The response was...not good. People thought I had taken the simple idea of preparing a salad for yourself and slapping it into a Tupperware container to bring to work and over-complicated it. Made it fussy.
That's okay. I respect my haters. I learn from them. I grow.
Just kidding. I'm about to hit you with more salad-at-your-desk content because I cannot be stopped, I refuse to learn from my mistakes, and I will never admit I'm wrong.
In case you missed Desksaladgate (where were you?!?), I wrote about how sometimes, if I didn't have time to prepare a salad the night or morning before work, I'd run out the door with whole ingredients—the makings of a salad from my fridge—and then prepare the salad at my desk. No, I'm not peeling rutabaga over my keyboard and then roasting it in the toaster oven I keep under my monitor. I'm not shredding daikon with a box grater or spiralizing zucchinis in my afternoon meeting. The prep is always super-basic.
After all, my desk salads are simple. They're the stuff of emergencies. They include, usually, Persian cucumbers, crispy chickpeas you buy in a package, cherry tomatoes, and other low-maintenance, easy-to-break-down vegetables. I keep olive oil and vinegar in my desk drawer, plus flaky salt. Boom. It's lunch. And it actually is time saving: It allows you to take a brief break from work to slice a few ingredients and assemble them into a worthy meal for a Tuesday afternoon, rather than taking that time the night before when you could be, I don't know, watching Love Island and letting your brain slowly melt into the floorboards.
If you, unlike some naysayers, are on board for the desk salad, there is just one piece of special equipment you'll need to seek out, and that is a mini cutting board to keep at your desk. That's right. I keep a little wooden cutting board sitting on my desk at all times along with a cheap paring knife stashed in my desk drawer. Is it extra? Maybe. But I love the ability to quickly dice cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, maybe cube an avocado, and then toss them together in the salad bowl I also keep at my desk. You'll also need an inexpensive little paring knife, like our favorite one from our product test—the sheath comes in handy when you want to keep a knife at your desk but don't want to look like a crazy person.)
We tested 16 knives and found the best for hulling strawberries, peeling fruit, and slicing cheese.
The desk cutting board allows you to forgo the stress of meal prep at home and the hunt for emergency prepared food at work. It saves you money from buying a salad out, and builds a satisfying break into your day. Plus, little cutting boards are inexpensive. The one I have is wooden and takes a permanent place on my desk, but you could buy a small plastic one and stash it away in your drawer if you don't want people teasing you about it all the time. And, if you're embarrassed to chop cucumbers at your desk, or you're worried it might cause a disturbance in your open office, that's okay! I admire your considerate spirit. Take this little guy into the communal kitchenette and go to town on those baby carrots.
If this feels somehow elitist or like something only people who work in food would do, I assure you: It's a problem-solver for anyone who lacks forethought and organizational skills. And since it requires just two inexpensive tools and absolutely nothing else, there's basically no risk in trying it out. People might start out making fun of your desk cutting board, but once they see the beautiful little lunches you're churning out—no trip to an overpriced salad chain required—mark my words: soon they'll have a tiny desk cutting board of their own.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious