11 Prepared Food Favorites to the Rescue for Dinner Tonight

The finest chicken tenders, noodle soups, and chile tamales — no cooking required.

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Photo by Becky Duffett

Many guests head straight to the deli and ask one of life’s most enduring questions: “What should I have for dinner tonight?” Bi-Rite always throws down an impressive spread of prepared foods, from park-friendly sandwiches to oven-ready pot pie. Recall, founder Sam Mogannam worked as a chef for many years, and some of our cooks have been loyal for decades. Category manager Chili Montes has personally been in the Bi-Rite family for 22 years. He says there’s simply no comparison to other grocery stores. “Our housemade foods are on par with restaurant quality,” Montes confirms. “The use of quality ingredients, the skill of the chefs, and our commitment to consistency set us apart.”

So when you don’t want to deal with making dinner, here are nearly a dozen favorite prepared foods. Make it a full meal with Bi-Rite housemade crispy chicken tenders, gooey mac and cheese, and a fresh kale salad. Or snag a cool new noodle soup kit or comforting pack of chile tamales from local producers.

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Achiote Chicken Sandwich

When the weather warms, many grab a sandwich to walk to the park. Step right up to the deli for the classic achiote chicken, layering grilled chicken, gooey provolone, pickled red onions, and smoky chipotle aioli. That’s all pressed between focaccia bread, which was made with a good pour of olive oil, so it gets golden and crispy.

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Kale Salad with Green Goodness Dressing

Another bestseller in the deli is the kale green “goodness.” It’s a play on words, so instead of creamy green “goddess” dressing, the green “goodness” remains completely plant-based. The team tosses it with textured curly kale, chickpeas, crunchy radishes, and crispy puffed rice.

Gazpacho Soup
Summer Gazpacho

Tomato fans wait all year for this seasonal soup to drop into the prepared foods section. As soon as the heirlooms start rolling in, the kitchen blends them into a cool gazpacho. Fresh cukes, herbs, and a generous pour of olive oil smoothes out the velvety texture. While through the winter, the roasted tomato soup also offers comfort in cold and rain.

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Salmon & Cucumber Poke Bowl

Montes says his go-to favorite in the prepared foods refrigerated section is the salmon poke bowl. The kitchen slices through rich sashimi-grade salmon from Skuna Bay off Vancouver Island, lightly marinates the cubes in gochujang and miso, and spins them into an ultra fresh rice bowl.

Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken Breast

Back in the deli, his latest obsession is the new chicken tenders. Brined in buttermilk and deep-fried until crispy, they’re a slam dunk for your favorite ranch or barbecue sauce. “Somehow we’ve never done a nugget before!” he says. “But they’re stupid delicious.”

Parmesan and Herb Crusted Macaroni & Cheese
Parmesan and Herb Crusted Macaroni & Cheese

All of the pasta dishes remain popular, but this fancy-ish mac and cheese might win the contest among Bi-Rite’s housemade foods. Corkscrew pasta and gooey cheese sauce will please kids, while an upper crust of herbs and breadcrumbs add a touch of sophistication for grownups.

Chicken Pot Pie

“Oh the chicken pot pie is a winner,” Montes confirms. “That’s a super duper winner.” It’s a comforting classic, executed well: A creamy stew of chicken and veggies, crowned with golden puff pastry, which stays flaky even through reheating (no soggy bottoms allowed). Find it in the prepared foods refrigerated section, as well.

Frozen Margherita Pizza from Pizzeria Delfina

Nothing says Friday night like a frozen pizza from Delfina. The Italian restaurant has been a good friend and neighbor for more than 20 years on 18th Street. And now Bi-Rite proudly carries their margherita pizza in the freezer, so you can slide one into the oven and have a crisp pie in minutes. But it’s not a party without a pint of Bi-Rite Creamery Salted Caramel ice cream.

Mushroom Pho Kit from The Slanted Door

The team’s also excited to offer noodle soup kits from The Slanted Door, the acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant. You’ll find the kits in the refrigerated section. They come together with a few finishing touches, quickly simmering flavorful broth and tender noodles, then making it rain fresh herbs and fried shallots.

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Alanna Hale for Reem’s California

Falafel & Za’atar Man’oushe from Reem’s California

With falafel in the freezer, dinner is always within reach. Reem’s Arab bakery now sells frozen falafel, which are so easy to toast and toss into salads, wraps, or rice bowls. Especially with the man’oushe flatbread, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and a dollop of fresh labneh.

Roasted Green Chile Tamales from Primavera

They’re a classic for a reason. Primavera in Sonoma folds fresh masa and flavorful fillings into tamales, arguably the original “packaged food.” They can be found in the refrigerated section. Zap one for a minute in the microwave, add dollops of guacamole and salsa, and a handful of shredded cabbage. Ding! Dinner is done.

These sandwiches, salads, and other prepared foods are available every day at Bi-Rite Markets.

Becky Duffett is a food writer living and eating in San Francisco. Follow her on Instagram at @beckyduffett.