a week just so I have fresh veggies. The tupperware method looks much easier.

    And hey, I’d love to get some more of your salad dressing recipes, Mark!

  7. Salad dressing recipes are coming, Samuel. Check back next week!

    Greta – Veggies actually stay pretty well in tupperware. If using this method gets one to start eating regular salads, or cuts chunk of time out of your daily effort to get the “freshest” IMO it is worth any sacrifice in nutrition lost. 30-45 minutes a day for one meal is a lot of time in my book. Give Mark’s method a try and report back on how you feel!

  8. Hey! “Big-Ass Salad” is my term! 🙂 🙂

    I’m currently preaching the PB gospel on a forum frequented by ex-pats (and ex-pat wannabes) in Thailand. I posted a picture of my big-ass salad bowl yesterday. I’m dealing with some opposition from carboholics, but hopefully some are getting the message!

  9. I like to add some fresh salsa, cilantro, and peppers to a salad when using beef.

    Blueberries also add a nice flavor to a salad–really!

  10. I’m a lunchtime salad eater, too. What kind of container is the dressing in? It looks rather like a french press. Making dressing at home and bringing it to work tends to be messy, any tips?

    1. Small canning jars! They are the BEST! They are glass not plastic, they have lids which are reusable and actually seal and don’t pop off, you can see exactly what is in them because you can see through the glass, you can stack them and compared to several plastic containers, a case (12) of canning jars is cheaper. You can get wide mouth, 1/2 pint jars that are great for many things like dressings. My husband likes to take cherry tomatoes, blueberries, etc. and they don’t get squished, don’t leak, can be microwaved if necessary. I stopped buying plastic storage dishes.

  11. hey mark,
    i post a primal salad recipe on nutritious junk! Everyone and their mother was “going primal” so i decided to dedicate it to the primal efforts!

  12. Thanks for the link love, Hungry Waif. The salad recipe looks delicious. (Though, we’d probably ditch the peanuts for almonds ;)) Thanks again!

  13. I’m a pig…my salad bowl is even bigger than yours! (I think it’s actually a pasta serving bowl.) I like to refer to it as “a really righteous salad.”

    It’s amazing how using different cutting techniques can alter the texture (and perceived taste difference) of veggies. For example, I enjoy spinach much more if I shred it. Many veggies (like jicama and butternut squash) become my favorites if I cut them into julienne strips. Dicing also gives an entirely different effect.

  14. Big-Ass Salad

    Really Righteous Salad


    All sound good to me. Any others? (As long as it isn’t pasta salad or potato salad I’m all ears!)

    “Primal Salad” seems appropriate…

  15. Great point, dragonmamma!

    I like spinach shredded, too.

    I also like chopped salads where everything is in uber-small pieces. This way you can get a little of each ingredient in every bite. It’s amazing how much the size of the ingredients really matters.

  16. Love the video! And great dressing container tips all around. Is the one you have a French press?

    The Fit and Fresh line is pretty nifty – not huge containers and there is a little danger of spillage from the dressing containers. I have the snack one that has a dressing cup in the lid, but my stuff stays upright on my commute, so no worries.

    Last thing – I totally agree about how chopping makes a big difference. I’ve gotten lazy with my veggie prep on the weekend (still making my other stuff, though) so this is inspiring and a reminder to cut them small (how I like it).

  17. That’s what i always tell my friends, preparing healthy meals don’t take that long, it’s really easy and quick to get them ready, and our health will thank us 🙂

  18. “I’m talking 30-45 minutes a day, just for one meal. I’d love to do the prep work just once or twice a week, but don’t vegetables begin to lose nutrients (rapidly) once they are cut? “

    I noticed that, too. Vitamin C in particular, a nutrient found in so many fruits and vegetables, does degrade after the produce is picked and cut. Produce with beneficial sulfur compounds – garlic, onion, broccoli, cabbage – should be cut about ten minutes before cooking/serving to allow heat-sensitive enzymes in the plant to convert the sulfur compounds into more bioavailable forms. These compounds degrade over time, too. To maximize nutrition, I also prepare my produce shortly before cooking or eating it.

    I do like the convenience of storing together foods regularly eaten together.

  19. Ok, smart move to call this salad a 2 minutes salad, but we all know it is more than 2 minutes to make this salad. Preparing the ingredients is an another 10 minutes, not to mention cooking the chicken.

  20. Hey, I’m the Salad of Unusual Size Eater!

    Thanks for the Shout Out. Yes, I love big salads and I especially love them for breakfast (after a big, pre-work run). I’m known at the office for being “the girl who eats those gigantic salads.”

  21. “A-salad-that-can-feed-five” salad, if you want names …. 😀

  22. romesaz – That sounds about right…

    Dave C. – Sure enough. You certainly beat us to the “Big Ass Salad” punch!

  23. Great video, thanks for sharing! I make a similar salad although it’s a chopped salad with everything more mixed up. Salt, pepper and a little balsalmic is all I use for dressing. Big ass salads rule!

  24. Hi
    At longlast I have been looking for a site like this. I am a type 2 diabetic with food control. I have more books on diabetes and have not found one that works. I am waiting for your book to come but in the mean time I am on your site each day looking for salads to eat plus any thing else.

    I would like some deserts that I could eat and snacks I find breakfast the hard one to get the protein that I need.
    I only weigh a 100 lbs so I dont need to loose weigh.Keep up the great work.
    Thank you

  25. I just made a big ass salad before I saw your video. I think I’m on the right track. I’ve been grain free for a week and love it. I eat good and don’t consider this dieting, Thanks Mark, I’m feelin good. Dan.

  26. I make enough salad for a couple of days then take that to work so I am not washing and cutting vegies every day. Add tuna or chicken or egg and I never get bored.

  27. One thing I dont understand about his dressing is the flax seed oil? Isn’t he radically opposed to grains and processed ingredients?

  28. I’ve been making big ass salads for 2 weeks, avoiding grains most of the time, and lost 8 lbs without trying. This is awesome.

  29. Yep, real men DO eat salad, and LOTS of it! I grow my greens in the summer in prodigous quantities and devour them at least a couple times a day. When I can’t grow them I buy them and do the same. Lots of good veggies (did I mention I LOVE my garden?), lean meat & fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, topped with balasmic dressing. I don’t avoid grain carbs but I limit them to once a day, and never in the morning or at noon. Sugar spikes, fatigue, insulin related blood sugar drops and the inevitable cravings, are gone from my life. Just over 2 months and 25 pounds lost, and there is no doubt that I’m on the right track. Energy levels, muscle tone, mental clarity, brighter eyes, better skin, and postive comments and looks from not just my wife but also from women when I’m out and about…it all adds up to a very powerful motivator to keep on doing what I’m doing and futher refining how I do it. Lots of time in the gym too, with cardio and resistanc training. The endorphin rush from a good workout is a reward in itself!

  30. I haven’t read through all the comments so it may be up there, but what would you substitute instead of chicken for us vegetarians?

  31. i top salad with coconut flour crusted goat cheese fried in olive oil; maybe some strawberries and walnuts, then annie’s goddress dressing – oh yeah

  32. Thanks for sharing. What amazed me the most is you keeping everything ready into tupperwares. Never thought about such a time saving trick. Do you leave items out after washing to make them dry, before storing them? You keep a – dry? – towel on top of the salad greens to absorb moisture, don’t you?

  33. Cheese, nuts, DIY croutons made with quinoa or amaranth meal; these thing will add great taste, texture and protien to the salad and are all vegetarian in nature. Omit the cheese and it’s even vegan.

    The secret to clean and healthy eating is planning and preparation. Tupperware makes some awesome containers for storing veggies in. We use ours for lettuce and other veggies. Whether from the garden or the market, when it’s in the house we prep things into bite-sized pieces and store it in the fridge so it’s ready to go. Salads, stir frys and quick snacks are convenient and ready to go when we want them.

  34. Balsamic vinegar has a surprising number of carbs/sugar in it, and isn’t listed in the fitday info provided. It’s about 4-5 carbs per tbsp.

    And did someone seriously say that 4 oz of pasta has the same number of carbs as 4 oz of veggies??

    -Jess, big fan of big salads.

  35. My husband and I also eat enormous salads as much as possible! I am into all kinds of lettuce and greens, arugula, watercress, frizee, spinach and more- all superfoods. I either make my own dressing, or use miso. I have lovely photos of my salads. My fave is rare grilled ahi on cabbage & lettuce with ginger wasabi miso dressing & sesame seeds.

  36. No way does this take 2 minutes. I wouldn’t have time to make this every day. The prep takes ages then there’s the chicken to cook then all the clearing up. A bit misleading actually……..

  37. Mark the Big Ass Salad is the way to go. I agree. More times than none, that’s what I have, I just tend to change my protein around, depending on what’s left over from dinner the night before or what’s available, i.e. tuna fish, salmon, some rotisserie chicken. Plus my wife makes my salad dressings too. There’s nothing like a homemade salad dressing. Mark quick suggestion though, it would be Awesome (Barney Stinson voice) if you made your videos, IPAD FRIENDLY. I know many of your followers like myself would appreciate it..

  38. Snow peas are just a pod. There are no legumes in the pod. For those of you, who may have problems with cucumbers, I have been using zucchini slices as a substitute. Pine nuts are very expensive. Walnuts would be good on a salad.

  39. On one of the old posts someone asked about the salad dressing mixer, I saw something at Starbucks that would work perfectly for this; it’s an instant ice tea mixer cup and it has propeller type blades at the bottom that gyrate and go up and down when you pump the pump handle on the cup. It looks like a 16 oz. cup so it’s a good size.

  40. Easy, looks tasty, beautiful!

    And I want that kitchen. Refrigerated drawer *drool*. And that stove! *drool* X 100!

  41. Instead of the “Big Ass” Salad…today I had a “Kick Ass” Salad!!! Or is it the Everything in the fridge salad…either way, IT ROCKED!

  42. I had a massive salad for lunch today too! Avocado, mesculin salad, 4-different bell peppers, flax seeds, grape tomatoes, craisins (small amount), and organic goddess dressing from trader joes! YUMMM

  43. I love how you say “fats are our friend.” And that salad just made me hungry. Lots of good stuff on there–the pine nuts are a good touch. I have been using sunflower seeds. I love me some heir loom tomatoes as well.

  44. Mark..how come you list snow peas in the salad? I always thought peas and beans were not allowed on the primal diet?. I may have to refresh my memory and reread some your book? Time to get my book back from my cousin

  45. That salad is 63% Fat… and my idea of a big salad is at least 1 head of lettuce. This really isn’t a salad at all but a serving of meat and fat with a little bit of lettuce if you look at calo-nutrient ratio. I really believe recommending people eat a high fat, high protein diet will cause serious long term problems.

    1. No, I’ve done the math on this before. If you add a can of Coke and a large candy bar to the big ass salad, you are no longer eating “high fat”. Because “high fat” is measured as a percentage, so just adding a bunch of crappy carbs to it makes it no longer “high fat”.

      But it’s patently obvious that soda and candy does NOT make a healthier lunch than just a big pile of veggies and good protein nicely dressed with healthy oil.

      It’s the entire problem with looking at diet as percentages – it can result in stupidity.

  46. New to the site & read on your bio you believe in limited fruits, how is it that 6 of your 10 ingredients in your fastest, favorite and healthiest meal of the day… are fruits?

  47. The good thing about salad is you can have as much as you want. For those of us that love to eat and hate to cook, the video has great tips.

  48. I’m a vegetarian, so we drop the dead chicken (it never did anything to us).

    We replace the chicken with Chinese Mock Duck (which is mostly wheat gluten… semi-bad) sliced finely, coated in a mixture of vegetable stock powder and cayenne pepper and fried in coconut oil, it’s awesome. You could also coat some tempeh in spices, salt and pepper and fry those babies to a crisp without worrying about the dreaded phyto-oestrogens.

    The other way to change things up (that that Mark has mentioned elsewhere, but didn’t mention in the video) is to change the dressings. Add some Sesame Oil, maybe a little chili… Mark’s sensational strawberry vinaigrette.

    Put some fresh baby herbs (coriander leaf [cilantro, for Americans], basil, mint) picked straight from a grow-tub into the mix – add some toasted garlic or shallots for crunch (and maybe some roasted crushed peanuts – why the hell not).

  49. Can you tell me where you got or where I could purchase your salad dressing container. It looks better than using a mason jar for mixing a dressing together. Please email ASAP.

    1. It’s from Pampered Chef. I LOVE most of their things and I have that dressing mixer thing (whatever it’s called) but I prefer to just use a jar where I can just shake it before pouring. Much cheaper…

  50. I eat an even bigger-ass salad, and was very intrigued by the promise of a humongous bowl of greeens, good fat, and protein that could be made in just 2 minutes, as it takes me a heck of a lot more than 2 mins to throw mine together. As a couple of other folks have mentioned, calling this a “Two-Minute Salad” is rather misleading: you’ve (I hope) pre-scrubbed your veggies, you’ve pre-chopped most of them (maybe not the tomatoes, if they’re grape tomatoes), you’ve pre-BBQed the chicken, and you’ve bought a mixed salad green mix (which really isn’t safe from food poisoning, as we’ve learned from the baby spinach and other bagged-salad crises) and whereas you’ve done everything else in advance, you can’t’ve run your salad through a salad spinner or treated it with the peroxide/vinegar trick (see (1), and:


    … ) or it would have gone rotten: you have to do this kind of thing fresh, and in either case it takes time. And, your wife pre-made the salad dressing!

    How long does it *really* take to make the “two-minute salad”? I’m guessing an hour …

    1. Kristen Y. Bell, Catherine N. Cutter, Susan S. Sumner .
    Reduction of foodborne micro-organisms on beef carcass tissue using
    acetic acid, sodium bicarbonate, and hydrogen peroxide spray washes.
    Food Microbiol. 1997;14:439?48

  51. I use a big bowl. I fill it with an entire bag of mixed salad greens ( the kind with carrots and red cabbage)..cut up 2 hard boiled eggs..throw on 1/4 cup Kraft cheese crumbles..cut up 2 tomatoes..toss in some grilled chicken breats ( cubed)..sprinkle on some sunflower seeds and pepitas..cut up 3 strawberries..and drizzle the whole thing with an oil based dressing.

    This huge sucker will last me all day. When I’m home..and hungry, I’ll just pull it from the frige and eat til I’m no longer hungry..then back into the fridge it goes.

    If I’m out..I’ll just take some along in a gladware bowl….or I’ll just eat my nuts.

    And yes..I’ve learned to never say that around kids….atleast my own weird crazy kids.

    I call it my ”No More FAT ASS” Salad

  52. That salad surely looks great, but I wonder if the veggies would not a little dry and boring after a couple of hours in the fridge?

  53. I’d like you to say what type of balsamic you use. Aged 7/10/25 years, or the OTC stuff.

  54. “WHO’S a GOOD SALAD??” -Me, everyday, to my salad, while putting the finishing touches

  55. Love the 2 minute salad. All my meals take 1 minute by the way. All I do is spend an hour the night before cooking and preparing everything, putting it in the fridge, then taking it out the next day and heating for 60 seconds…. *rolls eyes at 2 minute salad title* Everything is 2 minutes or less when you pre-prepare things… seriously?

  56. I recently started eating big salads daily and I’m wondering if it’s actually causing me to eat more at other meals because I feel like my appetite has increased.

  57. Get real. We don’t all live in California or Florida. Try north of 60, and then try, try to survive without grains and root vegetables. You Americans live so cheap, so “high off the hog” and the rest of the world is your banana republic.

  58. Mark how do you make your salad dressing? Mostly what and a little bit of… etc… This would be a great help!

  59. How come all the greens i try to store in fridge spoils in a matter of days. I am hardly ever able to use it all up no matter how hard i try, it is even harder if i want some mixed stuff.


  60. Using my iPad I don’t see any video here, only a blank space where a video should have been.

  61. thanks for idea’s, I’ve been using our left over turkey on my big ass salad, taste great! lemon flavored olive oil for some extra flavor

  62. Hi,

    Your kitchen is as big as my house!

    Oh, by the way, the sound on the video is very bad. I found it impossible to catch some of what you said!

    Keep up the great work!

  63. I guess I have the wrong concept of this way of eating. I was thinking high protein with fat and then some veggies and a few fruit. ….. Kind of like the Adkins… Looked good though. 🙂

  64. It’s WAY time for an updated big ass salad! What’s in it now? Raw cheese and sliced macadamias? Interested to find out.

  65. I have to admit that this is one of the easiest Primal strategies to implement and with enough “bits & pieces” I’ve discovered a love for salad!! I used EVOO and Balsamic vinegar and that’s far more satisfying than most bottled soybean based oils.

    Something else I’ve found that really works is a titanium spork! It’s made by a camping supply company and the tines are actually long enough to stab even baby carrots and big chunks of leafy greens and yet the spoon portion is big enough to scoop up those slivered almonds, small bits of shrimp/chicken, nuts/seeds, etc.. that tend to congregate at the bottom of the bowl.

    Now I just need to find that special salad bowl. There’s something about having dedicated tools that motivates me to do something. Maybe it’s a guy thing?

  66. Mark, I have just come across your blog and I am delighted that so many of the fitness and nutrition principles I already strive to practice and integrate with my lifestyle are here! Really, it’s like I’ve been working at fitting these pieces together for so long, and here’s someone who has already done so . . . and presents everything clearly.

    That said, PLEASE consider changing your habit of “multitasking” while you eat. Although it may be an efficient use of your time, I think it is very important to relish in the experience of food. Americans, in particular, seem to regard eating as a chore and I think the cultural attitude translates into some very unhealthy behaviors.

    It might be a bit extreme, but check this out:


  67. Just a mathematical interpretation here =).
    What’s NOT accounted for in the TIME is the prep time to cut and dice all these ingredients. Looks fantastic, but it takes more than 2 minutes when totally calculated. Thanks for the recipe though.

  68. A great way to take a salad lunch to-go is to use a big mason jar with a lid. Put all your veggies in first, next the meat and pour the dressing over that. Then put the salad greens on top last. Keep it upright and then when you go to pour it in your bowl at lunch all of the dressing will be on top!

  69. Bro, You are Lean and Good looking and everything, But you are naturally gifted ( Your RingFinger is Huge vs the Index ). Mine are , Well not that gifted genetics. But I Love Paleo diet for their good digestion more than anything else. Should i get some Doctor prescribed Testosterone Juice and Get Better in Life

  70. The exact ingredient measurements would have been helpful for the dressing,

  71. do i understand correctly that you only at the 588 cal in a whole day? or is that just 1 meal. if so what sort of foods do you eat for breakfast and lunch?