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Salad for 30 Teenagers

Glencora Mar 26, 2011 03:14 PM

(29, probably, because my son won't eat any.)

This is for a rehearsal dinner for cast members of the school play. Other parents are bringing the rest of the food. Besides a big bowl of mixed lettuce what should I add? Grated carrot, purple cabbage? Croutons? I assume some of them will be more adventurous than others. Maybe I should make two salads, one plain and the other more interesting. Or have things out that they could add.

At past dinners people have set out two or three kinds of bottled dressing and let the kids dress their own, so I guess I'll do that, too. If anyone has any experience making salad for a crowd of youngish people, I'd love to hear about it.

  1. s
    soupkitten Mar 26, 2011 03:45 PM

    some kids will surprise you and be all over a salad. a dried fruit like cranberries or blueberries is typically appealing to kids in a salad, or sliced fresh apples/pears. you could put bowls of toasted nuts or sunflower seeds on the side (with respect to potential allergies), same with grated or cubed cheeses/crumbled feta. i'd steer clear of intense, acquired-taste type salad toppings, such as blue cheese.

    1. l
      loveballet101 Mar 26, 2011 03:51 PM

      I'm a teenager, and I know I'm pretty adventurous. I love salad, but I know plenty of teens that don't. In general, I think you should stay away from blue cheese, caesar dressings that are particularly heavy on anchovies, olives

      I think most teenagers love croutons (who doesn't?), but I think a salad with Asian flavors would be good...salad greens, chopped peanuts, grated carrots, bean sprouts, crispy noodles and ginger dressing

      1. Quine Mar 26, 2011 03:54 PM

        I would make a basic salad of mixed greens and leave plates of add-ons. Let the kids make their own.
        I agree that dried fruit such as cranberries and blueberries are great as an add-on. I would leave out the purple cabbage, looks colorful, but yeah, well, but. Croutons, grated cheese, grape tomatoes. olives.
        Sorta sad you are taking such a great interest in something your son won't touch. But hey, tastes change as kids grow up. so just keep trying..

        1. JEN10 Mar 26, 2011 05:21 PM

          When I did the Graduation luncheon for teens, they all went nuts over the Chinese Chicken Salad. I got it as a side for those that did not want a sub sandwhich. Almost every kid took some on their plate.

          1. operagirl Mar 26, 2011 05:55 PM

            Jen10 and loveballet101 have both suggested Asian flavors, and I think they're onto something. It would certainly be a nice change of pace from regular ol' dinner salad, without being "weird" enough to put off picky eaters. A homemade sesame soy vinaigrette or miso dressing would be a nice touch too -- let me know if you're interested and I can post recipes.

            1. Cherylptw Mar 26, 2011 09:02 PM

              Agreed on the add in's....kids love to make their own. Set out big bowls of mixed lettuces with cucumbers, shredded carrots and red cabbage (I like the idea of the cabbage, it adds interest & color) then on the side sliced or dried apple chips or pears, drained mandarin oranges, grape or cherry tomatoes, toasted nuts like walnuts, pecans or other, red onion or scallions, crispy bacon, salami chips or pepperoni bits (easy to make in the oven) maybe some pickles and or jalapenos. Add a couple of cheeses like parmesan and cheddar and a couple of dressings like orange balsamic vinaigrette, ranch or italian and you're set.

              1. n
                Nanzi Mar 27, 2011 09:00 AM

                We usually get a crowd for dinner following a NASCAR race in Dover De. I fixed a big Waldorf salad and the teens and preteens went nuts over it. I was surprised they wanted to know what was in it, and how did I make it. They ignored the green salad with dress your own bottles on the table. I know some recipes are more complex but this was apples, raisins, pecans, celery and plain mayo. You could omit the nuts and have them slightly chopped, on the side for those who do not have allergies.

                1. Glencora Mar 27, 2011 10:00 AM

                  Thanks for all the replies. The dinner is Tuesday and I'm going shopping tomorrow, so I have a little time to think. I personally don't care for fruit (dried or otherwise) in a salad, so I wouldn't have thought of that. Of course, this isn't for me!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Glencora
                    Berheenia Mar 27, 2011 12:22 PM

                    You might consider a decomposed salad for the more adventurous eaters and a basic romaine- cucumber-tomato version for the others. I would put a bottle of Ranch Dressing on the table too.

                    1. re: Berheenia
                      soupkitten Mar 27, 2011 07:36 PM

                      i think you mean deconstructed, not decomposed! :)

                      1. re: soupkitten
                        nothingswrong Mar 27, 2011 08:46 PM

                        ha! don't think the decomposed salad would go over well except in a compost bin.

                        i have always hated dried fruit or any fruit in salads, so am surprised to see that mentioned so much. especially teens--i went to two boarding schools and never saw any of the fruit in our salad bars get touched (unless eaten separately from the lettuce). i guess that just goes to show how different everyone's tastes are!

                        glencora--i'd definitely stick with a big bowl of mixed greens and leave all toppings on the side. shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, avocado, bell peppers, etc. shredded cheese/s, maybe some sunflower seeds (discovered these as a salad topping in high school and fell in love!). croutons are always loved by kids and teens, and the various dressings is most excellent. good luck!

                        1. re: soupkitten
                          Berheenia Apr 16, 2011 03:24 AM

                          Of course you are correct - I was thinking of composed salads and got carried away.
                          (I never heard of a constructed salad)

                    2. h
                      herbivore_mi Mar 27, 2011 08:30 PM

                      Take all the ingredients you mention (except croutons), wrap it in rice paper (should be very inexpensive at your local asian store). Cut each roll in 2. Arrange cut side up on a large tray.
                      Sauce - 2 options:
                      1. Peanut butter (chunky) + lime juice + minced garlic + chopped cilantro + sweetener (your choice - use something natural like agave, honey, sugar, etc...) + salt + water. Play with the proportions until the flavor suits your taste.
                      2. The quick and dirty: Peanut butter + hoisin sauce + water.

                      You won't have any leftovers to take home...

                      1. Glencora Mar 30, 2011 09:47 AM

                        I ended up taking a huge Asian style salad and another of mixed baby lettuces. For the green salad I offered bottled Italian dressing and Caesar. The Italian was much more popular. I also took a sliced baguette and a big platter of strawberries and grapes. They ate everything! The rest of the dinner was mac and cheese, fried chicken, and chocolate cake, so I'm glad I provided a bit of nutrition. Thanks to everyone for the imput.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Glencora
                          Quine Mar 30, 2011 02:35 PM

                          Great!! Thanks for letting us know how it went!

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