Disclosure: This is a guest post. Thank you very much to Whitney Hollingshead for todays great post!
Salad is the perfect food for summer. Salads can be thrown together quickly, require little to no cooking on hot summer days, and provide the perfect opportunity to eat fresh foods. Salads are also the most common take along foods to reunions, picnics, and gatherings. Switching up your salad presentation is a quick way to wow any crowd. So as we kick off the season of salad, check out these fun suggestions for various ways to serve your favorite salads and try out some of the suggested salads too.
1. Layered - Grab a large clear glass bowl, punch bowl, or even a clear casserole dish. Prep all salad ingredients and create a layer with each ingredient. Serve dressing separately.
Suggested Salad: Fancy Green Salad - Layer chopped lettuce, your favorite cut salad veggies, shredded cheese, boiled eggs, black olives, and croutons.
Suggested Occasions: Layered salads are perfect for large gatherings or picnics, barbecues, or for hosting dinner with friends.
2. Parfait Style - Use your fancy ice cream sundae dishes, shot glasses, clear juice glasses, or even small dessert bowls. Layer ingredients in each individual sized container. For kids or outdoor gatherings, you can even use clear plastic cups.
Suggested Salad: Berries & Cream Salad - Prepare berry flavored Jell-O according to package directions. Layer prepared Jell-O, frozen or fresh berries, and whipped cream. Repeat layers as desired.
Suggested Occasions: Parfait style salads work well for birthday parties, baby and bridal showers, barbecues, large gatherings, and weekend brunch.
3. Glass Jars - Similar to the two ideas above, create a layered salad in a clear glass jar. Or use a glass jar to hold any prepared pasta, potato, or bean salad. While some salads can be eaten directly from the jar, jar salads can also be easily turned upside down on a plate when it’s time to eat.
Suggested Salad: Bowtie Pasta Salad - In gallon sized Ziploc bag, mix cooked pasta with Italian salad dressing, parmesan cheese, grated cheddar cheese, and a dash of seasoned salt. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, add sliced olives, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Divide into jars.
Suggested Occasions: Glass jar salads are great for taking to work on hot summer days, toting along on family picnics, or for taking a meal to another family.
4. Plated - Many of the best summer salads that use fruit and greens are hard to serve because all of the good stuff sinks to the bottom of the greens. You can easily solve this problem by preparing your salad on small individual sized plates. As explained here, make sure you have a salad spinner to cut down on the time required to prep your greens. Next, put your greens down first on each plate and then top with fresh fruit, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Make it a meal and add any grilled meat or seafood! Dressing can be served separately.
Suggested Salad: Tropical Spinach Salad - Place fresh spinach on plate. Top with mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, diced mango, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, and shredded cheese of choice. Serve with poppyseed dressing.
Suggested Occasions: Plated salads are great for formal and semi-formal dinner occasion, Sunday dinners, and even weeknight summer dinners.
5. Fruit Rinds - You can use the rind from various fruits to create pretty serving dishes for your salads. Just cut in half, hollow out the fruit inside, and fill the space with your prepared salad. Consider using watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, apples, tomatoes, bell peppers, or even avocados.
Suggested Salad: Watermelon Salad - Cut seedless watermelon into cubes (after hollowing out the rind). Cut cucumber into slices and then triangles. Mix in bowl with watermelon and 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint leaves. Squeeze the juice from a fresh lime. Mix lime juice with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt. Pour dressing over fruit. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve immediately.
Suggested Occasion: Fruit rinds add a lot of color and fun to any occasion or gathering. Smaller fruits like apples, oranges, bell peppers, and avocados are also great for salad portion control.
6. Waffle Bowls or Ice Cream Cones - Instead of using waffle bowls or flat bottomed ice cream cones for ice cream, use them instead for fruit salad! Just wait until you are ready to serve the salad, as the waffle bowl or cone will get soggy from the salad.
Suggested Salad: Berry Kiwi Fruit Salad - Slice kiwis and strawberries into small pieces. Mix with blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Combine honey with lemon, lime, or orange juice to create dressing consistency (not too thick, not too runny). Drizzle fruit mixture with dressing and spoon fruit into waffle bowls or cones. Serve immediately.
Suggested Occasion: Using waffle bowls or cones is the perfect way to use portion control for any fresh fruit salad. As fresh fruit can be expensive, use this trick to stretch your resources and wow the crowd!
7. Cabbage Leaves - Gently tear cabbage leaves to create small bowls. Purple cabbage is especially fun as it adds color to the table. When you are ready to serve any salad of choice, simply scoop the salad into each cabbage leaf bowl and serve.
Suggested Salad: Asian Cabbage Salad - Toss bagged coleslaw mix with crushed dry ramen noodles, slivered almonds, and sesame seeds. Sprinkle with dry ramen packets (oriental flavor preferred). Add toasted sesame dressing (any bottle of prepared Asian flavored salad dressing will do).
Suggested Occasion: Break out these colorful and healthy bowls at your next barbecue, family dinner, or turn your next lunch with friends into a picnic in the park.
Have fun with your salads this summer and experiment with new ways to serve each salad. You can control portion sizes, stretch your resources, ramp up the visual appeal, and even make cleaning up a snap. Here’s to the summer of salad!
Thank you again Whitney for this great post with wonderful tips on Summer Salads!
Tell us, what is your favorite way to serve a salad?