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Big party, Everyone brings a big salad or any type - what would you bring?

Can be a nice potato, veggie, pasta, etc.? Looking for different ideas. I might go with the asian slaw with ramen noodles or the brocolli/bacon salad but I'm looking for new ideas for a crowd. Most likely will make, then toss with dressing when I get there.

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  1. Generally when I do something 'different' it is meant to be a little side type thing to keep things interesting (Morroccan carrot salad, or something with radishes/habanero/orange segments/pumpkin seeds, stuff like that); it seems like you're looking for more of a main salad. In that case I would probably go with the spinach/walnut/apple/goat cheese combo, just different enough but not too crazy.

    1. Two salads that have worked well for me in the past...

      1. Thai inspired Broiled Eggplant Slices atop Mesculin Greens with a Sweet/Spicy Ginger Sesame Dressing.

      2. Italian Seafood Salad. One or more of any of the following dressed only in Olive Oil and seasonings, served with lemon wedges on the side. No acid in the dressing.

      Octopus/Baby Pulpo

      1. I make a lentil salad a few times a year. Cook lentils, then toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with crumbled feta, kalamata olives, fresh oregano and halved cherry tomatoes.

        1 Reply
        1. re: southernitalian

          I love lentil salads as well. I add whole peeled garlic and bay leaves to the lentils as they boil in salted water. Deep green "French" or "Puy" lentils hold their shape better than the pink or brown lentils. Boil till just tender. Don't over cook! Drain and toss while hot with red wine vinegar. Mash the garlic and stir into lentils. When cool, add diced cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, etc., along with sliced mushrooms and minced fresh herbs. Toss, adding mustard, vinegar, salt, Tabasco or black pepper to taste and leave to marinade for at least a couple hours at room temp or several days covered in the fridge. Before serving, taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. To serve, place red cabbage leaves on a platter and heap the salad on top, then sprinkle with crumbled goat or feta cheese, if you like.

          Note -- this is an oil-free salad. If you don't use cheese, it is fat-free.

        2. Grated beets make a marvelous salad. Just peel raw beets and grate. Dress with salt, vinegar, and oil. I'm particularly fond of using white wine vinegar and lemon olive oil on golden beets or balsamic vinegar and walnut oil on red beets. Top with cheese (goat or feta are nice) and/or nuts (toasted walnuts or pine nuts) or herbs (parsley or tarragon). I topped a golden beet salad with chopped ham the other day, and it was a fabulous combo.

          I have to say that I like the results of grating with a box grater better than a food processor (unfortunately for the time & effort involved). The box grater seems to 'rough up' the surface more so the shreds seem more tender and hold the dressing better. The shreds come out of the food processor feeling slicker and not as toothsome.

          1. Red, white and blue potato salad:


            Roasted cauliflower with radicchio (I like adding roasted corn):


            BLT Panzanella (no recipe but I fry up the bacon, use the fat to coat the bread and make croutons, use a little horse radish in the dressing and mayo, thinned w/ buttermilk).

            Or a basic panzanella (I like to add marinated mozzarella):


            1. My favorite go to salad is Grilled Veggie Couscous

              Mix of grilled veggies (onions, yellow squash, asparagus, zucchini, and red pepper
              (pretty much whatever looked good at the Farmers Market that day)

              Couscous made with vegetable stock fold all the gilled veggies in, drizzle olive oil and white wine vinegar and top with goat cheese crumbles and toasted almonds

              3 Replies
              1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                I make a curry couscous salad with raisins and cooked veggies that I copied from The Victory Garden back with Marian Morash. The dressing isOJ based and it can sit in the sun no problem.

                1. re: Berheenia

                  Mmmmmm. Both of these couscous options sound great.

                  My basic salad recipe is couscous and veggies (whatever looks good - corn kernels, grape tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, whatever.)

                  It also has either garbanzo beans or black beans, lots of cut up chives and a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Very lemony.

                  1. re: Berheenia

                    That curry couscous salad sounds so good! Would you mind sharing the recipe?

                2. I make a broccoli slaw with ramen noodles and it's always a hit. The recipe is posted in this thread...


                  Also, I have never made Nigella's watermelon, feta and olive salad but it's already on my menu for my July 4th party. Most people on CH seem to love it and I've always been curious about it....


                  1. Don't know if you're feeding meat eaters or not, but I often do a Mediterranean type chicken salad – it varies depending on what I have on hand, but always includes poached chicken, olives, capers, and grape tomatoes and other vegetables, dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I think the original idea came from a Sarah Leah Chase cookbook (can't remember which one).

                    1. You could do a basic baby spinach salad with sliced mushrooms, boiled egg and bacon bits.

                      Or a cold couscous salad.

                      A cold ratatouille recipe can also be quite delicious.

                      1. I make a panzanella with cornbread, cherry tomatoes and cilantro--it has a rice wine vinegar dressing and the colors look really pretty. If you are interested I will dig out the recipe.

                        1 Reply
                        1. baby spinach, thinly sliced red onion, and that Sesame dressing from Costco; just had it this week and it was wonderful

                          I hesitate to put this one up, but so many people love it. Get a big can of corn from Costco and drain thoroughly ( I ever use a paper towel to dry a little more)
                          Add one tall jar (they come in a two-pack at Costco) of Tostitos Salso con Queso and combine completely. This can be served hot (bake for one hour until bubbly) or cold. People devour it.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: laliz

                            I throw together 1 can black beans. rinsed and drained
                            1 can corn, drained and rinsed
                            1 bunch chopped cilantro,
                            1 diced and seeded red pepper,
                            cherry tomatoes (optional)
                            3 cloves minced garlic,
                            scallions or 1/4 onion (optional)
                            dress with olive oil, juice of 2 limes, 1 Tbs adobo seasoning
                            best when left overnight to "marry" flavors...easy and tasty
                            I serve with Tosito scoops

                            1. re: betsydiver

                              I also do a tabbouleh salad... prepare 1/2 cup of bulgur,with 1 cup of boiling water (let sit until grain soaksup water, add a bunch of chopped fresh mint, 1 peeled and seeded cucumber, chopped scallions,lemon juice, olive oil, s&p,1 chopped and seeded green pepper, tomato if you like (I usually leave that out because this salad keeps really well but the insides of a tomato can make it "slimy" after a day or so...

                          2. My other hit parade for pot lucks is a slaw with red cabbage, jicama &green onions with a honey-mustard dressing & toasted pecans on top.

                            1. My go to salad is tabbouleh. Serve it with crumbed feta on the side.

                              One of my favorite salads that my mom makes is tuna salad (mayo and a little sweet relish) with those canned orange segments in it.

                              I don't have a recipe for it, but another salad that my mom made a lot is a chicken curry salad. All I can remember is chicken, water chestnuts, chutney, and curry powder, probably mayo. Right before serving tossed in some crispy noodles.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: viperlush

                                Another suggestion: Chayote salad. Here is a recipe similar to the one I use. But for mine I peel then dice chayote. Then simmer in some salted water until tender.


                                Can throw in some chopped tomato, corn, or black beans

                              2. Home Fries Potato Salad. Make home fries, cool, use for potato salad. Season and dress with good mayo, mustard, and whatever you like... bacon, celery, apples, walnuts, scallions, smoked paprika, dill, etc. Hopefully you don't like store bought potato salad because this doesn't taste anything like that. Ripped it off an episode of DDD.

                                1. A friend of mine showed me this beautiful bean salad years ago and I still love making it when the sun comes out...

                                  1 can black beans, rinsed
                                  1 can chick peas, rinsed
                                  1/2 red onion, chopped
                                  1/4 cup chopped parsley
                                  1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
                                  3-4 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
                                  2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
                                  Heavy sprinkling of Celery salt
                                  S&P to taste

                                  Combine all ingredients and let sit for a few hours for the flavors to meld into yummy deliciousness.

                                  1. What about an appetizer? My favorite thing to take to a party is muhammara, a Syrian red pepper dip. It's sweet and spicy, and you can't stop eating it. Super simple to make, here is the recipe:

                                    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
                                    2 large red bell peppers, cut into very thin strips
                                    1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
                                    1 t. red pepper flakes
                                    2 cloves garlic, minced
                                    1 c. toasted walnuts
                                    1 1/2 t. cumin
                                    1 T. pomegranate molasses*
                                    4 t. lemon juice
                                    1/2 teaspoon salt

                                    Saute the onions, red peppers and red pepper flakes in the olive oil, over medium heat, for about 30-40 minutes, until the vegetables are completely caramelized. The onions will get quite dark. Adjust heat as necessary so that the vegetables don’t brown too quickly or burn. Add the garlic during the last two minutes. Add this mixture to a food processor (using a rubber spatula to get every last drop of oil) with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until combined, then process until fairly smooth. If it’s too thick to process, add more olive oil and/or water until you reach the desired consistency. It should be thick but not overly gummy.

                                    1. Wowsa, In just a few hours!!! You guys are awesome, I love all the ideas - I'll let you know what I do for tomorrow - but tonight the Bruins are calling me!

                                      1. Roasted corn and bean Salsa/salad - This gets rave reviews every single time I bring it.
                                        People alwasys want the recipe too!

                                        1lb frozen corn, roasted w/ 2 T. of olive oil at 425F. for 10-12 min.
                                        2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
                                        4 roma tomatoes, diced
                                        1 red onion, diced
                                        2 avocadoes, diced
                                        1 red pepper diced
                                        1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
                                        3 cloves of garlic, minced
                                        Add everything to a large bowl and toss. Add dressing, refrigerate for a couple of hours.

                                        5 tablespoons of olive oil
                                        3 limes, juiced
                                        1 teaspoon cumin
                                        3 tablespoons cider vinegar

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: mcel215

                                          mcel's salad is really good, and a wonderful variation is to add some cooked rice to it. Almost becomes a meal. Add the avocadoes at the absolutely last minute or they become mushy. I would also add one or maybe half a jalapeno finely minced.

                                          1. re: mcel215

                                            I make one nearly identical -- except I haven't put avocados in it and I just use the lime juice as the acid, no additional vinegar. Oh, and I often use green onions in place of the red -- I just like the softer texture.

                                            But its a good one and always popular.

                                            In a pinch, try the frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe's! It saves a step but still gives the roasted flavor.

                                            1. re: mcel215

                                              yum, i've been doing a lot with black beans - this will be great

                                              1. re: mcel215

                                                Question on mcel215's salad - Do you thaw the corn before you roast it? Thank you - it sounds great.

                                                1. re: Bethcooks

                                                  Hi Beth,
                                                  I take a 1/2 sheet pan and spread out the corn for about 10 to 15 minutes, so it's mostly thawed. Then toss it with the oil and roast it in the oven, pre-heated. After I remove it from the oven, sometimes I find some of the kernals on the outer edges have really dried out/burnt maybe. I toss those out, as I am in fear that they might break someone's tooth.
                                                  Not too much of a big deal though, just thought I would share my paranoia. ;)
                                                  This is a great dish and make sure you buy plenty of those scoops to serve with it!

                                              2. Is it strawberry season there yet? It is here, and I love strawberries in salad. My favorite is spring mix with sliced strawberries, toasted sliced almonds, shredded poached chicken and poppy seed dressing, and I have this spinach strawberry salad bookmarked to try

                                                1. This is my MIL's spaghetti salad recipe. It is a staple that I'm happy to have in my repertoire:

                                                  1 # spaghetti, broken into thirds and cooked al dente
                                                  2-medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
                                                  1-large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
                                                  2-3 medium tomatoes, diced
                                                  1-medium red onion, chopped
                                                  16-oz Italian dressing (I use Wish Bone Robusto)
                                                  1-McCormic Salad Supreme seasoning
                                                  3/4 c grated parmesan cheese
                                                  Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

                                                  1. Beet Salad http://books.google.com/books?id=ZPuY...

                                                    A classic - spinach, figs, blue cheese, sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, toasted pecans, chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegarette

                                                    second the ratatouille suggestion

                                                    Lentil Salad - lentils, sauteed onions and carrots, chopped tomatoes, cumin, coriander, S & P, dash of olive oil and veggie broth

                                                    My Fave Pasta salad - pasta cooked, olive oil, seasoned rice wine vinegar, chopped tomatoes, julienned sundrieds, fresh basil, oregano, grated parmesan, S & P... better made ahead and allowed to marry

                                                    Grilled Fruit Salad with a Lime Yogurt Sauce

                                                    Balsamic Grilled Veggie Salad

                                                    and my personal favorite combo is hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, blanched asparagus and grean beans, shaved carrots, and grape tomatoes

                                                    1. So many ideas for salads, and now there are so many with pasta that they can easily do double duty as a salad and or a beautiful side dish. For example one of my favorites, Asian noodle, made with scallions, cilantro, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumbers, cooked shrimp and chicken, soba noodles, or glass noodles, peanut butter, dressing or sesame and rice wine vinegar, and chile garlic paste dressing.
                                                      Imperial rolls or summer rolls, now these made with the super lightweight rice wrapper, filled with cucumber, carrot, shrimp, mint, cilantro, shredded lettuce, and dipping sauce. These are so refreshing and I love how pretty they look with the skins being transparent.

                                                      The broccoli salad with red grapes, sunflower seeds, red onion, with poppy seed dressing is always a hit.

                                                      Make Thai lettuce wraps, make the meat mixture up and have lots of crispy iceberg lettuce or the lettuce of choice ready for wrapping. Along with toppings, chopped peanuts, and cilantro, scallion and sauces. Soy sauce, red chile paste, or a dipping sauce made with rice wine, soy sauce, shredded carrot, chopped fresh garlic, rings of red chile or small green hot chiles. These fly off the plate and everyone want to know how to make them.

                                                      Which reminds me, the one that someone posted here on CH not too long ago, the potsticker salad, seems like a perfect party salad/dish.
                                                      and one more...
                                                      Silver Palates Cookbook (sorry I corrected that from Silver Spoon) has the Greek Salad wtih flamed kasseri, that would be delicious too!
                                                      There are soooo many great salads, good luck choosing one, I'd end up making more than one I'm sure of it!

                                                      1. Thank all, I did a tasty quinoa salad with roasted veggies, raw veggies, cranraisins, sliced apricots in a lemon, oil, s&p dressing - lots of great flavors and crunch! Went over reallly well - ended up only with 4 salads total. Mine, a fruit salad, broccoli salad, coleslaw. It's always amazing how meals like that work out when there is no communication at all!! Also great burgers and dogs.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: lexpatti

                                                          One of our favouries is this one


                                                          a;sp I make a Napa Cabbage, pineappl, fresh salad shrimp (MUST be fresh), chutney curry dressing is so yummmmmy.

                                                          1. re: shantihhh

                                                            I think you can definitely go Asian if you want to offer something different. Try a Thai salad as previously mentioned with their usual spicy dressing, lime, & leaves.

                                                            1. re: shantihhh

                                                              oooh, love to hear about your cabbage, pineapple and shrimp - sounds awesome!

                                                          2. Depends on the crowd.

                                                            De-Luxe: Lots of lobster, out of the shell, with colorful vegetables that've been bearly poached in the lobster pot, sliced fennel, lovely tomatoes and a simple tarragon vinaigrette. It's very expensive but very, very attractive.

                                                            Everyone loves macaroni salad. I've been known to make a cold mac-and-bean salad with a sweet/sour vinaigrette, bacon bits, and peas. Mince in red bell pepper for color! Dressing's no more than a grated onion that's allowed to "mellow" in 1/4 cup white vinegar. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar or maple syrup, and enough oil to mosten the salad. It's delightful.