4 handy salad ingredients

• Trader’s Joe’s steamed lentils, in a pouch. You can use them hot or cold.

• Perdue Short Cuts Carved Chicken Breast. I tried two flavors, roasted and rotisserie, while testing these recipes and was pleasantly surprised. It’s not as salty and fatty as rotisserie chicken, and it’s free of preservatives, hormones and steroids. Look for it near the lunch meat.

• Bottled Italian dressing. Yes, I’d rather have from-scratch. But who has time? A basic oil-and-vinegar Italian dressing can be dressed up (try a little sesame oil and honey), and it can double as a marinade.

• Olive bar: Many supermarkets have them. While olives with the pits have the most flavor, there’s no shame in saving a little time with good-quality pitted olives. What you’re after for salads is fast flavor.

KATHLEEN PURVIS