Tis the season for backyard gatherings. It is always so fun to see family and friends, but what should you bring to share with everyone? Here are some fabulous salads and side dishes that are great for sharing at potlucks.
Summer is such a fun time. Between family reunions, bbqs with friends and holiday gatherings there is always a reason to get together.
A lot of those gatherings involve bringing a dish. It’s a great way to see everyone and not have all of the work fall on the host.
Plus that way everyone gets a fun assortment of food to try and you never know what will be there. It’s a great way to try new dishes and pick up new recipes!
Of course you know I am usually the dessert committee at these gatherings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few savory dishes in my recipe box. Here are some of our favorite carry-in ready side dishes, but first a few quick tips.
Tips for prepping green salads ahead of time
Most green salads can be prepped several hours ahead of time. Tear the greens and chop the fruit or veggies that are going to go on top.
Most of the toppings can go ahead and go on the greens in a big bowl in the refrigerator for several hours. Hold off on adding the salad dressing or croutons until it is time to serve.
Adding the salad dressing too early will result in wimpy lettuce. Adding croutons, chips or other crunchy bits to soon gives them time to absorb moisture and makes them soggy.
When it’s time to serve just drizzle on the dressing and give it a quick toss and it’s ready to go!
Of course if you don’t want to be bothered with bringing dressing on the side, there are a few salads that do well dressed ahead of time. A good coleslaw or overnight salad will allow you to bring a green salad already dressed and ready to go!
Pointers for great potato salad
Make sure when you dice your potatoes, you get similar sized chunks. That way they cook evenly when you boil the potato.
Put the potatoes in a pot of cold water and let it all come up to a boil together. This allows the temperature inside the potatoes to heat up more evenly.
Whether or not to peel your potatoes for potato salad is personal preference. If the skins are thin like on a new potato, red skinned potato or yukon gold, I tend to leave it. If the skin seems thicker or tough, I peel it off.
For most potato salads, it is best not to rinse the starch off your potatoes after they are boiled. Drain them well, but leave the extra starch. That will help to give you a thick luxurious feel to your dressing.
Potato salads can be made several hours ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days, so they are perfect for bringing with you. Just make sue to keep it nice and chilled until it is time to serve.
Pasta salad tips
There are so many fabulous ways to whip up pasta salad. The one key is to make sure you get your macaroni cooked just right.
A perfect al dente will give you a great finished dish. If it isn’t cooked enough the pasta will absorb too much liquid and your finished salad could be too dry.
Cook it too much and you’ll have mushy blown out noodles. It’s easy to get it right though, just be sure to check the instructions on the box!
Pomegranate couscous salad is a bright and fresh side dish that is perfect for a picnic but would also be a light and festive side dish for the holidays. It is a great make ahead salad recipe that can be served with almost any entrée.
Frito salad is a fun twist on a taco salad. It is loaded with flavor and is perfect for potlucks, but also makes a fun dinner main dish. The homemade Catalina salad dressing is easy to make and the salad is packed full of goodies.
This is the perfect summer salad. It is fresh, light flavorful and uses some of the produce that is going crazy right now. The quinoa adds great nutrition and texture to the mix and of course cheese is a staple! It is great for potlucks, picnics or as a side to your favorite grilled entrée. Or if you prefer, stir in some chicken for a perfect lunch or light dinner.
If you are in the market for a good potato salad, look no further! This has everything you love about old fashioned potato salad with the favorite parts of deviled eggs mixed in. It's loaded with eggs and flavor. Homemade potato salad always feels special, but this takes it to the next level. It is perfect for picnics, potlucks, BBQs and more!
This pasta salad is full of the bacon, lettuce and tomato flavors that are part of that classic sandwich combination but it also has some extras to take it to the next level. Serve it at your next BBQ, potluck or picnic and enjoy the rave reviews!
This simple German style potato salad is a great side dish all year long. It is best served warm or at room temperature and is isn’t loaded down with dressing. Don’t let that make you think it isn’t flavorful though. It has a little zing and plenty of bacon!
This chicken salad is the perfect mix of sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy. The addition of fruit and the simple dressing bring it all together to make a versatile and delicious sandwich filling, cracker topper and more.