Potluck Salad Kit #2

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Last spring, I shared a little salad kit I’d put together to take to a potluck. This Sunday morning, I found myself filling that same salad bowl with greens, jars and other tasty bits for another shared meal. I thought some of you might like a peek.

Much like that salad last spring, this one also used baby arugula as the base (it’s one of my very favorite greens). I added some homemade croutons for crunch. Maytag blue cheese was there for a hint of funk and softness. And a pomegranate offered sweetness and a different texture. The vinaigrette was equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a spoonful of honey, and salt. Shake to combine.

If you read this post and the one from eight months ago, you’ll start to see that there’s a formula to my potluck salads. They all begin with greens. I love baby arugula, but will also use spring mix, torn red leaf or Bibb lettuce, or tender spinach. Then I pick something crunchy, something creamy, and, if I think the audience will approve, something sweet (when I make salads for my husband, I always omit the something sweet. While he has a healthy sweet tooth, he doesn’t like it in his greens). Dressings are simple and most often are made right in a jar.

My favorite crunchy things are toasted nuts, homemade croutons, small cubes of roasted vegetables (like in this salad) or pickles. The creamy things can be cheese, caramelized onions, avocados or morsels of chopped egg. If you’re adding a sweet thing, try pickled fruit, slivers of apple, pear or persimmon, currants, or segmented bits of oranges.

How do you like to build your salads?

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16 Responses to Potluck Salad Kit #2

  1. 1
    Diane says:

    I add fresh herbs to my greens when I have them….mint is amazing with baby greens!

  2. 2
    Ann says:

    I use nearly the same formula for salads you do, but I always add some sort of onions, usually either scallions or red onion, sliced very thin. The onions seem to enhance the sweet and creamy things with their contrast. My favorite crunchy is toasted nuts, especially toasted walnuts. Cooked beans, especially chickpeas or cannellini beans, make great creamy additions.

  3. 3
    Terri says:

    I mix strawberry or raspberry jam with balsamic and a few grinds of pepper, possibly a bit of olive oil if needed to thin a bit. Greens, gorgonzola, nuts, and cranberries or dried fruit. Even better with left over steak over the top, sliced super thin.
    I know what I’m having for lunch today!

    Jam as a dressing base is one of my fave things to do and always an easy crowd pleaser. The possibilities are endless with jam as a dressing base.
    Thanks!

  4. 4
    Nikki says:

    Hi -these would make wonderful lunches for work- I love all the ingredients ready made in the jars. I think my lunches are going to become so much better!

  5. 5
    Suzanne T. says:

    What a great looking salad kit. I have never tried a pomegranate and am not even sure how to pick a good one, prepare them or what part you eat! Maybe those of us that have never tried them need a little tutorial!

    • 5.1
      Liz Pad says:

      I find the best way to pick one out is what I call the ‘comparison’ test. If there are a bunch piled up in the market bin, take one pomegranate in each hand and compare the weight. Ditch the lighter one and take another one and compare. Keep ditching the light one and you’ll end up with the better one. They should be heavier than what you would think they would be for the size of the pomegranate. Oh…and don’t go by what it looks like on the outside. I find that usually the uglier ones (as long as not beat up), have the darker and tastier arils inside. This is not a particularly scientific way to pick ‘em out – but it works for me. I am a pomegranate-crazy person. I am certain those little arils have helped me stave off the yearly colds I get right about now!

  6. 6
    Rachel says:

    I love this! I usually use spring mix (my husband would prefer iceburg, but we don’t need to go there). I love adding gorgonzola and strawberries and/or mandarin oranges to my salads. Suprisingly as I get older, I am not as big of a fan of croutons or crunchy things in my salads. Love the idea of pomegranate though!

  7. 7
    erica says:

    Every vegi have in the fridge plus sunflower seeds and avocado, or some kind of cheese. Pretty much any kind and i’ll be happy. I also like to add I also like to add a chopped up vegi burger, hardboiled eggs, or a blob of hummus. Now I’m hungry!

  8. 8

    This is a great idea! I think it would be a wonderful thing to bring over to a friend who has just moved, or has had a baby. Thanks for sharing.

  9. 9
    yoko says:

    I still remember how impressed I was that you whipped up a tasty salad at a food bloggers potluck– and you had said that people always appreciate side dishes at a potluck. I’ve never forgotten that.

  10. 10
    Beth Funk says:

    Your blog is wonderful.

  11. 11
    Michelle says:

    My go-to salad is similar: greens + fruit + cheese + nut. But lately I’ve been digging kale salads built like a classic green salad (raw chopped kale, grated carrot, thinly sliced celery, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries) and with a tahini based dressing – it is definitely a more hippiefied version of salad but still tasty.

  12. 12
    Emili Day says:

    I’m often the salad person for our weekend dinners. I’m proud to say that I have brought all of the husbands over to salad with arugula or spring mix. These are football and chili boys. Now if I can win the kids over….Anyway, love your combos. I have been using persimmons lately (thanks for the inspiration) and now pomegranates will be showing up. Thanks for making me realize I’m not the only one fantasizing over salad combos!

  13. 13
    Liz Pad says:

    The salad that I love – and a big hit around my home – is Arugula, Lamb’s Lettuce, Halved Seedless Grapes, Goat Cheese and Finely sliced Red Onion. For dressing – balsamic vinegar, citron oil, salt & Pepper. Stuff it in a pita and you have a portable salad!

  14. 14
    Katie says:

    Mine is greens + cheese + crunch + vegetable(s) + vinegar. Olive oil is optional, but my very favorite salads usually involve warm cooked vegetables so there’s oil there – and I love the taste of slightly wilted greens!
    My favorite is mesclun mix + blue cheese + lightly sauteed onions + balsamic vinegar. Onions provide both the crunch and the veg and it’s just all around awesome.

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