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Suggestion for easy, fast, and portable salad for a ladies luncheon, please

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I haven't had a second to think about this obligation which is in two days! I need to take a salad which will serve around ten or twelve to a ladies luncheon (everyone is bringing a salad).

I will have very very limited time to shop and prepare, so needs to be the easiest imaginable. Would be nice to have an attractive presentation (as opposed to something in a Tupperware bowl), but I might be desperate enough to use the Tupperware! :<)

The hosts will probably have a meat salad, such as chicken salad. Mine can be anything, but I prefer not to do a fresh fruit. Strawberries were the only thing that looked good at the market yesterday.

I really hope someone can help me. I am up to my neck in other demands right now.

Thanks!

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  1. Buy a bag or two of frozen cheese tortellini and cook.
    Bake asparagus sprinkled with parm, evoo, s and p in the oven while pasta cooks. Cut asparagus into bite size pieces.
    Make a lemon vinaigrette also. Evoo, 1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice, dash of dijon, s and p.

    Toss.
    Done.

    1. Orzo or brown rice with roasted veg (asparagus, zucchini, onions, etc.) and feta cheese. Toss with either pesto or a vinaigrette.

      1. I haven't tried this yet but it looks delicious and like it might be a good choice. You can sub brown rice for the red in the recipe.

        http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/re...

        1. you could do a nice quinoa greek salad with cucumber, tomato, red onion, artichokes, chickpeas, feta and mint

          1. For something hearty, a lentil salad with roasted vegetables is nice - just boil up the lentils, drain, roast any veg you like, toss with a balsamic vinaigrette. You can add diced cooked meat too if you like. This is great warm or at room temp.

            If you really want to avoid chopping and anything time consuming, a tuna and white bean salad is pretty darn easy - here's a recipe from Giada de Laurentiis: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

            1. Triple this. Easy, delicious, different.... I would prepare right before you leave the house and serve room temp.

              Steamed Green Beans with Shallot Vinaigrette

              1 pound haricots verts (thin French green beans), or slender green beans trimmed
              6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
              4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
              4 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
              1 big shallot, minced
              a few Tbsp slivered almonds

              Set the minced shallot in a bowl with the vinegar for five minutes.
              Steam the green beans in about 1/2 inch of water in a skillet or in a steamer.
              While the beans steam, whisk the mustard into the vinegar and shallot, and finally add the olive oil, whisking constantly. Toast up the almonds on a baking sheet at 375 for about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through, OR toast in a dry heavy pan, keeping a close eye on them so they don't burn. Stir often until they are medium brown.

              Combine the dressing, green beans, and almonds. Mmmm. Leftovers are also equally delicious. Crrrr-unch~!

              1. Thanks to all for the great suggestions! I will probably try them all for dinners at home. Your help is greatly appreciated.

                1 Reply
                1. re: laredo

                  The green beans I posted make an amazing light dinner. Just steam lightly, as the crunchiness is really quite delightful.

                2. Two delicious salads I discovered last year, and will most certainly make again this summer:

                  Quinoa Tabbouleh
                  http://sixoneseven.blogspot.com/2010/...

                  Bulgur with Roasted Red Peppers, Chickpeas, and Spinach
                  http://www.marthastewart.com/262311/b...
                  (I subbed quinoa for the bulgur in this one and it was delicious. But I'm sure it would be wonderful with the bulgur too.)

                  1. A wonderfully different potato salad which looks great and tasted even better. It's an English recipe (from this month's COTM) but easily converted for the USA. I made it last night. It's easy and quick. Here's a link to the complete recipe:

                    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                    FWIW: I used Yukon Gold potatoes instead of Jersey Royals. If you don't have sorrel just use more of the herbs you do have...or mint

                    Here's a link to a conversion chart if you need one:

                    http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/conve...

                    1. This is really fast, easy, flexible and delicious:

                      Vary amounts as needed-
                      Canned black beans, rinsed
                      Frozen corn (TJ"s roasted frozen is very good in this)
                      Avocado, chopped to bite sized pieces
                      Your choice of salsa, hot sauce, sriracha with a little mayo, etc. Just enough to add a little moisture and flavor.

                      Nice additions are chopped cilantro, bell peppers, scallions.

                      Mix it up, put it in a nice bowl and the corn will be defrosted by the time you get there. People love this and there is never a speck left. I always have the ingredients on hand, so it is quite easy to pull together at the last minute with minimal prep or clean-up.

                      1. my go-to...
                        1 lb rigatoni, cooked and drained
                        1/3 - 1/2 c olive oil
                        1/2 c seasoned rice wine vinegar
                        1/2- 1 c chopped tomatoes
                        couple of handfuls diced sun dried tomatoes
                        1/2 - 1 cup shredded parmesan
                        1/2 tsp dried oregano
                        handful of chopped fresh basil
                        salt and pepper to taste

                        mix and let soak overnight for flavors to meld and absorb. always a hit, and so friggin' easy. happy lunching, whatever you decide to make!

                        1. This salad is super easy and always a hit:

                          Tangy Quinoa Salad

                          2 t. olive or canola oil
                          1 c. quinoa (well-rinsed, unless you have the pre-rinsed variety)
                          1/4 t. ground cumin
                          1/4 t. ground coriander
                          1/2 t. paprika
                          1 3/4 c. water
                          1 clove garlic, minced
                          1/4 c. lime juice
                          1/3 c. chopped cilantro
                          1 t. sugar
                          1/4 t. salt
                          1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
                          1/2 c. diced red onion
                          1 small red bell pepper, diced
                          1/2 c. chopped almonds, toasted
                          3 T. dried currants

                          Heat 2 t. oil in a saucepan. Add quinoa and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, until quinoa smells toasty. Add the water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender but still a bit crunchy. Spread on a baking sheet to cool.

                          Combine the garlic, lime juice, cilantro, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Add the quinoa, onion, peppers, almonds and currants and mix well. Season with additional salt to taste.

                          1. laredo,

                            Wondering if you tried any of these suggestions, and what you thought?

                            1. Caprese-style couscous: mix cooked couscous with cubes of mozzarella, or if you can find it the marble-sized bocconcini, cubed seeded tomatoes, shredded basil. Dress with red wine or balsamic vinegar dressing. You can easily substitute pasta, shells, rice, or other grains for this. Another nice one is fattoush: Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and onions with parsley, lemon juice and garlic dressing. Cut Pita bread into eighths; brush with oil and bake till brown and crunchy; toss w/ veg. and serve immediately. Just another way of making panzanella. And there's always the retro salad of peas, kidney beans, hardboiled eggs and cubed cheddar; bound with a mayonnaise dressing, although that may be too heavy, or not to your taste.

                              1. Wheatberry salad. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635345

                                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                1. Mine is similar to others' suggestions but this salad always gets rave reviews. It's called green and yellow salad and it's blanched green and yellow (wax) beans, feta cheese, avocado and a standard lime vinaigrette. Maybe a bit of green onion, I can't remember. The avocado wouldn't travel well but if you can bring it separately and even a plastic knife will do, cut it and add it then and there. I have the recipe on an index card filed away - copied from some cookbook though I have no idea what. If you want it I can dig it out.

                                  This one also gets high praise.. It's really just a twist on a green/asian flair salad. There's been much debate on allrecipes as to whether the (high) calorie count is accurate or not. If it is, just don't look: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sweet-an...

                                  1. Sorry I haven't reported sooner.

                                    Many thanks to all who posted. I thought your ideas were great and will certainly refer to this thread in the future.

                                    I used monavano's recipe (tortellini, lemon vinaigrette, asparagus) because I had everything on hand but the tortellini.

                                    The salad was very well received. Several asked for the recipe. In fact, I ran into one of the guests at the supermarket yesterday and she showed me her basket which had the ingredients for the dish.

                                    I used two bags of tortelini to one bundle of asparagus, which is all I had on hand. Next time I will probably do two bundles of asparagus.

                                    Again, many thanks to all!