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Pitiful request for a salad suggestion - Please?

Okay, I'm embarassed to even post this, but many of y'all know me around here and hopefully know I'm not a total idiot <grinning>.

My son's soccer team is having an end-of-season pool party. They will be ordering pizza and will have desserts. I volunteered to bring a salad because I'm not a big fan of Dominoes Pizza and would like a healthy option. Ideally, the salad would serve 10-15 people, transport easily and be edible on paper plates. I'd like to purchase most of the ingredients from the local farmers market. Options there include a variety of lettuces, greenhouse tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh goat cheese, radishes, onions, etc.

I am at a loss, people. The best I could come up with is a vegetable salad (add some store bought cukes, peppers) w/ a goat cheese vinaigrette and maybe some home made croutons and farm fresh diced boiled eggs.

Any suggestions? Keep in mind it must appeal to, how can I say, simpler pallettes. Nothing to exotic or out of the ordinary, if you know what I mean.

Help!!!!

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  1. I have had my share of soccer team dinners. They will devour the salad if it has some bacon. Hold the radishes. Broccoli never seemed to be a problem. If you can somehow figure out a way to use Ranch dressing it will be a big hit.

    1. Lynn..... Iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sliced celery, peeled/seeded cucumbers. A simple oil & vinegar dressing but with lots of flavor. That's it. Perfect with pizza. If you think you need additional accompaniments have prep bowls with olives, chopped onions, sliced bell peppers, bacon bits, croutons...etc. so that those who want to embellish their salads can do so.

      I'm thinking keep it simple.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Yes, this would be perfect. Goat cheese is difficult to serve kids (unless you know they already eat it regularly); young palates are more sensetive to the 'goaty' taste and it will be strange for them.

        1. re: Gio

          Gio, this SO reminds me of my favorite Italian-American spot back home in PA. You're so right, what is it about iceberg lettuce and a simple vinaigrette that pairs so well with pizza?

          My problem is I can't help but want to maximize nutrition and iceberg just doesn't do that - ha! But I suppose I can make an exception... just this once. ;-)

          1. re: lynnlato

            Gio's simple salad is fantastic in a big 1/2 pita pocket - serve it with these pita pockets - it's one of my fav. neighborhood cookout memories from my past. Today, I still love a great salad pocket but doesn't work as well with all the real crunchy ingredients just what Gio suggested. Now you have a healthy sandwich.

          2. re: Gio

            mmm sounds perfect and I'd sprinkle in a bit of parmesan.

          3. True confessions time... this salad is a huge hit. Not low calorie though....

            INGREDIENTS:
            1/4 cup red wine vinegar
            1/4 cup olive oil
            1/4 cup white sugar (I use honey instead)
            2 tsp soy sauce

            2 tbsp butter
            1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds
            1/4 cup sesame seeds
            1 (3 ounce) package ramen noodle pasta, crushed

            1 medium head bok choy (I used 2 small heads Napa cabbage)
            3-5 green onions

            DIRECTIONS:
            1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar and soy sauce.

            2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a small skillet. Crush the ramen noodles while still in their packaging (I give the kids a mallet and let them handle this part), and add to the butter along with the almonds and sesame seeds. Saute until everything is golden brown. Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.

            3. Chop the bok choy and green onions and add to a large bowl. Just before serving, sprinkle with the noodle mixture and dressing, and toss to coat. You could also do it up in advance- it gets a bit soggy but is still fine.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Chris VR

              Okay, I want to know, what the heck is it about this salad that makes people devour it at every backyard cookout, company potluck, etc.! Is it the MSG? The idea that its a salad so its healthy but chockful of MSG? I'm ashamed to admit that I've eaten it many times (at soccer parties - ha) but I cannot bring myself to make it myself. Does that make me a food snob?

              1. re: lynnlato

                Read the ingredients- it's the salty & sweet. People cram this down their throats... I wouldn't bring it though, with pizza around I don't see the kids eating too much green stuff.
                If you involve Ranch dressing (gag), the kids will be happy.

                1. re: lynnlato

                  hmmm, I make this but don't use butter. just dry saute or roast the almonds and ramen noodles. I like shredded chicken in it too. Where is all the msg, besides soy sauce? I will usually add more vegies too.

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Where is the MSG? If you mean the "flavor packet" with the ramen noodles, that doesn't get used. The noodles themselves don't have MSG, but they are loaded with fat.

                    1. re: Chris VR

                      My apologies, most of the recipes I've seen use the flavor packet in the dressing.

                2. How about adding some corn off of the cob? I make salads for my daughter's friends all of the time and they love when I add corn. I usually add pistachios too, but you might have to be careful about the nuts when you don't know about allergies. The other salad that works is simply cukes (kirbys), beets, and feta (no lettuce, but you can always use it), dressed with lemon and olive oil and any fresh herb you have on hand served with croutons or toasted pita wedges. I agree that bacon is a favorite and can be added to just about anything you make.

                  1. Soccer Mom many years. I made lettuce bowls. A hit every year. I always put a tray of celery and carrots with ranch dressing which never failed, sometimes broccoli if anything. Then I made lettuce cups. Small bibb lettuce leaves stuffed with a simple lettuce. I chopped some iceberg, some cucumbers, carrots and a little onion very fine and stuffed the lettuce in the leaves. Very simple. I took a extra tupperware of tomato and cheese and let them put there own on with a couple of dressings, usually just ranch and a vinaigrette. It always worked and I was asked every time to make these. No salad goes to waste. Every one gets their own little leave with salad in it. Easy and quick. They still add a few things, bacon also would be good and it is all finger food on the plate with the pizza. Olives, peppers and sometimes onions NO. My son was no tomatoes, my friends kid no cheese, another team player NO onions. So I learned salad won't get eaten if all that is in their. Better to chop some carrots and cucs up, lettuce and let them add the rest on their own.

                    I do this for picnics and BBQ's and similar events like this all the time and always a hit..

                    Kids and salad depending on the age ... simpler the better. No wierd flavors, no wierd ingredients, but the older it does become easier.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kchurchill5

                      I am going to try the lettuce leaves. Sounds like fun. Probably be good with corn too! Can you tell I have been waiting for corn all winter?

                      1. re: doughreme

                        They are tons of fun, even for a week night. Kids and adults like them, great for parties. I chop up some general ingredients and then put a bowl or so of just some extra stuff on the side. A couple of dressing and then can make their own. Use Bibb, Boston, even radiccio or good endive. Whatever look like a good salad bowl at the time. Bibb is sweet and most people enjoy it. It is like finger food which I love for parties or even a simple BBQ dinner. I have made the stuffing with iceberg, black beans, corn, scallions and red peppers for more adults, cucumber, tomato, onions and carrots for kids, cheese, mushrooms, mushrooms, spinach and bacon anything goes. Just pick a easy dressing that will work with each one. I have even did an Asian one with chow mein noodles, water chestnuts, romain, shrimp all chopped and then served a simple Asian type dressing. You have endless combos and all fun.

                        Enjoy. Corn btw is awesome right now here, white sweet and perfect. In heaven!!