Dressed salad

Photo: Jeff Shaffer/Dawn Smith/Getty Images

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Mistake #2: Giving Greens a Half-Shower
Particularly if you bought your greens at a farmers' market, they're probably pretty dirty (and may even have a few critters burrowed deep inside), so a quick rinse won't suffice. Aside from giving the leaves an inadequate wash, says Zapata, another thing people tend to mess up, when prepping greens, is drying them. Patting them with a towel will still leave some water on the leaves, which means the dressing won't adhere. A salad spinner is ideal, but Zapata has a good hack: Place the greens in a bowl in the sink, fill it with water (add a few ice cubes if the leaves seem limp), swish it around, change the water and repeat until the water is clear of all sand or dirt. Then, the fun part: Loosely wrap the greens in paper towels and place them in a plastic grocery or produce bag. Tie it closed and gently toss it up and down a few times. Remove the lettuce; it should be dry.