5 Fresh Salads for Your Next Party, Potluck, or Backyard BBQ

5 Fresh Salads for Your Next Party, Potluck, or Backyard BBQ

Kelli Foster
Jun 3, 2017
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I firmly believe that you can never have too many salads and sides at summer potlucks — extra emphasis on the salads. They're the beacon of freshness that celebrate the ripe summer produce at our fingertips and help balance out all the taco dip, burgers, ribs, and ice cream.

Of course, there are the classic salads you expect to see in the summer potluck lineup, but this year lead the charge with fresh new flavors and combinations that will impress the whole crowd.

Fresh Salad Inspiration for Summer Potlucks

So just what makes a salad party- or potluck-worthy? For starters, they go big to serve a crowd so you can count on these to feed around eight to 10 people. They're also a bit more showy than your standard weeknight mix of greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes with ingredients and presentations that let guests know you went the extra mile. Whether you're after something meaty or you prefer an all-veggie number, or you need a gluten-free option that everyone can enjoy, there's something for everyone here. No matter the salad, each has a few tiny twists that makes them stand out on the potluck table. Here's how to make it happen.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Use a sturdy base for long-lasting salads.

Unlike your basic lunch or dinner salad, those made for a potluck really need to stand the test of time. The best way to ensure that happens is by starting with a sturdy base. A tangy BBQ chopped salad starts with sturdy red cabbage to guarantee crispness. Or skip the greens altogether in favor of a veggie-studded Tex-Mex quinoa salad. Rice noodles are the base of a cold sesame chicken salad and soak up just enough of the creamy dressing for extra flavor, while keeping their chewy bite.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Go for classic favorites with a modern twist.

Start with inspiration from classic crowd favorites, then give it a fresh twist that will wow guests. For a modern spin on coleslaw, swap out one cruciferous veggie for a couple others. In this case chopped broccoli and cauliflower florets take the place of cabbage for an ultra-crunchy salad with a classic slaw dressing. Take classic Cobb salad and make it party-worthy by assembling it in a tall glass bowl. Pure salad drama! Smoky BBQ chicken, tortilla chips, and a tangy ranch dressing take everyday chopped salad from good to gush-worthy and make it hearty enough to sit in the center of the table. Inspired by Asian flavors, pasta salad gets a big twist with chewy rice noodles and a creamy sesame ginger dressing.

Choose any one of these for your next get-together, or make a batch for a week of never-boring lunches. No matter what you choose, these fresh takes on summer salad are just one more reason to get excited about all the season has to offer.

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