We’ve pulled together 8 eye-popping salads to impress your family or friends this weekend. Pretty to serve on any plate or buffet table, all make ahead and potluck-portable and all crowd-pleasers. Click on the titles to get the recipes.
How pretty is this! We love this simple beet, orange and goat cheese salad, mostly for its gorgeous colours and how it brightens up the table. OK, it tastes pretty good too with it’s fresh orange vinaigrette dressing drizzled on the earthy beets, sweet oranges and tangy goat cheese. Make ahead, vegetarian.
This pretty Red Quinoa Salad with Roasted Carrots and Beets can be served as a side dish or with some soup and bread to make it a full meal. This is not your simple green side salad. It’s substantial. It’s got lots of interesting flavours and textures – from earthy (beets) to creamy (avocado) to caramelized (roasted carrots) to zesty (orange) to slightly crunchy (quinoa). And the orange-balsamic-honey dressing is rich, bright and smooth. Truly a medley of deliciousness. Make ahead, vegetarian.
Warm black rice salad is a visually stunning side dish. The contrast of the orange mango, red tomatoes and green onions against the backdrop of the deep purple rice (black rice that’s cooked) is just so pretty. So does it taste good you might be asking? Yes it does. The black rice has a nutty flavour and the sweetness of the mango with the slight tang of the vinaigrette makes for a nice combination of flavours. And textures too. The rice maintains a bit of a ‘bite’ which contrasts well with the silky smooth mango. Make ahead, vegetarian.
This salad is hearty enough to be served as a main dish, perhaps for lunch with a crusty bread. Or as a first course or a side. Since it has so much going on – roasted yams, greens, goat cheese, quinoa, dried cranberries and nuts – you really don’t need any other sides apart from the main protein. It has lots of colours, textures and tastes. And, most importantly, it’s yummy. Make ahead, vegetarian
There’s no shortage of textures in this slaw recipe – you get varying degrees of crunch from the apples, broccoli, nuts and carrots; and creamy smoothness from the avocado dressing. It’s a perfect accompaniment to a rich meal or a lovely side for a light fresh lunch/brunch. Under 30 minutes, make ahead, vegetarian.
Savoury Peach Panzanella Salad is a simple, rustic bread salad that starts with a loaf of crusty bread turned into golden bread cubes. You then add a few fresh-from-the-market peaches, tomatoes, basil and cucumbers (and some ripped bocconcini or mozzarella cheese if you want), toss it with a vinaigrette and let it sit around to let the bread soak up all the flavours. Mmmm. Make ahead, vegetarian
My sister Kathy brought this festive fig, pomegranate & balsamic salad as a contribution to a recent dinner party I was hosting. Winner! The combination of figs, pomegranate seeds, avocado and mild cheese (she used firm ricotta, I used goat cheese) work really well. The balsamic dressing is the perfect accompaniment. Under 30 minutes, make ahead, vegetarian.
If you’re looking for a change from the usual green veggie salad, this is a good one. Packed with vitamin C, this simple citrus salad is a very refreshing side or first course. Feel free to vary the types of citrus fruits, lettuce and garnish. You can use a mix of Valencia, blood orange and/or navel oranges – even tangerines – and ruby red or pomelo grapefruit. Under 30 minutes, make ahead, vegetarian.