Most of the time, when a friend invites you over for a barbecue and you ask what to bring, she will task you with a side dish — at least that's what my friends do. While I usually don't have the time or energy to fire up the oven or stove to make something, a plain green salad just doesn't feel festive enough for a party. That's why I turn to these no-cook side dishes. They're no-fuss and can be made ahead of time, but still feel special. I guarantee they'll be a welcome addition to the party spread.
While this shredded broccoli salad comes together pretty quickly with the help of a food processor, you can make it even easier on yourself by picking up a bag of pre-shredded broccoli slaw mix.
If you can get your hands on both, use a mix of red and yellow tomatoes to make this juicy salad especially colorful and vibrant.
This refreshing, crunchy salad is inspired by pad Thai, but instead of noodles, it's full of ribbons of zucchini and carrots. Everything can be assembled ahead of time, but leave the dressing off until just before serving.
It's hard to beat this classic Italian salad of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. It's always a crowd-pleaser at any gathering.
You can prep the vegetables and dressing for this slaw up to three hours in advance, but keep them separate until you are ready to serve. Then toss everything together at the last minute to keep the slaw crisp and colorful.
6. Feta Salsa
Make a big batch of this salsa and bring it to the party to be used in any number of ways: Pile it on toasted bread, spoon it over grilled vegetables, or eat it alongside grilled meat or fish. Yum!
The tangy dressing for this slaw can be made up to five days in advance! All you have to do is bring it along to toss with all the veggies before serving.
This salad tastes best just after it's been assembled, but since it doesn't require a fancy dressing, it's easy enough to bring its components separately and mix them together at the party.
Here's one of those salads that actually gets better over time. So you can make it in its entirety the night before or the morning of the party and it will be at its best once friends and family dig in.
This spiralized salad can be made with any number of vegetables you like, from zucchini to carrots to radishes to beets. Just go for the most colorful mix to give this dish the most eye appeal.