Take a shortcut: these store-bought salads are better than you can make at home anyway

This Take-Three Tuesday we tried deli salads recommended to us by our Facebook group as being great deli salads available at local grocery stores.   To get a cross section of tasters, we brought six deli salads to a campground and did a blind tasting with ten campers.   The salads were all purchased the day before.   One salad was the clear favorite.   Two others were liked by all.

One salad we purchased at O &H we took out of consideration because (a) we didn’t think this was the same salad as the page member recommended and (2)  the salad didn’t taste fresh after a day.    That left us we five salads: two from Festival Foods, two from Tenuta’s and one from Danny’s Meats.   These three were our favorites.

Sombrero Salad, Festival Foods, regular price $4.99 lb.

Festival Sombrero Salad

Festival Foods strong point is their deli section.  Their prices for other staples may be higher than pick-n-save but their salad, hot food, dip, cold dessert selection is phenomenal.

The Sombrero Salad was enjoyed by all of our tasters.  Black olives, shredded cheddar, rotini and a dressing that reminded me of a thin Catalina dressing with a touch of taco seasoning.   A solid salad-its not going to set the world on fire with its exotic ingredients-but its a crowd-pleaser.

Tortellini Salad, Tenuta’s Deli, 3203 52nd Street, Kenosha, reg. price $4.99 lb.

Tenutas Tortellini Salad

The ingredients in Tenuta’s tortellini salad were about as good as you can get.  First the cheese tortellini was soft but not too soft.   The large chunks of salami were not too spicy and surprisingly tender.   The chunks of cheese were also quite generous. The price, $4.99 a pound, is very reasonable given the high quality ingredients.   The only change may be to add a little Italian dressing to it when you serve it a second day as the pasta had absorbed much of it.   This may be why someone suggested that you purchase Tenuta’s Olive Salad and then mix the two together — going to have to try this.

And everyone’s favorite salad was,

Spinach Pine Nut Salad, Festival Foods, regular price $6.49 lb.

Festival Spinach Pine Nut Salad

Everyone agreed that this was a great salad.   Pretty simple actually, spinach, Parmesan shreds, pine nuts, bow-tie pasta and a dressing.  It was well dressed, not dry at all.   The spinach was not soggy even after a day in the fridge.   This was the most expensive salad of the three but its understandable; have you seen the price of pine nuts?   For those of you that haven’t tried pine nuts, it is a soft nut that doesn’t have a strong flavor and adds that perfect texture to this salad.   Even people that weren’t fans of cooked spinach and never have heard of pine nuts liked this salad.  Pine nuts are also called Pignolia nuts and here is a link as to how they are harvested.  Pine Nut Harvest

The other two we tried were Tenuta’s Supper Salad (kind of plain and under-dressed) and Danny’s Meats Jalapeno Potato Salad (too spicy and too many crunchy vegetables for most of us).

Its hot and there is sooo many things to fill your time in Wisconsin during the summer.   Cut some of the hassle by picking up one of these salads for your next party.