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The Easiest Eats for Summer Entertaining: Platter Salads

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If you follow me on Instagram or read my monthly newsletter you already know I’m obsessed with platter salads this season. If you don’t, let me introduce you to my go-to meal for casual weeknight dinners and weekend entertaining this summer.

The platter salad is exactly what it sounds like: a large platter covered with enough salad to feed no less than 6 people. These aren’t side salads, these are hearty enough to be a meal, and my current faves are taco salad, Cobb salad, and steakhouse salad. I’m having 22 people to my house this weekend for a party and I’m serving nothing but platter salads. Here are my reasons for doing this, plus how I’ll make it successful and leave my guests feeling satisfied:

Benefits to making a platter salad:

  • Serving salad on a platter instead of in a bowl allows for the heavier items (cucumber, beets, radish, carrots) to perch nicely on top of the greens instead of sinking into them making it difficult to see which ingredients have been included in the salad.
  • Guests are immediately impressed when they see large platters or salad over a salad in a bowl (I don’t know why this is but experience has taught me it’s definitely true).
  • Almost all of the components can—and should—be made in advance.
  • Room temperature meals are appreciated by almost everyone, especially when the mercury is on the rise.

Also, here are a few secrets to making a really great platter salad:

  • Use something crunchy, something cheesy, and the freshest in-season ingredients you can find.
  • Bonus points are usually awarded if you also include hearty proteins like hard-boiled egg, chicken, bacon, steak, beans, chickpeas and lentils.
  • Don’t hesitate to grill your vegetables before adding them to a salad (this can be done a day in advance if you’re entertaining).
  • Season with salt and pepper. Always.

Lastly, here are a few more tips for serving nothing but salad to your guests:

  • Fill in the buffet of salads with heavier items like sliced baguette, buns, cornbread and/or nacho chips. If you’re serving one platter salad to your family for dinner add one heavier item to the table to accompany the salad.
  • Add a few store-bought items that will add flavour to the salads, allowing guests to customize their plates. For example: olives, pepperoncini peppers, and roasted red peppers.
  • While wooden salad spoons and forks look nice on the table, my advice is to keep your serving utensils to something that can be used with one hand while the other holds the plate. Tongs and serving spoons work well here.

Recipes to Try:

We have some great salads in our recipe archives that would do very well served on a platter:

Mediterranean Taco Salad
Nicoise Salad Platter
Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad
Rotisserie Chicken Cobb Salad
Layered Greek Salad

Tell us, would you be bold and serve nothing by salads at a party? Check my Instagram feed over the weekend to see how it goes, if you’re curious.

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