How to Prep a Salad for a Dinner Party

This time of year I never ask our guests to bring a salad. That’s because our garden is full of fresh lettuce, just waiting to be picked.

In fact, my husband gets pretty upset if I come home from the grocery store with lettuce, because we have so much of it. (This time of year, spinach would be the exception because we don’t grow spinach.)

Growing your own lettuce does take a little work, though, to get it ready for eating.

Paul picks a giant-sized basket (remove the outer leaves of plants first).


I wash and spin and dry the leaves.

We store the greens, packed tightly, in Ziploc bags.

With summer approaching and the warmth of my kitchen in the evening (even with the A/C on) I try to make my salad right before it’s time to serve. I’m not crazy about warm salads.

What helps is to prep my salad ahead of time. To be organized and prepared to put it all together at the last minute.

1. Chop up food items, such as celery, onion, radishes, and cucumbers and place in a bowl.

2. Layer anything else you want in the salad on top (such as red cabbage).

3. Toast the nuts (about 1 cup in microwave at 2 minutes, turning once), cooling and chopping into smaller pieces. Place on top of the veggies.

4. Place in the fridge until serving time.

5. Chop the lettuce and place in a serving bowl, putting back in the fridge until serving time.

6. When it’s time to serve, dump the veggies onto the greens. Add cheese or avocado.

7. Pour your dressing; toss and serve.




I always feel better when I’ve got my act together in the kitchen, and am ready for company. The feeling of being rushed or unorganized for sure does not feel good. So this is an easy step to take hours ahead of time, so you can check the “salad” off your list!

What’s your go-to salad tip for easy entertaining?

7 comments on “How to Prep a Salad for a Dinner Party”

  1. (I can’t believe I missed this back in June, LOL) great post! I like the idea of prepping cold veggies etc ahead of time, then adding to lettuces at the last minute. Beautiful presentation too!

  2. ooh, I didn’t know Ziploc had Fresh Produce bags! I have to get those.

  3. Choosing fewer ingredients for a salad makes things easier too – especially for a crowd. My favorite superfast salad that everyone always loves is a simple Caesar Salad. You just need romaine, grated Italian cheese of some kind (parm, romano, asiago, sharp provolone – anything like that) & croutons. I use a great tasting olive oil to make the Good Seasons Caesar Dressing mix. The lettuce is the only item that needs prepping if you buy pre-grated cheese.
    Granted, sometimes it’s special to make my own croutons too. But for practicality’s sake & a big group I buy the large store bought kind.

  4. You touched on my favorite salad tip…a salad spinner. No more trying to dry lettuce on paper towels or shaking it over the sink. Pop it in the spinner, a few turns and perfectly dry leaves. I find the lettuce stays fresher when it’s spun dry and takes the dressing better.
    Your lettuce is beautiful. My lettuce crop was a total flop this year.
    Em

  5. I wish I had a salad tip. But, now I have YOURS!!! LOL!
    Thanks Sandy! A salad spinner has always been on my list. I think it needs to move from the want side to the need side.
    Hope your day is absolutely extraordinary!!

  6. I’m growing mesclum (spring mix) lettuce and spinach, so we are full of fresh greens everyday right now. My one tip is that I always soak my leaves in a sink full of cold water to make sure that any little creatures might be gone. Then I dry them in a salad spinner. I store mine wrapped in paper towels in Ziploc Fresh Produce bags – they’ve got little holes in them so that the lettuce will breathe while being stored. If I must make my salad ahead – I won’t put the dressing on, but place all the ingredients in the bowl, cover it with some damp paper towels and put it in the fridge till about 20 minutes before serving. I like my salad at room temperature. Whoo, sorry for the long comment – didn’t know I was so passionate about lettuce :-)

  7. Have a guest bring the salad :) We do pot luck a lot with our friends.

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