Preserves in Action: Add Pickles To Your Salad Bar

November 2, 2012(updated on October 3, 2018)

condiments for salad bar

As a kid, one of the greatest treats ever was being taken to the Wendy’s salad bar for dinner. I loved being allowed to construct my own meal from the array of veggies, hard boiled eggs and slightly stale croutons. If I ate all the green stuff I’d heaped on my plate, I’d be allowed to have some of the chocolate pudding from the end of the bar for dessert.

cutting board salad bar

Those early experiences have instilled in me a undying love for salad bars and so, on a regular basis, I build them at home, on my biggest cutting board. This way, Scott can avoid the ingredients that he doesn’t like (asian pears do not make the cut on his salad) and I can pile my bowl high with everything (including tender roasted brussels sprouts. They’re so good against the cold, crisp lettuce).


When I make these salad bars, I always pull at least two jars of pickles out of the fridge to jazz up the array of chopped vegetables and piles of lettuce. For this last salad bar, I had used two preserves I’d picked up at recent Philly Food Swaps. There was a fermented radish pickle made by Amanda, the lovely lady behind the blog Phickle (she writes all about fermentation) and Dawn’s green zebra tomato chow-chow. There is nothing like something puckery on a salad.

How are you using your pickles lately?

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16 thoughts on "Preserves in Action: Add Pickles To Your Salad Bar"

  • I’ve been meaning to use my spicy pickled string beans for bloody marys. But the string beans are so good on their own, I keep running out before I have a chance to put them in anything!

  • For last weeks trip to Yosemite, we had raspberry cucumber pickles on our foccacia, salami and muenster stacks…very tasty!

  • Pickles are an out of hand snack for me. I have a bunch of full sours from the pickle guys at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival a few weekends ago.

  • Yes, pickles on the salad bar! I used to have the same love-love relationship with the salad bar at Ponderosa. I haven’t been to one of those in at least 15 years, but I still have the salad bar love. 🙂

  • I too love a salad bar and found that Ruby Tuesdays has the best one in our area.

    As for the pickles, my 3yr old daughter and I have been eating dill pickles (your recipe) by the jarful. I think we’ve gone through 2 jars this week alone! We just can’t get enough.

  • I made your pickled cranberries and have been using them in this salad I put together with candied spiced walnuts, roasted sweet potato, and goat cheese. SO GOOD.

    I also want to try the cranberries in a cocktail with gin, I think it would go well with the juniper flavors.

  • 1st: looks like you survived Sandy. Hope all is well at your end

    2nd: I’ve long put pickled things on my salads. When I was young, I would put dill spears on my salad. There was somethhing about the combo of Ranch dressing and those pickles that I liked. Don’t judge 🙂
    Now, I still occasionally chop up random pickles in my fridge, be it beets, dills, peppers or jardiniera. Oh, I make a super easy grilled radicchio salad with pears & blue cheese. Maybe I’ll give grilled/roasted Brussels sprouts a go.

  • Hi Marisa!
    Thank you so much for the shoutout! I was going to comment on this post after I saw the subject and then I saw my own name there! Really appreciate it and so glad you like those pickles!

    I do exactly the same thing, although my salad bar memories are from Ruby Tuesday’s and Pizza Hut! In the summer, we have two big shops, one on Sundays and one on Wednesdays. I fill the fridge with little containers of veggies, beans, tofu, etc. makes for very easy and varied salads all week long!

  • From long ago – a snack of pickles & sliced cheddar, sometimes with crackers on the side. Just a moment ago, I put your green tomato chutney on some leftover cooked kale and it was quite good! Just the thing to perk up kale.

  • Yes, I loved the wendy’s salad bar, and that chocolate pudding!!! What a great idea for weeknight meals. I’m definitely going to have to steal this idea. My salad bar will definitely have to have cottage cheese though (that was my favorite, weird I know).

  • I made corn relish and pickled onions a few months ago and they both go on every salad and sandwich I make!! I am going to be disappointed when I run out of the corn relish because it was made from fresh corn and there was a shortage of that this summer.

  • I made icicle pickles this fall. So far they’ve only made it from jar to my mouth. My husband will put pickles or pickled beets on his salads though.

  • I made dilly beans from your book, and although it would not be hard to eat the entire jar plain, I often chop them in little crunchy bits for tuna salad.

  • We have started to use pickles everywhere-on pizza (we pickle green tomatoes), in stir fry. They are WONDERFUL!