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Your best easy salads for a Memorial Day BBQ

phelana May 23, 2011 04:13 PM

I have offered to bring 3 salad type dishes to my friend's BBQ Memorial Day weekend. I am seeking easy, 5 ingredients or less, no mayo dishes and amazing fantabulous..come on, gimme your best recipes...

  1. monavano May 27, 2011 12:44 PM

    I used to buy this from Whole Foods but it's so easy, I just make it myself.
    Cooked capelini or you could use any pasta, really.
    Lots of fresh lemon juice, 2 lemons or so
    chiffonade of basil
    lemon zest
    cubed fresh tomato

    1. p
      piccola May 27, 2011 12:37 PM

      Oh! I almost forgot this one (scroll to the end of the post) : http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

      I've made it with fresh peas instead of shell beans -- it's must faster and easier, and I bet you'd get good results with frozen peas too. Anyway, it's a great, substantial salad that feels a little "newer" than pasta salad.

      1. mcf May 27, 2011 08:03 AM

        Cheese tortellini with some feta, kalamata olives, EVOO, grape tomatoes.

        Grape tomatoes, small mozzarella balls, basil, EVOO.

        Baby arugula, blue cheese cubes or crumbles, dried cranberries (sparing with berries) vinaigrette of your choice.

        S and P, added, of course.

        1. Antilope May 27, 2011 07:53 AM

          100 Years of Coleslaw recipes.

          1. marthasway May 26, 2011 09:10 AM

            I make a potato and green bean salad with a basic mustardy vinaigrette that is served at room temp. Boil small red potatoes till tender. Remove potatoes from water, place beans in 1" pieces in water, cook until desired doneness and drain. While still warm, dice or slice potatoes and season with Old Bay or Cajun seasoning. Dressing: olive oil, whatever vinegar you like, and spicy brown mustard to taste. Combine everything and let sit for flavors to mature.

            1. c
              cathyeats May 25, 2011 08:19 PM

              OK, a few more than five ingredients, but this black bean and sweet potato salad is phenomenal:

              1 very large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
              2 t. olive oil
              1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I recommend Eden brand – no BPA in the cans)
              4-5 scallions, sliced
              1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
              Juice and zest of 1 lime
              1 t. dijon mustard
              1/4 c. olive oil
              2 T. chopped fresh basil or cilantro
              1 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley
              Freshly ground black pepper

              Preheat the oven to 375. Toss the sweet potatoes with 2 t. oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, turning once halfway through, until potatoes are tender. Put the roasted potatoes in a large bowl with the black beans, scallions and red pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the lime juice, zest, mustard and herbs. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Add this dressing to the bean-potato mixture and gently mix. Season with salt, pepper and additional lime juice to taste.

              1. soypower May 24, 2011 09:46 PM

                Green Bean Feta Salad

                It can be 6 ingredients if you use a bottled dressing. In a big bowl combine blanched green beans, halved grape tomatoes, toasted walnuts, thinly sliced red onions and crumbled feta. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette and chill overnight for best flavor.

                Chick Pea and Black Bean Salad (8 ingredients)

                Combine a can of rinsed chick peas and a can of rinsed black beans with chopped garlic, s&p, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, red onions and celery salt. Again, marination overnight yields the best flavor.

                Shrimp & Crab Ceviche (7 ingredients)

                Bay shrimp, crab meat mixed with s&p, chopped tomatoes, lots of lime juice, tons of chopped cilantro and red onions. I learned that you really have to watch the salt because the seafood itself is quite salty. Also if your crab and shrimp aren't very sweet, a little sugar can help.

                And the above mentioned charred corn salad always knocks my socks off.

                1 Reply
                1. re: soypower
                  debw1946 May 25, 2011 07:58 AM

                  This salad is really easy and well liked by both adults and kids:

                  2 bags frozen white corn

                  2 small cucumbers, diced

                  half cup mayonnaise

                  4 green onions, chopped

                  1 medium tomato, chopped

                  salt and pepper to taste

                  Mix all together and chill before serving.

                  ** taste better the second day

                  I use grape tomatoes cut in half instead of a chopped tomato.

                2. chefematician May 24, 2011 07:45 PM

                  I like sweet corn, avocado, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chefematician
                    goodhealthgourmet May 24, 2011 08:58 PM

                    i love this one. i also do a charred corn salad inspired by elote, aka Mexican street corn.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      lilgi May 27, 2011 06:22 AM

                      love the idea of trying a corn salad, ghg when you have a chance can you post ingredients or recipe?

                      @chefematician yours sounds great, drooling ;)

                      1. re: lilgi
                        goodhealthgourmet May 27, 2011 11:32 AM

                        one of these days i should write up an actual *recipe* for my fellow Hounds, but in the meantime:

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          lilgi May 27, 2011 12:04 PM

                          I'm really looking forward to making this over the summer ghg, thanks so much, you never fail to deliver!

                          1. re: lilgi
                            goodhealthgourmet May 27, 2011 12:30 PM

                            you know i'm always happy to share with you :) be sure to read through all the replies below the initial one because we expanded on the possibilities in the ensuing discussion...though IMO, it's all about personalizing it to suit your tastes. enjoy!

                  2. Caitlin McGrath May 24, 2011 02:01 PM

                    A really simple pasta salad that seems to be really enjoyed is something like rotini or shells with blanched, shelled edamame, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and pesto. Pest and s-d tomatoes are among the ingredients thought dated, but people like them lots (count me in), and the flavors and textures work well together. Easy to make lots for a crowd, if you need to.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                      Isolda May 26, 2011 09:18 AM

                      I think the reason people think pesto and s-d tomatoes are dated is because so many bad restaurants overuse them. But when made well, pesto is delicious and when used sparingly, sdt's really make pasta dishes come alive.

                      1. re: Isolda
                        piccola May 27, 2011 05:36 AM

                        I always seem to forget how delicious pesto can be until I make it at home. I made asparagus pesto this week and had a hard time resisting the urge to eat it with a spoon.

                    2. c
                      cookies223 May 24, 2011 01:54 PM

                      Cabbage Slaw
                      Shred head of red cabbage. Add 1/2 c. of red wine vinegar, 1/2 c. of white vinegar, 3/4 c. of veg. oil, 1 T dry mustard, 1/2 to 3/4 sugar mix in bowl, chill overnight.
                      Love the crunchy cabbage.

                      1. Savour May 24, 2011 11:17 AM

                        How about a Ramen Salad? Cabbage, Ramen Noodles. Maybe more than 5 ingredients, but the dressing is all pantry ingredients.

                        1. s
                          stomsf May 24, 2011 11:14 AM

                          Our latest find for a salad -- shaved asparagus! For once we actually look for the thick stalks....

                          Toss shaved asparagus with parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice/zest (one ingredient or two?), and olive oil. Parseley is garnish, right? :o)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: stomsf
                            goodhealthgourmet May 24, 2011 11:25 AM

                            love the shaved asparagus idea. fennel or radish works beautifully with this treatment too.

                          2. biondanonima May 24, 2011 10:37 AM

                            A friend brought the following to a BBQ I hosted once and everyone LOVED it despite its ridiculous simplicity:

                            1 bag frozen shelled edamame (1lb?)
                            8 oz smoked salted almonds
                            mayonnaise to taste

                            Combine all and mix well. By the time you get where you're going, the edamame will have thawed but kept the salad cold! I know you said no mayo but you could do something similar with a vinaigrette I assume.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: biondanonima
                              piccola May 24, 2011 08:24 PM

                              This sounds like it would be delicious with a gingery or garlicky vinaigrette.

                              1. re: biondanonima
                                Isolda May 26, 2011 09:16 AM

                                That sounds fabulous. I could see eating that as a main dish when I'm the only one around. I will definitely try this as one of my salads for my MIL's b-day dinner. Approx how many people do you think that would serve?

                                1. re: Isolda
                                  biondanonima May 27, 2011 12:17 PM

                                  As I recall it was quite filling - I'd say it would serve 6-8 as a side, maybe more if it were part of a large potluck spread. My friend said she often does it with frozen peas as well, but I detest them and love edamame so I was happy she went that route. You could add any number of other things to fancy it up, but really, it was great with just the three ingredients!

                                2. re: biondanonima
                                  LizR Aug 5, 2011 12:22 PM

                                  I have been meaning to reply to this for a while- I made this as one of my side salads for a BBQ we hosted earlier in the summer (based on this thread), and everyone LOVED it. No one could believe how crazy simple and easy it was and it went fast. Good mayo and the salty almonds are key. Thanks. It's a keeper.

                                3. TroyTempest May 24, 2011 09:36 AM

                                  Here is one that i've done in a pinch. There are a lot of variations, but basically the ingredients are the same.

                                  Canned black beans - rinsed
                                  frozen corn
                                  Pico de Gallo (tomatoes, minced fresh peppers (i like serranos), garlic, red onion, lime juice, fresh cilantro)
                                  a little olive oil
                                  cumin and salt to taste

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TroyTempest
                                    eamcd May 25, 2011 08:25 AM

                                    I was going to suggest a black bean and corn salad that I do.

                                    When I can, I use Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn -- it adds a nice flavor.

                                    I don't usually use Pico de gallo because I can't always get a good fresh one (although it does help for the OP's 5-ingredient limit in this case). I usually do diced fresh tomatoes, sometimes diced red peppers, scallions, lots of fresh cilantro, some lime juice and a little EVOO. (I know, basically just all of the pico de gallo anyway!) I also add some cumin.

                                    Even people who aren't huge bean eaters like it, and it works well for vegetarians at the gathering too.

                                    1. re: eamcd
                                      TroyTempest May 25, 2011 10:27 AM

                                      I make my own pico, too. You're right, i did it to get under 5 ingredient limit.

                                  2. Wtg2Retire May 24, 2011 08:59 AM

                                    Here is a salad we absolutely love, love, love. We have it every July 4th and at other times.

                                    Romaine and Melon Ball Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

                                    1 small red onion, thinly sliced

                                    3 cups balls or bite-sized pieces of ripe cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, or other fresh melons

                                    1-2 hearts of Romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

                                    2 T coarsely chopped or torn basil leaves

                                    1 T coarsely chopped or torn mint leaves (sometimes I omit the mint)


                                    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

                                    3 T raspberry vinegar

                                    2 T finely chopped basil leaves

                                    1 T finely chopped mint leaves (sometimes I omit the mint)

                                    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

                                    Place the onion slices in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes, drain, pat dry, and combine with the melon balls, Romaine lettuce, and herbs. Toss gently to combine and refrigerate until ready to serve. Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette and toss gently with the melon mixture immediately before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

                                    *If I have a bottle of good purchased raspberry vinagrette, I will use that.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Wtg2Retire
                                      cathyeats May 25, 2011 07:50 AM

                                      This sounds really great, I think I'll have to try it!

                                      1. re: cathyeats
                                        Wtg2Retire May 26, 2011 08:47 AM

                                        I hope you like it as much as we do, cathyeats.

                                    2. sunshine842 May 23, 2011 11:03 PM

                                      Diced tomatoes and cucumbers with feta and couscous - olives optional - season with olive oil, lemon juice, and some chopped mint. Gets better as it sits, and gets *devoured*

                                      Tomatoes and mozzarella as above.

                                      Grilled veggies (eggplant/aubergine, zucchini/courgette, different colored peppers, tomatoes, and onion) tossed with pasta and dressed with balsamic and olive oil (no dairy, and also crazy popular)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                        eamcd May 25, 2011 08:22 AM

                                        I like to add chickpeas to a tomato and cucumber salad I make similar to the one you mentioned -- and I do dice the tomatoes and cukes smaller than I do for other salads, about chickpea size or just a little larger.

                                      2. agoodbite May 23, 2011 10:25 PM

                                        I've always had great luck with a salad of new potatoes (fingerlings work well here too) cut into bite-sized chunks and boiled in properly salted water. Before you start the potato water, slice some onion - red, spring or whatever you have on hand - very thinly on a mandoline. Macerate the onions with a little white vinegar to remove the bite while the potatoes are boiling. Chop some basil or parsley (or both) and set aside. Drain potatoes when tender and dress them while still warm with lemon juice (last time I used sherry vinegar), plenty of salt and pepper and some ev olive oil. Throw in chopped herbs and quick-pickled onions. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve at room temp.

                                        1. BigSal May 23, 2011 07:56 PM

                                          Royal Potato Salad (from Ottolenghi's book Plenty). Essentially, it is potatoes, pesto, peas and quail eggs. Rich and delicious. It's a poshed up potato salad without mayo. Here's the recipe http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                          1. v
                                            valerie May 23, 2011 07:32 PM

                                            Another vote for a cucumber salad...this is the one I make.


                                            Also, this Super Slaw is on my menu for July 4th. More than 5 ingredients, but still pretty simple.


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: valerie
                                              Val May 27, 2011 07:20 AM

                                              Super Slaw gets super-raves every place I've taken it to!

                                            2. p
                                              piccola May 23, 2011 07:17 PM

                                              How about a raw kale salad? It holds up well even once it's dressed. Some combos I like: kale, chickpeas, avocado and red onion with a lemon-cumin vinaigrette; kale, julienne carrot and apple, tahini dressing.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: piccola
                                                mollyomormon May 24, 2011 11:10 AM

                                                mmm...kale dressed with goodhealthgourmet's peanut butter dressing!

                                                1. re: mollyomormon
                                                  goodhealthgourmet May 24, 2011 11:29 AM

                                                  thanks for the shout out, chica! the dressing alone is over the OP's "5 ingredient" limit, but i'll link to it anyway just in case:

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    piccola May 24, 2011 08:21 PM

                                                    Meh, I counted the dressing as a separate five-ingredient recipe. It's a loophole. :)

                                                    1. re: piccola
                                                      goodhealthgourmet May 24, 2011 08:50 PM

                                                      ha! when i first saw "Meh" i thought you were about to say you don't like my recipe.

                                                      i can get on board with the loophole ;) and in that case i also second the earlier suggestion for Super Slaw.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                        piccola May 25, 2011 06:09 PM

                                                        Oh, I would never be that dismissive about someone's recipe. It's just plain rude!

                                                        1. re: piccola
                                                          goodhealthgourmet May 25, 2011 06:28 PM

                                                          that doesn't always stop people around here from expressing their opinions ;)

                                                          but yes, i would have been quite taken aback at something like that coming from you because you're usually a sweetheart.

                                                          anyway, back to kale salad for a minute...ever toss in some dried cherries or currants? it's a delicious twist, particularly with a white balsamic or champagne vinaigrette.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                            piccola May 27, 2011 05:33 AM

                                                            Aw, thanks. I'm a firm believer in the Golden Rule.

                                                            I haven't tried adding dried fruit, but now that you mention it, it seems like a genius idea. I mean, I combine currants with cooked bitter greens all the time, so why not in a salad?

                                                            1. re: piccola
                                                              goodhealthgourmet May 27, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                              it's a really great combination. you can use golden raisins or dried cranberries too - i just prefer cherries or currants.

                                              2. b
                                                Bellachefa May 23, 2011 05:05 PM

                                                Nothing like a strictly fruit fruit salad - no sugar, just fruit garnished with a bit of mint.

                                                Also love a tomato balsamic basil and fresh mozzarella salad - maybe with some sliced sweet onion or not.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Bellachefa
                                                  sunshine842 May 23, 2011 11:01 PM

                                                  +1 Honeydew and galia melon balls do this particularly well, especially if you can stick it in the freezer til it's almost frosty.

                                                2. m
                                                  magiesmom May 23, 2011 04:30 PM

                                                  watermelon, feta, mint, lime, a little olive oil if you like, (or not,) pepper.

                                                  shaved asparagus, lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, s&P

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: magiesmom
                                                    phelana May 23, 2011 04:31 PM

                                                    ok add more ingredients..keep em coming...

                                                    1. re: phelana
                                                      magiesmom May 23, 2011 07:48 PM

                                                      shredded carrots, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice maybe raisins
                                                      Have you seen mark Bittman's 101 salads article?

                                                      1. re: magiesmom
                                                        arp29 May 24, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                        Thanks for the link, magiesmom! It added some inspiration to my grocery shopping this afternoon!

                                                  2. j
                                                    judybird May 23, 2011 04:18 PM

                                                    This has more than 5 ingredients, but I don't count the olive oil and salt & pepper. It serves 2 of us for lunch with no other dishes, but expands very easily.

                                                    Pasta Blue Cheese Salad

                                                    ¼ lb penne rigate
                                                    1 clove garlic, very finely minced
                                                    3 Tbsp olive oil
                                                    Juice of ½ lemon
                                                    ¼ C. coarsely chopped walnuts
                                                    4 oz crumbled bleu cheese
                                                    1 C. baby spinach or salad greens
                                                    Salt & pepper

                                                    Place all ingredients except pasta in a large serving bowl. Cook pasta al dente. Drain and immediately toss with ingredients in the bowl. Add more S&P and olive oil if desired.

                                                    1. LA Buckeye Fan May 23, 2011 04:16 PM

                                                      How about cucumbers, thinly sliced, with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. And if permitted a sixth ingredient...a little sugar.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                        Bellachefa May 23, 2011 04:32 PM

                                                        I do cucumber, dill, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

                                                        1. re: Bellachefa
                                                          Midlife May 23, 2011 04:57 PM

                                                          I do the same thing but with fennel as well, and both sliced on a mandolin. Yum!

                                                          1. re: Midlife
                                                            Bellachefa May 23, 2011 05:03 PM

                                                            looking fowrard to trying the fennel cuke combo with my garden dill!

                                                        2. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                          walker May 24, 2011 07:01 PM

                                                          Here's my favorite: Asian Cucumber Salad: (I try to get the Japanese cukes, 2nd choice: Persian.
                                                          3rd would be hot house, would probably remove the seeds of this one.)

                                                          1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned) or distilled white vinegar
                                                          1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
                                                          3 Tablespoons water
                                                          3 Tablespoons sugar
                                                          1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
                                                          6 pickling cucumbers. halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups) I peel some of the outside, not all.
                                                          2 shallots, thinly sliced
                                                          1/2 Serrano chile (or more) minced
                                                          6 sprigs of cilantro, chopped (I prefer to omit the cilantro.)

                                                          Combine vinegar, lime juice, water, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir well and add the cukes, shallots, chile and cilantro.

                                                          I think it's even better after being in fridge a few hours. I usually double the recipe because it lasts in fridge a few days and is great to snack on.

                                                          1. re: walker
                                                            RealMenJulienne May 25, 2011 02:16 AM

                                                            Ahh, very nice. Our family's version is similar, but with 1-2 cloves of finely minced garlic added.

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