With summer in full swing, you might be on the lookout for an easy meal idea for a crowd. Salads in the summer make perfect sense. So many fruits and vegetables are at their peak during these warmer months. Plus, it’s easy to set up a salad bar that feeds a crowd with healthy, delicious foods. My favorite thing about a “DIY food bar” is that each guest gets to pick his or her perfect combination of toppings and dressing. Everyone is happy, including the hostess!
Your stylish and delicious summer salad bar is sure to impress if you follow a few tips.
1. Use a bar cart as your table. If you happen to own a bar cart, it’s useful for serving up various dishes. You can place forks and small bowls for side salads on one side, larger plates on the other and all the food choices in between. No bar cart? No problem! Any fold-out table with a simple tablecloth will do the trick.
2. Add some simple signage for a fun display. Simply print off “Salad Bar” or a little menu of topping choices in a fun font. Punch a couple of holes and tie it on with a whimsical ribbon. Make the little details really pack a punch. You can download the salad bar sign I featured in this project.
3. Choose a variety of ingredients. Select colorful, ripe and delicious toppings. Some suggestions include fresh berries, tomatoes, onions, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and crunchy crackers or croutons. For protein you can serve slices of grilled chicken and salmon, or tofu for the vegetarians of the group. Provide several greens, such as arugula, spinach and romaine. Include at least two or three dressing choices.
4. Separate the topping choices. Use a collection of bowls in different sizes and colors to display your toppings. Green dishes are perfect for the color scheme of a salad bar, but if you don’t have green, go with white to make the food colors really stand out. Clear glass bowls and plates will also show off the food. Use cake stands to give height to various small bowls of toppings or dressings. Think outside of the box and display food in unexpected containers, such as serving basil in a watering can as seen in the photo. Another trick? Sturdy colorful cupcake liners are perfect for small toppings such as berries or chopped nuts.
5. Display By Color. We eat with our eyes first! Display your salad toppings by type and color to create a visually appealing display. Rather than a large bowl of mixed vegetables or fruit, divide them by type around a dish to create a beautiful arrangement! Displays of food can be a work of art when you arrange them by type and color.
Enjoy hosting a summer salad party for your friends this summer!
Get more celebrating and entertaining ideas from Courtney:
Photos by Courtney Whitmore