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Picnic Salads

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Picnic salads are great side dishes that are generally served cold and can be made ahead of time. If you are looking for a great new recipe for potato salad, pasta salad, quinoa salad and more, you are in the right place. There is sure to be something you love in this collection of recipes.

Collage of picnic salad images including a blt pasta salad, couscous salad, pea salad, and potato salad.

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.

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!

There are so many great side dish recipes to try. If you want something on the sweeter side, be sure to check out my collection of fruit salads as well.

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